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‘It has been another really successful year for the school, as well as having been challenging for us all at various times,’ head teacher Barry Smith said in his address at the Arran High School award ceremony last week.
‘Despite having welcomed six new staff to the school recently, we still have a number of outstanding vacancies and the recurring theme of finding accommodation on the island never seems to go away. It is a really frustrating situation for us all.
‘One silver lining on that particular cloud is that I’ve had to take on teaching National 5 Maths and it has been great fun and really reinforces what fantastic young people we have in the school
‘We experienced changes to Higher courses last year with a greater emphasis placed on the final examination. I am pleased to say that once again the young people have been very well prepared for their examinations by their teachers and we have had strong performance at all levels once again. In particular at Higher level in S5 and results are back to being close to the best performance the school has ever seen.
‘We continue to provide the youngsters with tools they need to be successful and they continue to “step up to the mark” and excel.
‘The health and wellbeing of our young people extends far beyond supporting them to achieve academic success and the fitness suite has been a busy place over the first few weeks as have our extra-curricular clubs. Pipes and drums, clarsach, fiddle club, woodwind and brass tutition and our partnership working with the Arran Music School are all starting up again and I’m sure our strong musical tradition will endure and progress this session.
‘Our wider achievement programme has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with young people developing important life and work skills through it. Our school Duke of Edinburgh group will give all of our S3 the opportunity to develop leadership skills and contribute to the wider community.
‘It is very clear to me how privileged we all are to be a part of this school and this community and I’d like to conclude by mentioning another member of staff who is retiring shortly, Mr Steve Evans. Steve has been delivering PE and supporting extra-curricular sport for more than 30 years and he will be sadly missed from the school. I know that Steve wants no fuss, but I think it would be entirely inappropriate to allow tonight to pass without mentioning his contribution to the school and wishing him a very long and happy retirement.’
Earlier parents, family and friends had been welcomed by Laura Cook, senior manager, North Ayrshire Council education & youth employment services, who later presented the prizes.
There were also inspirational talks by new school captains Eilidh Hamill and Elyse Aitken, with Eilidh later named the 2019 school Dux, as reported in last week’s Banner.
The following pages show the prize-winners with their certificates and trophies.
The awards which were not picked up on the night were: J D MacKinnon entering further education or apprenticeship, Archie Maceira. Arran Dairies Hospitality Trophy for attainment in home economics, Duncan Coyne. Young Musician of the Year trophy, Jamie Thomson. Young Singer of the Year trophy, Stella Riddell. Golf champion – First Minister’s Trophy, Kyle McNicol.
All photographs by Hugh Boag