On Friday 24th May, e-Sgoil hosted a prize-giving for Dìleab an t-Siorraidh 2019. This year, 37 pupils from throughout Harris and Lewis participated in the project. Halle Durbin from Stornoway Primary achieved the highest marks with her informative presentation was about the Mòd and how much she enjoyed participating in it. She particularly impressed the judges with how fluent and naturally she spoke in the conversation that followed, however. The whole audience laughed when they were played a short clip from her assessment in which she recounted how she met one of her teachers while busking in the streets of Stornoway. Halle received a certificate as well as £50 prize money. Second prize went to Robbie Mackenzie from Sgoil Bhrèascleit and Bella Wilson from Sgoil a’ Bhac came third.
Dìleab an t-Siorraidh was set up by Sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie to encourage pupils in Lewis and Harris to use their language skills and continue with Gaelic once they go onto secondary school. Every participating pupil receives £10 and a certificate, and there are higher rewards for the three highest-placed. This is the second year the competition took place.
To participate, pupils are asked to prepare a presentation of about five minutes on a topic of their choice, before conversing with two judges to allow them to better assess the pupils’ ability to speak Gaelic. This year’s judges, Annie Macsween and Iain Macarthur, said: “We noticed that a number of pupils spoke more fluently and were more comfortable once they got the presentation out of the way. Good conversations with most of them then ensued and we felt that it was often at this point that the natural language would appear.”
Dìleab an t-Siorraidh is aimed exclusively at pupils in Lewis and Harris but, with financial support from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, a new project, Dìleab aig Deas, will offer the same opportunity to pupils in Uist and Barra. This project will take place for the first time in the final week of May.
We would like to thank and congratulate all the pupils and schools who participated in Dìleab an t-Siorraidh 2019 and hope that 2020 will be just as big a success!