Category: School News

New Podcast Episode!

Connor and Jamie (S1) chat with Miss Gillespie about attending NDHS as a pupil and her return to NDHS as a Modern Studies teacher.

The boys also discuss Notre Dame’s 50th Anniversary, Black History Month and whether Miss Gillespie was #TeamVance or #TeamDouglas as a pupil.

Talk about presentation skills… Connor and Jamie have got the chat! Future Ant and Dec?

Ronnie Cowan MP Interview

By Sophie and Eve

Last week we had the privilege of speaking to Ronnie Cowan, the Member of Parliament for Inverclyde. We spoke on a range of topics, including life as an MP, his work in parliamentary committees and Scottish independence.

We began by discussing his beginnings in politics. He spoke about the events leading up to his winning of the constituency seat and his journey to becoming a Member of Parliament.

We moved on to what he would consider an average day working in Inverclyde – the answer being that there isn’t one. We discovered that as an MP there is no set working day, he listed various events and meetings he may partake in during a day – from visiting a food bank, to a meeting with men’s mental health charity Man On Inverclyde, to visiting Notre Dame High School for an interview. No two days are the same in his profession, which is something that he enjoys about his job.

We also discussed the importance of meeting local constituents. Cowan said he tries to spend “as much time in the community as [he] possibly can”, as well as holding an aim to attend at least one event in the local area throughout the weekend. He said that as the voice of Inverclyde, it is incredibly important for him to listen to the concerns of the people within the constituency.

Cowan went on to reveal what it is like to work within parliament. The topics of discussion vary from day to day and can range from a number of concerns, including business, transport and education. He explained that at the beginning of a parliamentary day, schedules displaying the order of business are provided to keep the day structured. Working days within the House of Commons are long and busy, with debates that can last until late hours of the night. Cowan also mentioned his participation in multiple parliamentary committees.

He highlighted the significance of this cross-party communication as a way of reforming laws and benefitting the wider public. While they may disagree on a number of issues, Cowan believes in leaving bias behind in the name of their committee and shared goals. Through the (gambling reform committee), he has worked with Iain Duncan Smith of the Conservative Party and Caroline Harris of the Labour Party to change laws surrounding fixed odd bettings terms, highlighting their success in in successfully reducing fixed odd betting terms to £2 after 7 years. Cowan also spoke of his aim to see reformation of drug laws.

As well as communicating cross-party within parliament, we also discussed his connection to the Scottish Parliament, namely Inverclyde representative Stuart Macmillan MSP. Although they do work together at times and hold joint surgeries if need be, he said that it is important that they do not get in each other’s way. As they are from the same political party, he suggested that this may make communication between them easier, yet they still keep their responsibilities separate when they should be.

We asked the question “will there be a Scottish Independence referendum” which led to our discussion about the changes Scotland could see after independence such as opportunities for green renewable energy and ownership responsibility of Scottish land.

We also discussed the recent state of the economy and the effects of the pound crashing, focusing on what this could mean for scotland.

Finally Cowan gave us an insight into what he likes to do in his free time, from seeing his grandchildren to playing rugby to going to art galleries. He emphasised that his favourite book is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New Word as he has read it many times and finds it to be very impactful. He also mentioned that the question “What is your favourite music album” is a difficult one as he’s seen a huge evolution of music throughout his time.

We would like to extend our thanks to Ronnie Cowan MP for taking the time out of his very busy day to visit our school, answer our questions and give us an insight into his life and career.

Schindler’s List Review

“Schindler’s List” is a historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released to mass critical praise and is one of Spielberg’s most celebrated movies. I chose this film to review as it is a harrowing, yet immersive journey unlike many others before and after it. 

The film takes on the backdrop of the Jewish ghettos and concentration camps of Nazi Germany where many ethnic and religious enemies of the Nazi regime (Particularly Jews) suffer under constant, violent oppression. It is in these areas where we are introduced to Oskar Schindler, a businessman and member of the Nazi party. He befriends Itzhak Stern, a Jewish officer with many connections in the ghettos, and together they start a business making various items for the armed forces. Throughout the film we see Schindler develop as a character as we see his morals and views change. He initially hires Jewish workers because they’re cheap labour and cost a lot less than Poles or Germans. Schindler’s workforce is deemed “essential” which therefore saves them from the merciless slaughter of concentration camps. He has no moral obligation to help them initially and simply hires them for good business. Schindler even gets defensive when his factory is referred to as a “safe haven”. However, after seeing the relentless massacring of the Jews, he slowly begins to realise the true evils of the Nazis. 

As I previously mentioned the film is held in very high regard by critics and the general public alike, so it’s not surprising that the film does have a very broad appeal, especially to individuals interested in Modern history, especially World War II, the Nazi regime and the events of the holocaust. The distressing imagery and subject matter will almost definitely turn off some viewers and the film should by no means be watched by anyone too young, however this imagery is integral to the story, tone and overall message of the film and although the film would be much easier to watch without its more intense content, it would lose much of its emotional impact. 

“For if we ever forget the tragedies of the past, it’s safe to assume that we are doomed to repeat them.”

