Achievement against the odds was the theme at Braes High School’s senior awards ceremony as a quadruple amputee delivered an “inspirational” speech to pupils.
Head teacher Helen McCulloch, herself back at work after months of illness, praised guest speaker Olivia Giles OBE, who established the 500 Miles charity after losing her hands and feet when she contracted meningococcal septicaemia in 2002 at the age of 36.
Mrs McCulloch said: “In a school where everyone is encouraged to achieve their own personal best in every area, it seems approporiate to hear from someone who has achieved so much against all the odds.
“Olivia delivered an inspirational speech for the pupils. As a woman who has faced incredible challenges in her life, she was the ideal candidate to share her outlook and ethos on life with the senior pupils.
“After sharing with the audience her battle with menigitis and the loss of her hands and feet, she discussed the positive Braes High motto – Build Respect and Earn Success, Be Part of It – and identified the importance of the words ‘build’ and ‘earn’.
“She spoke passionately of cherishing each day and refusing to be a victim or someone who allows chances and opportunities to pass her by. Olivia encouraged the pupils to have the same outlook on life, even if something is difficult or hard to achieve, it is important that you always give your best and ensure that you do eveything to your full potential.”
The headteacher also used the awards to say goodbye to retiring colleagues Moyra Morton (modern languages) and Robert MacNeill (art) after a combined 65 years’ service to education.
She added: “We will be very sorry to say our farewells to Mrs Morton and Mr MacNeill. Both have decided to retire early and will be missed greatly by pupils and colleagues alike.
“Every year the many varied successes of our pupils continue to surprise and delight me and this year is no exception. With our world changing at the fastest pace ever, our teachers are ensuring that pupils will have the skills which will allow them to keep up with these developments in the future.”
Braes High dux this year was 16-year-old Calum de Sainte Croix from Wallacestone.
For full results see this week’s Falkirk Herald.