25 Jul

Headteacher’s Summer Blog

By: Mrs Burnett, Headteacher

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover’ ― author Mark Twain

The end of a school year is a time to look back and reflect on what has happened during the last 10 months, the challenges undertaken, the hard work put in, and the achievements. A quick scroll through our school’s Facebook page gives a wonderful insight into the many Ballakermeen students who took Mr Twain’s advice to heart and set out to challenge themselves and experience new adventures.

We had superb individual academic achievements, as well as those in the arts, in sport and in the community – both inside school, such as Junior Achievement, and extra-curricular.

Our students enjoyed success in all manner of activities, both on and off-Island, ranging from ballroom dancing to ski-cross, from singing to swimming. And talking about swimming, we also had our swimming pool refurbished!

The year was filled with brilliant highlights, and I only have space here to mention a few. In September, our fantastic Duke of Edinburgh students collected their Bronze and Silver awards. October saw our annual prize-giving at the Villa Marina, and we also enjoyed a visit by Andy McNab, ex-SAS and bestselling author.

Our annual theatre production took place in November, with a quite wonderful run of Guys and Dolls at the Studio Theatre, and in December the school swept the board at the Sovereign Arts Awards, gaining first, second and the judges’ prize. Another highlight was our carol service, which took place in St George’s Church for the first time in many years.

The first month of 2018 saw both our intermediate and senior basketball teams winning their respective Island championships, and prospective Year 6 children and their parents attended our open day. Our annual Careers Day for Year 9 students was held in February, with many local employers taking part.

In March, our public speaking team beat other Island secondary schools to retain the trophy in the Rotary Club of Douglas competition, while our Year 8 girls became Island netball champions.

We enjoyed a superb spring concert, with a host of top-notch performances, and our senior mixed hockey team won the annual tournament held at King William’s College. At the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, we watched with great pride as swimmer Charlotte Atkinson (another former student) carried the Manx Flag in the closing ceremony.

April is always a busy month, particularly with The Guild, and many of our students took part across a range of categories, with numerous prizes won. In the sporting arena, our senior cricket team won its first ever Shield Final.

Our Record of Achievement ceremony for Year 11s was held in May, a month which saw student Jake Hodgson raise more than £7,000 for Rebecca House Children’s Hospice by walking the Raad Ny Foillin Coastal footpath. Jake completed the 102-mile walk in just over 30 hours, camping out for two nights – a fantastic achievement.

In June we were thrilled to see student Erin Loach win the prestigious Young Singer of Mann title – the Young Actor of Mann award being held by Jack Smollen. We again hosted our Higher Education Fair for the Isle of Man, with more than 60 universities, colleges and further education providers taking part.

It has been another exceptional year for Ballakermeen, and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part – our students, their parents and carers for their support, our brilliant teaching staff, and the wider Isle of Man community for providing our youngsters with the opportunity to throw off the bowlines, sale away from the safe harbour and challenge themselves.

I look forward to many more adventures in the next school year, but for now, enjoy your summer break – you deserve it!

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