Pride:  On Monday night I attended an Aberdeen City Council event to recognise the achievements of pupils from the City who take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.  If Harlaw Academy had only one one pupil taking part I would have been proud of their achievement.  But the fact is that Harlaw Academy had more pupils taking part than any other school in the City.  Almost 100 pupils from Harlaw Academy received Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards.  This is a fantastic achievement and something which the entire school community should be proud of.  Behind each of these awards are of stories of commitment, adventure and friendship.  Many of those gaining awards from Harlaw have also made a significant contribution to groups with the community through volunteering.  The evening was a celebration of everything that is good about young people and I was immensely proud of all our pupils had achieved.

Shame:   Wednesday saw the arrival of snow and in the main our staff and pupils coped really well.  The school largely ran as normal (apart from courses at NESCoL which were cancelled as the college chose to close for 3 days).  Some pupils enjoyed the opportunity to have fun in the snow and that is something we are keen to encourage.  But some see it as a chance to pick on the vulnerable and when it gets over the top or targets people who are not wanting to be involved we would intervene.  We would also intervene if we felt there was a danger eg throwing snowballs at vehicles or running around on icy pavements beside busy roads.  But just as my week started with immense pride it ended with a incredible sense of shame.  The shame came about when I learned a group of pupils had opened the door of a shop in Holburn Street and thrown snowballs at customers.  It is nothing short of shameful that young people from the Harlaw area would treat our local businesses and their community in such a way.  This is a small business trying to make something of our area in very difficult times.  We have been round to the business to offer our support and to express our shame for what happened.  We will work with them and with the police to identify the people responsible.  The school has 3 simple behaviour statements; Respect People, Respect Learning and Respect Community.  Those responsible for the incident on Holburn Street have shown no respect for people and no respect for their community.  As a school we will work with the community to identify who they are and hold them accountable for their actions.