BBC School Report 2016

Liz Lockhead Interview

Isla and Emily interviewed Liz Lochhead, previously Scotland’s Makar and recent recipient of Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Isla said “I liked speaking to Liz because she was nice and she answered all our questions.” They asked Lochhead about her career, childhood and poems. They both came up with the questions themselves after researching her in advance. Emily thought “She was very open and she was very opinionated.” Lochead encouraged them not to think too much about the negative things people say, and the girls enjoyed their time talking with the poet.

Another step towards Human extinction?

Has Artificial Inteligence (AI) taken another step towards the doom of mankind? Or will the disputed technology make our lives easier? Joe, Rasmus, and Duncan investigate.

Just yesterday, Google’s Artificial Intelligence game, AlphaGo, beat the South Korean Go world champion. The ancient Chinese game of Go is played on a tiled board, and the objective is to capture opponents’ stones to gain points while also capturing territory. The AI has four more games to play, and only has to win two of them to win the challenge match. The stakes are high, as the victor will receive a £700,000 reward. If the AI wins, this money will go to charities like UNICEF. The world champion, Lee Se-Dol, says that the AI’s strategy was “excellent”. The AI got to this stage by finding frequently used patterns in previous games, and then started to play itself, over and over again, and each time got slightly better. This process had happened millions of times.

This contest is seen as a test of what is achievable with AI, as the game Go is significantly more complicated than chess. However, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned that if AIs keep getting more and more advanced they could pose a risk to the human race. The way AlphaGo learned to play the game of Go is frighteningly close to the eventuality posed by Prof. Hawking, where humans are limited by biological evolution while AIs can make better copies of themselves.

However, AlphaGo has proven a useful platform for other developments. This sort of AI can be used for decision making in businesses and could play a significant part in a wide range of other areas. For example, it could provide better recommendations about books or movies, provide faster calculations on GPS, and even contribute to the development of Self- Driving cars.

Whatever your view on this recent technology, it is undeniable that AI is bringing changes to the way we live, whether we like it or not.

The recent Northern Lights

Hollie explains the wonders of the recent Northern Lights

On Sunday evening the beautiful Merry Dancers appeared spectacularly in the dark Orkney skies. Surprisingly the Merry Dancers were earlier than usual, being visible from around 8pm, and by 10 O’clock they were in full display. They were clear and brighter than usual and some people might ask why they were out so early. The Orkney skies were full of bright beautiful colours.

The Merry Dancers are a wave of colours caused by collisions between electrical charged particles released from the sun that enters the earth’s atmosphere and collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen. Scientist named them Aurora Borealis but in Orkney they are called the Northern Lights or the Merry Dancers because of their beautiful colours and the way they dance happily in the sky.

The Merry Dancers are usually 60 miles above the earth and at the height of 200 miles. When the charged particles blow towards the earth by the solar wind they are deflected by the earth’s magnetic field. The theory for the Merry Dancers were so bright is because the earth’s magnetic field was weak letting the charged particles to blow through coming closer to the earth allowing us to see them clearer.

The Merry Dancers are a fairly common sight in Orkney, since the islands are so far North, but sometimes people from South are surprised and confused by what they are seeing. John Grieve recounts this story as it was told to him by his father Jim who was posted at the Salt Ness Battery on the island of Shapinsay during the second world war.

“There was a new officer that came to the battery and he was on watch one night, and he called the whole battery to action stations. And they had been at their action stations for a while and there was absolutely nothing happening and my father was the sergeant, so he asked the officer in charge, why they were stood to.

“The officer just said “Look at the search lights up there, that’s probably an invasion fleet coming.”

“My father laughed and said to him “Oh that’s not an invasion fleet, that’s a natural phenomenon. That’s the Merry Dancers, we see that all the time.” The officer wouldn’t believe him.
“Eventually, after a lot of arguing, he got the officer to phone [another battery nearby at] Carness. The officer said “Do you see the lights in the sky?” and the Orcadian voice from Carness said “Ah yes, hid’s jist a grand display o Merry Dancers.”

Any visitors who would like to come to Orkney to see the Merry Dancers for themselves would be best visiting in the winter, when it is darkest.

4G in Orkney?

Currently, the Orkney Islands don’t even have 3G technology. What will the introduction of 4G mean for the county? Leah, Paulina, and Jenna did some research.

