Young achievers who make a valuable contribution to Manx culture and society were today honoured by the North American Association (NAMA).
Each year, NAMA presents awards to under 25-year-olds nominated by the public and schools for their creativity, community involvement and commitment to learning.
Judges this year were Aimee Corlett, President of the World Manx Association, Anne Minay, Life Member of NAMA, and Professor Ronald Barr, Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Education and Children.
Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Education and Children, welcomed guests to the presentation ceremony at the Tynwald building.
The Minister said:
‘The Island’s young people continually demonstrate their talent, hard work and willingness to help others.
‘The young people rewarded here today are a credit to Manx society
‘I’d like to thank NAMA for its long-standing commitment to rewarding and recognising our young achievers.’
The award winners – who received specially minted silver medallions from NAMA life member David Holmes – were:
Outstanding achievement in Manx music: Mera Royle, 17, Ramsey Grammar School
Mera is described by her nominator as ‘breathing, sleeping and eating’ Manx music. An accomplished harpist and violinist, Mera has performed both as a soloist and in ensembles across the Island and in the UK. Performing with Scran (part of the Bree Manx music group), Mera came second in ‘The Next Big Thing’ competition at the Gaiety Theatre. She has been heard on Manx Radio alongside Peddyr Cubberley and Pullyman and has participated in the National Theatre Competition. She plans to study music at university.
Outstanding achievement in arts and crafts: Ferghus Doyle, 18, University College Isle of Man (UCM)
Ferghus’ undertook a photo-journalism project into the Island’s lifestyle and history. His project focused on addressing how the past has shaped the way we live today. Ferghus based his project on four themes; the Isle of Man Government, the judicial system, agriculture and the lives of immigrants. He interviewed and photographed the Speaker of the House of Keys, the First Deemster, farmers and families who have moved to the Island.
Outstanding achievement in Manx language: Harry Hewson, 17, Queen Elizabeth II High School
Having attended Bunscoill Ghaelgagh as a primary pupil, Harry became proficient in Manx Gaelic and has continued to study several subjects using Manx. He is taking Manx as one of his A levels. During his free time, Harry has assisted with Club Spoyrt, which gives Manx speakers the opportunity to practise sport after school through the Manx language. He is also involved in the Manx music group the Mollag Band and has helped translate an Asterix story into Manx.
Outstanding contribution to Manx culture by a student under 18: Chloe Irving, 17, Queen Elizabeth II High School
Chloe, a percussionist, is a member of the Rushen Silver Band which participates in more than 40 engagements a year. Chloe is a founding member of her school’s wind band and has been key to recent successes, including a prize-winning performance at the Manx Music Festival and a concert held jointly with the Isle of Man Wind Orchestra. She takes a leading role in running the school’s ukulele orchestra and encourages fellow pupils to play music and take part in concerts. This month she’ll represent the Isle of Man at a Junior Achievement challenge in Brussels.
Outstanding achievement in the Manx community: Summer Patrick, 18, St Ninian’s High School
Summer is described in her nomination as a committed and reliable volunteer who sets an excellent example to the young people of the Isle of Man and the Manx community. She has worked with St John Ambulance for many years and helps to deliver first aid training. She helps provide first aid cover at events. She has been St John Ambulance Cadet of the Year and was one of the young people chosen to be a Lieutenant Governor’s Cadet.
Outstanding contribution to Manx culture by a group of young people under the age of 25: Skeddan Jiarg
This young Manx dance group, led by dance tutor Grainne Joughin, practices every Sunday in Peel. Formed just two years ago, Skeddan Jiarg has grown rapidly and inspires new generations to get involved in Manx dance. The group have performed at various community events and festivals: Cwlwm Celtaidd (Wales), Yn Chruinnaght Celtfest, Shennaghys Jiu, the Celtic Congress and Cyclefest . This autumn, the group will represent the Isle of Man at Celtic festival Lowender Peran in Cornwall. The group is working with Culture Vannin and the Department of Education and Children to create online Manx dancing video tutorials to inspire more to learn Manx dancing.
Outstanding Contribution to the Manx community in general: Sophie McKnight, 15, Ballakermeen High School
Sophie is a committed and reliable volunteer, her nomination states. She helped establish BallaAngels, a charity that encourages students to write poems for residents of a nursing home. She is on her school’s Year 11 book committee and has volunteered as a car parking attendant at school events. Out of school, Sophie helps run social activities at Castle View Nursing Home, assists the elderly with their shopping, has taught herself sign language, has applied to attend a sign language course to further develop these skills and has completed an online course to be able to work as a befriender for the Alzheimer’s Society. Sophie also coaches Douglas Athletics’ children’s football team, sells poppies for the British Legion and is a member of the Army Cadets, running the Cadet shop and forming part of the welcoming team.
Outstanding contribution to the Manx Community – overcoming a disability: David Smith, 21, University College Isle of Man (UCM)
David, who has autism, has completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award at bronze and silver level through UCM and is working towards gold. As part of the award, he completed 72 hours’ volunteering in the community, 72 hours’ playing a sport, 48 hours’ skilful activity and two expeditions.
Laurence Skelly MHK, a past president of NAMA, presented the award for the most progress in Manx to Joseph Reaney, 15, of Ballakermeen High School. The awardee was chosen by Rob Teare, Manx Language Officer for the Department of Education and Children.
President of Tynwald the Hon Steve Rodan MLC gave the vote of thanks.