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Buckie schoolkids make grand citizens!

By Alan Beresford

AS the coronavirus sows doom and gloom for young and old alike, there was a moment of triple joy for Buckie schools when the winners of the Moray Young Citizen Awards were unveiled.

Findochty Primary added to their impressive recent haul of trophies – which have included the Moray Glee singing contest and the Abernethy Trust Enterprise Challenge – by claiming top spot in the Primary School Award plus a highly commended in the Global Citizenship category, where they faced competition from two secondary schools.

There were celebrations at Buckie Community High School, too, where S5 student Lucie Rose scooped a commended in the Individual section.

It was to prove an exciting evening for the Findochty pupils and staff who made their way to the Mansion House in Elgin for the awards evening, as headteacher Dawn Thomson explained.

"We had two tables at the awards, each with six pupils chosen randomly from across the school," she said.

"You could see you excited they all were and they were sitting on their hands when the winners were read out.

"It was a great night, good fun and we were all treated like stars by the Mansion House.

"This has left the whole school buzzing, especially coming after our success in the Moray Glee, Abernethy Trust challenge and wins in the Buckie and Moray cross-country competitions.

"For a small school like us it's really a great achievement for everyone. One of the most important things is that the young citizens awards and the other trophies are all for things we do as part of our normal, everyday school work, it's not something or extra or special we do.

"The pupils have put their whole hearts into it all.

"We received a £500 prize for winning the Primary School section so we'll have to have a think about how we want to spend it after we come back.""

Reaching out to the community in numerous ways was to impress the Primary School category judges into handing Findochty the crown. A whole raft of initiatives won the day, including a village wide scheme to promote reading during which books were hidden at various point around the village for people to find and read, outdoor learning and reaching out to groups such as the Salvation Army and the Thursday Club, among many more.

Helping those less fortunate was the theme running through the school's Global Citizenship commendation.

Pupils raised cash for the charity Mary's Meals and organised porridge parties to ensure everyone had a proper breakfast before classes begun. Other projects included providing trauma teddies for paramedics to give to children they are treating and supporting local people suffering from dementia by providing sensory cuffs.

Over at Buckie High, Lucie Rose has been combining her love of dance with helping out others.

"I was stunned when I heard I'd got a commended," she said.

"I was just happy to be there at the finals, I never really thought about coming away with anything.

"I'm mega, mega chuffed to have got this, the competition was really stiff and I was one of six finalists."

The judges were left impressed by the more than 200 hours she has put in volunteering with Buckie dance school IDance. As part of her work with the group, she has taken dance classes at Millbank Primary.

Her work has already brought her other awards, including a Youth Achievement certificate and she is currently working towards her Duke of Edinburgh silver award.

She added: "I'm working towards gaining 500 hours of volunteering now.

"It's given me a lot more confidence and I feel more comfortable in different situations."

Lucie went on to thank Buckie-based senior youth worker Barbara Leitch for inspiring her to expand her horizon and try new things.

There was praise aplenty for both Findochty Primary and Lucie from Moray Council education chairwoman Councillor Sonya Warren, who also represents the Buckie ward on the local authority. She was in attendance at the awards and presented Findochty with their highly commended certificate.

"What an honour and a humbling experience it was to be present at the awards," Councillor Warren said.

"I was delighted to see Findochty do so well and continue their excellent run of being recognised for the fantastic work they do in school, not as something extra but as a matter of course.

"I was hugely delighted to present the Global Citizenship group with their highly commended certificate. They were up against two groups of S6 students in the final.

"To have the school win the Primary School category and earn a highly commended in Global Citizenship is a fantastic achievement and testament to the hard work that the staff andparents put into supporting our young people with their learning.

"Many of our young people do such amazing amounts of voluntary work to help other. Lucie is one of these great role models who gives up hours of her time helping and supporting others and sharing her skills and talents.

"A few months ago I was privileged to present Lucie with her Saltire Award for over 200 hours of voluntary work. I was absolutely delighted to see Lucie have her further efforts being recognised and commended at the wards ceremony.

"Our community's future is very bright with young folk like Lucie giving so much back to society. She is a credit to herself, the High School and to Buckie.

"Well done, Lucie!"

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