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Brand New Microscope In Scotland and It’s One of Only a Few

Researchers are now able to look at the fundamentals of life in staggeringly new detail.

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REVIEW: ‘Children of Icarus’ by Caighlan Smith

Daniel Ingyang

In the town where they worship Icarus, everyone is taught that the gods were jealous of the angels, and so captured all of them but one who they missed, Icarus.

So, the gods decided to trick Icarus into flying into the Sun so his wings would catch fire and he would fall to his death. Icarus fell for the god’s cruel trap, and would’ve died if not for a great engineer called Daedala, who took care of him and built around him a massive labyrinth and city to protect him from the gods who wanted to kill him.

Every year, young and innocent people from the city are sent into the labyrinth to search for Icarus and become angels themselves if they reached the end of the labyrinth.

The heroine of the story has a best friend called Clara, who dreamed of going into the labyrinth and following the footsteps of her brother Collin, who had been sent into the labyrinth years before. When the day comes, the girl and Clara were both chosen to be sent into the labyrinth, among others.

But almost as soon as they enter, disaster strikes. Winged creatures swoop down from above. Clara and some others began to shout and cheer, believing it was angels there to guide them. But the grotesque creatures start killing and taking away the teenagers, with Clara being taken first. This causes immense grief for the heroine, who goes into a state of shock.

After the attack, the remaining children start to realise that the heaven they were promised was lies, and that they would soon die, taken by some other horrible creature. Our heroine and two others start going back to get out of the labyrinth, but once they reach the walls they find a boy who had already tried and been shot in the chest by one of the guards. He dies right in front of them and they soon believe that there is no way out of this horrible mess.

But fortunately, they are rescued by a group of people who call themselves Fates, made up of all the survivors of the labyrinth. Unluckily, they believe that she is called Clara, because she was muttering it in her sleep. Clara’s brother Collin, who is the leader of Fates, believes that the girl is his sister because of the passing resemblance and lets her off doing chores and spends lots of time with her.

Soon she is in so deep that she doesn’t think it possible to be able to explain that she isn’t really his sister. But then Collin goes on a raid on a monster nest where he finds Clara’s rotting head. He comes back, identifies her as an impostor and turns very nasty towards her.

He soon sends her out to collect water, but by a route that will probably kill her. He even discards other’s lives just to kill her, out of vengeance because she lied about being his sister. All seems lost when the girl has an unlikely rescue – by someone the Fates always thought of as an enemy…

Our trip to ReimagiNation East Kilbride

Photography from Cindy-Lou Ramsay

Sophia Guidi |

In recognition of their achievement in the private reading programme, 30 S2-3 pupils were nominated to attend ReimagiNation: East Kilbride, a new book festival revealing the hidden stories of Scotland’s new towns. This was an extremely enjoyable, educational trip as well as an amazing experience. It allowed the students to listen and meet authors, encouraging them to develop their reading and writing skills. This year we saw the following presentations:

  • Session 1 – Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan

Sarah is the author of “The Weight of Water” and “Apple and Rain” which were both shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. In 2016, Sarah won the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as the YA Book Prize, the CBI Book of the Year award and the CLiPPA Poetry award for her novel, “One”. Brian is a Scottish author( originally came from Coatbridge) whose novels include “The Boy Who Made it Rain”, “When Mr Dog Bites”, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Carnegie Medal, and “The Bombs That Brought Us Together”, published in 2016 to critical acclaim. Both writers talked about the novel they both wrote called “We Come Apart”, a story written in verse prose, is a contemporary story of star-cross’d lovers called Nicu and Jess. Every pupil was given a copy of the novel, free of charge, and had the chance to meet and have the novel signed by Brian and Sarah.

In the afternoon, pupils attended either Daniel Gray or Plan Interactive

Daniel Gray is a self-employed writer and social historian who shared stories of life living in a new town. All students were given a copy of his favourite book “The Outsider” by Albert Camus to inspire them to read and write.

Theatre maker Ishbel Mcfarlane also performed Plan: part game, part performance, in which our audience was challenged to build an imaginary new town for 40,000 people in a fun, thought- provoking show. Again, all pupils were given a copy of the playwrights’ favourite book, “Notes from a Small Island” by Bill Bryson.

Overall it was an excellent experience.

Cindy-Lou Ramsay’s gallery of pictures from ReimagiNation East Kilbride can be found on flickr.

As it happened: S6 Tinto climb for Kilbryde Hospice

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: STV Political Editor Bernard Ponsonby

Political Editor of STV News, Bernard Ponsonby, sits down for a chat with The Oystercatcher after addressing the 2017 St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School Prize-giving.

First impressions matter at our new school

Ava Barrett and Madeleine Canning  |

You’ve gone from ruling the school to being the babies again; we’ve all been there, or going to be there. As you would probably know, it’s been a couple of weeks since school has started again and for some of the younger pupils, their first day of high school. We’re going to tell you a few things about our first week at high school.

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What happened when we went to the Edinburgh Book Festival?

Sophie Nicholl and Emma Harris |

On Thursday the 24th of August, a group of St Andrew’s and St Bride’s pupils had a wonderful day at the Edinburgh Book Festival, meeting authors Elizabeth Wein, Patrice Laurence and Gary Garret. Even more exciting for the students, they were all given the opportunity to get books signed.

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EXCLUSIVE: First Minister Interview


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited St Andrew’s and St Bride’s on Monday 21st August 2017. As part of her visit, to celebrate the launch of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge in the secondary sector, Sturgeon sat down with Nicola Gray and Jack Mitchell-Divers from The Oystercatcher for a grilling about books, reading and politics.

