Editor: Leona Anderson
Brought to you by Pressgang
Ellon Academy Community Campus
As you will have seen from the roadside, the new Community Campus is progressing well and we are
on target for entry, as planned, for the 2015-2016 school session. Currently the large and small pools
are being tiled and the community/school reception area is being completed. Many of the upper floor
classrooms have been decorated and carpeted and all teaching areas have a ‘learning wall’ which
includes an interactive smart board. The Wi-Fi system is almost fully installed, the kitchen and canteen
areas are currently under construction whilst the exterior of the building is almost complete.
I am aware, quite rightly, that there is great interest in the community campus facilities. School,
Community Learning and Recreation colleagues will be planning a programme of events over the
summer to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to see this magnificent facility.
Together with our primary colleagues, we are currently planning a ‘walking tour’ to the school and back
for current Primary 7 pupils using the designated Safe Routes to School. In so doing, our youngest
pupils will be clear on how to conduct themselves and the safest ways to enter and leave the community
campus. This process will be repeated for our Academy pupils throughout June.
Further information and pictures are available to view via the school website
Tim McKay, Rector
From the desk of Mr Bain.
Welcome the Spring edition of the Ellon Academy Newsletter, brought to you by Pressgang. As always,
the dedicated team of Ellon Academy journalists have been furiously working away over the term,
juggling a busy school life, to bring you some of things that have been taking place over the term. As we
get closer to the end of the school year, it gives us a chance to look back upon the year that’s been, and
begin to look ahead to the future in the form of a brand new school.
This term has seen our senior pupils sit prelims and continue to build their knowledge in the run up to
the final exams that are just around the corner. Good luck to those who have exams coming in the weeks
that follow the break on behalf of all of us at Pressgang. It is my pleasure to present this newsletter to
keep the local and wider community informed of what is taking place in the school, and to celebrate the
many varied achievements of pupils in the school. I hope you enjoy this newsletter, thank you for
The team for this edition has been led once again by Leona Anderson of S5. The other members of the
team are: Caitlin Walburn (3K2), Molly Donald (3S1), Calena Anderson (2M2), Stephanie Buhler (2M2),
Alex McDermott (1M1) and Lauren Thomson (1K2).
Mr Bain
S1 & S2 Easter Egg Challenge
This term, all S1 and S2 classes in the Business Education faculty have been working on an Easter Egg
Challenge. Pupils have worked in pairs to develop a new Easter egg product, with different packaging.
They have also worked on a marketing pitch, which all pupils have participated in during the last week
of term. All pupils have worked well and the huge variety of different and creative ideas is wonderful
to see! Some of the
finished products
are shown below.
Well done to all our
S1 & S2 pupils for
attempts! Prizes to
the winning pair
awarded during the
last week of term.
Mrs Ewen
Music for Spring
The Ellon Academy Music Department presented our annual “Music for Spring” Concert on
Wednesday 1st April in the Assembly Hall (Old Building), starting at 7.30pm. Once again, we expected
the evening to sell-out as they are always really popular evenings for those with school connections
and in the wider community. The concert featured music prepared by a huge range of young people in
our Orchestras, Choirs, Senior Concert Band, Junior Concert Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Group,
Guitar Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble, vocal soloist and duets. Pupils from all year groups from S1 to
S6 took part.
The pupils and staff had been working extremely diligently over the last month or two preparing what
was an evening to suit all tastes - something for everyone. For many of our Senior pupils, especially
those in S6, this was to be their last concert before leaving school.
This, of course, was the last Music Department concert in the Assembly Hall before we move to the
New Academy. Music Department concerts have been taking place annually since the 1970’s. "Music
for Christmas”, “Music for a Summer’s Evening” and “Music for Spring” have become part of the
culture of Ellon Academy and the community beyond. So this was a poignant, but joyful occasion.
The night was a resounding success. Thanks to all those who attended, helped or performed to make
this special night one to remember.
Mr Birse, PT Creative Arts Faculty.
Important Dates
Week beginning 25th May: new S4 Work
27th – 29th May – Wider Achievement days for
S1 and S2.
5th June - Induction Day for the new S5 and 6
9th June – Sports Day.
Journalists Needed
Get involved in the life of your school by
joining Pressgang.
It is an excellent
opportunity for you to improve your English, as
well as giving you a great addition to your CV.
For more information, go and ask Mr Bain
Mr Bain
Special Achievement
For a certain number of our pupils at Ellon
Academy, there are so few days left of classes
before they head off on Study Leave and prepare
for their exams. Pupils in S6 will sit their
examinations and then, sadly, finally, their time at
Ellon Academy will come to an end.
In this current S6 year group, there is one pupil
who has achieved something quite remarkable:
she has never missed a single day of school.
