A school serving the whole community with traditional values and a commitment to preparing young people for life in a rapidly changing world was the theme of the annual Open Night at Cookstown High School on Tuesday, January 17.
Hundreds of primary six and seven pupils accompanied by family members filled the assembly hall at each of the two introductory talks to hear the Headmaster Graham Montgomery spell out the school’s message.
There was a strong family atmosphere in the school as the hundreds of visitors viewed the facilities and took the opportunity to meet with pupils and staff. Departments engaged the prospective pupils in interactive games, crafts, and of course the chance to sample some tasty treats in Home Economics.
Each introductory session started with a video of a year in the life of CHS before being addressed by the Headmaster.
The sessions also heard from Mrs Catherine Hall the Head of Year Eight, the Head Boy Denver Black and Head Girl Jenny Crozier who talked about what the High School means to them followed by Year Eight pupils Christine Dallas and Emily Millar who each spoke brilliantly about their experiences of starting ‘big school’.
Picking up his theme for the night the Headmaster, Mr Graham Montgomery said: “We believe that timeless values such as personal discipline, good manners and respect should be combined with a fun and rewarding educational experience to ensure that all the young people who come here are well prepared for their future.”
He went on to refer to the school’s legacy of over two centuries of educational achievement and to ambitious plans for refurbishment in parts of the school and an update of the ICT, art and music facilities subject to funding.
Attention was drawn to the sporting and cultural successes of the school; the high quality provision in the Learning Support Centre and the schools uniqueness as a combined grammar and secondary school.
He continued: “We are a grammar school and a secondary combined into one campus. That means that whatever aspiration your child has we have provision for them.
“Pupils are placed in the grammar pathway on the basis of their academic attainment at Primary School without the need to sit extra transfer tests. However pupils who have sat the transfer tests are welcome, and do enrol here every year. Our system means that a child’s ability to improve and avail of a grammar school education is based on their actual academic ability and not artificially curtailed on the basis of one snapshot of attainment at age eleven. Equally, children who seek a more vocational pathway can study for GCSEs and avail of a tailored package to meet their needs. ”
The Headmaster commented afterwards that he was delighted with the turnout, the atmosphere and the feedback: “Open Night is a great opportunity to welcome in the community and show them the excellent provision we have here. The best advertisement for any school is the pupils; we are a school with high expectations and these young people have shown that they can meet those expectations”.
The parents who attended the event were extremely complimentary about the evening.
Mr Montgomery would like to thank the staff and pupils of Cookstown High School for helping to make the evening such a memorable one and of course also extend the thanks of the school community to all the Primary School pupils and their parents and guardians who came along to see the vast array of talent and activities that Cookstown High School can offer.