Gemma is an Ellon ambassador

Gemma Saprks  pictured with, left to right, Gary Macalister, Rotarian, Emma Mathers, modern languages teacher and Rotarian Edwin Duncan.
Gemma Saprks pictured with, left to right, Gary Macalister, Rotarian, Emma Mathers, modern languages teacher and Rotarian Edwin Duncan.

A SENIOR pupil at Ellon Academy has been described as an excellent ambassador after attending a major student conference in Strasbourg.

Gemma Sparks, who is in her sixth year, was sponsored by Ellon Rotary Club to attend this year’s Euroscola event and described her experience to local Rotarians.

The Euroscola programme is designed to help senior pupils to develop their confidence in speaking and listening to French and to improve their presentation and debating skills over the five days spent in Strasbourg. More than 500 students from across Europe attended.

Gemma was accompanied by Emma Mathers, a modern languages teacher at Ellon Academy. They both had to pass a Central European selection process in which Gemma had to write an essay about the funding of Erasmus, which organises such opportunities for teachers and pupils.

As part of the European experience the pupil had to participate in a number of French-based activities. She had to introduce herself to the audience in French but many of the European students had little or no perception about Scotland. Representatives from each country had to give a short performance which related to the culture of the country.

Gemma had also to carry out some role play scenarios in French and a survey involving local people.

The highlight of her visit was Euroscola Day in the Parliament during which she worked with students from 22 other EU member states. She prepared and asked topical questions in French to the representatives in the Parliament.

Mark Pentleton, Euroscola external organiser, has informed Ellon Rotary Club that Gemma had demonstrated great enthusiasm and a high quality of speaking in fluent French, and was an excellent ambassador for Ellon Academy, Ellon Rotary Club and for Scottish education.

The afternoon session allowed Gemma to discuss various international topics such as immigration and environmental issues with her counterparts from other EU countries. She was elected one of six presidents to give a key feedback role again presented in French.

Rotarian Charlie Allan thanked Gemma for outlining her visit and commented on her being able to speak four different languages. Aberdeenshire’s Director of Education, Maria Walker, who was a guest at the Rotary meeting, was also impressed by her achievements.