Plans are in place for the arrival in 2017 of 4G in Orkney as part of a £1.5 billion investment nationally. This means a total upgrade for 2G and 3G in the county. More importantly, it means the addition of 4G.

They have also pledged to provide coverage to 98% of the UK population and 90% UK geographical reach, and are currently working with Telefonica 02 UK to create a modernised national grid of 17,500 sites across the UK.

We talked to the office staff of Stromness Academy and asked what the introduction of 4G would mean for Orkney and the school. Mrs Drever said “It is really good! Can’t wait - good for the pupils and staff.”

4G will be good for Orkney because the islands don’t even have 3G.

How long will Jamie Vardy’s party last?

Erik reports on Leicester City’s recent success, and interviews up-and-coming football star, Sam.

This year the Premier League has been turned upside down by Leicester City. This time last year Leicester city were bottom of the league but this year they are top but with Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester city closely behind it will not be easy for them to win it.

One of the big stories with Leicester this year has been their phenomenal duo of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. Vardy has scored 19 goals and broken the Most Consecutive Games, with a goal record of 10, with 11. Riyad Mahrez has played 28 games and has gotten 16 goals and 11 assists.

One thing that is so remarkable about this is that three years ago Jamie Vardy was playing for Fleetwood town in division 1 and now he is the top goal scorer in the premier league. Another fact about Leicester is that their whole team isn’t worth as much as Arsenal’s best player.

Sam is a fifteen year old pupil at Stromness Academy who has been training with Caledonian Thistle football club for around three years. He has to travel from Orkney at weekends to complete this training.

Sam said “Playing for Callie Thistle is fun and exciting; also it is really hard work. I don’t really mind traveling because I mostly sleep in the car.”

Sam likes being part of the club. “They have giving me some hard training drills to do in the week and it has helped me get better” he said. They also give him opportunities to travel abroad. Sam says “The best trip that I have been on with Callie Thistle is to Spain”.

Of Leicester city’s recent performance, he said “I think they have been great this season and I want them to win the league”. He is surprised however because “I thought they wouldn’t be doing well this season.”

Sam thinks Leicester may be able to win the league “especially since their 5 points clear at the top” but when asked who is better out of Vardy and Mahrez, he replied “Mahrez all day long”, also tipping him as a potential winner of the BPL player of the year “because he has gotten so many assists”.

A football fan from our school said he does not think Leicester can win the league because Arsenal are better. He does not think Jamie Vardy is good and he says Giroud is better because he is more consistent and has been better for longer. He thinks that they will get Champions League football next season but they will fail because they are a wonder team only for this season. He thinks that Riyad Mahrez is Leicester’s best player because he assists Vardy with all his goals he is like the Ozil of Leicester.

So the Question on everybody’s lips is, when will Leicester fall from the top? Many people say it will be soon but people have been saying that since the very start of the premier league and some people have no idea who is going to win but everyone will find out soon as there is only 9 games left of the premier league it is anyone’s game.

Safe Boreas

Euan reporting on Safe Boreas

Leonardo DiCaprio and his first Oscar

Ellen and Hallie review the career of one of Hollywood’s best loved and most respected actors.

Leonardo DiCaprio is considered to be one of our times’ greatest actors, but has only just won his first Oscar. He received the Award at the recent Academy Award ceremony on February 28th 2016. The award was for the Best Actor in the new film The Revenant, which has received two other Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography. The Revenant has also received three Golden Globes and five BAFTA Awards.

DiCaprio has featured in many famous films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Titanic and Aviator. But people are still wondering why he has not received an Oscar until now. Many believe that this is because DiCaprio consistently acts at such a high level that a single one of his performances does not stand out above the others. Other actors receive an award after they have featured in a film in which they have acted to a higher standard than usual.

When Leonardo DiCaprio was announced this year’s winner of Best Actor at the Academy Awards Kate Winslet, his Titanic co-star, couldn’t keep back her tears of joy. Winslet was nominated for her seventh Oscar the same night, but didn’t receive the award. The two co-stars have been close friends since they featured together in the Academy Award winning Titanic.

Leonardo DiCaprio first began acting in the TV series Santa Barbara and the sitcom Growing Pains in the 1990s. The first movie he acted in was Critters 3 and he starred as Josh. The second film he featured in was This Boy’s Life (1993). He has recently starred in films such as The Great Gatsby (2013), Django Unchained and Shutter Island.

