Former Braes High pupil wins this year’s Dennis Canavan Scholarship

The winner of this year’s Dennis Canavan Scholarship is former Braes High School pupil Jack Gunton.

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 10:24 am

The 17-year-old received the accolade for his achievements and for his contribution to the school and wider community.

Set up 15 years ago, the scholarships marks the remarkable political contribution made by Dennis Canavan to the Falkirk area and its people.

Every year teachers and others are invited to nominate a pupil who attends one of the district’s secondary schools, who lives within the Falkirk Council area and who is going on to higher or further education.

Provost William Buchanan, Hope Murphy, Katie Craig and Dennis Canavan. Hope and Katie each received a special commendation award of £200.

The young person should have given service to others through either voluntary work, charity sponsorship, sports coaching, caring for others or in any other way.

This year winner is going on to Glasgow Caledonian University to carry out a degree course in adult nursing studies.

Nominating Jack, Laura Eckles, the pastoral head at Braes High, said he had given service through “his voluntary work, mentoring and immersing himself in the life of the school”.

From the age of five he had taken an interest in nursing by helping with the care of his grandfather who had Alzheimer’s.

Ms Eckles added: “In Jack's first year at Braes High School, Jack was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year 2016 for his incredible attitudes towards school, his ethos and positivity throughout.”

He was also an active member of the school’s youth theatre and participated in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) where he, along with a group of peers, created a presentation raising awareness for the charity Committed to Ending Abuse in Falkirk.

Jack's group were awarded £3000 for this charity and were invited to the National Event due to their hard work and impressive demonstration of knowledge on this social issue.

He was also a “driving force” behind the school’s breakfast club which won the best in the UK award in 2019 and Jack visited the Houses of Parliament in London as part of the awards ceremony.

The teacher concluded: “Jack is an exceptional young man who lights up a room with his positive personality and cheerful enthusiasm, a very deserving candidate to receive a scholarship.”

The presentation took place on Friday in Dollar Park’s Walled Garden which was as well as the former MP and MSP, was attended by his fellow judges, Provost William Buchanan, Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn, council chief executive Kenneth Lawrie, director of children’s services Robert Naylor and Falkirk Herald editor Jill Buchanan.

Sadly Jack was unable to attend due to a family bereavement but will received his £500 scholarship at a later date.

Special commendations were made to two other of the nominees: Katie Craig, also from Braes High School and Hope Murphy from Bo’ness Academy.

Seventeen-year-old Katie, from Brightons, will shortly begin studying for a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science at the University of the West of Scotland and hopes to become a PE teacher.

Hope, 18, will be studying Sports Science at Edinburgh University.

They both received cheques for £200 towards their future studies and were wished every success for the future by Mr Canavan.

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