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WATCH: Highland Heroes Secondary Pupil winner turned setbacks into superpowers

By Hector MacKenzie

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If you are looking for the ideal role model for young people, then you could do a lot worse than Tain Royal Academy pupil Jack Ross.

The 16-year-old has been an inspiration and support to youngsters in his community.

From volunteering (at just 11), to being a valued member of Tain YMCA Youth Committee and PA crew, and passing a lifeguard course, he has quite simply made helping others when he can a part of his everyday life.


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Jack Ross of Tain Royal Academy won the Secondary Pupil award sponsored by DYW Inverness and presented by Colin Marr. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Jack Ross of Tain Royal Academy won the Secondary Pupil award sponsored by DYW Inverness and presented by Colin Marr. Picture: James Mackenzie.

He is also a corporal in Cadets and gained a Dynamic Youth Award and as well as being runner-up in the 2022 Scottish YMCA Awards young achiever of the year category. Over the holidays he also helps prepare free school meals for youngsters.

It was fitting that the Secondary Pupil category was sponsored by Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highland (DYWICH).

And Jack's endeavour is all the more remarkable as he was faced with some potentially devastating diagnoses – which include dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia – as a young child.

Asked about this after picking up his award, he said: "I got diagnosed with dyslexia and all the rest – I can't remember them all! – when I was very young it felt like it was the end.

"I had teachers and family members who helped me all the way through and told me that it wasn't stopping and it was something to be proud of. Everyone has described it as a superpower. It's never been a setback."

He has used his unique way of thinking to his advantage – and that of others.

His Mum Lindsay "encouraged me all the way through my life" and has played an integral part in encouraging him to achieve and contribute.

Asked to look back on his involvement in volunteering, he took a moment to think and said: "Probably the first was the Tain YMCA. I went there since I was very young. Then I was voted on to the Tain YMCA committee which help run the place and direct it in the right area to what kids want."

Asked what he gets out of it, he pointed to its potential to develop leadership skills. He said: "I like to see people who I have probably helped through volunteering."

His message to others is: "I would encourage everyone to volunteer and just help in any little way they can."

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