On Tuesday, 19th December for the fourth time the Polish students and teachers at St. Mary’s organised a Christmas Vigil to celebrate Christmas together as a school. Over 50 people attended and spent time praying, sharing Polish ‘wafers’ (white bread), eating traditional Polish Christmas dishes, prepared especially for this occasion, and even singing Polish carols. Both Polish and English students and teachers together celebrated this special time of the year. We also had the privilege of trying a traditional Spanish Christmas dish brought by a Spanish student, Angelyms.
According to our Pastoral Manager, Mr McLaughlin, it was ‘the best social event he attended during his time at St. Mary’s’. Of the few teachers that attended, Miss Lynch and Miss Hetherington managed to sing the Christmas carols in Polish, and Mr. Heyes discovered his great love for the traditional Polish dish, Bigos.
It's another record breaker as this year we raised a fantastic £3,887.23! Bringing our total since the appeal began, 15 years ago, to £47,759.03!
Once again the charity representatives were overwhelmed with the piles of gifts. They spoke of children in the homeless hostel and children whose parents are suffering imprisonment or from mental illness or substance abuse who would receive their only gifts from our students. Elderly people alone at Christmas and families without the means to shop for themselves and homeless young people who would now receive warmth, literally in the form of socks, gloves and sleeping bags, and symbolically in the knowledge that our students are thinking of them. Thanks so much to all our students for all they have done to raise such a phenomenal amount and thanks also on behalf of the 140 people who will now experience the true joy of Christmas.
St Mary’s Art Department set all year 7 and 8 students the challenge of designing the St Mary’s Catholic Academy official Christmas card. The winning design has been created into a greetings card and will be sent to Directors, local schools and Parishes in the area to represent the Academy.
This was a home learning challenge and we have been really impressed with the entries. Cards were created using a variety of artistic medium and it has given students an opportunity to use their artistic skills for an end purpose.
Mr Eccles judged the finalists and we can now reveal the winners;
Congratulations to our winning entry by: Amelia Warchol, 7F Humanities Learning House.
Second Prize: Ruby Boardman, 8L Creativity and Enterprise Learning House.
Third Prize: Yzabelle Demegillo, 8R Comunications Learning House.
In addition, the Art Department wished to highly commend Amy Wormald, 7B, for a stunning 3D entry.
Well done to all of the finalists whose work is displayed on the screens around college. Well done to all students who attempted an entry. Have a very Happy Christmas!
On Monday 20th November, a group of 32 students set out on a week- long adventure to Castlerigg Manor, our Diocesan Retreat Centre in the heart of the Lake district. Despite the awful weather that meant getting out and about in the hills fairly challenging (and very muddy!), the group had a fabulous time together, making new friends, learning new skills, and reflecting on their St Mary’s Journey so far.
We experienced some powerful prayer times in the Chapel, played lots of games, had a rather unusual fashion show, created drama, artwork, bracelets, clay and keyrings, and many of us were taken in by Mr Riley, the “friendly terrorist” in our trade justice simulation game! A huge thank you to our Y10 students who really got involved and ensured we had a great trip, and to Mr Riley, Miss Webb and Miss Kay for giving up their week to accompany us.
Year 11, 12 and 13 Art and Photography students experienced North West’s renowned Manchester and Whitworth galleries. The visit formed an essential part of the Art and Photography curriculum learning experience. Students were exposed to art and photographic works of historical significance, educating students as to the culture, trends and society in both historical and contemporary society. Upon return to college, students will produce a visual and written response to their most inspiring works.
The Manchester gallery boasted works by The Dutch Masters, L. S Lowry and Adolphe Valette whilst the Whitworth gallery exhibited extensive works by artists such as William Blake, J.M.W Turner, Rossetti, William Morris and more recent works by Cornelia Parker, Michael Craig Martin, and print artist Barbara Brown to name a few.
For many, it was their first visit to an art gallery, it has opened the eyes and minds of our budding art and photography students as to future creative possibilities; watch this space!
Students engaged in a full day of observation, taking notes as well as creating photo shoots and drawings within the galleries themselves; forming a critical part of their portfolio work.
We are impressed with all of our students who arrived ready for learning, were hardworking and respectful within the gallery throughout the day, truly and creatively demonstrating the St Mary’s way!