What about life after the Oscar? Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in probably hundreds of movies and will probably feature in many more. DiCaprio will be starring in the upcoming movie, Live by Night. The film will be released in 2017 and is directed by Ben Affleck. The film is being produced by Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Todd and Jennifer Davisson Killoran.

Weet Grund

The record rainfall this year and last has brought chaos all over the country. What has it meant for the farming community in islands renowned for their wet weather? Gary and Drew have been speaking to Orkney farmers.

Due to the weather in Orkney over the last year, crops and grass have had a very poor growth on the wet ground. The poor weather has forced famers to keep their livestock inside at least another month which means that farmers have to buy more silage, barley, nuts and straw to feed and bed the animals. We had three times as much rainfall in May last year than on average.

We have been talking to Norris Chalmers who has told us about his farm, how he has gotten on in 2014 and how he hopes to get on in 2016. He told us the cows have been in from the end of September 2015 and he hopes to have them out by the first days of May. He has had to buy two lorry loads of straw to bed his cows with. He explained how in a dryer year the gates are dry and the cows don’t make such a mess in the fields, but in a wet year the gates will be hardly accessible and the field won’t be able to hold up machinery. Even when then weather dries up, Norris Chalmers said the fields won’t be great for livestock to go on because they are already black; the cows have trampled the fields. But, still, he’s hoping to get the cows back on the fields in May 2016.

Dennis Isbister’s experience is a bit different. He told us “Our young cows have been out for one and a half months and the cows in calf have been out for four and a half month. We have bought two artic. loads of barley and more nuts than we usually do. In a wet year there is less growth and the field are too wet for tractors to go in, but a dry year we can get tractors in the field. So the dry years we can get cows out by time but wet years we can’t. When they go out this year depends on the weather but I hope the fields improve for 2016 and they will be dryer. So I don’t have to buy more feed for the cows.

This year has been a disappointment to the farmers of Orkney with the fields being so wet and not being able to take some crop off the fields but thankfully for Dennis Isbister and Norris Chalmers they have been able to get their crops off the fields which made it easier for this year. Orkney farmers are hoping this year will be dryer: we have had a very wet winter and a wet first month, but over the past few weeks it has been frosty and sunny.

We checked the fields, and when we looked at the fields they were sitting under water at the bottom. When we walked on the wet ground, our feet sank. It is very wet, Let’s hope for the farmers’ sake that the fields dry up before the middle of May.

First Female Yemeni Rapper hits the scene as Chief Keef Announces Retirement

In the wake of International Women’s Day, Liam reports on a breakthrough for Yemeni women in the field of music.

The first female Yemini rapper was recently featured in a documentary on awareness for women. ‘Amani’ and four other female musicians performed an original piece. They collaborated and spoke about women’s rights and experiences both in music and everday life. They’re taking a stand for women’s rights in a country where women’s rights are almost non-existent. They’re truly embracing international women’s day. They create music that carries a message for all women in Third World countries who feel as if they have no rights.

This new arrival in the world of rap comes as famous rapper Chief Keef announced on Twitter last week (March 2nd) that he’s retiring because he claims that too many rappers already sound like him and also said that they “stole” his style. He announced his retirement when a fan asked why he hadn’t been making many songs recently? He replied with “I’m retired you didn’t know?”

In November 2015 rapper 3 Hunna also claimed that many rappers also stole his style also claiming on Twitter that he invented the popular rap-based genre, “trap”.

A tribute to Sir George Martin

Aidan looks back over the career of one of the music industry’s most significant figures.

Sir George Martin has died in his home in Wiltshire aged 90. Sir George Martin, the fifth Beatle, was a record producer who produced over seven hundred records for the likes of The Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Cilla Black. He had his biggest success with The Beatles and he was involved in all of their original albums. He was considered to be the greatest producer of all time.

His death was announced to the public by Ringo Starr, the drummer for the Beatles. He announced Sir George’s death on twitter the day after he died saying “God bless George Martin peace and love to Judy and his family love Ringo and Barbara George will be missed xxx” After this, several tributes and messages were made by celebrities like Liam Gallagher, Boy George and Mark Ronson.
"Sir George Martin was a giant of music - working with the Fab Four to create the world's most enduring pop music." David Cameron said.

“Thank you Sir George Martin: the greatest British record producer of all time. We will never stop living in the world you helped create.” said Mark Ronson.

