A TALENTED piper helped make the official opening ceremony of the new Strathaven Academy a day to remember.
MSP Andy Kerr and guests arrived at the new £17 million school as fourth year pupil Daibidh Moyes stirred the heart with the rousing skirl of the pipes.
This fitting start to proceedings set the tone for the event which gave invited guests including two former head teachers, Iain Brown and Cameron Dick a chance to see around the new the state-of-the-art school, which was rebuilt as part of South Lanarkshire Council's Secondary Schools Modernisation Programme.
Head teacher, Mrs Elspeth Banks welcomed guests by saying: “We are delighted to welcome pupils, staff and guests to today's ceremony. There are many people in the audience who have made, and are making, a considerable contribution to the continuing success of Strathaven Academy.
“We are at the heart of our community and indeed, some may say are the heart-beat of our community.
“Strathaven Academy has always provided an excellent quality of education for the young people of the area, and now that we are settled in to our new building we will continue with the key task of providing a first class education for generations to come.”
The school captains, Rachel McCallion and Daniel Cutting also welcomed guests from a pupil perspective and sixth year pupil Christina Lawrie spoke touchingly of her experiences at Strathaven Academy and the move to the new school.
Guests were also treated to musical entertainment from pupils Heather MacLeod, who recited Spring by Vivaldi on the violin. The Senior Concert Band played Highland Cathedral with the help of Daibidh Moyes on bagpipes and the concert band then played a medley from Joseph.
Andy Kerr MSP carried out the official duty of unveiling the plaque to mark the very special occasion.
He said: “I am delighted to be here today to officially open the fantastic new Strathaven Academy.
“Strathaven Academy is a school where teachers, support staff, janitorial, catering and cleaning staff are all working together to encourage the pupils to be all they can be and to ensure that school is a happy and welcoming place.
“I'd like to praise all the pupils involved in today's ceremony and to all the pupils I've met this afternoon, they are a tribute to themselves, their parents and the school.”
The hard work and the commitment of staff and pupils in raising attainment, achieving Fairtrade status, Health Promoting School, Eco School and International Education Awards, and the school's partnerships with Strathaven Rotary, businesses, colleges, universities, community groups and parents was also recognised.
The new school is fully barrier-free and accessible to all, and its design is of the highest standard, providing a stimulating and innovative learning environment in a sustainable building, sitting on an imaginatively landscaped campus.