Buckhaven and Kirkland pupils premiere new film project as memorial to schools

The pupils who worked on the project pictured with teaching staff and Linda Dunion from Apex. Picture by George McLuskie
The pupils who worked on the project pictured with teaching staff and Linda Dunion from Apex. Picture by George McLuskie

With just months to go until the new Levenmouth Academy opens, the countdown is well and truly on at both Buckhaven and Kirkland High Schools, which will see their separate history become one in August.

Both schools have been busy documenting the major transition, collecting memories and photographs from years gone by and organising events and projects.

Since September, a group of S3 to S5 pupils from both secondary schools has been working together on a special documentary, entitled ‘One School, One Community’, which had its premiere at Buckhaven Theatre on Wednesday.

Thanks to generous funding from local employer Diageo, and support from Apex Scotland – which has a working base with Kirkland – and Scottish production firm Strange Boat, the teens were given the opportunity to work together with their future peers, to develop new skills and boost their confidence.

From the history of Buckhaven College, to the dreaded belt and a look to the future, the film now serves as a piece of living history to be taken along to the new Academy.

Linda Dunion, Apex Scotland inclusion co-ordinator was the driving force behind the project, and was delighted to see the final result.

“I’m so proud of the way the young people worked together and produced a extremely interesting piece of social history,” she said.

David Light, operations director for Diageo in Leven, was quick to praise the students for all of their hard work on the project, which he said was a “real pleasure” to be involved with.

Mr Light commented on the benefits of being involved with the project, including the transferable skills to the workplace, and the ability to adapt to the culture change within big business.

He explained that the youngsters involved had been given a tour around the plant to show them just what goes on every day at the company’s largest global site, and said he hoped that one day, some of the talent produced at Levenmouth Academy might one day end up working for Diageo.

David Barras, from Strange Boat production company, said he and partner Scott MacKay were delighted to be involved.

“Something like this could have been dry, but the final product is absolutely fantastic.

“It’s been rewarding working with the pupils over the months, seeing them take small steps to the point they’re at now, where we can put on an event like this and leave them alone with the camera to capture more memories. It’s been about building their confidence and their self-esteem.”

Two of the pupils involved in the project were Dean Nelson and Aleesha Graham, both in S3 at Buckhaven High School. For Aleesha, it was “pretty nervewracking” working on such a big project, but she said it was great to learn so many new skills, and work with new people. Dean added: “It’s been a great experience working on the project and it’s just mental that we’re now so close to moving into the new school. Everybody is excited.”

Ronnie Ross, current head at Kirkland and soon to be rector at Levenmouth Academy, offered his thanks to all who supported the project, including Methil Heritage Centre and the libraries for their help with the archive images and history, all of the staff and pupils at the schools and even the members of the public on Leven High Street who agreed to be filmed recalling their school memories.

He added: “And of course, a huge thank you to the young people involved, who I had the priviledge of watching work and taking part in an interview. They are a credit to themselves, to their families and to both schools. They were all fantastic and it was great to see them working together.

“I can see why Fife Council and the Scottish Government have invested £44m in to creating Levenmouth Academy, because I know our young people are worth investing in.”