Two talented pupils from Linlithgow Academy and Bo’ness Academy have been recognised for their writing and published in a new ebook.
Ellie Roy (13) in second year at Linlithgow, and Kara Dempsey (13) also S2 at Bo’ness wrote entries to win a table with Barack Obama, a competition run by the Sir Tom Hunter Foundation.
Under the title If I ruled Scotland, the pupils covered topics such as healthcare and education to international aid and poverty.
In total they were 39 submissions from young people across Edinburgh and over 200 across Scotland, and on Wednesday they were published in a new ebook.
Ellie, who focused on the impact of social media on younger teenagers, said: “I was very honoured to be recognised. I was a bit surprised because there were a lot entries. Family and friends were really proud of me but they knew I had worked hard and it felt like a big achievement. It was so exciting.”
On social media issues, she said: “I think you should be over 17 before you are allowed to use it as people are more mature then.
“Social media has its good points and bad points. It can be used for the wrong purposes such as bullying and the uploading of indecent images.
“I decided to enter because I love writing and I am very competitive and of course Barack Obama is such an important person and social media is a topic I feel strongly about.”
Asked if she thought young people are given a voice, she said: “It is getting a lot better and things like this definitely help make young people’s voices heard.”
Bo’ness pupil Kara focused on improving the quality of life for older people. She said: “I am very passionate about this. The contributions that older people make to society should be recognised.“
On hearing that she was selected, she said: “At first I thought I was in trouble when the head teacher spoke to me. I totally did not expect to be selected but I am very pleased and so are my family.”
Sir Tom Hunter said: “These essays and poems were humbling, uplifting, challenging and often seriously funny. They made me pause for thought and ask myself – do we really listen to the young voices of Scotland enough?
“Their thoughts on ruling Scotland have some incredibly consistent themes; if you will a community of young Scots unknown to one another yet articulating the same vision; an anonymous, collective voice of hope.”
The ebook is available from http://www.thehunterfoundation.co.uk.