As a film, Schindler’s List exists to show us the horrors of oppression and the true extent of man’s inhumanity and cruelty to his fellow man in times of struggle and conflict. We see many barbaric examples of abuse and murder of men, women and even young children. However, as the film progresses it begins to push forward another, more uplifting, hopeful message, that even in the darkest of hours, and in the bleakest, darkest times, that there will always be good willed people in the world in places you wouldn’t expect. The message is obviously brought across from Oskar Schindler’s character development, as he slowly realises the cruelty of the Nazi’s andeventually, willingly saves millions of Jews from their fates at camps such as Dachau and Auschwitz 

Overall, Schindler’s List is a stunning yet difficult to watch movie. But more than that, it is a culturally important movie as well. The terrifying events of the holocaust should never be ones that are forgotten, and I believe this movie plays an important role in not only showing the disturbing level of barbarity in the events of the holocaust, but it also plays an important role in preserving history for future generations to come. For if we ever forget the tragedies of the past, it’s safe to assume that we are doomed to repeat them. 

“Count to Ten…”

Over the past two weeks, there has been an overwhelming amount of tributes paid towards our Hero Mr McHugh. So much so, the BBC, STV News, The Daily Record and Scottish Sun ran articles about Mr McHugh. This was for two reasons – Mr McHugh was a larger than life personality who became a local legend for his teaching but also because the pupils of Notre Dame High School were sharing #RedForGerry.

The tributes from pupils wearing Red for Gerry, was one of the top trends in Scotland as a result. Showing just how much Mr McHugh meant to the pupils and community of Notre Dame.

For many years, Mr McHugh has poured his heart and soul into teaching the pupils of Notre Dame, making sure each and every one of his lessons were funny and unique. He sang when he spoke and he always had a smile and time to speak. He always had Notre Dame and its pupils’ interests at heart. He had such a strong passion and love for his job that shone through everyday in his teaching.

The impact that Mr McHugh had on our school and the wider community is hard to comprehend. No one had a bad word to say about him, a legend of Notre Dame High School, Broomhill and Cappielow. 

There is so much that could be said but no one can say it better than the pupils, former pupils, teachers new and old and those whose lives he positively impacted.

We will miss you but we won’t forget you.

Rest In Peace, Mr McHugh.

From the Pupils of Notre Dame High School


From the Maths Department

We’ve been so privileged to call Mr McHugh our boss and friend. He was always there for us, every step of the way, supportive, understanding and always wanting the best for us. There are actually 3 member of our department who were all taught by Mr McHugh and he was the very reason that they studied Maths at University and went on to become teachers themselves. He was happiness personified and brought so much joy to his work. He created a family atmosphere and we always felt valued and included. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him. We are going to miss him terribly, we will never be the same without him but we will continue his legacy and we will be forever grateful to him for everything he has done for us as a Department and for Notre Dame High School as a whole.

Louise Hughes, S5
Mr McHugh was by far one of the best teachers in the school, he always had time for every pupil he spoke to and never failed to have a smile on his face. He was able to make maths a really fun and enjoyable class for all year groups. He also loved his football and incorporated it into his teaching, we all loved the patter he had between Liverpool and Man United.

Niamh Day, S5
He had a unique way of teaching. He always had weird and funny sayings that would help us solve the toughest equations. He made maths a fun and enjoyable subject for everyone, and I don’t know any pupil that didn’t enjoy going to his class.

Mr Armour, PT PE
A few years ago my higher class were particularly good at badminton and a group of the boys in my class were also in Gerry’s higher class. Over a series of weeks, we managed to convince the boys that Gerry had represented the western districts at badminton! They fell for it so much that they challenged him to a game during the higher double period!

So I gave him a racket a tough mudder head band we had in the base and he rocked up to the games hall, as you can imagine, hamming it up McHugh style! He took his jacket off pulled up his trousers, took a shuttle and went on court.

One of the boys served to him and he completely missed the shuttle It Was only then the boys realised we had been winding them up and Gerry was actually useless at badminton!

Mrs Couttie, Headteacher

All of our current pupils now started S1 in the new Dunlop Street building but whilst this was being built, we were in a School on the site where the new Health Centre is now being built on Dempster Street.

Mr McHugh lived in Whinhill Court and his classroom was at the very end of the corridor on the second floor looking right out on the very floor that he lived in.

Every day, pupils like Alex McWatters and Robbie Coleman used to ask him if he had driven to work.

Sometimes he did bring the car to work as he took a school football team and was always the first to offer to help out with transporting pupils but this was always a source of discussion as he lived so close to the school.

I think he was very glad to move back to Dunlop Street and to extend his very small circle of travel to a slightly bigger one!

Mr McHugh will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by everyone associated with Notre Dame High School.  

When we are able to return to School we will focus on the aspects of Mr McHugh that have made him so special to us and will look to ensure that we are all better people for having known him.