A very special thank you to Mr Hardy for organising a fantastic trip!
The Youth SVP group made it's annual mission to decorate the StreetLife Shelter, in Blackpool town centre. The trip was made in bitter conditions to the shelter by SVP members Mary, Erynn, Megan, Logan, Phoebe and Camille who decorated the shelter beautifully. They also took down bags of donated coats, shirts, trousers and thermals, all of which were gratefully recieved.
On Thursday 7th December, seven lucky students from ‘The Re-Generation’ were selected to make gingerbread houses with a difference. Over the last half term the students had spent some time thinking about the importance of our school Learning Houses. The students used their reflections to design ‘Gingerbread Learning Houses’ and, as a festive reward, the students who came up with the best designs got to make them a reality- getting messy with icing, sweets and lots of gingerbread.
Once they had overcome the temptation to eat the ingredients Morgan Byrne, Grace Hartgen, Harry Ince, Matthew Tongue, Liam Bleasdale, Jemima Bradley and Emily Schofield created edible art representing our vibrant school community. You can see their brightly coloured efforts below- perhaps you can even guess which Learning House each design represents.
Whilst creating their houses, some of our year 7 students reflected on their time at St Mary’s so far; “Being part of St Mary’s means being kind to one another” reflected Morgan. Harry added that his first term at St Mary’s had been “amazing” and that being part of a Learning House community is important in making friends. When asked what was his favourite thing about St Mary’s so far Matthew enthusiastically answered “today!”, though I suspect the fact his pockets were full of leftover sweets may have gone some way in prompting his response!
Merry Christmas to all from The Re-Generation.
Eleanor Cardwell, a past pupil of St. Mary's seen here on a recent visit to the school, was part of the England Netball Team that narrowly beat Malawi 62-60 on Wednesday 29th November. During her St Mary's Journey Eleanor was determined to achieve her dream of playing netball for England. Alongside her school studies she trained extremely hard, 7 days a week, travelling to Manchester either early in the morning, before school, or in the evenings every day. During her time at St. Mary's, Eleanor was awarded the Sam Brown Memorial Award for Sport and the Quayle Trophy, which recognises the most outstanding young sports person residing in the borough. Eleanor went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moore, coming out with a first class honours degree.
Our Sixth Form Open Evening in October was a fantastic success. We’d like to thank all of the Year 10 and 11 students who attended, both from St. Mary’s and a large number of other local High Schools, not forgetting their parents, who all helped to make this a busy, productive and record breaking evening.
It was great to receive so many applications online via our homepage link!
The ipad prize draw was witnessed by the teaching staff in the following morning’s briefing, drawn by Mr. Eccles. The winner was Matthew Ellis from St. Mary’s Year 10. He said, “I was excited to come to the Open Evening to find out about what career opportunities are linked to Graphics. History A level also looks amazing, exploring how the past can shape the future.”
Matthew said that this is the first time he has ever won anything, adding: ‘I feel happy and fortunate to be the winner, especially as I don’t have an ipad at the moment.”
Students from any local High School in Year 10 or 11 may wish to attend an informal evening on Tuesday 28th November from 4 – 5pm focussing on Sports Academy opportunities. We will host a further general information evening later in the year for prospective candidates unable to attend or who have further questions.
In the meantime, external students are warmly invited to apply via our homepage link. Current Year 11 students at St. Mary’s will receive subject discussions after the mock exams.
On a wild and windy Wednesday in October, a small group of KS3 student braved the elements to head out to Stanley Park. Our mission was to plant 1,000 snowdrop bulbs in a section of the park near the lake on behalf of Donna’s Dream House. We were one of 7 schools invited to take part in this event, which will not only extend the flowering season in the park for all, but will also create a beautiful “memory walk” for bereaved families who use the Snowdrop Centre run by Donna’s Dream House.
Our students did a fantastic job of planting the bulbs in areas where people will be able to enjoy them in the spring, as well as seeing lots of insects and bugs up close and friendly! They are very excited to return to the park in spring to see the flowers in bloom!
For more information about the work of Donna’s Dream House and the “snowdrop” memory walk in March, please visit their website www.donnasdreamhouse.co.uk