Ardnamurchan pupils show passion for philanthropy

Pupils, from left, Maria Maclachlan, Hollie Cameron, Jamie Rowantree and Aaran Lavin MacPhail with English teacher, Mrs White.

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It was touch and go whether Ardnamurchan High School would deliver its Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) this year as a result of Covid disruption and restrictions.

Deputy Head Teacher Mr Patterson was ready to pull the plug for the first time since the programme started but Mrs White, teacher of English and Religious and Moral Education (RME), persuaded him to persevere and the success of the event vindicated her faith in the pupils.

Despite not being able to meet with charity representatives in person or visit the charities themselves, the S3 pupils adapted well. They switched to online communication and learned to use new technologies as well as overcoming the challenge of not being on stage with a live audience to make their final presentations.

Instead they used Google Meet to get their message across.

Head teacher Chris Millar-Craig said: ‘Our S3 pupils not only produced quality presentations but also hugely impressed with their research, knowledge of the charities and their passion for social issues which they feel are important.’

YPI is delivered through RME lessons but using this as an interdisciplinary learning opportunity with the English department assessing pupils on their speaking too. The presentations are judged using strict criteria by a panel of judges and are overseen by an independent YPI representative.

The following charities were represented with the top presentation winning £3,000 for their charity:

• West Lochaber Hospital Transport Project
• Lochaber Women’s Aid
• Headway Highland
• Lochaber Foodbank
• Acharacle Community Company

All groups performed well under the circumstances and did their charities proud but after the judge’s debate and a close decision, the £3,000 was awarded to Headway Highland, a charity that supports people with brain injuries and their families.

Charity manager for Headway Highland Lee Gordon said: ‘We were thrilled and delighted to discover that Ardnamurchan High School S3 pupils Holly Cameron, Maria Maclachlan, Aaran Lavin MacPhail and Jamie Rowantree had chosen Headway Highland as the charity they wanted to represent at the YPI event.

‘We then found out the pupils had gathered the most votes for their presentation and won a whopping £3,000 which will hugely benefit members of our charity who have an acquired brain injury, with their families/carers benefitting aswell.

Everyone at Headway Highland is so grateful to the group for the passion, commitment and hard work it put into its presentation. A fantastic achievement.’

Mr Millar-Craig added: ‘Clearly, this has been a very challenging year for everyone in the school community, but I am very proud of all pupils for taking responsibility in championing the cause of local charities once again this year.’

The head teacher thanked everyone involved, particularly head boy Dugald MacIntyre and head girl Rachel Ford for their assistance with judging and Mr Patterson and Mrs White for the organisation and encouragement, along with Donnie MacGillivray for his generous donation in support of the school’s contribution to the funds.