Sir George died of old age in his sleep leaving only two Beatles alive today, the drummer Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, the lead vocalist.

Sir George Martin was born in 1926 on the 3rd of January. He joined the navy in 1943 as an observer but before he could fight the war ended. In 1950 he started working at Parlophone record label and was promoted to manager in 1955, and then on the 6th of June 1962 he signed the Beatles. Later he started AIR records. He was knighted in 1996 by the queen for his musical services. He covered ‘Candle in the Wind’ for Princess Diana’s funeral which then became the best-selling single of all time before retiring. He died peacefully in his sleep on the 8th of March 2016.

New Exhibition of Diana Leslie’s work

An Orcadian artist is currently showing in Edinburgh. Amy and Laura did some research.

Diana Leslie is an Orcadian artist whose exhibition has just started in the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh. The exhibition is called “A Small Town” and the paintings are of scenes of Kirkwall and the town she lives in, Stromness. Her exhibition is the first solo collection that the gallery has held. There are seventeen paintings in the exhibit, most of which are oil paint on wood but there is one print and one canvas painting. Already some of these paintings have been sold. The exhibition will run until the 30 March 2016.

Diana Leslie was born in Orkney in 1971. She went to the Glasgow School of Art and graduated in 1998. She then moved back to Orkney in 2006. Her paintings are usually of Stromness, sea and flowers. She usually paints, prints or draws depending on the subject matter and the atmosphere she wants to show.

‘I move between source materials depending on the weather, painting and flowers, drawing from other artists, drawing from collaborations which make me see things differently.’ Diana Leslie said.

Diana is a successful art teacher throughout the winter months. She teaches the locals and she is also has a contract with the Pier Art Centre to teach talented school students.

Renewable Orkney

Orkney has a bright future in renewable energy, revealed in a recent report by the Scottish Government. Lucy and Ieisha report.

The benefits of having more renewable energy are highlighted in a recent Scottish Government report which says that Orkney could receive more renewable projects over the next few years.

The Scottish government says that Orkney will generate over a hundred and twenty million pounds in renewables between now and 2040, and that the benefits to Orkney community would be over sixty million. There is a meeting of the convention of the Highlands in Stornoway discussing these plans. It’s said that renewable projects across the Scottish island group could bring in over seven hundred and twenty million pounds of investment over the next twenty five years.

Orkney is an example of an island with lots of renewable resources. There are now over fifty electric vehicles operating in Orkney using electric charging points. Orkney also has a higher proportion of domestic renewables installed per household than anywhere in the UK. In 2014 Orkney produced 104% of its electricity.

We contacted OREF (Orkney Renewables Energy Forum) and they told us that “Renewable Energy is very important to Orkney. It provides the county with up to two hundred and fifty jobs directly. Orkney is seen as a world leader in marine Renewable energy. There are a large number of small wind turbines within the county which are mostly operated by local land owners and farmers. There are a large number of plans for renewable projects”

• EMEC The European marine energy test centre will continue to be at the forefront of marine renewable energy
• We are working towards getting a new grid connection which will open up the county for more renewable projects
• There are two large tidal farm projects within the system that will generate sustainable amounts of energy
• There are a number of projects looking at producing Hydrogen from renewable energy that can be used to develop low carbon transport or low carbon electricity
• We would like to designate Orkney as a living laboratory for renewable energy showing the rest of the world how an area can develop a renewable energy economy

Renewables company, Aquatera, have some plans for smaller projects to generate between 5 and 10 MW, but are also part of the supply chain supporting some of the larger projects.

OREF does not run projects itself, but provides information and networking opportunities in the renewables sector. They told us that they expect the benefits to be economic, from direct and related jobs; from publicity, because everybody in the world that is interested in marine energy knows where Orkney is; in terms of tourism, from people coming to the county to see renewables in action; in retaining population by offering high value jobs to students wanting to return; and in diversifying the population as students from around the world coming to study renewables here.

The Orkney public are generally behind renewable energy, particularly marine. There is some resistance to more large turbines in the area, from people who feel that they have a negative impact on the landscape. A large number of Orkney households have some kind of renewables fitted.

Torpedo Found at Scapa Flow

William talks to Orkney Harbours about the dangers of their latest discovery

A 77-year- old torpedo was found on the seabed of Scapa Flow on Saturday 27th February.

