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Joy as Sian and Shona picked for Syracuse

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By Fiona Reid
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Joy as Sian and Shona picked for Syracuse

TWO Lockerbie teens have expressed how ‘grateful’ they both are to be selected as the 2016/17 Syracuse Scholars.

Sian McLaughlin and Shona Beattie, both 17, will spend their next school year Stateside at New York’s Syracuse University.

The pair were up against five other Lockerbie Academy sixth year pupils and took part in a series of interviews before being selected for the scholarship which links Lockerbie with Syracuse, a university which lost 35 students in the 1988 air disaster.

Annandale North Councillor Stephen Thompson, who this year chaired the Syracuse Trust, was blown away by the calibre of the candidates.

CONGRATULATIONS . . . Sian McLaughlin, Councillor Stephen Thompson and Shona Beattie
CONGRATULATIONS . . . Sian McLaughlin, Councillor Stephen Thompson and Shona Beattie

He said: “All the candidates were amazing. I had the confidence that any and all of them would have been brilliant ambassadors for Lockerbie.

“Unfortunately we were only able to select two students, which made our decision very hard.

“I would like to say a massive well done to all the applicants, it was a joy to meet and interview such amazing students and I know all their futures will be very bright.”

Lockerbie girl Sian said: “It’s an honour to be selected for such an amazing scholarship abroad that will allow me to maintain such an important link with my hometown.

“I’m most looking forward to being immersed in a whole new lifestyle somewhere I’ve never been before, with so many new things to try and people to meet.”

She added: “When I heard my name I couldn’t believe that I had been chosen. It seems so surreal – it still hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m so grateful.”

Budding architect Shona cannot wait to fly across the Atlantic. She said: “I’m so proud and grateful to have been selected for this unbelievable scholarship and trusted with the responsibilities that come with it, now I just can’t wait to do the opportunity justice.

“I’m looking forward to so much at Syracuse, but one of the biggest things is probably getting to know my roommate as well as other classmates over there and learning more about their American lifestyle which I’m going to be a part of for a year.“

She added: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out and didn’t even know what to do with myself.

“There was so much build up to that moment that I was just in shock and maybe still am, but now I’m looking forward to celebrating with family and friends and spending some time with them before I fly across the Atlantic for a year.”

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