4th July 2012
Young achievers receive North American Manx Association Awards
YOUNG achievers were honoured by the North American Manx Association (NAMA) at a ceremony today.
Each year, NAMA presents awards to under 25-year-olds who have excelled in their field. For each category, a silver medallion has been minted.
Judging was carried out by Peter Kelly, President of the World Manx Association, and Stuart Dobson, Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Education and Children.
David Anderson MHK, Minister for Education and Children, welcomed guests to the ceremony at the Wedding Room in the General Registry.
The Minister said:
‘I’d like to give credit to NAMA for their long-standing investment in rewarding young people who are contributing to the Island’s culture and community. The association has, for many years, been at the vanguard of recognising the importance of these contributions. I’d also like to congratulate the talented young people we have gathered here today, who are a credit to the Island.’
The award winners – who received their medallions from Laurence Skelly MHK, past President of NAMA, were:
Music: Isla Callister-Wafer, 14, Queen Elizabeth II High School (nominated by Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival)
Described by her nominator as ‘an up and coming star’, Isla plays fiddle with the Manx Youth Orchestra and dance group Perree Bane (‘White Jacket’) and is active on the traditional music scene. She sings and plays for school folk group Club Kiaull (‘Music Club’). She has attended Manx youth music movement Bree (‘Vitality’) since she was nine and assists young players. A regular performer at Yn Chruinnaght (‘The Gathering’), she won the solo instrumental class for her age at the DEC’s Manx Folk Awards this spring.
Arts and crafts: Bronte Wright, 16, Castle Rushen High School (nominated by Gill Wray and Keith Pote, Art Department, Castle Rushen High School)
Bronte is an ‘incredibly talented, hard-working and modest’ GCSE student who has produced stunning artwork in a wide variety of media, from accomplished watercolours to sensitive sketches to paintings produced freehand on a computer using Photoshop. Bronte’s work is characterised by its dark, brooding feel, she thoroughly researches her pieces and has an incredible eye for presentation, her nomination states.
Manx language: Cesar Joughin, 16, Queen Elizabeth II High School (nominated by Rob Teare, DEC Manx Language Officer)
Cesar was among the first pupils to attend the Manx school Bunscoill Ghaelgagh and speaks fluent Manx. He has helped ensure that Manx is the predominant language of Club Kiaull, his school’s music club, where he is a leading musician.
Manx culture (over 18): Caitlin Bennett, 20 (nominated by Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival) and Maxine Smalley, 18, Queen Elizabeth II High School (nominated by Sue-ling Jaques of Ramsey)
Caitlin is a talented singer, flautist, whistler and guitarist who has participated since an early age in Cruinnaght Aeg (now the Manx Folk Awards). Since she was 13 she has helped Dr Chloe Woolley, Manx music specialist for the Manx Heritage Foundation, run Ballaugh School’s Manx music club, helping to prepare pupils for concerts and competitions. She took over the running two years ago. She is voluntary whistle and flute tutor for Bree.
Maxine learned to dance with Bock Yuan Fannee (‘Shanks’ Pony’) and progressed to Ny Fennee (‘The Heroes’). She coaches younger members of the group in dancing and pupils at her school in Manx culture and tradition. She has twice been runner up in the Young Dancer of Mann contest and on both occasions won the traditional dance category. She helps to organise and performs at Shennaghys Jiu (‘Tradition Today’) and has performed at prominent events such as the Commonwealth Youth Games’ opening ceremony.
Manx culture (group – under 25): Cairistiona Dougherty, of Ballaugh, and Beki Collings, of Port Erin (nominated by Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival)
Both talented musicians who have represented the Island at festivals throughout the Celtic world, Cairistiona and Beki aim to make Manx music accessible to all. They tutor under 18s through Bree and started successful adult beginners’ sessions at the Glue Pot pub. Cairistiona is a member of The Reeling Stones and Beki a member of The Fecktones. Both also play for Perree Bane. As volunteers, they help run Yn Chruinnaght.
Manx community: Emma Lloyd-Williams, 16, Queen Elizabeth II High School (nominated by Dr Abdel Haddouche, Assistant Headteacher, QEII High School)
Described as ‘always willing to help others’, Emma has organised events and raised funds for many causes including the elderly in the community, the children’s hospice, the hyperbaric chamber, Wish Upon a Dream and Help the Heroes.
Manx community (overcoming disability): Vincent Dale, 14, Ramsey Grammar School (nominated by Suzy Lister and Linda Shimmin, Ramsey Grammar School)
Vincent has special education needs and his school is ‘extremely proud’ of the way he assists with other students in its flexible learning area. Notably, Vincent was skipper when students took to the sea on Pride of Man II, the Sailing for the Disabled yacht, and helped others to crew. The charity was so impressed it asked him to be a volunteer crew member on future trips.
Phil Gawne, MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture and a fluent Manx speaker, then presented the awards for the most progress in Manx to Michael Kaighin, of Queen Elizabeth II High School, and Thomas Shirtliff, of Ballakermeen High School. Both 14-year-olds were nominated by Mr Teare.
The President of Tynwald, the Hon Clare Christian MLC, gave the vote of thanks. She said:
‘We are very fortunate that, more than 30 years after their introduction, these awards continue to be presented by the North American Manx Association. Their perpetual nature ensures that we sustain the link between our young people and the descendants of those who emigrated to North America generations ago as well as with those who have made their homes there in more recent times. I hope that their medals will give the winners cause to think about our American cousins who so generously encourage the continuation and development of the culture and heritage which bind us together.’
Photo: Award winners with, from left, Hon David Anderson MHK, Minister for Education and Children; Peter Kelly, President of the World Manx Association; the Hon Clare Christian MHL, President of Tynwald; Laurence Skelly MHK, past President of NAMA; Hon Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture