Former Braes High pupil Alicia takes top prize

Students who have already proved they can make a '¨difference were recognised at the annual Dennis Canavan Scholarship presentation.

Established in 2007 by Falkirk Council to mark the contribution made by the former politician to Falkirk district, it awards a financial grant annually to help local teenagers who are leaving school and embarking on further education.

Speaking to all the nominees for the 2018 Scholarship at a ceremony in Callendar House on Monday evening, Mr Canavan said: “I believe the most important criteria for eligibility for the award is that the young person can prove they have already given service to other people.”

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Judging alongside Mr Canavan were former Falkirk Council chief executive Mary Pitcaithly, the local authority’s director of children’s service Robert Naylor, Provost Billy Buchanan and Jill Buchanan, Falkirk Herald editor.

Their overall winner was 17-year-old Alicia Stewart Warner, a former pupil of Wallacestone Primary and Braes High.

She is about to start a degree course in English Studies and Professional Education at Stirling University with the ambition of becoming a teacher.

After receiving the £500 prizes, Alicia said: “I was very surprised to be nominated and couldn’t believe it when I received the scholarship.”

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She spent two years planning and fundraising for an expedition to Swaziland under the World Challenge programme. While there she taught English and said that was when she realised this was the career route she wanted to go down.

Alicia added: “I’ve also been inspired by the English and drama teachers at Braes High who are wonderful and encouraging.”

Specially commended and receiving £200 were: Elly Michels and Danny Morris of St Modan’s High; and Robyn Little and Joshua Bissett of Grangemouth High.

Commended and receiving £50 were: Rachael Thornley of Graeme High; Scott Ritchie of Braes High; Aiden Campbell and Lana Owen of Larbert High; Samantha Chalmers of Falkirk High; Rachael Dickson and Samantha Niven of Grangemouth High; and Gregor McGinnis of St Modan’s High.

As well as the cash, all the students were presented with a signed copy of Mr Canavan’s autobiography Let the People Decide.