Well done Zoe Webster, of 6M! That is some
record to have, and one you should be proud of.
Mrs MacDonald, PT Guidance
Important Dates
S4/5/6 Study leave starts: Friday 24th April
SQA Exams start: Tuesday 28th April.
WAP/S3 Enterprise: 27th – 29th May
S5/6 Induction: 5th June
Sports Day: 9th June
End of term: 1st July
Sports Day
Sports Day is coming on Tuesday 9th June! It’s an important part of the school calendar
and is always a fun occasion where you can try new things and represent your house.
Dust off your trainers and get stuck in! Lots of activities for you to try out like last year
will be on offer. Bring cash for refreshments too.
S5/6 Induction Day
On Friday 5th of June, the new S5 and 6 induction days will take place. These are
fantastic opportunities for senior pupils to work together as a year group with a range of
employers and school staff. The S6 “Be All You Can Be” day will take place in school and
the S5 “Business Challenge” will take place at the University of Aberdeen (Transport
provided). All S5 and S6 pupils must attend these induction days. All pupils should wear
school dress for these events. Any questions, please contact your Guidance Teacher. See
Mrs Hall
Summer Newsletter for details of these.
Evening of Entertainment 2015
Plans are already underway for 2015’s Evening of Entertainment, the hugely popular
annual showcase of Ellon Academy pupils and community talents. As this will be the
first show in the brand new Ellon Academy, it is guaranteed to be a night to remember as
we celebrate its opening. Tickets go on sale in May, so be sure to get yours. For more
information, contact the school.
Mrs O’Brien
The Business Club runs each Friday lunchtime in room 308. This club is open to all pupils, S1-S6 who
have an interest in running their own business or if they just want to participate in a school business.
Currently, we have The Cake Girls who make and sell the yummiest cakes ever! Staff in the New
Building are always really happy on the last Friday of each month, as that is Cake
are Heather, Caitlin, Molly and Ailsa (chief shortbread maker!).
Our bakers
The Business Club’s new venture is selling school jumpers. The group have “inherited” a stock of
jumpers, hoodies, fleece jackets, in a variety of different sizes – all embroidered in gold with “Ellon
Academy”. We are selling these at £10 each, on a first-come, first-served basis. We are hoping that
some parents are going to be mega-organised and want to buy these in preparation for next session and
starting at our new school.
If interested, e-mail Mrs Ewen, PT Business Education at
Also, if you have any business ideas then you are most welcome to join the Business Club – we look
forward to seeing some new faces with some fabulous new ideas!
Mrs Ewen
On Thursday 19th April, Cathy MacPhail came to visit Ellon Academy. Here is what some participants
had to say about it.
“I enjoyed learning about all Cathy MacPhail’s interesting
ideas. She was really nice and friendly. I can’t wait for
Cathy’s new book to come out so I can buy it. I have
started reading Out of the Depths and thought the start
was amazing!”
Tyla Pilkington, 1C1
“I really enjoyed the workshop because I though that
Cathy was very inspiring as she told us how she gets her
inspiration. I liked how we got to do activities and how
we learned that by one word, you can get an idea for a
story. I would really like to watch the movie Another
Me based on her book. She has inspired me to write my
own book too!
Abbey Noble, 1C1
“I enjoyed hearing about her books, and
where she got her inspiration from. The
trailer for her book was really good, and
I would like to go and see it at the
cinema. I also write stories, when I was
a bit younger I won a competition. I
really want to write a horror story some
Eve MacNamee, 1C1
“I enjoyed learning about where she got
her ideas from. I thought that the trailer
for her new movie Another Me was quite
spooky and exciting. It was really cool
to meet an author. It was lots of fun.”
Emma Jamieson 1C1
Cathy MacPhail Visits Ellon Academy
On the 19th of March, a group of S1 pupils had a chance to meet best-selling author Catherine MacPhail.
Cathy came to Ellon Academy to hold a creative writing workshop with budding S1 writers. At the
workshop she explained how to get inspired from signs, graffiti or even buildings. She sticks by a quote
from Roald Dahl: “Once you have something written down, you have something to change”.
Cathy was celebrating the release of her new book Mosi’s War; it has already won an award and it is
about immigrants seeking refuge in the UK.
The pupils were soon set to work writing a blurb using their favourite word. The blurbs varied greatly in
topic from a superhero pineapple to a murder in an abandoned school. Cathy read them all aloud, giving
each individual feedback and tips. The S1’s learned that Cathy starts her books off with a sentence
which she then develops into a blurb which then
becomes the foundation of her story. There was
then a brain storming session where she asked
every pupil to come up with an idea about what
could happen if someone was trapped in the
school whilst everyone else was at the new
school. Many people chose the horror/thriller
Cathy MacPhail works with S1 pupils on creating
blurbs for their stories
Cathy has recently won first place at the Scottish
Children’s Book Awards for the third time. Her
books have won many awards and are extremely
popular with older readers (11+). One of her
most well known books, Another Me, has been
made into a film. Its cast include Sophie Turner
(Game of Thrones) and Gregg Sulkin (Wizards of
Waverly Place).
