David Sterratt, Chair of Drummond Community High School Parent Coucncil, writes:
Both new and old head teachers were present at Drummond Community High School's latest Celebration of Achievement and Prize Giving Ceremony.
New head teacher Jodie Hannan has been at Drummond for just 3 weeks after 12 years at Dunfermline High School as a teacher of History, curriculum leader of the History faculty, then a depute rector for 4 years. In her speech she expressed how welcome she’s been made by the school community, and how committed her colleagues are to providing all young people in Drummond with such a positive experience, going 'the extra mile as a matter of course'.
Her vision for the school is to 'build upon its many current successes and to work with all young people, staff, parents and the wider community to take it from good to excellent'.
Ms Hannan’s speech covered: the wide range of opportunities including dance and drama productions and events like the sell-out Diversity evening in March; dealing with the recent building challenges; year on year improvements in attainment and 'positive destinations'; and partnership working with primary schools, businesses and Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools. Highlights of this past school session included:
- Mohshin Syed, who – as one of 10 international students selected from thousands of applicants for The Junior Academy, part of the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences, met Bill Gates and, to the envy of some, Hugh Jackman!
- Drummond’s sporting achievements, such as: the senior 3v3 female basketball team winning 2nd place in the Edinburgh Schools 3v3 tournament; Diste Camara Sylla (S2), winning Gold at the Edinburgh Schools Cross Country Championships; 4 members of the Rio Beach Games team winning silver and bronze medals for tennis; and a number of seniors representing Drummond as part of the City's Young Sports Ambassadors team
- Liam Steel in S5 becoming the Pupil Inclusion Ambassador for the whole of Edinburgh
- Links with the National Galleries of Scotland, with pupils working on the hugely successful Bad Entertainment exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, now currently on show in Irvine, and more work to appear in the Gallery of Modern Art at the British Art show soon.
- As part of the Art Department’s ongoing collaborative project with St Andrews University and Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop, S6 Masterclass pupils exhibiting their Leonardo-inspired prints in Cesena, Italy and at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews. S6 Masterclass pupils and S2 Art pupils have secured funding from St Andrews University to exhibit their photographs at the Glasite Meeting House in the last week of August 2016
- S3 Art and Geography students working across these disciplines in an exciting project which made connections between Art and cartography to create a collection of screenprints now on permanent display at the SNIPEF’s Bellevue offices (see image at top)
- Maths celebrating a number of triumphs with teams at both junior and senior levels at various competitions this year, such as Enterprising Maths in the Lothians and Scotland, the Scottish Maths Challenge and UK Mathematics Trust Intermediate Maths Challenge.
The guest of honour was Alison Watson, a civil engineer turned social entrepreneur, who, along with her husband architect Dan Gibson, devised the pioneering Design, Engineer ... Construct! programme. The programme aims to encourage young people and teachers to consider careers in Architecture, Engineering and Construction as highly skilled opportunities, and to make Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM subjects) feel relevant. She has been working with the school’s Craft Design and Technology department, and earlier in the year supported a group who presented their work at the Chartered Institute of Building’s ‘Careers in Construction’ conference in Dundee. The response from professionals and teaching staff was hugely positive, with favourable comparisons being drawn to first-year undergraduate standards.
Alison engaged the audience with her story of her journey from frustrated student, to bank worker, to civil engineer, and how letting school pupils have a go with a theodolite led to her current job. She contrasted how useful maths is to construction, compared to many other jobs, asking the question 'how many of you have used Pythagoras’ theorem in your work?' Few hands went up. She praised CDT teacher Mark Holden for 'taking a chance', praised the pupils for their work, and paid tribute to the welcoming atmosphere of Drummond. There was an impressive selection of pupils’ work on display.
The head girls, Sorawi Phongsakonsunthon and Mairi Stenhouse, reflected on their years at Drummond. They’d appreciated the wider activities such as the S1 camp and trips abroad, and the fact that Sports Day had been 'upgraded' from Warriston to Meadowbank. Despite being the 'Guinea Pig year' for the new Curriculum for Excellence exams (National 4s and National 5s), they felt they’d 'turned out pretty decent'. They gave a moving vote of thanks to their teachers, who had 'always been there for them'.
The stars of the show were the pupils receiving recognition for their ambition, effort, commitment and tenacity across a range of areas and activities such as academic achievements, sport, the Arts, Community Service, Enterprise and Citizenship. It felt very appropriate that the prizes to the seniors were presented by former head teacher Sue Cook.