On Friday 22nd June the Gaelic community of James Gillespies High School, some 130 pupils, came together to celebrate the end of the Erasmus+ Champions of Languages and Minorities project. In addition to the pupils and Gaelic speaking staff, including our Headmaster Donald MacDonald, we were joined by representatives of the Gaelic Parents Council, The James Gillespie's Parents Council and the wider Edinburgh Gaelic community.
Our presentation began with an introduction from Mr Seonaidh Charity who was instrumental in setting up the Erasmus+ link and led our first two Erasmus+ excursions. Mr Charity spoke at length about how building links with other countries and minority language speakers had helped the students involved to re-evaluate and better appreciate their minority language and culture by allowing them to see that they were not alone in Europe, as well as praising our hosts in both Finland and Poland for their friendship and hospitality.
This speech was followed by a presentation from two of the pupils, Lachlan peel and James Murray, who attended our excursion to Sterzing, Italy in September 2017. The pupils presentation, which they created with no teacher input, covered our excursion in-depth, approaching the topic in a way which fully engaged their audience of fellow pupils. The boys praised the educational and personal benefit of the Erasmus+ project and encouraged everyone present to grab the opportunity if they are lucky enough to be offered it in the future.
All our invited guests were impressed by the Erasmus+ project and the positive impact it has had on the pupils at James Gillespie's High School, with the question on everyone's lips being "when will the next project be taking place".