Farr final assembly is an uplifting occasion
Farr High School’s final assembly of the 2018/19 year was an entertaining, uplifting and lively affair as pupils and staff joined together to bid farewell to those who were leaving and to highlight the individual and collective achievements of the year.
Music provided a background from the outset with Lauren Mowatt and Anna Magee piping the pupils, guests and staff to their seats and continued to punctuate the event as Zhade Mackay, Mollie O’Brien, Heather Grant and the staff/pupil Average Ceilidh Band provided various virtuoso performances on voice and instrument.
The school’s long-serving Gaelic teacher, Angus Millar, the FHS campus sports coordinator, Juvenal Dufaur, and part-time maths teacher Mary Munro, all heading for pastures new, were fondly remembered as were the small group of senior pupils moving into the wider world.
Dave Charnley, former technology adviser, ex-DHT at Ullapool High School and part author of the national Higher and Advanced Higher product design course, was on hand with an encouraging speech providing cogent advice on how to succeed in school and in life.
The dynamic and loquacious Dave – who, after his retirement, had taught technology at Farr for seven years, having come up from his home in Plockton to help out for a fortnight – illustrated his talk with the story of a former pupil. She was not tipped as a high flyer in primary or secondary but, through hard work, determination and openness to new challenges, attained university entrance qualifications and, after a gap year working in the USA, Australia and South Africa, studied zoology to PhD level – because she liked animals. However, she noticed that there were far more pupils in her zoo class than there were jobs in that field and changed to forensic science before realising that, despite the numerous forensic scientists on TV programmes, there were hardly any in the real world. Her eventual career destination became medicine and she was now working on a project to eradicate tuberculosis worldwide.
Dave’s advice to pupils was: first, get yourself to a good school where the teachers care about you. Farr pupils were already there. Then, join in with those who are up for challenges, whether they be academic, creative, sporting or fundraising, as long as they foster teamwork and a sense of achievement from taking part. Pay particular attention to what successful people are doing and do the same. Think of the people you spend time with and mix with those who can do things better than you – if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Most of all, don’t become one of the “walking dead” glued to the alien algorithms of a smartphone screen. The man who invented Snapchat limits his own children to one-and-a-half hours’ screen time per week. In the end the answer to your future lies with you.