Criomagan à Sgoil Mhicneacail - Nicolson Notes

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The regular round up of news from Secondary School, The Nicolson Institute, Stornoway.


Congratulations to Gwion ap Rheinallt who is this year’s Nicolson Institute Dux and Katie Emmott who is the Proxime Accessit.

Not only has Gwion acquired a very impressive range of Advanced Highers and Highers, excelling particularly in Maths and Computing, but he has followed the family tradition of acquiring languages by gaining Higher French and Higher German along the way.

Gwion is going to study Computing Science and Artificial Intelligence at Edinburgh University.

Katie is also an excellent student across all disciplines. As well as receiving top grades in the sciences, she also performed extremely well in English and French.

She is heading for Glasgow to study Mathematics and Physics.

The photo shows Gwion and Katie with the Rector.

Both Gwion and Katie received their primary education and some secondary education through the medium of Gaelic.

Their parents are not Gaelic speakers, with the exception of Gwion’s father, Dr Tristan ap Rheinallt, who has learnt the language.

The fact that pupils are attaining at this level is a tremendous encouragement for all involved in Gaelic medium education.

Ma bha dearbhadh a dhìth oirnn a thaobh foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig a bhith soirbheachail, fhuair sinn e am bliadhna nuair a chaidh Gwion ap Rheinallt ainmeachadh mar Dux na sgoile agus Katie Emmott mar Proxime accessit.

Tha bhith faighinn nan duaisean sin na theist mhath air comas duine sam bith ach ‘s e tha dèanamh seo buileach sònraichte gur e pàrantan gallda a th’ aig an dithis.

Tha pàrantan Gwion à Alba agus a’ Chuimrigh agus pàrantan Ceitidh à Sasainn.

Tha sinn a’ cur mealla-naidheachd orra le chèile ‘s iad a’ toirt misneachd don h-uile duine a tha an luib foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig.


Earlier this month, an invited audience from the school and wider community gathered together to commemorate the presentation to the school of a Steinway Pianoforte by Sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie DL, FSA.

This extremely generous donation was made by Sheriff Mackenzie in memory of his mother, Marjorie Tolmie, and his sister, Lois Scott, who were both pupils at The Nicolson Institute.

The piano was purchased seventy years ago and initially resided in Park House where his sister learnt to play.

When his sister moved away from the island, the piano went with her.

However, when she passed away in 2014 her son, David Scott decided that the piano should be returned to Stornoway, initially to his uncle’s house.

After consultation with the family, Sheriff Mackenzie felt that the most fitting destination for the piano would be the school, as both his mother and sister had received the majority of their schooling there, and he wanted to give pupils the opportunity to learn on a very fine piano.

After his speech giving the history of the piano, there followed a lovely evening of music with items performed by both Nicolson pupils and Stornoway’s finest pianists.

The Rector, Dr F Murray, also spoke and thanked Sheriff Mackenzie, and the Scott family, for providing pupils with access to such a magnificent instrument.


This is the last Nicolson Notes of the school year. We hope that all pupils have a restful holiday and return refreshed in August.

To remind parents, school closes at 1.15pm tomorrow, 24 June and pupils return to school at 8.50am on Thursday, 18 August.

SQA results are published on Tuesday, 9 August.

If pupils need to change their subject choices once they have received their results, they should come into school on Monday, 15 August from 10.15am-1.15pm in the Assembly Hall, where senior management and guidance teachers will be available to discuss their options.