The torpedo is a seven-meter-long German torpedo and is thought to be the one that missed the Royal Oak in October 1939. It was fired from a submarine that was captained by Lieutenant Gunther Prien. After firing four times his submarine, U-47, sank HMS Royal Oak, a British battleship that carried 1200 crew members.

The sinking of the Royal Oak killed 800 sailors and 100 of them were under 17. HMS Royal Oak is currently a war grave.

An ROV (remote-operated vehicle) captured a video of the discovery during a routine seabed survey and Navy Divers are going to be used to find a way of disposing the weapon but it is not clear what they’re going to do with the torpedo.

In the meantime, it has been advised for ships not to anchor close to the torpedo but the Council’s Harbour Master has said that there is no risk for vessels moving in Scapa Flow and that they would have a further discussion about how to remove it.

SCDA Chairman Interviewed

Amber interviews Graham Garson about his experience of amateur drama in Orkney as chairman of the Scottish Community Drama Association.

Northlink Ferries named ‘Best Ferry’

Northlink Ferries serve the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. Kelsi and Becky look at the background to this successful company.

On Friday 4th March 2016, Northlink Ferries were awarded the ‘Best Ferries’ award. They Ferries gained the national award at this year’s Guardian and Observer Travel Awards. The annual ceremony, which celebrates the best in travel and tourism services across the world, took place in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

Stuart Garrett, who is the managing director of NorthLink Ferries, after accepting the award said “We are extremely honoured to have received this prestigious national accolade. We’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support and to those who voted for us. The award not only recognises NorthLink Ferries as ferry operator of choice, but helps to showcase Scotland, and indeed the Northern Isles, as an exciting UK tourism destination.” (

The event was sponsored by VisitScotland and the ceremony was attended by some of the world’s foremost travel professionals.

The company runs three passenger ferries and two cargo ferries. The three passenger ferries are MV Hamnavoe, MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey. The MV Hamnavoe travels between Stromness in Orkney, and Scrabster on the mainland. The other two ferries travel between Orkney, Shetland and Aberdeen.

Northlink Ferries play a big part in community life in Northern Scotland by sponsoring different teams and groups, taking passengers comfortably to new places to explore in the North of Scotland.

We are very glad to have such a great company supporting our local communities and hope the great services will continue.

Rhino Poaching

The threat of extinction hangs over the rhino. Sonja, Ruth and Tegan investigated.

Rhino poaching is becoming a great threat to the species. There are now only approximately 2,500 in the wild and some in captivity. The number of rhinos being poached has gone up drastically since 1966. Back then only 366 were killed each year but last year a total of 2401 were killed.

This is happening in South Africa and Asia. Poachers hunt them down just for their expensive horns which go for around £40,500 per kilo. They sell for more than gold or diamonds on black markets. Rhino horns are the fourth most illegally traded material. The horns are sold on black markets (illegal trade markets) for the use of traditional Asian medicine.

Many people are working towards stopping this catastrophe. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) is a global organisation that helps to stop poachers. It consists of nearly 1,300 government members. The black rhino is on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

There are many ways to help the rhinos from becoming extinct. One way is to adopt a rhino. Another is donation. £5 will pay for a sedation dart necessary for safely transporting the rhinos. £10 pays for a field officer trained in anti-poaching techniques. Another way is to support anti-poaching policies.

There are five different types of rhinos: the white rhino, the black rhino, greater one horned rhino, the Sumatran rhino and the Javan rhino. The black and white rhinos are actually grey. Rhinos all have relatively small brains and are herbivores. Rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant. They are pregnant for 15-16 months.
The rhino poaching numbers have gone up a lot over the years.

1966 1972 1978 1984 1991 1999 2006 2012 2013 2015
366 658 939 946 1120 1552 1855 2290 2329 2401

The rhinos are in great danger of extinction and need your help. They have been around for thirty million years. We need to make sure we don’t lose them.

The Ba’

Alexander interviews a couple of Stromness locals to find out about this Orcadian event.

The Ba’ is played every Christmas Day and Hogmanay in Kirkwall, a small town on the Mainland, Orkney. The Ba’ is a handmade leather ball filled with cork and each Ba’ is made by one of a few Orcadian Ba’ makers.