It was a great morning for all the S1 pupils who
took part, and we all feel we learned some
important things to help with our own writing. A
special thank you to Catherine MacPhail for
coming to our school, and hopefully she will be
back again soon.
Lauren Thomson 1K2
On Friday the 20th March 2015, one of the Earth’s many natural phenomena took place. The solar
eclipse, which is when the moon passes in front of the sun, started at around 8:30 am and reached its
peak at 9:36 am. In Ellon, it was said to reach about 95% cover. Eclipses are very rarely seen from
Europe, so the excitement that surrounded this event was understandable.
Mr Reece, Ellon Academy’s own ‘star enthusiast’ made clear to pupils how unique an experience this
was, as the next eclipse isn’t expected to been seen from the UK until 2090! In order to ensure the
safety of pupils, Mr McKay purchased a number of special viewing glasses that protected eyes from the
powerful and harmful rays of the sun. Luckily, there was a degree of cloud cover and this allowed
pupils to get a good, clear view of the sun as the moon slowly moved across.
Many different classes across the school marked the event in different ways. In Humanities, pupils
experimented with colanders but, unfortunately the sun was not bright enough to get a clear view of the
eclipse’s progress. In English with Mr Bain, pupils got to mark the occasion by expressing their
creative side. Pupils chose to either write a poem, a short story, a newspaper article or a letter to the
people of the future, explaining how they felt as they watched the eclipse. Everyone who participated
in events across the school enjoyed themselves, and learned something new at the same time.
This experience was made even more unique by the occurrence of a ‘super moon’ that was to follow
that night. All the pupils of Ellon Academy were overwhelmed by this experience, and even if it was
just a fleeting glimpse through the clouds, it is one that pupils will never forget.
Stephanie Buhler 2M2
The eclipse, as seen from the ground on March 20th, 2015
The current campus of Ellon Academy has been in use for
many years and countless people have attended the school
as youngsters, eager to learn and grow. The memories that
are made when at school stay with us as we grow older,
and the fondness we feel for our school is as important as
the things we learned there. As we move into this exciting
new chapter in the history of Ellon Academy by moving to
a state of the art new facility, it is also a fitting time to
look back into the past. On the 21st of March, Ellon
Academy hosted the “Olde Ellon Reunion Tea” – a
ticketed event where former pupils, staff and members of
the community came together to reminisce and relive the
days of youth in familiar surroundings.
In the library, people gathered to admire
collections of old photos and pose next to an old
school uniform, kindly donated to Ellon
Academy by Brenda Thorley. Elsewhere in the
school, former pupils and staff could visit old
classrooms, and get a chance to see inside the
modern Ellon Academy as well.
A happy reunion of old school friends
It was a wonderful day for all who attended. A
chance to make some new memories whilst
reliving the old ones. The event was a sell out
and, in total, the school raised a grand total of
£900! Mrs Hall would like to say a huge “thank
you” to all who were involved in the running and
organising of this hugely successful event and
helped make this event such a resounding
success. For more information, see the Ellon
Academy Facebook page
Mr McKay welcomes visitors to Ellon Academy
Mr Bain
Cross Country Success
Congratulations to the Cross Country team who represented
Ellon Academy last Wednesday. There were many fantastic
performances and all pupils were a credit to themselves and
represented the school in a positive way.
The Girls Overall Trophy was retained, building on last year’s
success. The girls won the Shield in each of the S2, S3 and
S4, 5, 6 age categories. The S2 girls all finished in the top ten
of their race, which is an outstanding achievement, and shows
the strength of Ellon Academy’s team. Furthermore, the S2
boys also won their Shield.
There are also several individual performers of note: Ross
Cartney finished first place in the S3 Boys race, Sean Linden
came 2nd in the S2 Boys race, and Fraser Cruickshank of S5
finished 3rd. Also, Ellen Stickle (S6), Lois Pettit (S3) and Eve
Learmouth (S2) won their respective races.
Congratulations again to all those who took part on behalf of
Ellon Academy.
Mrs Duff
Netball Season
Ellon Academy’s netball teams have
had yet another successful term as
both the junior and senior teams have
been preforming extremely well at
competitions. Both the senior and the
junior teams competed in the
Aberdeen School Junior League.
Overall, the junior team, consisting of
pupils from S1-3, finished 2nd in their
competition, whilst the senior team for
ended 4th!
Well done to both teams for their
achievements and best of luck for
future competitions!
Calena Anderson