Amy Medinelli, S6
One of my fav memories with Mr McHugh is something that happened a lot! Whenever I would put my hand up because I was stuck with a question, he would come over and explain it through but you could tell he was trying so hard to help you and when you understood, he would go back to the front of the class but that wouldn’t be it, he would remember that you found a certain thing tricky and check back on you so many times for weeks after until you were so confident in it! Same thing if you were off, he would remember exactly who was off sick in his class even though he had other classes with other pupils, and make time to sit down with them and walk through what they missed bit by bit so that no one was behind.

Paul Donnelly (Former Pupil) 
Former pupil from 2019. Can say that I had Gerry since I had maths on my timetable, but I loved every single class we had!

The way he taught was both funny and made you listen, which helped me pass. But it wasn’t just his teaching that was great, The way he treated everyone was exceptional, always making everyone happy and positive about their situation. He always treated me very well, and my family loved the guy. He was truly one of the greatest people out and after all of this is done, a great send off for him is well and truly deserved.

Lucy Kelly, S5
Mr McHugh tried to give up talking about football for Lent … He lasted till 11:45 on the first day. He was doing so well but then he forgot and started talking about a match and then started hysterically laughing and it was such a funny moment he was mortified but still found it funny. So, then he told us if he called certain people in the class ” wee” then he would have to put money in the SCIAF box.
Without fail every single period he would put 2 or 3 pound in that box and every time he’d say the same thing ” oh my, I’ve done it again i need to stop doing that. Silly man, silly, silly man. What am I? A silly man” and it never once failed to bring a smile the entire class.

Michael Dyer, Former Pupil (1996-2002)

I’m a former pupil (96-02) of NDHS, did a student placement there as a maths teacher in 2007/08 and then worked there for 2 years after. I’m now head of Maths in St Stephens. Gerry was the single biggest influence on me becoming a Maths Teacher and as a head of dept he is always the first person I look to for advice. As a teacher I was in absolute awe of him. There is literally nobody else like him in the profession.

I didn’t speak to Mr McHugh until the end of S2. I had 4 days off school to go to the Brazil v Scotland match at the World Cup. Mr ODonnell sent me to see Mr McHugh who had a senior class at the time. Walked in the class and McHugh and the whole class stood applauding for a good minute or so. Every time it started to die down a bit McHugh would get them going again.

I don’t remember exactly what he said to me but for the next 2 years until I got him for Higher McHugh would always first pump and shout ‘eres the wee Brazilian!’ any time I passed him – anyone who was a pupil or worked in Notre Dame can picture and hear him doing this in their head right now. I’m almost certain he didn’t even know my name at the time.

Gerry had that special knack of making everyone feel good about themselves, even if the conversation was a difficult one.

I swapped scarves with a Brazilian that day in 1998. It’s made it from the mean streets of Rio to Dunlop St via Paris…….

Proud to have been a pupil, colleague and mate of his.

Mr Gordon, PT Music
I am devastated and heart broken at the passing of the great Mr Gerard McHugh. 

Gerry had the most incredible gift of making everyone feel so welcome and so valued – pupils and staff alike. It didn’t matter how long you had known him; he just had such a gift of making you feel special. Even if it was just a “Hello Gerardo!” in the corridor (or “Right, wee Gordon!” as a pupil), it always put a smile on my face and a spring in my step. I feel so unbelievably lucky. So lucky to have known Gerry McHugh. So lucky to have been taught by him for 4 years and what a gift to have been able to call myself his colleague for the last 15 years. I learned so much from Gerry as a pupil but I have no doubt that I learned even more from Gerry as a teacher and role model. 

One of my most recent memories was of an occasion when Gerry was so incredibly nice to me (when he really didn’t have to be) and also when I was recently sitting in his class as a 37 year old teacher playing countdown with the sixth years (apparently 7 and 5 makes 12, not 75. Who knew?) and I got “tannoyed” to report to the school office as I was supposed to be on a please take!!! I had only popped by Gerry’s class to ask a quick question and ended up staying for about 15 minutes; he always made you feel so welcome and I probably just regressed 20 years to being a 17 year old S6 student trying in vain to find the answer in Countdown. I didn’t want to leave!

Gerry was always so willing to help the pupils in any way. Whether that be an ice bucket challenge, his oscar winning performances as Louis Walsh in the Feast Day talent shows, supporting the school football teams or being a ‘hero’ at the school prom. Gerry was ALWAYS the first person to book their place for the school prom and pop an envelope with money in my tray in the staffroom. That’s how much he loved the pupils. So many people have said that he was like a Father figure to them. This is so true. How lucky have we all been to have him in our lives?

One of my funniest memories as a pupil was definitely in S6 as a CSYS pupil when the class were working in silence on some difficult problems and I asked to open a window. To get to the window in Gerry’s class you had to go up on the ledge around the room as it was set quite far back but, not being the most athletic pupil and unable to make the leap, I had to step on a shelf for assistance. Well, the silent class was silent no more when we all heard an almighty snap as I broke the wood of the shelf when standing on it. Gasps and sharp intakes of breath were heard around the room to see what Mr McHugh would say…silence. Then…”Who ate all the pies??? Wee Gordon??? Gerardo ate all the pies!” and then hilarity and tears of laughter ensued. 