As the cathedral clock hits 1pm the Ba’ is thrown up into the gathered male players. As soon as the Ba’ lands, the players fight for possession. A rugby-type scrum forms around the Ba’ as each side try to get it closer to their goal. The Uppies goal is to touch the Ba’ against a wall in the south of Kirkwall. The Doonies goal is to get the Ba’ into the basin, a bay to the north.

Originally whether you were an Uppie or Doonie was chosen depending on where you were born. If you were born to the north of the cathedral you were an Uppie and if you were born to the south you were a Doonie.

There was a women’s Ba’ created after World War II, but there were only ever two Women’s Ba’ games played. It was abolished because of the unlady-like conduct.

“There are no rules - except you are not supposed to smuggle the Ba’ in a car.” said Connor, a local fan of the Ba’.

Another local, Drew, said he has played in the Ba’ three times and said ‘The first year I kind of stood by and got involved a little, then the next year I got more into the middle and this year I was getting involved quite a lot.”

Orkney Badminton at the Doubles

Amy and Ellen report on the local badminton results

The Mixed Doubles Championships for 13 years and under was held on the 21st of February 2016 and the Mixed Doubles Championships for 13 years plus was held on 28th of February. The Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall was packed with lots of different people, not only the competitors but coaches, referees and supporters. The OBA gives many thanks to the Firm of R. Clouston Ltd who were sponsoring the Mixed Doubles Badminton event. In the Championships there were several different sections such as the boys, girls, mixed under 13 years, ladies, mixed over 13 and men’s doubles.

Section winners of the under 13 Championships
The way you win in the Mixed Doubles Championships is by achieving 21 points before your opponent does, this is the whether you are in Girls’, Ladies’, Boys’, Mens’ or in a mixed section.

Boys’ Doubles in the Mixed Championships
Champions of this year’s Boys doubles are Tommy and Archie; narrowly second, losing by 7 points in the final, were Nairn and Erlend. Third in this section were Ewan and Finn who beat Charlie and Aiden.

Girls’ Doubles in the Mixed Championships
Eight Pairs competed in the girls’ doubles. Keria and Maddie closely beat Isla and Katie in the semi-finals. The next semi-finalists were Megan and Nicola, beating Ann and Kirsty beating their opponent by only 3 points in the first and 7 a bigger margin in the second round. Overall Keira and Maddie won.

Mixed Doubles in the Mixed Championships
In third place was Andrew and Nicola who beat Archie and Megan who beat them 21 – 18 in the first round and the 21 – 16 in the second. The winners in the mixed double finals were Tommy and Keira by beating Nairn and Kirsty 21 – 13 in the first and 21 – 15 in the second round.

Section Winners of the Open Doubles Championships
Ladies’ Doubles in the Mixed Championships
Elaine Gray, Morira Nicolson, Cath Brenner, Karen Kent, Kim McIntosh, Elspeth McLellan, Joanne Pottinger and Laura Gray competed in the Ladies Doubles trying to win overall. Elspeth McLellan and Kim MacIntosh were against Elaine Gray and Moira Nicolson in the final. In the first round Elspeth McLellan and Kim MacIntosh won 21 – 15 but in the second round Elaine Gray and Moira Nicolson won the round with 21 – 19. The experienced competitors Elaine Gray and Moira Nicolson won the play off with 21 -14 leaving Elspeth McLellan and Kim McIntosh with a very good second place.

Elaine Gray and Moira Nicolson not only won their category but won it for the 14th time since 1984.

Mens’ Doubles in the Mixed Championships
The defending champions of the men’s doubles Eion Ballentine and Ross Groundwater were sadly unable to compete due to injuries, if they had been competing and if they had won it would have been their 14th consecutive victory in the mixed Championships.

The final was extremely close with literally 2 points between them on the final round. The first round was won by Liam Delday and Andrew Reid 21 – 19, but the second round was nearly won by Gary Nicolson and Stuart Slater but when the score was 18 – 12 Liam Delday managed to turn the round around with quick fire serves. Now the score was 18 – 18 and both teams were trying their hardest and eventually it came to 20 – 20. When it gets to 20 it is no longer the first to 21 points it is the first to 22. In the end Liam Delday and Andrew Reid beat Gary Nicolson and Stuart Slater by just 2 points.

Mixed Doubles in the Mixed Championships
To finish off the day Gary Nicolson and Joanne Pottinger retained their title with a score of 21 – 17 in the first round and 21 – 15 in the second, beating Elaine Gray and Liam Delday.
Badminton Championships

At the end of the day we had some very close and tense rounds, played by some amazing people. We hope that everybody keeps this up until the next one in 2017. Well done competitors!

