The screenwriter, fresh from the success of All Quiet On The Western Front at the Academy Awards, told children at the Stirling-based school to dream big – and never give up on their ambitions.
Lesley, who also attended Stirling High, promised the Allan’s pupils she would chat and take part in a Q&A after they sent her a good luck message ahead of the biggest event in the movie calendar earlier this month.
She joined P5-P7s on a Google Meet from her home in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon (21 March) as she recalled the journey to bring the book she first read as a schoolgirl in Stirling to the big screen.
Lesley, who is also a world class triathlete, may have missed out on an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, but All Quiet On The Western Front still took four awards, making it the most successful Netflix movie ever at the Academy Awards.
Lesley told pupils: “A lot of people in my life have told me: ‘You can’t do that, you aren’t good enough, don’t bother trying’.
“But if you are really passionate and have a dream about something and you really want to do it, then follow that dream, no matter what. Just keep going.
“I’m still in touch with some of the best friends I made at Allan’s and we had some amazing teachers. Hopefully, next time I’m in Scotland I’ll come and visit you at the school – and keep telling your stories.”
Allan’s Primary head teacher Lindsey Howland added: “Lesley promised the children she would join them for an assembly – and she was as good as her word. She has been such an inspiration to the children and her messages of resilience and never giving up have really struck a chord with the pupils.
“Lesley has displayed hard work, perseverance, discipline and creativity throughout her career and these are attributes that resonate with the children.”
Cllr Danny Gibson, Convenor of the Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “Lesley is another wonderful Stirling success story.
“Her determination and never-say-die attitude in the worlds of sport and cinema are a fantastic example to pupils across Stirling about achieving their full potential.
“We thank her for taking the time and sharing her fabulous story with our young people.”