A DRAMA teacher whose own experience of bullying made him determined to stand up against homophobia has been nominated for one of the Pride of Edinburgh Awards.
John Naples-Campbell, 33, a performing arts lecturer at Edinburgh College who previously taught Drama at Knox Academy, Haddington, and Maxwelltown High School, Dumfries, was chosen for the Teacher of the Year accolade by his sister Danielle Campbell. Nursery nurse Danielle, 28, who also lives in Grassmarket, said it was her brother’s tireless struggle against homophobia and other forms of hatred that led her to nominate him.
“John has changed so many young lives by being open about his sexuality and becoming a role model to the young people he teaches.
“I am so proud of him and all he does to try and make sure that every young person he teaches feels valued and respected in their learning environment. He was bullied at school for being gay and now seeing him tackle the same kind of bullying in his job makes me aware that we need more people to stand up to hatred.”
And she isn’t the only one who feels Mr Naples-Campbell deserves recognition.
He recently become the first teacher in Scotland to be awarded professional recognition for his work in Equality and Diversity (LGBT Education) by the General Teaching Council of Scotland.
Mr Naples-Campbell was also recently applauded for his success in convincing Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson to become a patron of Edinburgh College’s Performing Arts Studio of Scotland, with hopes she will also come to teach masterclasses at some point in the future.
He said he was genuinely touched by his sister’s nomination.
He said: “All I’m doing is what I think is right. When I was a pupil at Firhill High School I was bullied about being gay, and my drama teacher Mrs Chetty was a real support to me. She was actually the first person I came out to properly and I always saw her classroom as a safe space. All I want to do is create the same kind of safe environment for my pupils.”
The Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Edinburgh BioQuarter, is one of 13 separate awards up for grabs in the awards being run in conjunction with Lidl.
Nominations are also open for Student of the Year, which is being sponsored by Queen Margaret University.
The university’s Deputy Principal Professor Alan Gilloran said: “Edinburgh’s students have the power to go out into the world and make a real difference.
“We should do everything we can to keep them motivated, to encourage their thirst for knowledge and equip them with the right skills and knowledge to improve people’s lives. Sponsoring The Student of the Year provides us with the opportunity to recognise some of their achievements and share in their successes.”
The Pride of Edinburgh awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Winners will be announced on Friday, May 16, at the Assembly Rooms.
HOW TO NOMINATE
THE Pride of Edinburgh awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Winners will be announced on Friday, May 16, at the Assembly Rooms.
The easiest way to nominate someone for The Pride of Edinburgh Awards is by visiting www.prideofedinburgh.co.uk.
This dedicated website will allow you to choose which category you wish to enter, as well as allowing you to tell us all about your nominee.
If you prefer to enter by post, please send your entry to Edinburgh Evening News, The Pride of Edinburgh Awards, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS. Entries must include your name, address and telephone number. A nomination form is printed on p48.
Please make it clear which category you wish to enter your nominee for and explain why you think they deserve to win the award. Closing date is Monday, April 21.