Youngsters honoured at North American Manx Association awards ceremony

North American Manx Awards held in the Barool Suite, Legislative Buildings Douglas

North American Manx Awards held in the Barool Suite, Legislative Buildings Douglas

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Young people who make an exceptional contribution to Manx culture and life were honoured by the North American Manx Association (NAMA).

Awards are presented annually to under 25-year-olds who have excelled in their field.

The awards ceremony was held on Friday, with the winners receiving a specially minted silver medallion from NAMA president Jody Morey.

Her great-grandfather, John Beck, was from Laxey and emigrated to America in 1864.

Ms Morey said: ‘We welcome this annual awards ceremony as a great tradition, honouring the young peoples’ achievements.

‘It is hoped that they have a sense of accomplishment and go on to encourage others with their experiences of Manx culture, language and learning.’

World Manx Association president Peter Kelly and Professor Ronald Barr, chief executive of the Department of Education and Children, judged nominations.

Tynwald president Clare Christian thanked NAMA for its continued commitment to this award, adding: ‘The community spirit, creativity and understanding of Manx language shown by the standards of the nominations, demonstrate how relevant our traditional culture and practices are.

‘Our gratitude should also be expressed to those who tutor, mentor and guide all our young people in the many different aspects of our heritage.’

Owen Williams, aged 13, of Castle Rushen High School, was recognised for his outstanding achievement in Manx music.

He is a dedicated member of the Manx music youth group Bree which performs at many community events.

He is self-taught on a wide range of instruments, takes piano lessons and plays cornet with a brass band.

Owen enjoys composing Manx music, with his band ‘The Unwanted’ recently winning a Manx Folk Awards competition category with his composition.

Outstanding achievement in Arts and Crafts went to Queen Elizabeth II High School student Clara Nathan.

Clara, aged 18, is an exceptionally talented young artist who achieved an A at AS level and is looking forward to undertaking a Foundation Arts Diploma.

Taking her inspiration from the Manx countryside, light and shadow, weather and our dramatic landscapes, she works with quiet reflection and determination to bring them together to form unique mixed-media canvasses.

Fellow QEII student Isla Callister-Wafer, 17, was recognised for her outstanding achievement in Manx language.

Winner of the Manx music category in 2012, Isla continues to make a remarkable contribution to Manx culture, making it both visible and accessible to people of all ages.

Her enthusiasm, commitment and sense of humour have all helped her in working closely with Culture Vannin to help develop, record and produce numerous short Manx videos for the Manx Gaelic Video-a-Day project.

Accomplished and dedicated musician, actor and dancer Michelle Jamieson, aged 16, won the Manx culture (under 18) award.

The Castle Rushen High School student has held the titles of Young Singer in Mann and Young Actor in Mann. Representing the island at the recent Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland, the band Shenn Scoill, in which Michelle is the Manx Gaelic singer, beat off competition from five other Celtic nations with their song, Tayrn Mee Thie (Drawing Me Home).

She has played various roles through her work with amateur dramatic societies including her role as Mary in the promenade performances of the Manx Passion during Holy Week 2014.

The over 18 category Manx culture category was won by highly talented linguist and Manx speaker Christopher Lewin.

The 21-year-old, who is currently studying at the University of Edinburgh, has used his skill to translate and develop a wide range of literature into Manx for learners and speakers alike.

Recently he has edited a book on 19th century Manx language, called Lhaih-lioar Ghaelgagh: Original Manx Gaelic Prose 1821-1907. This has undoubtedly been one of the most important pieces of work about the Manx Language in recent years.

The group culture award went to Michael School, where staff and pupils strive to ensure Manx culture is an everyday part of life from infants through to year six.

As part of their Island of Culture celebrations, the school held a special week exploring Manx culture ending in an exhibition and concert for family and friends.

Pupils created Archibald Knox-style artwork and Celtic crosses, listened to Manx folklore and performed Manx traditional dances, researched local wildlife and learnt to make Bonnag.

Castle Rushen High School student Joanna Akitt, aged 18, was presented with the Manx community award.

Joanna is a member of her school’s intergenerational scheme, through which she became interested in volunteering.

At a recent AGM of the Southern Befrienders she spoke passionately about what volunteering for them means to her.

She has made an outstanding contribution to the Manx community through her mature, positive attitude in being a committed and reliable volunteer, even taking training in chair-based exercises, which she helps to run each week.

Rushen MHK Phil Gawne, a fluent Manx speaker, presented awards for the ‘Most Progress in Manx’ to Ballakermeen High School’s Caitlin Dodd and QEII student Breeshey Crookall.

Nominees for this annual award were made by DEC Manx language team head Bob Teare.

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