Institue of Contemporary Scotland “Arnold Kemp” Award for Young Scot of the Year.
First and foremost it must be said that I feel somewhat of a fraud to be collecting this truly wonderful award. I had a terrible discovery on Wednesday morning. Whilst getting up and brushing my teeth I looked in the mirror to find my first grey hair!
It certainly seems a little strange to be collecting this award at a time of life when sign of aging is now setting in. I hope you will afford me a couple of minutes to say a few words. I know how punctilious Islay was with timekeeping during the Young Programme and the Young Thinker of the Year competition earlier this year and so, with that in mind, I will try not to eat too much into the proceedings.
I guess a huge number of “thank yous” which I will make privately and personally over the next few days once I have fully taken in this magnificent award.
In my line of work I attend many seminars and conferences aimed at energising education leaders, whoever they are with the challenges of the future, whatever they are.
At those events I often hear Robert F Kennedy’s quote:
“The world demands the qualities of youth.
Not a time of life, but a state of mind.
A temper of will.
A quality of the imagination.
A predominance of courage over timidity.
Of the aptitude of adventure over the life of ease.”
That quote is often used to inspire the older generation as to what is possible. However it needs to be retold to the young too, for whom youth should not be a barrier but an opportunity to excel. A time to gain ones wings, at time to fly and a time to fly high. A time to fly solo, in pairs, in groups, to fly with ones peers and fly and learn from experience.
To overcome barriers the young need a vision, role models and mentors.
I have been fortunate in having wonderful people around me at key moments in my life who provided all three.
Kenneth Roy, Fiona MacDonald and Islay MacLeod all fit into this category and are to be commended for the excellent work they do with young people as part of the young programme.
[At this point I also made mention of Alex Wood. I was delighted to see Alex there at theInstituteofContemporary Scotland/ Scottish Review Annual Dinner. I was not aware before the event that he was attending. I was even more delighted to be able to pay tribute to his work as one of those role models for not only young learners but also a number of teachers and leaders in Scottish education.]
And now by receiving this award I include Arnold Kemp- a man whose vision creation, vision defining and cementing of visions coupled with his role modelling and mentoring assisted so many young people during his lifetime.
This award is by no means an end point as I continue to promote high quality teaching and learning for all and hope to assist more young people in achieving a state of mind, temper of will, quality of imagination, predominance of courage and the appetite for adventure Robert F Kennedy so advocated.