I return to my boarding house after the summer holidays and, as always, there are lots of new faces. I return with a sense of optimism, but also with a little sadness knowing this will be the last time I will be unpacking my bags and laying out my room at the start of year. I was lucky enough to be elected Head of House by my fellow boarders last session, so I am excited about my final year. Everyone seems pleased to see me – I have so many good friends here.
School is becoming gradually busier. Many hours are being spent in my room completing the arduous task of writing a UCAS personal statement for university admission. I am a member of the Pipe Band and also the Chamber Choir, so there are several practices to attend. The annual boarding Oktoberfest celebrations, introduced by some of our German boarders a few years ago, proves to be a nice break away from the school work and I certainly enjoyed the bratwurst, along with German games and music!
My final school play, The Visit by Friedrich DÜrrenmatt, is a chance for me to further improve my acting. I am playing the role of a corrupt mayor of a town, an interesting role given my position as Head of House! I have loved drama at Dollar Academy. All the boarders have a great night out supporting our rugby team in the final of the U16 Scottish Schools Cup at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. Some lost their voices! As a member of the school’s Charities Committee, I am involved in a series of fundraising events throughout the month, including a charity touch rugby match and also a teachers against students quiz. I have even been baking and selling cupcakes. In total we have raised over £1, 000 pounds for Children in Need.
This is the busiest time of the year for me at school, and always has been. Mock exams are looming around the corner. There are all sorts of boarding events, Christmas dances, and best of all I will be performing with the Choir at the Usher Hall in the Christmas Concert. I am hugely nervous, as I will be doing a solo. There will be 400 performers on stage and an audience of over 2, 000. Hopefully all will go well! But the highlight of the year is the Boarders Christmas Ceilidh: not only do we get a fantastic dinner, but we also dance and then perform in the infamous inter-house entertainment contest. The boys in my house worked really hard in practice and we were delighted to win the competition with a really funny and clever skit.
My school looks beautiful at any time, set against The Ochils, but this is especially true at this time of year with a dash of snow on the hills. This is a time of mock exams and stress, however. The days of Christmas are long gone (my solo went quite well thankfully!). The boarding house is always interesting during exam time – people become a lot more agitated and some boys are very inventive when it comes to finding ways to distract themselves from working!
The month began with what must be regarded as one of the highlights of the year, The Burns Supper. It was a really enjoyable evening and one in which I had the delight of reciting a Burns poem. For me, February is also important as it marks the beginning of the terrifying Pipe Band serious rehearsal schedule. A lot of hard work and preparation is required – Dollar are world champions and we intend to retain our crown.
Sadly, I took part in my final performance for the school’s Chamber Choir. I have had the privilege of being part of the bass section of the choir for three years, being taught by the brilliant Mr McGonigle. If he sounds like a teacher from Harry Potter – well, he cast his spell on me! I also took part in the Sixth Form play, The Government Inspector by Gogol. It was an enjoyable production in which I played the charismatic Khlestakov. It was a fitting end to my drama days at school. The annual school cross-country event is voluntary but over 500 pupils took part, including me. It rained heavily – never mind.