Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a great Christmas break. It is just a short blog this week, as I slowly adapt to the return of the 5:30am start! 2019 – here we come!
Towards the end of the Christmas holidays, we were delighted to see one of our former students starring in a TV show. Many of you will be familiar with the Channel 4 programme ‘SAS: Are You Tough Enough?’. For those that aren’t, it is a series exposing volunteer members of the public to the experience of the SAS selection process. On average only 10 out of the 125 soldiers taking the real SAS selection procedure pass. As with real selection, the candidates are pushed to the limits to reduce the numbers, with survivors in the latter stages, trained and assessed in a variety of military training exercises. It is a tough and gruelling process.
So, it was with great pleasure to see former student Milo Mackin (now 25) as one of the participants. Milo said “It was the best and worst two weeks of my life. I have been physically challenged and mentally challenged before, but bringing the two together has been a totally different ball game, let alone the other factors such as the freezing climate, limited food, water and sleep. Waiting around between each task… I have never known anticipation like it..it was draining. That was arguably the hardest part of the whole thing… every minute of down time felt like an hour…just wondering what is going to happen next. It has definitely been a journey of self discovery….of both my limitations and my capabilities. My confidence has grown second to none, and my ability to adapt to different surroundings is a quality I never knew I had. I have met some great people with difficult pasts, and I have learnt that the key to unity is to keep an open mind, and never judge a book by its cover”.
Milo was encouraged to sign up by his brother Corbin (also a former student of Plymstock), because he knew it was a dream for Milo to join the Royal Marines growing up. Having been in the Army himself, Corbin recognised qualities and potential for Milo to do well. Milo also said that a huge part of his motivation is linked to the passing of their eldest brother Travis (again, an ex-Plymstock student), who was tragically killed in 2009, whilst serving with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan. Milo said “I have always felt the need to fill that empty hole with achievement, and I wanted to make him proud”.
Milo – we wish you they very best of luck. The whole school community is supporting you.
Just before we broke up for the Christmas holiday we held our A Level Awards Evening. It was wonderful to welcome back our Year 13 students who left in the summer to celebrate their amazing achievements and catch-up with what they’ve been up to over the last five months. We were also pleased to have Polar Explorer, Jim McNeill, with us as our special guest to present the awards and certificates. Jim also gave an interesting talk about his experiences in some of the harshest environments on Earth. I would like to thank all the staff that organised and supported the event, the returning students and their families, and Jim for making it a brilliant celebration.
The Spring and Summer terms are going to be very busy here at Plymstock School as we undergo significant improvements to our site and facilities. In the Autumn term, we installed full climate control into both the Humanities and Science departments. As I type this, we have contractors replacing the ageing and crumbling tile cladding that adorns the main building, with a much more thermally efficient (and tasteful) cedar cladding. It is already transforming the exterior of the main building from a rather uninspiring 1950s look, into a boutique hotel vibe!! Obviously, the big changes will start over the next few months as construction of the brand new 450-seater Arts Centre and additional classrooms commences. Exciting times.
Don’t forget that next week is our School Show – Annie. The set is up, the students are rehearsed and we are ready to go. It is not too late to get tickets. It promises to be a fantastic performance.