Lochaber High School, Camaghael, Fort William, Inverness-shire. PH33 7ND Tel. 01397 702512
The run-up to the end of term will be a busy time for pupils and staff with a number of activities taking place. Please note the following dates/times:
School re-opens on Monday 8 January 2018.
Feedback on our new online booking system, used for the first time at the recent S5/6 Parents’ Evening, has been very positive and parental attendance was increased on last year. We will be going ahead with implementing this system for future Parents’ Evenings and further information will be sent out to parents in due course. The next Parents’ Evening is for S3 and will be held on Tuesday 23 January.
Head Teacher Appointment
Professional interviews for the post of Head Teacher were held earlier this month and the three candidates who have been selected for final interview visited the school on Friday 8 December. The final interview with Councillors and members of the school’s Parent Council will be held on Tuesday 19 December.
The Ben Bronze Model T
The Bronze Ford, a full size replica in Bronze of a Model T Ford Car – is now being cast at Powderhall Foundry in Edinburgh. Twenty-eight pupils from the Design and Technology department visited Edinburgh for the day to see for themselves the “production line” which is building the sculpture. It will soon become a permanent and iconic feature in Cameron Square, Fort William, commemorating Henry Alexander’s ascent of Ben Nevis in a Model T Ford in 1911. He will be at the wheel and the car will sit close to the West Highland Museum near to the spot from where he left for the Ben in 1911 – an epic ascent of the Ben which was described at the time as “Motor Mountaineering!”
The pupils were shown the details of the lost wax process by which the car is being built and saw the rear axle, seats, doors and some of the wheels which are complete. They showed great interest in the project. The foundry closed their workshops to demonstrate the production process in detail.
The group were impressed by the quality of the replication in Bronze at Powderhall. The Model T Ford which was carried up Ben Nevis in 2011 by 77 stalwarts is being used as the template for casting the various parts of the car.
The trip was made possible through the generosity of Shiel buses and Mark Stoddart, International designer from Turnberry who has shown much enthusiasm for the project.
The local Ben Nevis Model T Ford Project group has raised £89,000 over the last four years to enable the contract to be placed by the Highland Council with the Powderhall foundry. The council fronted a successful LEADER application to top up the £55,000 raised privately.
The “Bronze Ford” will be ready in good time for the official unveiling at 11am on 19 May 2018. Some 50 Model T cars will be coming to town and will then follow the very first “Bronze Trail” around Fort William.
Lochaber Dance Platform, a key part of the Active Schools calendar, was held in the school hall in November. Over the three performance nights, 103 girls from Lochaber High School took part, alongside over 200 pupils from throughout Lochaber, showcasing a huge variety of styles of dance and costume.
Thirteen pupils from Lochaber High School ran after-school dance sessions leading up to the event allowing the local primary schools to perform a dance. They did a great job, choreographing and teaching routines – thanks to Sophie Shearer and Charis Snedden (Banavie Primary), Jordan Holmes and Angel Thomson (Caol Primary), Bethany Semple and Lauren Cameron (Inverlochy Primary), Scarlett MacNeil and Ami Robertson (Lundavra Primary), Ciara Muir and Erin Mooney (St Columba’s RC Primary), Bethany Henderson and Laura Davie (S1/2 dance) and Jordan Holmes and Jack Wallace (S2 dance).
In addition, pupils from Lochaber, Mallaig and Kinlochleven High Schools choreographed and danced their own routines. Local dance groups from throughout Lochaber gave guest performances, including Lochaber Gymnastics Club, Ballet West, ConnXion (majorettes), Lochaline Primary School, Sunart Stomers, Ben Nevis All-Stars (cheerleading), Feis Lochaber Scottish Step Dancers and Highland Dancers from Nevis School of Highland Dancing and the Jane Douglas School of Dance.
Bringing each evening performance to a close was a finale dance. This was taught by High Life Highland’s ‘Movers and Shakers’ teacher, Amy Gallagher. This intensive dance input from a professional tutor is an important part of the Dance Platform programme, teaching dancers new moves and giving them fresh ideas to incorporate into their own choreography in subsequent years.
Active Schools Co-ordinator, Bridget Thomas, commented ‘I continue to be amazed by the time and effort put into this event by so many people. It could not happen without the whole community behind it. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the Dance Leaders and volunteers who choreographed routines and in particular to former pupils Sarah Gillanders and Leah Burns, who contributed a huge amount of time, energy and enthusiasm to organising this year’s event. I’d also like to thank Mr Cameron who took on the lighting for this year’s show. The standard and variety of performance was truly stunning – it gets better every year – well done everyone!’
On 14/15 November our Biology and Chemistry National pupils visited Ben Nevis Distillery. This opportunity allowed Biology pupils to see how microbes were used in the fermentation process to produce our most famous Scottish product – Whisky. Chemistry pupils were looking at both, fermentation and distillation, contributing towards their added value unit. Pupils were shown around the Distillery by Iain Fyfe and Brian Hume who gave an excellent explanation of how each process is controlled and the machinery that was used to carry this out.
The trip was thoroughly enjoyed by pupils and staff who all learned something new – thank you very much Ben Nevis Distillery!
The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is a programme that all S3 pupils participate in during RME lessons. Since June, our pupils have been researching local social charities in the area and then, in small teams, campaigning on their behalf for a £3000 grant that is provided by the Wood Foundation and SSE.
On Thursday 30 November, we hosted our sixth YPI final at an S2 assembly. We had six teams representing six charities: Action Duchenne, Meningitis Research Foundation, Lochaber Women’s Aid, Support in Mind, Star for Harris and Rape and Sexual Assault Services Highland.
Each team gave a fantastic presentation and they were all spurred on by our hosts Alice Campbell and Gregory Woodward who kept us entertained throughout the whole afternoon.
Our judges had a very tricky job deciding which charity should be the recipient of the £3000 and they decided that the most passionate case was put forward by Rhiann Dempster and Ana MacGillivray’s team representing Star for Harris.
All of the teams worked incredibly hard and many thanks to our judges: Johnny Soe-Paing (S4), our Modern Studies teacher Miss MacMaster, Iain Innes from SSE, and Geoff Heathcote from the Rotary Club for having to make such a difficult decision.
YPI will begin again in June 2018 when the current S2 move on to their S3 timetable.
Thirty-four intrepid explorers set out from Lochaber High School on an expedition to BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh on 25 November. We ventured through snowy conditions (with some questionable singing skills being demonstrated by some members of the party) and ended up in a sunny, but incredibly cold, Edinburgh.
We were there to watch an International Rugby match between Scotland and Australia. Having seen Scotland lose so narrowly to the mighty All Blacks a week before, we were hopeful of a Scottish victory.
None of us, even in our wildest dreams expected to see what we did. Scotland performed magnificently and beat the Wallabies 53 points to 24. This included 8 tries to Australia’s 4 and saw Scotland get their record score against any Southern Hemisphere team. The atmosphere throughout the match was electric and all of us had a great time. Some of us have been to many matches and have rarely seen such a performance. Others were attending their first match and are now hooked!
We left the capital in high spirits and hopeful of a good performance in the upcoming Six Nations.
National Gaelic Schools’ Debate
World AIDS Day
To raise awareness of World AIDS Day on 1 December, senior pupils sold ribbons across the school. The S3 cohort took part in a photo campaign (right) - captured by the school's drone - and a bake sale was held to raise money for the National AIDS Trust.