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Chance for all ages to apply for Syracuse year

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By Fiona Reid
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Chance for all ages to apply for Syracuse year

WHETHER you’re 18 or 88, a year’s free study in America could be for you if your Lockerbie connections are strong enough

Next year’s Syracuse scholars could appear much ‘older and wiser’ as it’s revealed that the scholarship is set to be opened up to anyone with a strong Lockerbie link.

The year abroad, which offers two Lockerbie locals a chance to study at New York based Syracuse University, began in 1990. Since, over 50 people have benefited from the free study – all from Lockerbie Academy.

However, keen to de-bunk a common myth that the scholarship is only open to departing Lockerbie Academy seniors, Annandale North Councillor Stephen Thompson has now revealed that the Trust deed states otherwise.

An extract from the deed says: “The purpose of the Trust will be to make available out of the income or capital of the Trust funds, grants to to persons from within the community of Lockerbie, or having substantial connections with the community of Lockerbie, to enable such persons to undertake a course of study at Syracuse University, the duration of which will be determined by the Trustees.”

Explaining more, Mr Thompson said: “The purpose of the Syracuse Trust is set out in the Trust deed and it is clear that the opportunities are not exclusive to Lockerbie Academy students, but also to other people within, or with a strong connection to the community of Lockerbie.

“In all likelihood most, if not all, applications normally come from current Academy students but anyone who meets the criteria can apply.”

Sharing the revelation at last week’s Lockerbie Community Council, the group’s secretary Doreen Jenkins said: “I don’t understand why anyone else would want to apply, surely it wouldn’t benefit them as much as students?”

But member Archie Porteous was pleased to hear that the scholarship is open to all, he said: “I think it’s an excellent thing to have on your CV at any age and there shouldn’t be an age limit on this wonderful experience.”

And 2014/15 scholar Will Beech thinks the scholarship is a life changer for people of any age. He said: “Perhaps students have the most to benefit from the scholarship, but this should just be considered during the interview process, as are all other factors.

“I don’t think there should be any restrictions on the age of applicants whatsoever as the scholarship is guaranteed to be a life changing experience and have a positive impact on who you are as a person regardless of whether you’re 18 or 88.”

Returning 2015/16 scholar Ellen Boomer said: “I personally feel from my experience that students would get more benefit out of it just because of where you live and the people you are with.

“I personally got a lot out of the experience which I believe was down to my age.

“My mum and dad visited but they didn’t see the same side of it as me. They knew more about Pan Am than I did because of their age, I learnt so much from talking to families and studying it in the libraries that my parents mostly knew, which I found an important part of my year.”

She added: “You are there not only to represent Lockerbie, the Lockerbie 11 and everyone who sadly died on the plane, but to experience Syracuse University.

“However it shouldn’t stop older people applying, why shouldn’t they? I just feel from my experience that it is more beneficial for students.”

* Applications for the 2017/18 scholarship are due to open next month and will be available on Lockerbie Academy’s website with a closing date of December 11.

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