The way that Gerry forged relationships with all pupils was nothing short of inspirational. It’s just who he was. You never got anything short of a smile or a funny story from Gerry. You were honoured to get ‘mistake of the week’ on his wall (as I did as a teacher!) and you just wanted to do your best for him; even at the weekly weigh-ins on a Friday morning!!! His classroom was a shrine to his pupils, former pupils and colleagues who he loved so dearly and we all loved him right back.

The terms ‘Legend’ and ‘Hero’ are thrown about all too easily these days but Gerry was the epitome of them both. 

I feel so incredibly lucky to have had Gerry as such a big influence in my life. Although I didn’t go on to teach Maths, as a pupil, Gerry’s shining example of how to be a teacher was undoubtedly an overriding influence in forging my career path and I know that countless others will say the same. 

Every time you meet a former pupil and they ask after their ‘old teachers’, Mr McHugh is always at the forefront of the discussion. It’s so hard not to be able to come together to support each other and the pupils we love so dearly at the moment but I’m taking great solace in knowing that Gerry will be watching over us all. Especially our wonderful pupils.

I can’t quite imagine Notre Dame High School, or the world, without Gerry McHugh but, rest assured, the staff of Notre Dame High School will NEVER let the legacy of Mr Gerard McHugh be forgotten. 

Thank you, Gerry. 
Legend. Hero. Inspiration.

Gary Lynne (Former Pupil 1998-2004)

I’ve thought about Mr McHugh (Gerry) ever since receiving the sad news of his passing. My pals and I (of varying ages) have talked about him regularly and some stories about the great man came to mind.

I attended NDHS from 1998 – 2004 and although I was unfortunately never in any of his classes, I got to know him well through our mutual love of football. That summed Gerry up, even if you weren’t in his classes, he still went out of his way to support you or make you laugh.

As those familiar with him know, his classroom was plastered with Morton photos and newspaper clippings of famous games involving the Ton. In amongst these though was posters of a notorious Broomy Bar character, Donnie Bonnar. Gerry had a chart next to these and would encourage pupils to write where they had seen this man in public and then question you about what he was doing at the time etc. He would also tell us to shout “Donnie Bonnar!” at him. I remember this poor guy standing outside the Broomy Bar wondering why hundreds of weans knew who he was. The penny, no doubt, dropped quickly.

Another one that made me laugh was around 5th year, some NDHS teachers made a recording of themselves singing their favourite songs, not sure if this was for charity. At the time I was in Mr Smith’s Maths class (like Gerry a fantastic teacher) who played the tape to the class. Midway through on comes Gerry belting out Daydream Believer and hysterics ensued when we heard “cheer up Tommy Turner, oh what can it mean, to a sad Paisley person and a rubbish football team”. I’m sure there are many among us who were fortunate enough to witness the uncensored version on a Saturday at Cappielow 🤣.

Gerry was a fantastic teacher and phenomenal human being. He had the ability to make you feel 10 feet tall even when dishing out a roasting. A man with a heart as big as that famous smile, he’ll live on in the hearts of us all. Thanks for the memories, “Pieman” x

Mrs Delaney, Former English Teacher at Notre Dame High School

I first met Gerry 17 years ago when I started in Notre Dame. I was three years into teaching and very young. Expectations were high and I remember that smile for the first time: he made me feel so welcome. He was already part of the foundations and someone who people admired.

My pupils always talked about Mr McHugh and I quickly realised that not only was he a lovely man but also something quite special. Gerry was an amazing teacher. His lessons were filled with fun, laughter and football. He had a cheeky child quality to him that would sweep up the most Math hating child in his wake.

I remember when my eldest child was starting at Notre Dame, the first teacher I told him to look out for was Gerry. Jack hated Math but loved being in Gerry’s class. My second child in Notre Dame has just left Notre Dame. He had Gerry the last two years and adored him. He is very sad at his passing. At parent’s night Gerry told me Kian was ‘Just great. A smashing lad who will do great things’. I am glad I told him that night in February that he was great because he absolutely was.

I loved him dressed as Santa for secret Santa – giggling. His tales of ‘Yer auld Da’ would have tears streaming down my face. He filled a room with warmth and humour. Gerry’s young at heart quality made him so engaging. There was always time for others from neighbours, cleaners, work colleagues to of course the children/young adults. Gerry made all feel important and special.

My boys and I are Manchester United supporters. We were down for the derby game when we won 2-0. I was talking about him. We wondered if he was there. It was two weeks before the start of all of this and it feels a million years ago.

How can it be that lovely Gerry is gone? He was one of a kind and yes a legend! He will be having a good old belly laugh at all the fuss. I can honestly say I am not surprised because he has touched and influenced so many in this town.

I am going to try and be a bit more like Gerry. If I can be even a tiny bit like him then I will be doing well.

God bless you my friend and glory glory……….

Stephanie G, Former Pupil 1998 – 2004

His laugh was brilliant and truly infectious.

He promised me I would get my higher maths and only thanks to him I did. If it wasn’t for his support and belief in me I would never have kept trying!