World Book Day – Celebrations By The Book

St Andrew’s and St Bride’s S1 choose David Walliams in 2017 survey

Thursday 2nd March | Written by Lewis James McPartlin | Class 1F2

Every year, St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School conducts a survey to find the most admired children’s author in S1.  In 2017 the favourites were: in 3rd place, ‘Harry Potter’ author JK Rowling; in 2nd place, creative genius Roald Dahl; and in 1st place, funny man David Walliams.

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S2 Success Make Sense

Jamie Clayton |

Later this year 2nd year pupils will be making their subject choices. There will be plenty of subjects to choose from such as: Art and Design, Design and Manufacture, Physical Education, Graphic Communication, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Drama and many more.

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Religion: Still in the Light or Disappearing into Darkness?

Sandra Santhosh |

Religion is not having a great time right now due to the pessimistic perception portrayed on it by the media about the sombre events which have happened lately.

However, there are still people who look at religion and see the beauty of it such as the HCPT, a charity which offers disabled and disadvantaged people from the UK and abroad to go on pilgrimage holiday every year to Lourdes, France.

This year’s theme is ‘Thanks be to God!’

2016 marks the HCPT’s 60th anniversary – their Diamond Jubilee. For 60 years, disabled and disadvantaged children and adults alike have made the trip to Lourdes. During that period they have been ‘changing lives through pilgrimage.’

Georgina McReynolds, a volunteer from HCPT, said –

‘I went with HCPT. I think it was spiritually very uplifting- although the children were sick, we managed to do all the usual activities such as: playing football, had picnics, parties and games. It’s a wonderful feeling seeing the happy faces on the kids! ’

John Browne, who is studying for priesthood, said he had an ‘inspiring’ time:

“HCPT pilgrimages have a different tone to your average pilgrimage. HCPT pilgrimages are very joyful. Joy is at the heart of the charity… New friends are made, powerful stories are shared, and hopes and dreams are brought to the Grotto and Our Lady. Take courage, and put yourself in God’s caring hands.”

Each person who has had an opportunity to go on these pilgrimages has said that they’re ‘thankful’. Thankful, because they were revealed to the power of faith displayed by all present in Lourdes. Thankful, due to the kindness others had to help those less fortunate to come to a place of holiness, and gratitude. Thankful, as they were able to witness the love God has through each other.

True, it is quite hard to be optimistic and comprehend the goodness religion has when we are surrounded by disheartening, dispiriting times. Yet others, who less fortunate than us, can experience God’s love. If they can see God in a positive light in troubled times, why shouldn’t

Word Wizard Wonders

Holly Whalin |

Word Wizard is a competition hosted by SCILT – Scotland’s National Centre for Languages. The organisation has put together this competition in partnership with The University of St. Andrews and UCML. The languages involved were French, Spanish, German, Gaelic and Mandarin. The competition is held so that the children selected can expand their vocabulary, enjoy learning and have fun, test their memory and finally represent their schools at national levels. The head teacher of our school Mrs. Mullen, and Mr. Burns – a modern languages teacher – introduced the Word Wizard competition to St. Andrews and St. Brides as their old school, where they used to work, were involved last year and won the full competition.

The modern languages teachers put forward students from their classes who they believed had the potential to work well throughout this competition. The way it worked in school was simply judged through heats as the school could only take through one intermediate French pupil, two intermediate Spanish pupils, two beginners French pupils and two beginners Spanish pupils. The heats took place in the school and each pupil was given the first 75 words to learn off by heart. They had two minutes to spell out, in their language, the randomized words and whoever got the most was through to the semi-finals which were held in the modern languages department of Strathclyde University.

Both the pupils and the teachers involved enjoyed the time spent preparing and taking part in the competition. Mr Burns, teacher of modern languages, said that ‘it was a good opportunity for pupils to improve their literacy skills, French and Spanish vocabulary and get into the spirit of the competition.’

Alessandro Colquhoun – a Spanish pupil involved in the competition – agreed saying that ‘my Spanish has improved and my vocabulary has definitely expanded throughout this competition.’

All students involved in the competition enjoyed themselves as did I; it was a great experience for us all.


Hope for MS sufferers

Katie Hunter |

Some of you may have seen the BBC1 Panorama programme on 18th of January “Can you stop my Multiple Sclerosis”.  This episode focused on a new stem cell treatment for MS know as Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (AHSCT or HSCT). This treatment involves collecting bone marrow stem cells from patients and then trying to destroy the faulty immune system using chemotherapy. The immune system is then built up using the stems cells originally taken from the patient which then regrow.

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Alan Rickman RIP

Erin Brady |

Alan Rickman’s death has come as a shock to millions across the nation. After a short battle with pancreatic cancer, the star died on the 14th of January of 2016 and will be dearly missed from not just his family but his wizarding family as well. Although Rickman is usually associated with the Harry Potter series, he has also been in many others including Love Actually, Die Hard, Prince of Thieves: Robin Hood and Truly Madly Deeply.

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Luke Laneres and Daniel Everett (both S6) qualified for the semi-final of the prestigious Donald Dewar Memorial Law Society competition last night.

This national competition started with 128 teams and the students are one of 16 remaining teams.

Mrs Lyon, acting principal teacher of English, said that ‘their success is very well-deserved and we wish them well for the next stage.’

This story will update as more news comes in.