Thursday, 25 June 2009

"Doing all the little tricky things it takes to grow up, step by step, into an anxious and unsettling world"
Sylvia Plath

Last night I went along to the Castlebrae Awards Ceremony at the Hibs Stadium on Easter Road. I felt very privileged to have been asked to go along to celebrate the successes of the young people who attend the High School. There were lots of children (well they're not children anymore) who I last saw ten years ago when I worked at Niddrie Mill Primary School. They actually remembered me which I thought was amazing. I felt very old when a lad called Jordan got up to sing and play his guitar - a rendition of Oasis' "Half the World Away" which has very poignant lyrics about a young man and his desire to leave a stagnant life in an oppressive city. The last time I saw Jordan he was only six years old!
There were a couple of famous people there too -
Billy McElhaney who plays Jimmy Mullen in Scottish Soap Opera, River City (I came over all starstruck!) and former Hibs footballer Jackie McNamara. It was so lovely to chat to some of the kids and to see how they have grown into beautiful, clever and responsible teenagers. I felt very proud to have been involved in their education and to have had the chance to meet them again after all this time.
We are all bombarded with so many negative stories about young people these days (especially young people from areas like Niddrie and Craigmillar). It's easy to lose sight of some of the wonderful things they do (and sometimes these are done in the face of adversity and underprivilege which makes them even more amazing). It was so refreshing and reassuring to listen to their achievements and to see first hand all the brilliant and inspiring things these kids have done. Without wanting to sound patronising, they seem to be embracing life even though at times it must feel like "an anxious and unsettling world" to them. I really hope that during my career as a writer I can keep my ties with the Craigmillar area. I'll always feel a special bond with the people there.

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