Excellence in Co-Curricular

Monday, 19 Jul 2021

The talents of  Drumming Teacher Tom Mewett have catapulted The Scots School Albury Pipe Band onto the international stage and into the minds of Australian Education Awards judges who recently awarded Scots an Excellence Award in the category of Best Co-Curricular Program.

Although the award recognition was for the depth and breadth of the entire co-curricular program at Scots, the Pipe Band is one of Scots’ most high profile co-curricular programs and its members have achieved astonishing success on the national and international stage. 

And the driving force behind the band’s drummers is drum teacher Tom Mewett.

Tom started at Scots as a visiting snare drum teacher for Pipe Band students in 2009. For years he commuted from Bendigo for the part-time role which he managed in tandem with teaching the drums at other schools in Bendigo.

Tom made the leap and moved to Albury in 2017 just before the Pipe Band went overseas to represent the School at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. He has built up such a following of drumming students that he is now forced to limit the number of new students he can take on with a view to maintaining quality of tuition rather than quantity. But Tom is practiced at navigating a busy life.

As a schoolboy in Bendigo, he teamed with his three best mates to form a rock band called Sender. Despite their tender age, the band members performed gigs all over Victoria – probably one of the few bands that arrived at gigs with their parents because none had their driving licence. Their success grew and they were signed by Sony Music in 2003 and released an EP in 2004. They toured up and down the East Coast supporting such big names as Screaming Jets and Killing Heidi. In 2004, during the Athens Olympics they went on a whirlwind three-day, three state tour with Hoobastank, playing in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney on consecutive nights.

Their Sony record deal finished in 2006 and in 2010 they independently released an LP titled No Way Out which is still available on Spotify.

Tom’s passion now lies in passing on his knowledge to his students and many have achieved amazing success. In 2018, Scots’ Indyana Bridgman was the first Australian school student to win a World Solo Drumming Championship when she competed in the Juvenile category at the titles in Glasgow. In the same event, her teammates Damon Wright and Lachlan Coe finished fourth and seventh respectively. 

And just last year, Indyana won the Australian Young Tenor Drummer of the Year while Lachlan won the Australian Young Snare Drummer of the Year at the national competition for under-18 year olds.

A highlight for all involved in the Scots Pipe Band, including Tom, was performing at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2017 - a performance so outstanding that they received a follow-up invitation which they unfortunately could not fulfil because of Covid.

Excellence in Technology • VEX Robots, Astronomy & the International SpaceCRAFT Challenge

Scots received a Co-Curricular of the Year Excellence Award at the 2021 Australian Education Awards thanks to the School’s program across Sports, Performing Arts, Technology and Service Learning. In recent years, the School has increased its focus and opportunities in Technology, led by our Head of Technology and Innovation Brad Murphy.

This year Brad is bringing the International SpaceCRAFT Challenge to Scots in September; the only school in the region to offer the virtual program involving astronauts, scientists and engineers who are directly involved in ongoing missions.

The Challenge has Brad, a high-level Physics teacher, bursting with excitement. He is already making plans to lead a tour of students to NASA sometime in the next few years (although we’re not sure he’s run that passed the school leaders) such is his enthusiasm for his field.

Get him started talking about VEX IQ robots, which he offers through the co-curricular program to Year 5-8 students, and his plans to introduce VEX V5 robots for the older students; or his astronomy co-curricular activity, where students tap into telescopes in Hawaii, Chile, South Africa, China and the US, and be prepared to be swept up by his passion!

Brad has been teaching for 25 years and has a Masters in Astronomy and a Masters of ICT and Education. He rattles off terminology such as ephemerides, nebula star cluster, spiral galaxy, Baily’s Beads, asterism and occultation like they are everyday terms, but now his students know what they mean too.

During the astronomy course, students use planetarium software to find astronomical objects and research the characteristics of it before eventually recording an image of it. In the process they learn when and where it is visible in the sky, whether it’s a northern or southern hemisphere sighting and how frequently it appears.

They can “book in” to use a telescope located somewhere around the world to get their astronomical image to which they apply the relevant red, blue and green filters in consultation with astronomers who manage the telescopes. Did you know that astronomical images are always sourced in black and white? The colour that we see comes from the filters that astronomers apply. True fact.

