Academy pupils are prize guys

Douglas Academy Rotary and St Andrew's Day competition winners. 1.12.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes
Douglas Academy Rotary and St Andrew's Day competition winners. 1.12.11 Picture by Jamie Forbes

DOUGLAS Academy is celebrating a double academic success following sterling performances from a host of star pupils in recent events.

Pupils from the Milngavie school were handed opportunities to participate in two national competitions, grafting their way to top prizes in both.

Taking plaudits at the top of the list was 17-year-old Ruairidh, crowned winner at this year’s St Andrew’s Day Debate in the Scottish Parliament.

The 6th year student was in outstanding form as he articulated his responses with clarity and self-assurance in front of 100 pupils from all over Scotland.

Ruairidh, also school captain, paid tribute to the strength of his school’s debating apparatus for guiding him to victory.

He said: “Had it not been for the heated discussions at Douglas Academy’s lively debating society, I would not have been equipped to challenge the developed arguments of my fellow competitors.”

The competition, now in its fifth year, involved school debaters being paired with university debaters over the day.

After three heats, Ruairidh and his partner from Edinburgh University qualified for the final which took place in the Holyrood debating chamber.

And through his debating on international aid and other key topics, the youngster also won himself a large engraved quaich in celebration of his success.

As well as Douglas Academy, 18 additional high schools also took part in the event including nearby Bearsden Academy.

The championships, currently in their fifth year, provide a fantastic experience for anyone interested in politics and they’re open to school pupils and university students every year.

Councillor Una Walker, education convener at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “I’m delighted that Ruairidh’s talent for public speaking has been recognised as part of such a prestigious competition.

“This is an outstanding achievement for Ruairidh and for Douglas Academy.”

Meanwhile, Douglas was the most successful school at this year’s Rotary Club of Glasgow Public Speaking Competition.

The Academy entered a full team of eight speakers for the initial round of the event.

Alisha Wright, Cal McCormack, Hannah Vennard, Sophie Vennard, Emma Johnston (all 3rd year), Kirsten Tingle (4th year), Chrissie Symington (5th year), and Miranda Whitmarsh, (6th year) all took part.

And following the initial qualifying rounds, Chrissie, Sophie, Alisha and Kirsten all successfully progressed to the final.

Douglas made up a quarter in the total number of finalists and continued their success with young Sophie picking up the S1-3 trophy for best speaker while Chrissie coming second in the senior competition.

This is only the second year that Douglas Academy has taken part in this competition and will no doubt set a high standard for attainment next year.