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US adventure beckons for childhood pals

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By Abbey Morton
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US adventure beckons for childhood pals

TWO best friends are heading to Syracuse together on a prestigious scholarship.

Alicia Pagan and Lauren Carruthers have grown up together in Ecclefechan, previously both attending Hoddom Primary School, and come autumn they will fly Stateside for a year at Syracuse University.

They are both 17 and were the successful pair picked out of 16 applicants following online interviews with representatives from both Lockerbie and America.

Captain of Dryfe House Alicia and school captain Lauren, a role which replaced the traditional head boy/girl titles, have both dreamt of applying since they were in S1.

Alicia, who lives with dad Mark, mum Allyson and younger sister Eilidh, hopes to forge a career in teaching, specifically the subject of geography at secondary level.

She said: “With this in mind, I hope to study something geography or climate change-related.”

When she returns to Scotland for her studies, Alicia plans to attend university in Edinburgh.

She said: “Living in America will also give me a real taste of city life for when I return and go to Edinburgh.”

And she also called being selected to represent Lockerbie ‘a great honour’ and hopes to meet as many people as possible and share with them the history of the Lockerbie-Syracuse connection.

Alicia added: “I hope to make lots of new friends, I want to meet people from all different social and cultural groups and everyone as they come.”

Lauren lives with dad David and older sister Abbie and her boyfriend.

Her mum, Carol, passed away in June last year.

Lauren is interested in working with children as a primary school teacher but hopes to gain a year of life experience in America before making any hard and fast decisions.

She said: “I’m really interested in geography, so I’d love to visit the Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon while I’m over there.

“I want to stay on for the summer too and maybe do some trail riding, or do Camp America before coming back for the term here.

“I have family in Canada so it would be nice to visit them, maybe for a long weekend.”

The trip over the pond will be a particularly big step for Lauren as the furthest she has been from home is Norway and Germany on school trips.

Sharing the moment they found out they were the successful applicants, Alicia admits her initial emotion was pride – because her best friend Lauren’s name was called first.

But this quickly turned to shock when her own name was also read out. And she added: “I was absolutely gobsmacked.

“I had nothing to say, I couldn’t believe it.”

And Lauren said she was really pleased when told she was successful, but was even more excited when she knew she would be going with her best friend.

She said: “I just lost it. And I was so proud of Alicia. She’s my best friend, she has been there for me so much since my mum died and I can’t wait to share this with her.”

Eden Festival postponed until next year

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