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North American Manx Awards presentation 10 July 2008

Eight secondary school pupils received their North American Manx Award at a presentation hosted by the Department of Education on Tuesday.

These awards are presented each year on behalf of the North American Manx Association for outstanding achievement by young people under the age of 18 and under on the Isle of Man. The Awards are arranged in the following five categories and for each category, a silver medal has been minted.

Rebecca Shields, 16, a student at Ramsey Grammar School received the award for Manx Music. Becky spends a great deal of her time performing and teaching other students Manx music. She also plays classical violin and won the Guild Instrumental Ensemble with the Ramsey Grammar School Strings Ensemble this year.

Jasmin Eastwood, 17, who attends Ballakermeen High School was awarded the Arts and Crafts Award. Jasmin has achieved A* passes in Art and Design and Craft, Design Technology and is on course for grade As in both subjects at AS level this summer. Taking photographs of Manx landscapes and landmarks are the inspiration for her colourful artwork. In her own time, Jasmin paints sets for the school productions, undertakes ceramic workshops and design and paints play area for Ballaquayle Infant School.

The Manx Language Award was presented to Gemma Hurst, 18, from Castle Rushen High School. Gemma has been learning Manx since she was 8 years old and last year gained an A Grade in the A/S Level part of her Manx “A” Level equivalent course. She is a keen musician and plays accordion, banjo and bodhran in a Manx music band, called ‘Pobble’ as well as teaching other students and children Manx dancing and music in her own time.

Grainney Sheard, 16, a student at Queen Elizabeth II High School was given the award for Manx Culture. Grainney is a passionate supporter of all things Manx. She was brought up speaking Manx as a small child and is currently studying for her GCSE in Manx. She plays an active role in the school council working towards recognition as an Eco-School. Grainney has made an outstanding contribution to Manx culture in its widest sense.

The Manx Community Award was awarded to Harriet Hooper, 16, also from Queen Elizabeth II High School. Within school she is a member of the Yearbook Committee and is training to be a peer mentor. She has run a series of assemblies on bullying and is a prefect. Out of school, she is a voluntary worker at a local veterinary practice, she is Manx Cadet of the Year 2008 for St John Ambulance and as a member of the Living Hope Community Church is training to be a youth worker.

Darren Bartley, 17 who also attends Queen Elizabeth II High School received the award for Overcoming a Disability. Darren is a cheerful, popular member of the school community. He is a quadriplegic and uses his wheelchair. This does not stop him from being an active member of the school. He has performed in assemblies and most recently was a member of the chorus in Pinafore Pirates. He is studying for his GCSE’s.

Two students received the Award for Most Progess in Manx.

Caitlyn Fairburn, 15 from Ramsey Grammar School began learning Manx at Jurby School, but when she went to secondary school she didn’t realise that Manx lessons were available. Undaunted, she turned to the internet and the series of lessons compiled by Phil Kelly. Last year she opted to take Manx as an examination subject and is making excellent progress. Caitlyn is also interested in Manx music and dancing.

Ruby Biscoe-Taylor, 14, who attends Castle Rushen High School has studied Manx since she attended Rushen Primary School. She has now completed the first year of her examination course. She has an excellent grasp of the language and is likely to achieve a high grade in the exam. Ruby is also a member of the Manx music group “Pobble” in which she plays bodhran and sings.

During the ceremony, which took place in the Wedding Room at the General Registry, Mrs Dorcas Costain-Blann, Former President of the World Manx Association paid tribute to former Board of Education chairman Mrs Betty Hanson, who was instrumental in the creation of the awards to mark the Millenium of Tynwald in 1979 and who died last month.

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