A MOTHER and son from Dingwall have both been recognised for their efforts in promoting the Gaelic language.
Well-known Gaelic singer, Fiona J Mackenzie, has been nominated for the Community, Heritage and Tourism Award, whilst Kenneth, has been nominated in the Innovation in Education category at the Scottish Gaelic Awards.
Kenneth (28) received Gaelic medium education at Dingwall Primary and Dingwall Academy and is now principal Gaelic teacher at Bishopbriggs Academy.
He has been credited with transforming Gaelic education at the school, with more pupils than ever taking up the language. He said: “Gaelic has always been an important part of my life. I grew up surrounded by it and it’s terrific to see so many youngsters showing such a keen interest. One of the main things I did was redesign the way the language is taught at the school. I knew from my own experience as a pupil that Gaelic can sometimes feel a little stuffy. I want to change that perception and make sure people see the relevance to Gaelic.
“I want to make the language as interesting as possible for the pupils, so I’ve moved away from traditional literature and introduced new challenges such as expedition events and online games. It’s about creating as many real-life contexts for Gaelic as possible. The feedback from the pupils and staff has been fantastic. I’ve been inspired by mum’s love of the language. She came to it later in life and was determined that all of her children would speak Gaelic. It’s really nice to be nominated for an award along with her. Mum has achieved incredible things and it’s lovely she is getting the recognition she deserves.”
Fiona, who is in charge of a legendary collection of Gaelic songs and poetry on the island of Canna, has delivered lectures at Harvard University and performed during Tartan Week in New York during her career.
The awards, which pay tribute to all aspects of Gaelic culture, education and language, highlighting the excellent work done in maintaining its growth and heritage, will take place at a ceremony in Glasgow next month and will also feature a performance from another Dingwall woman, Julie Fowlis.
Finalists for the event, sponsored by Bord na Gaidhlig, were selected by judges Cathy MacDonald, Murdo Morrison, MSP Kate Forbes, Shona McLennon and Laura Cameron-Lewis. The awards take place on Wednesday, November 15.
For more information, see www.scottishgaelicawards.co.uk