On the 18th September 2015, Kinlochleven High School held its annual Jeans for Genes fundraising day. Jeans for Genes is a charity which raises awareness and funds for genetic disorders such as Cystic Fibrosis, Downs’s syndrome and Glaucoma. In preparation for the fundraiser, the higher biology class, Heather Borland, Robin MacMahaon , Jack Daynes, Brittany Fordham, Verity Jamieson and Eildh Smith planned and delivered a whole school assembly to raise awareness about the importance of the Jeans for Genes campaign. Lorna Jamieson, bravely, spoke about her journey and experience of living with a genetic disorder. The assembly was incredibly informative and moving. The higher biology class should be commended for addressing such an issue with such a mature and respectful manner. The impact of this assembly meant students and staff proudly wore their jeans to school on the 18th and paid a pound to do so. There was also a grand homemaking stall held at lunch and break which both pupils and staff kindly contributed too. In total £254 was raised and all at Kinlochleven High School should be very proud.
Jamie MacDonald, an S3 pupil, has been organising a Calaid collection for the those living in the Calais refugee camps. Calaid’s aim is to make sure that all at the Calais refugee camp have access to basic human rights like shelter and warmth. The situation in Calais is part of the wider migration crisis in Europe - caused largely by the displacement of people from war-torn countries such as Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
Jamie wrote” We collected clothes and other items. My mum, Mrs Machin and a couple of others are going to drive it down to Edinburgh for collection.” Jamie explained that he got involved when ‘I got into trouble for doing something bad. Mrs Machin explained that she would need to give me a sanction but that would not make the situation better, only I could do that. She asked me to think of something I could do to make life better for someone else. Then, when I got home, I saw the news about the refugee crisis and that gave me the idea. I’m really pleased that I have done it.’
Mrs Machin said ‘I am very proud of Jamie. He has shown a very mature and sensible side and done a great thing to help those less fortunate than himself. In offering support and assistance in this way he has enabled us all to show our concern and compassion.’
Quidditch! For all muggles (non-magic folk) Quidditch is a sport from the books and films Harry Potter. But in recent years muggles have become so interested in wizard culture that we have created our own Muggle Quidditch. It is especially popular in America, where the World Cup is held and have over 300 clubs. It is a mixture of volleyball, handball and rugby, while having a broomstick in between your legs. It’s a mixed gender sport with 7 players a side. There are 5 positions, the chasers are people who score the goals by throwing the Quaffle (volley ball) into the 3 hoops, while the keeper defends the goals from the opposition. Beaters use a dodge ball to knock people off of their brooms. A snitch is someone that runs around with a stuffed sock tucked into the back of their trousers and run around the pitch and the seeker tries to snatch the stuffed sock, winning 30 points for their team and ending the game.
Kinlochleven High School has decided to be part of this sporting phenomenon, becoming the first high school in Britain to register its club, and second club in Scotland (after St. Andrews University); naming themselves the Kinlochleven Midges. It has already gained over 91 likes on its Facebook page in one day! It has over 40 members in the club, from all year groups.
Aaron, from 2nd year would like to be a keeper, and is excited to start training, even though he is not a Harry Potter fan. Calum opinion is that he “would like to do Quidditch for fun and ‘banter’” he would like to be a keeper or a snitch. Robbie from fourth year thinks that Quidditch could be long lasting and says “it’s quite cool to be the only team in Scotland but there is no one to play against”. So a shout out to other High School’s for us to, crush, ahem, play against.
But this would never have come about if it were not from Mr Martin, coach, manager and founder of the Kinlochleven Midges. He says “we are the first interschool competition for Quidditch. Our plan is to go to the Primary schools in our catchment area with member of the Quidditch team and train the potential future players. The plan is to also make our school more active and since 43 people – one third of the school – have signed up, this is looking to be a success”. But Mr Martin says that “this is not about dressing up in costumes, we are serious about this sport and it has been modernised (so no cloaks!)”. The main reason the team is called The Kinlochleven Midges is “midges are unstoppable!”
The Outward Bound Trust has awarded Kinlochleven High School their certificate of recognition for the emphasis that is placed on developing young people in the natural environment. Nestled between the Mamore and Glencoe mountain ranges, the school is in an ideal position to utilise the Highland landscape as our classroom.
The school's commitment to outdoor education is shown by the activities we offer. All young people here participate in the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh scheme and many progress through to the Silver and Gold awards. At the start of the summer term our current S4 spent five days learning how to work and live together on a sail boat with the Ocean Youth Trust while our new S1 group recently completed the Adventure and Challenge course at Loch Eil Outward Bound. Picture above shows S1 with their certificates.
Mr Donald Smith (above right) who co-ordinates the Outward Bound trip and is a pivotal member of the Duke of Edinburgh team stated ‘We are delighted to receive this award. Outdoor learning plays an important role at Kinlochleven High School from five day residential courses to the John Muir Award, Eco Schools and to simply using our village and countryside to help make learning more active and interesting. We believe that the ‘great outdoors’ helps our young people to unlock their true potential and prepares them for the unforeseen challenges they may face later in life. ‘
KINLOCHLEVEN High School pupil Steven Dent was a star performer on the bike as he won two medals at the Sainsbury’s School Games in Manchester at the weekend.
The 16-year-old, who lives in the Onich area, won the team sprint as part of a group of three from across Scotland, beating the British record, and a bronze medal for the standing lap.
The Games invited the best 1,600 competitors from across all UK schools and performing in front of 25,000 spectators.
Dent, who fellow pupils recently highlighted as a young aspiring athlete at the school, is in the Young Olympic Cycling Programme.
The Scottish cycling representative, whose dad Alan Dent once cycled for Great Britain, has finished second in the Scottish Championships twice and is in the top 10 in the British Series.
In a recent profile interview by Kinlochleven pupils, he said his “achievable aim” is to compete in either the 2018 or 2022 Commonwealth Games and also to compete at a national level for the UK.
He also described what it’s like balancing school life with competing on the bike.
He said: “I have to travel all over the country to compete and the shortest drive is around two hours. Because of this, I have to get up early, go on the long car journey and then either compete or train for up to 12 hours, then the drive back and go to school the next day (that’s one hectic day). To keep up with school work, I sometimes have to study in the car on a long drive.”
Rebecca Machin, head teacher said:=
"In all, Stephen Dent is a seriously inspiring person and a fantastic role model to us all, for those of us aspiring in sport and those wishing to do well academically. Stephen is really very modest and unassuming. However, we are all so proud of this young man, who can balance the work it takes to get straight A’s in all 6 of his National 5 examinations whilst competing at this level at such a young age.’’