Pupils battle it out in charity debating challenge

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A debating challenge held annually at Arran High School saw five teams this year battle it out for the £3,000 prize for their chosen charity.

The youth and philanthropy initiative (YPI) has been held for S2 pupils for the last eight years.

But the difference this year was that the 2021 final was held virtually at the school on Tuesday June 8, led by Mara Gosman, the YPI lead teacher at Arran High.

Pupils have spent the last few months researching charities, meeting representatives from their chosen charities and creating persuasive presentations in an attempt to win their choice £3,000. Pupils have been supported through this process by class teachers Mr Barr and Mrs Early.

Isabel Johnstone, YPI co-ordinator for Ayrshire, joined the final along with four guest judges: Suzie Dick, depute head teacher; Julie Cannon, education business assistant; Cecilia Paul, advertising executive at the Arran Banner; and Naomi Provan, S6 pupil representative.

Charities represented at the final were: Brodick Nursery, ArCaS, AHS Mountain Biking Club, RNLI and SARDA.

The judges had a tough decision on their hands but decided to award the £3,000 to Ross Currie, Jemma Totty, Catherine Smith, Jack Popplewell and Zak Stone who were supporting the Arran RNLI.

Since it was introduced to Scotland in 2008 by The Wood Foundation, which funds the process, YPI has engaged more than 200,000 young people who have taken responsibility for £4.5m of charitable giving.

YPI is the biggest independent initiative being delivered in Scottish education.

Each school is responsible for directing a grant of £3,000 to a  charity championed by its students through a unique programme of teamwork, research, and competition.