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Busy week with Minister’s visit and Yellow Flag award

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By Michelle Crean

It was a busy week for one school last week as not only were they awarded the Yellow Flag for their work in promoting diversity, inclusion and equality - but they also welcomed in the Education Minister and a Kerry TD.

YELLOW FLAG AWARD: Education Minister Norma Foley with the Yellow Flag committee: Shauna Myers and Elizabeth O'Shea pictured at the front and Mehek Asghar Jasmine Shehabali Myassar Saleh and Daria Pokojska.

St Brigid's Presentation Killarney gave a warm welcome to Minister Norma Foley and TD Danny Healy-Rae on Friday morning last. There they met with members of the Student Council and members of the Yellow Flag committee.

The school is only one of five schools nationally to attain the Yellow Flag for their work in promoting diversity, inclusion and equality for all in St Brigid's.

Minister Foley chatted with many students and staff, visited the ASD class where Zoomer the school's therapy dog was delighted to meet with the Minister. Minister Foley's final stop on her visit was the green field site where St Brigid's future new school will be located.

"It is great to see an alumni of a Pres and CEIST school currently in the role of Minister for Education. We are delighted she was able to visit and chat with the students," school PRO, Sheree Murphy, said.

YELLOW FLAG AWARD

The ‘Yellow Flag Programme’ - made up of all kinds of people, those with different hopes, dreams, languages, cultures, beliefs and ways of life - was established in St Brigid's in 2020.

Some of the initiatives carried out by the active Yellow Flag committee include a Culture Day promoting the many cultures and ethnicities.

"We also ran a school wide diversity code competition where we asked our students to lend us their voices to design a diversity code for us to live by," teacher Cliona Hallissy said.

"There was a huge response with students displaying their creative talents through exceptional pieces of artwork and eloquent pieces of writing. We were thrilled when the Irish Traveller Movement informed us that the school had received a Yellow Flag in recognition of the work carried out to promote diversity and inclusion."

A virtual ceremony took place on Thursday last which was hosted via Zoom by RTÉ presenter Emer O’Neill. All 20 members of the Yellow Flag committee attended and enjoyed a wonderful celebration of their work.

Sixth Year Daria Pokojska gave a student perspective on what the programme meant to her and Miss Hallissy spoke from a teacher’s perspective about the importance of the ‘Yellow Flag Programme’ to the school community.

On Friday Minister Foley celebrated the students’ achievement. The national co-ordinator of the Yellow Flag Programme, Molly Brady-Martin, was also in attendance."The enthusiastic committee all received certificates recognising their participation. Students received a letter from the President Michael D. Higgins congratulating them on their commitment to a truly inclusive education."

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Do facial treatments hurt?

It can be difficult to book your first facial, as you aren’t sure what your skin needs or what’s involved, but don’t worry, as that’s our job to make it […]

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Plan ahead for College Open Days

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore. For more careers information see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
 

The College Open Day season for 2023 entrants starts in earnest in early October.

From then on, the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and Agricultural colleges will showcase what they have to offer to potential students. Further Education Colleges tend to host their open days from January onwards. Thankfully HEIs are back to hosting in-person open days but many are offering more specific information sessions on particular courses and departments virtually. College Open Days give students and parents a great chance to find out lots of interesting and detailed information about courses of interest and the many supports available, as well as giving the opportunity to get a feel for the college by availing of campus tours. You will find a complete list of the open days in the events sections of www.qualifax.ie and on www.careersportal.ie so take some time to make a list of the ones you want to attend.

Prepare and plan 

Do some basic research on the courses on offer. Check the entry requirements for each course of interest as you will need to meet these to be eligible to compete for a place on the course. Check out the modules and whether Erasmus or travel abroad options are available, as well as work placement. Don’t ignore a course or open day because you don’t expect to get enough points. You may do far better than you anticipate.
Have a good look at the college website – register for the open day in advance, download the schedule of talks and make note of the ones you want to attend. Make sure to download a map of the campus so you know exactly where to find the talks and presentations of interest. Jot down any questions you have as you will hopefully get a chance to talk to college staff and/or current students. Plan to arrive in plenty time as there are likely to be very large crowds attending. On the day, try to gather information about accommodation, clubs and societies and student supports. Many HEIs run talks for parents and on grants, HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) so check them out. Make sure to get contact details for any staff members which may be important later for follow-up questions.

Atmosphere

There is nothing like a College Open Day to give you a sense of what the campus feels like. Soak up the atmosphere and consider if the size of the campus is the best fit for you. Larger campuses can be intimidating for some students while exciting for others. Smaller campuses can feel more comfortable and manageable. You will know what feels right for you. Bear in mind that open days have a festival feel to them and regular college days are not always like that. This may be your only chance to visit the campus before you register there as a student so make the most of your day and enjoy it!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore. For more careers information see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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