Michelle Liddell, former DHT

I worked with Gerry since 1988, when he came to Notre Dame as a young Maths Teacher. At that time, Notre Dame was located on Peat Road, in quite a different building to the one we are in now and the PT of Maths was Mrs Margaret Robertson.

I saw Gerry as a friend as well as a colleague after all the years.

Gerry had a great personality. He always had a smile on his face and a cheery greeting whether in the staffroom, corridor or his classroom. He and I would often have banter with the pupils and I rarely passed his classroom without being drawn into the lesson. I loved the relaxed atmosphere in the room and the rapport he had with the pupils.

In my roles as a Guidance Teacher and then a DHT, I found Gerry to always be supportive and helpful. He was very organised and as a Senior PT in the school, I relied on him for advice and for his opinions which I valued greatly. There was many a time when we had wee chats about the school in general, and it was always very clear that the Notre Dame community was a very important part of his life.

Gerry loved the pupils and they loved him. When referring or talking to many of the pupils, he would put “Wee” in front of their name. He referred to my husband as “Young Iain” when he was in the school as a supply teacher, even though Iain was a few years older than him!

A few years ago, some of the staff , under the direction of Mrs Anne Marie Alford, made a tape for charity in which we all sang, or tried to sing, a song we liked. Gerry sang on this as I did. My song was “Moon River” and ever after that, whether it be on a bus after a staff night out or a S6 Prom, Gerry would call on me to sing “Moon River”. I

On the Open Nights every year, Gerry would have pies for the pupils who were helping him and I would always get a half of a pie sent to me. This was the only time I ate pies!

There are so many memories I have of Gerry and I will treasure these forever. The pupils of Notre Dame were the centre of his teaching and of his life.

Rest in Peace Gerry x

Notre Dame Inside Source
Gerry started at NDHS in August 1988.

Mr McHugh taught in Notre Dame for 32 Years.

We wonder how many generations that Gerry taught?

Maths Department Inside Source

On the last day of term the maths department always has a special breakfast – Pie, sausage roll or half and half!!!!

The hand written note would come round the day before and we all got very excited (no one else would understand what it meant but we did).

Once Mr McHugh went to get them and the usual shop was shut so he came back with nothing – WE WERE RAGIN’……he never did that again.

Aulds had to close a lot of their shops, so in the last few years, Mr McHugh developed his own cooking skills – meaning he took the pies and sausage rolls up to home economics to heat them up! 😊

The end of term breakfast is certainly one of his legacies that we will make sure continues for many years to come.

Rhys McCole (Former Pupil)

When arriving for Maths you would be expecting Mr McHugh to be teaching you. On arrival when you walked in it was sometimes Sir Alex ferguson. or Jose Mourinho. Depending on the mask Mr McHugh was wearing!

He would greet pupils no matter what the weather outside by saying…… Good morning boys and girls its a BEAUTIFUL day………

Martin Brennan, Former Head of History and Chair of Inverclyde Council

I was 28 or 29 when I started in NDHS. Gerry was in my first S4 class, so was Christina Gemmill (Mod. Langs.). I have to say they knew next to nothing about History so we had to cram a 2-year ‘O’ Grade course into 8 months. But they were bright as buttons and they did really well in the exam. Gerry was a first class historian and I suggested he consider a degree in History. So, he thought about it for a whole 3 seconds then announced that he was a Mathematics man. What a cheek!!! I met Gerry when he was at Lourdes – the Glasgow school, not the shrine. He’d been there a year and seemed settled. So, I was both surprised and delighted when he joined the ND staff a year later. Delighted because I knew Gerry fitted the bill: former pupil; an authentic role model; very bright; a Broomhill boy; and a big football fan. What’s not to like? I knew that Gerry would be nothing else but a huge influence for good on all our pupils and an inspiration. But he did disappoint me in one thing I had  planned. I told him that with his Donegal connection he ought to be with me in the east end of Glasgow of a Saturday afternoon , not in the east end of Greenock. I even offered to buy him a pie. But, no. His loyalty to the ‘Ton’ was steadfast. What a cheek!!! The ingratitude! Another thing which shouldn’t be overlooked about Gerry was his powerful intelligence and his insight into how young people learn. He got my two older children through Higher Maths by explaining to them the hitherto inexplicable. So many of his pupils have told me – ‘Maths was a mystery to me. Way too hard. Until I got Gerry.’ A former pupil of his from Lourdes in Glasgow contacted me just this week to ask: ‘Was that the Gerry McHugh who miraculously got me my ‘O’ Grade and Higher Maths in Lourdes 30 years ago – the best teacher I ever had?’ Gerry was the best. RIP.

Matthew Burns (former Pupil)

Mr McHugh was a teacher who always had time for every pupil and member of staff at Notre Dame.

Everytime you walked past him in a corridor or walked past his classroom he would have something to say. Whether it was a good afternoon wee Matthew, asking what class you were going to next or letting you know how you were doing on the football predictions leaderboard, he’d always put a smile on your face. Everytime our class had a double period of maths in 6th year he would stand at the door during the “halftime break” and individually greet every group of students and staff that walked past his classroom.

