Jack Liddall is destined for great things according to his head teacher, Bryan Paterson. You only have to be in his company for about half a minute to realise that is indeed true.
He is a self-assured 14 year-old, but one who also manages to be modest and charming all at the same time. Passing through the corridors of Trinity Academy with him he addressed everyone by name with a cheery hello.
The Edinburgh schoolboy is aiming for straight A passes in his National 5s and he plays the piano pretty well. He is an actor (actually he didn’t tell us that – the deputy Head told us that part!)
So what do you do if you can already do lots of things? You do more. He applied to UNICEF to be one of their 20 bloggers from across the world, and was chosen out of 3,000 applicants. Jack is now halfway through his blogging internship and has about 7 more blogs to write. You can read his blogs here.
We met up with him at Trinity Academy where he is in S4. He read part of one of his blogs for us at the end of the interview. We think it is pretty powerful.
He explained to us about the internship programme: “Every year Voices of Youth have 20 international bloggers and offer blogging internships. Thousands of people apply.
“I applied this year thinking that this was something that I really wanted to do. I sent them some examples of my writing and my interests and I got in!
“It is a really good opportunity not only to express my own views but to hear the views of all the other 19 bloggers from across the world.
“I am being encouraged by my mentor to write in different genres at the moment. I am quite formal and informative and my mentor wants me to do more creative pieces and give my opinions and views and emotions.
“There are so many different issues that I can write about, but I am inspired by the other bloggers.
“UNICEF is trying to ensure that every child’s voice is heard and every child’s right is respected. Voices of Youth is a a UNICEF initiative which was set up to get children to understand what the rights are and getting their views heard on an international level.
“I am going to New York and Washington next year on a school trip. I would love to go to the UN buildings and perhaps even meet my mentor, Mischa, face to face! I have had Skype calls with him and we have a closed group on Facebook where all the interns can talk to each other. We can all respond to each other’s blogs which is a great way of communicating.”
The bloggers range from 14 to 24 and Jack is the youngest blogger at the moment.
Jack’s family are all very excited and supportive to him about his blogging internship, although he puts most of the support down to his mother who ‘writes all the time’ and he says she is a great help to him.
Fitting the blogging in around school and in particular the recent exams was tricky, but the young writer has managed to set aside enough time for blogging on the Voices of Youth website as well as getting some decent exam results so far.
As for his future plans? He is due to meet the First Minister at Holyrood in February to talk to her about UNICEF and his internship, so that should make for an interesting blog.
Jack is on Twitter at @JackLiddall Do follow his blogging journey there.
Voices of Youth (VOY) was founded in 1995 as UNICEF’s online place for young people to learn more about issues affecting their world. Today, VOY is a vibrant community of youth bloggers from all over the world, offering inspiring, original insight and opinion on a variety of topics.