BBC School Report Day at Stromness Academy

Sydney and Nicola report on BBC School Report Day at Stromness Academy

On the Thursday the 10th of March 2016 Stromness Academy was a hive of activity due to the BBC School Report. The BBC School Report is an all-day event which 11-16 year olds all across Britain can partake in. This year over 1,000 schools are taking part including Stromness Academy.

All the students who involved are split into different categories in which they have expressed an interest. The different categories then are split again into small groups and these final groups have to narrow their choices down a specific area. They then have to write a report, record an audio report or video a report. All the reports, whether written or recorded, have to be completed by 14:00 and up on the school website by 16:00 GMT and the BBC will link our website on their website.

Our Art Correspondents were covering Diana Lesley’s Edinburgh exhibition and interviewing Scottish poet Liz Lochhead; Science and Technology Correspondents found out about Electric Cars and AI-BB Go Champion; Regional Correspondents looked at Jobs in Orkney, Safe Boreas, Northlink Ferries, Bogus Office Supplies, the SCDA Drama Festival and The Royal Oak Torpedo; the Environment Desk reported on Rhino Poachers and The Northern Lights; the News Desk covered 4G in Orkney and Renewables; Sports correspondents reported on the local Badminton and interviewed local footballer Sam on his views of Leister City’s recent success, Agricultural Correspondents interviewed local farmers about the water-logged fields; Music reporters found out about Hip Hop and Sir George Martin’s death; and our Entertainment correspondents speculated upon Leonardo DiCaprio’s recent Oscar.

Ms Grieve, one of the English teachers facilitating the project at Stromness Academy, said that she thought the BBC School Report was a “fantastic idea” and it “gets the young folk into journalism and gives them the opportunity to apply the skill which they learn in the classrooms”.

In English we have written a few reports but they have never gone up on the school’s webpage or been published like this. Depute Ms Wailoo said that we are making a piece of work “real” because from 8:50 – 14:00 over 30,000 school students, across Britain, are working for the BBC as news reporters. The pupils of Stromness Academy are permitted to leave the school to research their news (with an adult accompanying them), interview people and take photos. The pupils who were writing a report on electric cars, for example, went to interview a local garage owner and the girls who were doing their report on Scottish poet and author Liz Lochhead had the poet’s arrival at the school for interview planned in advance.

Isla and Emily interviewed Liz Lochhead, previously Scotland’s Makar and recent recipient of Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Isla said “I liked speaking to Liz because she was nice and she answered all our questions.” They asked Lochhead about her career, childhood and poems. They both came up with the questions themselves after researching her in advance. Emily thought “She was very open and she was very opinionated.” The poet encouraged the girls not to think too much about the negative things people say and Emily and Isla very much enjoyed their time talking to the poet.

From this experience the students will come away with new skills and improved skills. Ms Wailoo, who is the S2 Year Head, identified “Teamwork, meeting deadlines, research and problem solving” as tangible skills the pupils would benefit from. She also said “These skills are needed in life. These are key skills.”

“When students are working in their group they have to split the work into equal amounts that are still easy enough to handle. They learn the skills of teamwork and problem solving. They have a deadline, 1400 GMT, that the pupils have to meet. They have to do all their research, interviews and write their reports up by that deadline. They use their research to find out obscure and new information. All of these skills could be used in a job in the future. All of these skills and the BBC News Report will help you with your skills of working with a team.”

Ms Grieve said that student would learn a lot from “being able to put [the classwork] into a real-life context: they can feel what it’s like with pressure and working with folk in a stressful environment. The students were great at handling the pressure and putting their skills to the test.”

One of the students taking part, Sonja, said “l like to research and know what’s going on around me. It’s also a good way of socialising with the entire year group.” Sonja also said “I think I will learn a lot and will be able to write a far better quality report. During the event the whole group has to talk to one another and that may mean speaking to people that you would not normally speak to.”

Ellen, another student, said her favourite part of the News Day was reading the newspapers. She also said that she was learning how to write a proper report without copying anything at all.

The whole day has been an exhilarating experience for all of us and all day, as we’ve been reporting, people have been running past us interviewing, talking, recording and taking photos. The day has been a whirlwind but we would recommend any school which is not taking part to take part next year because it has been such an excellent experience.