Inspired by the school’s 175th anniversary, pupils and staff at St Margaret’s School for Girls have been set the ‘175 challenge’ in a bid to raise money for two charities selected by the pupils, local charity, Befriend a Child, and UNICEF’s Vaccinaid.

Pupils have been tasked with being creative and challenging themselves to do 175 of something. From riding 17.5 km on a unicycle, doing 175 keepy ups with a ball, collecting 175 pieces of rubbish, to creating 175 shapes out of origami, the girls at St Margaret’s are fully embracing the challenge. Even teachers are joining in with the school’s Head teacher walking 175 km, PE teacher Miss Pirie (pictured above) challenging herself to cycle 175 km in a week, and the Drama teacher writing a play with just 175 words. The challenge also fits with the school’s core wellbeing themes, which include connecting with people, challenging yourself, avoiding unhealthy habits and helping other people. The school hopes that this gives the girls a strong foundation for how they should invest time in themselves and others to ensure mental and physical wellbeing are supported.

Miss Anna Tomlinson, Head teacher at St Margaret’s School for Girls, said:

“Charitable giving is central to the St Margaret's ethos. So far this year we have raised over £4,000 for charity and the 175 Challenge is a great way to finish the school year. This year St Margaret’s is celebrating 175 years of educating and inspiring women, and in a year like no other we want to use our last charity event of the term to help those outside of our St Margaret’s community in an inspiring way.

As well as instilling a passion for raising money for local and international causes, the 175 Challenge encourages girls to keep fit and active, connect with others and challenge themselves to do something positive. We’ve seen some fantastic and varied challenges being completed so far which I hope will raise money for the charities chosen by the girls.”

Rose Veitch, primary 6 pupil at St Margaret’s School for Girls, said:

“The 175 Challenge has been lots of fun. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to do something with my unicycle. I’ve been practising for over a year since the first lockdown but it’s going to be a challenge to ride 17.5 kilometers without stopping. I was inspired to give it a go when I tried a unicycle at a summer camp I attended. I hope the money raised will make a positive difference to those in need.”

This is just one example of the school’s charitable efforts over the last 12 months. The school took part in the MOVEmber Millions campaign which saw pupils, parents, staff and former pupils of St Margaret’ work together to complete one million steps a day in November. A total of 2,165 entries were recorded, with a total of 37,729,746 steps recorded throughout November and £800 raised for Mental Health Aberdeen and Plan International.

A group of pupils has recently been successful in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Scotland. In a competition representing local charity Home-Start Aberdeen. The girls researched, created and presented an innovative presentation about the local charity and its work to a panel of judges, successfully securing an additional winning prize of £3,000 to donate towards the charity’s work.

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