Also he was a great teacher who produced many funny memorable moments while teaching that stuck in your head and really helped when it came to the exams. A few examples that spring to mind are working out how many different ways Jose Mourinho could pick 3 midfielders for Man United and Mr McHugh continually singing a circus tune everytime an example of algebraic juggling appeared in the class.

Its no surprise Mr McHugh was so popular given what a great teacher he was and how welcoming and friendly he was to everyone associated with Notre Dame.

A true legend who will never be forgotten.

Grace Deveney, S5

Mr McHugh was such a special man who affected every single one of us. I hope he’s looking down and seeing how much everyone loved him. 

Alana Cleary, S5

Mr McHugh was a legend, he will be so missed.



Mrs Phillips, Spanish 

I was able to experience first-hand what a caring and kind person Gerry was, and how he saw only the good in each pupil.  No matter what the reason was that a pupil had been sent to reflection, Gerry would give them a gentle boot up the bum in his down-to-earth way, let them know that their action was considered a wee blip, and then he would chat away to them about normal things like football and maths.  After only a couple of minutes, the banter would be flowing, the giggles and laughter would be becoming difficult to suppress, and every pupil would leave the room with a sense of encouragement, and a wee smile on their face. 

Tia Maloney, S6 Pupil
A few weeks before the end of school mr McHugh and Mr O’Donnell stopped me in the corridor to ask what I was going to do uni wise. I just explained about my plans and he just gave me a massive hug and said that he knows what ever I do I’ll be amazing at it and he can’t wait to see my success and who knows, I could be his accountant in a few years. He always cared about everyone in his classes as well as every other pupil. He always put them before their grade. He cared more about the pupils than the results, that’s something very special in a teacher. 

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister
It has been very clear from the tributes made by your current and former pupils, Mr McHugh made a profound impact on the lives of young people. His expertise as a Maths teacher, coupled to the strong relationships he built with young people and their families, along with his fun loving spirit, will have made him a pivotal figure in your school.

Jamie Harper, S5

Mr McHugh was the biggest legend I have ever met. I don’t feel like I’ve lost a teacher, it feels like I’ve lost a family member. Mr McHugh was one of a kind.

Ewan Boyle, Former Pupil
Maths was never one of my favourite or most interesting subjects, far from it. This was through no fault of Mrs McDonald who I had for four years, I just didn’t have the patience to sit through problems. After failing my Higher Maths in fifth year, I knew that my goal was to leave school with at least a pass in Higher Maths for universities and beyond. So I chose it as a subject in my final year and was placed in what can only be described as a sanctuary of Greenock Morton and Manchester United; I was hooked from day one. After winning the Scoop in the Greenock Telegraph (what a day), Mrs McDonald cut out my photo in the Tele and stuck it on her wall. However, after three proud years on her wall, I got the big transfer over to the wall of Mr. McHugh and I was just in awe when I walked in to see it. We would have him every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with the Monday often being a chance for us all to debate the weekend results for the first half an hour or so and dissect the United and Morton games. I always remember every Monday morning I’d walk in with Mr. McHugh asking “Wee Eubo, that Hugh Scott isn’t back at Cappielow is he?” to which I would reply “No sir, long may it continue.” But the beauty of this was, I didn’t really know the full story of Hugh Scott so to say Mr. McHugh was trying to indoctrinate me. Although the football chat produced great memories, it was his teaching and his ability to make you feel important that was a true delight. Changing the name of surds to turds, stepping on and splitting the turd, the genuinely hilarious pronunciation of “SohCahToa” which had the class in stitches, these were all funny at the time but they made it stick it in your head for the exam; even naming the rules after students was an easier way of remembering the formulas. His famous “hair dryer” was only ever experienced once by myself but it has never been forgotten: a criminally embarrassing mix up on a homework for him saw differentiation questions go horribly wrong to which Mr. McHugh held up my jotter and said “Wee Eubo, wit in God’s name were you thinking? Don’t ever hand me something like that again” before handing me back my jotter at quite a throw. But within minutes, we were back talking football and everything. He took great pride in his homework but sometimes he would know to give you a break: namely when I went down to England vs Scotland at Wembley one weekend during school and he said “Give the homework a miss wee Eubo, beating them is more important”. I enjoyed his company so much I would come and sit in his Adv Higher Maths class during my free periods. Another memory that sticks with me was his sheer joy he had when I had told him I got a big part in the school show ‘Singin in the Rain’ as he shook my hand and followed it by a rendition of ‘Good Morning’ from him and his attempt at tap dancing: this was just the epitome of Mr. McHugh. My love of Morton has been massively influenced by Mr. McHugh but most importantly, my life has been massively influenced. Eternal rest to the King!

Thomas Cole, S5

School will always feel half empty without Mr McHugh. Such a big loss to the school community.

