Ester receiving her award from the Lord Lieutenant

Portree High School's Ester Strachan's love of life and determination to succeed against the odds has been rewarded.
For the youngster from Ashaig, Breakish has been chosen as this year's Lord Lieutenant's Special Award winner.

At the Lord Lieutenant’s Youth Award Presentations, held in the Strathpeffer Pavilion, Ester was among over 70 young people nominated in various categories, many drawn from Skye as well aso Plockton, Gairloch and Ullapool.

The nominations are for young people aged between 11 and 18 and come from all over my Lieutanancy area of Ross, Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh.  Most of those nominated were able to attend the presentations together with 2 guests and those who nominated them.

However, announcing the special award winner, Lord Lieutenant for Ross, Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh, Mrs Janet Bowen, said: "I had the privilege of reading every nomination submitted, each of which is an individual story of hard work, dedication, determination and joy in achieving great results. 

"Choosing just one from all of these is a tough call because there are so many exceptional stories, but you may also recollect that I said one of the joys in making these awards is that one isn’t just confined to those who the world recognises as successful.  These awards also take into account the personal success that the candidate has achieved and we look at the barriers overcome as well as the end result.

"My choice for the Special Award this year is a young lady whose nominator said of her: the difference in her 'She has had so many achievements this year, and the difference in her confidence is wonderful to see.'

"Ester is a pupil at Portree High School.  She has a diagnosis of Downs Syndrome but despite her long term disabilities she has overcome many personal barriers, particularly in the past year when, as I have just said, she has become increasingly more confident.

"She was the first pupil in Portree High School to be entered into the SQA National 1 Awards and that she achieved all she was entered for .

"Ester also entered the Highland Disability Athletics and Swimming Gala where she won Bronze and Gold medals.  She has now been entered into the Scottish Disability Swimming Championships in Glasgow later this year.

"Alongside her swimming and academic achievements Ester has recently started Work Experience at Kyleakin Connections . She is popular in the school and is seen to have taken on challenges and succeeded. It is Ester’s determination to succeed and to overcome any personal barriers that attracted me to her. 

"She has shown her family and all at Portree High School that they can be proud of her achievements.  I am too."

Alongside Ester there were also awards to the following young people:

Conan Macleod Portree High School Portree Community Action   

Sean Madigan Portree High School Idrigill, Uig Helping Others   

Daniel MacInnes Portree High School Broadford Improved Achievement in Sport   

John Gillies Portree High School Peiness Improved Achievement in Sport   

Katherine Dibble Portree High School Upper Breakish Improved Achievement in Sport   

Connor Gilpin Portree High School Kensaleyre Improved Achievement in Sport   

Ryan O'Halloran Portree High School Lower Breakish Improved Achievement in Sport   

Christina MacDonald Portree High School Staffin Improved Achievement in Sport   

Emma Gordon Portree High School Kensaleyre Improved Achievement in Sport   

Ronan White Portree High School Kilmuir, Portree Improved Achievement in Sport   

Garion McCrimmon Portree High School Skeabost Bridge Improved Achievement in Sport   

Ester Strachan Portree High School Breakish Improved Achievement in Sport and Lord-Lieutenant’s Special Award   

SkyeDance Youth Company Portree High School Braes Group Award   

Portree High School Rowers Portree High School Portree Group Award   

Allison MacDonald  Portree Achievement in the Arts   

Liam Ball  Portree Helping Others