As part of a mission team in the International SpaceCRAFT Challenge, students will design spacecraft, navigate to another planet, land their vehicle, build a planetary habitat and explore a new planet to find resources in order to sustain human life.

They will receive lessons on topics ranging from planetary science to spacecraft systems, orbital mechanics to robotic exploration – all presented in an understandable level for students.

This is only a taste of the things to come in Technology at Scots, thanks to Brad’s passion and leadership.

Excellence in Sport • Equestrian

Scots alumna Teegan Ashby was Long-Listed for the Australian Eventing team for the 2016 Rio Olympics and has been a driving force behind the School’s equestrian program since 2012.

Each year before The Scots School Albury Interschool Equestrian Challenge, which is a qualifying event for the Victorian Interschool State Championships, Teegan has coached at the School’s equestrian training days.

The professional eventing rider provides recommendations on event selection, coaches students while they run through their dressage test and complete a jumping round, and offers tips for improving their ringcraft and presentation. Teegan is a highly sought-after coach for all three disciplines of Eventing – dressage, showjumping and cross country – and members of the Scots Equestrian Team are privileged to receive her expertise and guidance.

Teegan’s best individual Eventing result has been a second, by a fraction of a second, in the 3* at the Australian International Horse Trials in Adelaide in 2019 aboard the promising but sometimes difficult mount Waitangi Password. The combination had previously tasted success at the 3* Melbourne International three-day in 2018. Teegan is now bringing on youngsters alongside a talented Off The Track Thoroughbred called Magic Mushroom, all of whom are being prepared for the Wallaby Hill three-day-event in December.

Teegan made the Olympics Long List aboard Rockingham No Reason, aka Boris, and it was aboard the big bay that she also made the Australian Young Rider winning team for the Oceania Challenge in 2014.  She represented Scots at NSW and Victorian Interschools State Championships from 2007 to 2011. Unfortunately, an injury Boris sustained in winning the 2* eventing at NSW interschools in 2012 meant they could not compete in their other events that year. Luckily she was able to purchase the beautiful grey Marlo Benny from another Scots family, Sara Love, to compete in the Victorian Interschools Championships in 2012 while waiting for Boris to recover.

Father, Warwick, was an original Scots Equestrian committee member and Teegan joined the committee in 2013 after leaving Scots at the end of 2012. Mother, Helen, joined the committee in 2019, but has now volunteered at every Scots Equestrian event since its inception.

The high calibre of the Scots Equestrian Program as part of the School’s co-curricular program is undisputed. The School recently received an Excellence Award in the category of Best Co-Curricular at the 2021 Australian Education Awards. The winner will be announced in Sydney in August.

Excellence in Sport • Basketball

Elite basketballer, Bailey Lloyd, young-gun guard for the local Border Bandits team, brings a new level of expertise to the Scots Basketball co-curricular program with a focus on establishing good foundations for future success. More than half of the entire school population is involved in Bailey’s basketball program and Scots is the largest club of the Albury competition, with teams in every age category.

Bailey directly coaches five teams, trains two more and all teams attend a special coaching session on a rolling roster every Friday. In addition, he mentors the coaches so that the message to students at any year level will be consistent and builds progressively year on year.

Bailey, 21, was born in Sydney, grew up in West Wyalong and attended senior school in Wagga before being recruited to play at the Bandits.

The 201cm guard has big plans for Scots basketballers, including representation at Combined Independent School and Australian Schools competitions, exposure to US collegiate basketball and a verified pathway for elite players.

But it all starts with good, strong foundations and age-appropriate instruction. Focusing on basic ball handling skills and footwork plus promoting a love of the game is his main aim at the youngest age level in Scots Hoops. Conceptual aspects such as floor spacing, game awareness and decision making are introduced in the older year levels but a focus on the fundamentals is always one of Bailey’s priorities – whatever the age of the athlete. His coaching style is based on the model promoted by Basketball NSW with the obvious advantage that students adapt easily to coaching in local representative teams or at regional and state level.

With Bailey at the helm, Scots basketball is in good hands.

The high calibre of Scots Basketball as part of the School’s co-curricular program is undisputed. The School recently received an Excellence Award in the category of Best Co-Curricular at the 2021 Australian Education Awards. The winner will be announced in Sydney in August.