Councillor Christopher McElany (Former Pupil)
Like a lot of people I first heard of Mr McHugh via the grapevine of “ you want Mr McHugh for maths.” My first memories of Mr McHugh though were Saturday mornings in the downstairs cafe of the Morton supporters club. I remember one morning, still during the school holidays between S1 and S2, he came into the cafe, on the Saturday of an away game absolutely furious that we had sold our best player to St Johnstone. I vividly remember him saying that was him chucked the away games. This would’ve been in 1999, so perhaps this was when more regular trips to old Trafford began! Although one of my good friends thinks it might’ve been after a well recounted night that his dad and Mr McHugh were stranded in Dumbarton midweek on account of being late back to the bus. I always thought it was “cool” that a teacher would talk to you in real life and throughout my time at Notre Dame being a Morton supporter from a good Morton family you always had a feeling got you that extra wee bit of respect from him. I never had the pleasure of being taught Maths by him – I had two great Maths teachers in Ms Morrison and Mr O’Donnell – but I did once get sent to his class (probably for cheek or insubordination) and duly counted the pigeons in the corner for my penance. I think there’s many Morton and school stories that make him a legend but mine happened neither at football or within the school. Not long after I left school Inverclyde was right in the middle of the debate over the future model for the school estate – or in lay terms which were getting shut and which weren’t. People will remember there was a well developed plan to merge St Columba’s and Notre Dame on the current Notre Dame site. I remember sitting directly in front of him at one fateful night in the Greenock Townhall when the powers that had been were to attempt to relieve the concerns of the community. Before the meeting started Mr McHugh had referenced about how we (the teachers) need to be careful on account of them being council employees and they had been cautioned not to say anything at the meeting. Fast forward an hour to the infamous statement of the Murdieston dam being utilised for PE lessons at the new super school and breaking through the bewildered noise in the hall was Mr McHugh on his feet shouting to the platform “ You’re finished “ and the next second the entire town hall erupted into chants of “ out out out “. I think the tilly the next day had a picture of Mr McHugh on his feet at the meeting right on the front page. I think that was a good example of how this funny and friendly man who was always there for his pupils was also always willing to stand up for them in the face of injustice, and we can thank people like him for the fact we still have a Notre Dame and St Columba’s High School today. In recent years I didn’t see him as much on account of not going to mass at the same time but every time I saw him at St Patrick’s you always got the respectful nod and the cheeky smile. I was thinking about a famous story of Warren Hawke and the blackboard after Mr McHugh died and realised through the article someone shared of the story in the tilly that I wasn’t actually in high school when it happened. I was 100% sure I was. It made me realise that like so many of the Mr McHugh stories, we pass them down from one year to the next and make them our own, and in doing so we immortalise them. Mr McHugh was loved by everyone that knew him and his memories will live through all of us.

Mhairi Moore, S5
Mr Mchugh was one of the best teachers because he celebrated every success you had, big or small. A couple of years ago i was struggling a lot with maths, but Mr McHugh always believed in me. I remeber in 4th year i started to get higher marks in my class tests than i had ever gotten before, his face lit up, and he said that he was extremely proud of me. I will always be thankful for all of the help Mr McHugh has given me over the years.

Rest easy, Wee McHugh.

Fundrasing for Teenage Cancer Trust

The Festive season has started early at Dobbie’s garden centre in Braehead, as people prepared for a day out participating in the festive parade and Santa’s grotto. However my friends and I were there for a different reason which was to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

When asked about his time volunteering Adam McElroy(S5) said” it was a really enjoyable experience as we got to raise money for a good cause”.


Reusable Bottles

On average 20,000 single use plastic bottles are discarded each year from one high school alone.

Seven Notre Dame pupils competed in a regional competition in order to make a change that would benefit the future of their school and the environment . The idea of the competition was to give young people from the west of Scotland an opportunity to voice their views about how they should deal with popular environmental problems that face our world today. Then the winning school would receive £1000 to make their idea become a reality.

By noticing the amount of single use plastics highs schools where using , seven pupils from Note Dame came up with the idea of giving everyone in their school re usable water bottles. Which would encourage pupils to re fill one bottle instead of buying numerous bottles, which would dramatically decrease the amount of single use plastics being bought. The seven pupils who were involved in this project are Niav Mckeeman, Aly Gallagher, Sona Kurucova, Ellie Stewart, Yvonne Chan, Hayden Donnelly and Matthew Slaven.


The group first presented their idea to a panel in the West College, Scotland where they highlighted the dangers of single use plastics to the environment and were delighted to hear that the had progressed into the final. The final took place in the West of Scotland university and hosted schools from all over Scotland, However it was the bright idea from Notre Dame pupils that won the competition. Shortly afterwards, a company called  Morrisons Construction who promote a number of different projects across Scotland, contacted the school to help in the process of getting reusable bottles. Within a couple of weeks pupils were delighted as they received their own bottle at assembly which colour co-ordinated with their house group colour.

Science teacher Mrs Flynn urges pupils to use their bottles in the fight to reduce single use plastics.


Notre Dame Voices… Stuart McMillan MSP Interview October 2019

Notre Dame Now had the pleasure of welcoming Stuart McMillan MSP (SNP) for the Greenock and Inverclyde constituency, into the studio for an exclusive and in depth interview.

