Laura Anne Teece (John Ogilvie High School, Hamilton):
Presiding Officer, members of the Scottish Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, in chapter three of Luke's gospel, we hear how the young Jesus, on the threshold of adulthood, became lost in Jerusalem, where, after three days, his anxious parents
"found Him in the Temple, sitting with the Jewish teachers, listening to them and asking them questions."
That story struck me as apposite, given the privileged situation in which I find myself today. Like Jesus, I am a young adult in the capital city in an impressive building leading a time for reflection for my influential elders. Unlike for Jesus, my audience will hardly be astounded by my "intelligent answers"; nor am I lost, although I do have anxious parents with me. Unlike Jesus, I do not speak only on my own behalf, but as the representative of my school—John Ogilvie High School, a Catholic comprehensive school community of more than 900 pupils, which is situated in south Lanarkshire. The school is dedicated to St John Ogilvie, the late 16th century Scottish martyr and convert to the Catholic tradition, who served his community in tempestuous and challenging times.
Ladies and gentlemen, the world that we live in can be tempestuous and challenging too. This year I have been fortunate to spend time with young people from Minsk in Belarus and from Bangalore in India, and although they come from distant lands and different cultures we had much in common. It made me realise how small our world really is and how privileged and proud I am to be Scottish.
Young people in Scotland today rise to many challenges. They are not only carers taking on very adult responsibilities, but members of school communities. They are responsible, ideological and enterprising and have strong desires to contribute to and participate in the political will of our country. In John Ogilvie High School, we participate in democratically elected pupil councils and show commitment to an ethos of caring and
You may recall how after the incident in the temple Jesus went home to advance
"in wisdom, gaining favour with God and men".
I now invite you to ponder lyrics from our school hymn, honouring our patron St John Ogilvie. Written and composed by two pupils, I believe it reflects, in a contemporary way, our mission and responsibility as citizens of Scotland and of the world.
"And though we try to right the wrongs
Our efforts never seem enough
Your courage leads us to believe
That love will always find a way
That we may be one,
And as we live, learn by his faith,
Always faithful to the end
Et semper fidelis ad finem."