David Sterratt, chair of Drummond Community High School Parent Council, writes:
Twins took the top awards at Drummond Community High School’s annual Celebration of Achievement, which also marked the end of headteacher Jodie Hannan’s first full year – and the end of school librarian Annie Scanlon’s 37th year at Drummond.
In her speech, Ms Hannan reflected on “'one of the most rewarding and enjoyable' years of her career. She has asked a lot of staff, with many large and small changes in school, including redesigning the timetable and curriculum to allow S4 pupils to take 7 National courses (Standard Grades in the old money). There is a 'relentless focus on excellent Learning and Teaching' and the school’s National 5 results last year were the highest in several years. Drummond’s whole approach is one of 'an ambitious and positive ethos'.
The school has welcomed a number of visitors this year, including Deputy First Minister John Swinney at the launch of a National Parent Forum of Scotland report on Parental Engagement, groups of Norwegian and Swedish Head teachers, and members of the community for the Holocaust Memorial Evening. The Norwegian teachers were 'so impressed with our pupils, our staff and the quality of learning and teaching' that they requested an exchange programme between their schools and Drummond, which is now being planned.
External partners offer Drummond pupils a number of opportunities. The winning team in the Youth Philanthropic Initiative was asked to contribute to a short film that will be shown to other schools who are interested in getting involved in charity fundraising. Design Engineer Construct pupils starred in a film about infrastructure which is being used internationally for industry experts.
Hannan ended with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Far and away the best prize life has to offer is working hard at work worth doing’.
Head boy’s farewell
Head boy Hamza Elhag gave a rousing, warm farewell speech. He paid tribute to the school and in particular drew the blushes of his guidance teacher Michael Paley, whom he singled out for special praise.
As well as the subject and year awards handed out on the evening, Ms Hannan mentioned a number of notable successes: in English, Joanna Farrow’s (S2) short story for Radio 2’s 500 Words competition made it through to the last 5,000 out of over 131, 000 entries; in Art, Chi Loi Chan’s (S3) poster for the Edinburgh Fringe was shortlisted and is on display at Dynamic Earth; Katherine Dempsie and Peter Wright, both S6, were the only students in Edinburgh to be selected for the prestigious US Summer School programme run by the Sutton Trust; in Maths, a number of pupils from S1 to S6 won gold, silver and bronze awards at the national UK Mathematics Trust competitions, and Daniel Farrow was invited to participate in a Maths summer school based on his performance.
Notably, the Dux and recipient of the Proximae Accessit were twins, Mark and Ben Francis.
The longest applause
There was, of course, much applause for the pupils and leavers collecting prizes. But the longest applause of the evening was saved for school librarian Annie Scanlon, who is retiring after 37 years. In that time she has contributed tremendously to Drummond, including organising an exchange with a Kenyan school and setting up a student-run fairtrade café. There were at least two parents present whom she had known as pupils. She will be greatly missed.