Higher Modern Studies students Mhairi and Jamie took Mr McMillan to task on his favourite moments as a piper, his thoughts on Brexit and the work he does as an MSP for the people in our constituency.



This interview is part of a series of interviews aimed at enabling our pupils to engage with our wider community and promote active and responsible citizens. We are looking forward to bringing you more interviews from our regional MSPS’s Jamie Greene MSP (Conservative) and Neil Bibby MSP (Labour). We have reached out to representatives of all parties of our regional MSP’s and hope to add more interviewees in the coming weeks.

Once again thank you to Mr McMillan for taking time out to participate.

Thank you to our production team Darren Adams and Amy Medinelli and Notre Dame’s Music Department for their collaboratrion.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button, or skip to question that interest you by using our guide below.


From 0:47 seconds you can hear Mhairi ask
Stuart what he does as an MSP that 
affects the people of Inverclyde.
From 1:45 Jamie asks what it’s like 
being the Scottish parliament'spiper and 
if Stuart has any highlights.
From 3:00 minutes Mhairi asks what can be 
done to reduce tension in politics in light 
of recent accusations of inappropriate language 
in parliament.
From 5:30 Jamie asks Stuart if he 
thinks Boris Johnson is fit to be the 
Prime Minister and follows this up with 
some tough questioning. Careful listeners 
can also hear our talented musicians playing 
“Ghostbusters” in the background!
From 8:19 Mhairi asks why the SNP campaign 
to remain in the EU but leave the UK and 
what the advantages of EU membership are 
for Scotland.
From 16:20 Mhairi asks Stuart McMillan MSP 
about No Deal Brexit - if the only way 
to stop it is to back a deal, why doesn’t
the SNP back one?
Finally from 19:20 seconds, Mhairi asks 
about the work Stuart McMillan does 
in the constituency.

“Playlist for the Dead” book Review

Our S1 Book critic Zara finds a book that hits all the right notes.


If you enjoy a romance with a hint of mystery then playlist for the dead is the book for you. One morning after a confusing party and a terrifying fight Sam wakes up to find his best friend Hayden dead, and all that is left is a playlist of songs and a suicide note. Now it’s up to Sam, with the help of a complicated and secretive girl to piece together the story of what really happened on the night of the party. With all of the evidence that he is given, he finds it hard to piece anything together and everything is a struggle – even trudging to school seems impossible and it doesn’t help that everyone is trying to be kind and making a fuss, feeling lonelier than ever, all Sam wants to know is why?

I really enjoyed playlist for the dead; I found the characters interesting and likeable, and the ones that were used helped to create an interesting, intriguing and exciting book – that made you want to keep on reading. Anyone who has ever felt lost or unsure of just what to do next, you will relate to Sam in a lot of ways. The plot had many twists and turns and eventually settled in a very satisfying manor.

I recommend playlist for the dead from ages 10+ because it has I slightly upsetting storyline but I think it has an important message. 4/5


Are you Notre Dame’s next top journalist?

Notre Dame Now is looking for contributors!

Do you have a story? Get in touch!

Do you want to write about anything that interests you? Come and join us!

Games, sport, politics, short stories… if you want to write about it, we want to publish it in our paper.

Monday lunchtimes in  Mr MacDougall Jr’s room

Speak to Miss Blyth or Mr MacDougall.

Cycling Tour Of Britain

Roving Reporter, and cycling enthusiast, Mhairi Moore was at this years Men’s Cycling Tour of Britain to get the inside track on the world’s best, in male cycling and interviewed Superstar cyclist Mark Cavendish.

The launch of the 2019 men’s tour of Britain started in George square, Glasgow on the 7th September 2019 and will finish on the 14 September 2019 in Manchester’s city centre. For the first time in modern history, Scotland is proud to host the first two opening stages of the tour, with stage one being held in Glasgow and stage two in Kelso. The gruelling 8 stage race will consist of 20 teams and 120 riders from all over the world, who will battle it out over the course of a week covering a staggering distance of 1,250km.

The tour started off around nine o’clock on Saturday morning. Each team would get called up to the podium for pictures before the race started. The atmosphere in George square was electric with cycling fans eager to get a glimpse of their favourite riders who had flown in from all over the world. However there was one rider in particular that the majority of Glasgow wanted to meet, this was of course Mark Cavendish: Mark Cavendish is a British cyclist who has won a number of big titles in his career including 30 Tour De France stages, 48 Grand Tour Stages and 10 Tour of Britain stages – he is the Ronaldo/Messi of the cycling world.

When asked about racing in the tour of Britain, Cavendish said “September always has me looking forward to the OVO energy tour of Britain and racing in front of a home crowd holds a special importance to me on a very personal level”.


The time was half past ten and the tour of Britain had officially begun, as a flock of colourful riders made their way through Glasgow’s city centre heading towards the town of Kirkcudbright in south west Dumfries and Galloway.

This was one of the longest stages of the tour with riders force to tackle a number of hills throughout the 201.5km race.