Pupil, 12, designs bright tie tribute to ‘inspiring’ teacher

Mikaela Carmichael, centre, shows off her design with fellow pupils, from left, Phoebe Fisher, Zora Feesey, Harriet Philips, Bethany Sikes, Juliet Storey and Rachel Moffat
Mikaela Carmichael, centre, shows off her design with fellow pupils, from left, Phoebe Fisher, Zora Feesey, Harriet Philips, Bethany Sikes, Juliet Storey and Rachel Moffat
4
Have your say

AS far as school ties go, it is certainly sticking your neck out.

But a brightly coloured “crazy” design may even become an official part of the uniform at one city school.

The tie, which features skylines from across the world, including Edinburgh Castle, was designed by a pupil at James Gillespie’s High School who wanted to pay tribute to a much-loved history teacher, Ian Caddell, right, who died suddenly from a stroke in June.

Bethany Sikes, a sixth-year pupil who organised a competition to find the winning design, said: “Mr Caddell was a really inspiring teacher and an integral part of the school.

“One of his many unique ways was wearing crazy ties – and he was quite well known for that.

“The day after we found out about his death, there was a spontaneous thing where everyone came into school wearing a crazy tie and it became a symbol for him.”

Bethany and her school friends wanted to do something that would act as a permanent reminder of Mr Caddell’s contribution to the Marchmont school.

When first-year pupil Mikaela Carmichael came up with a striking design featuring skylines from Edinburgh, the US, Thailand and India, it was chosen as a winner from more than 400 entries.

Bethany said: “We chose a tie that’s fun and crazy and also one he would have worn.

“I would like to see this tie become a school tie and an alternative to the traditional one.”

Mr Caddell, above, who was also a guidance teacher at Gillespie’s, would often arrive at the school sporting a tie adorned with the likes of Bart Simpson, as well as brightly coloured violins and penguins.

To pay his respects to the popular figure, James Gillespie’s new headteacher, Donald Macdonald – who just started at the school this week – wore the new tie on his first day.

He also plans to consult with pupils – who do not have an official school uniform – over when they think the new tie should be worn and whether a uniform should be introduced.

Mr Macdonald said: “What I’m keen to do is listen to youngsters and consult with parents about whether or not a more formalised uniform is appropriate here.

“The tie has been designed by youngsters so I’m keen to ask them when the tie should be worn.

“It could be that we have themed days where it is worn, or during special events like musical performances.

“I wore it on my first day as a gesture to support the charity and to pay my respects to Mr Caddell.”

He described him as a “larger-than-life character” who was “charismatic and popular” among pupils and staff.

Speaking of her winning design, Mikaela, 12, said: “I started with a few squiggly lines and thought it looked a bit like a skyline.

“We do a lot of multicultural things in school so my design has skylines of Edinburgh Castle, America, Thailand and India.

“It’s a bit weird seeing people wearing it but I hope Mr Caddell would have been pleased with it.”

The tie is on sale at the school priced £7, with all proceeds going to Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.