Almost thirty years on, I still have great affection for Newbattle Abbey College. I applied for a ‘second chance’ in the early ‘eighties when my one year gap year turned into a four year jaunt around Europe. Initially, I focussed on bagging enough passes to secure a university place, but as former students will know, Newbattle is not a college for ‘crammers’. We were encouraged rather, to regard education as a continuous pursuit and to view our life experiences as valuable as any educational certificate.
I was awarded my Diploma in Liberal Arts in 1986 and continued my studies at the University of Glasgow. An essential part of my Hispanic studies and French degree was to spend time abroad. I worked for twelve months in central Brazil and six months in France. Thereafter, I have been employed in a variety of positions including translator, teacher and latterly as a news reporter for Scottish Television. None of this would have been possible without Newbattle.
Both personally and professionally, I have carried the Newbattle motto with me, Sero Sed Serio. I have also embraced the notion that educated men and women can go out into their communities and make the world a better place. I have tried to apply this to all areas of my working life.
I tend not to look back but occasionally I visualise those historic high-ceilinged lecture rooms and that wondrous woodland campus. I remember too, the inspirational teaching. Many memories have left me over the years, but those remain.