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Jane part of Ireland’s first third-level outdoor classroom

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney student was one of a group of trainee teachers at Mary Immaculate College to set up the very first outdoor education classroom in a third level college.

Jane McGillicuddy, from Kilcummin, is in her fourth and final year at the Limerick College.

Her speciality subject is geography and she and her fellow students, with support from the teaching staff at the college, founded An Choill Bheag (The Small Forest) on the grounds of the college.

The new project will serve as an outdoor classroom for future students at the college and prepare them to teach all aspects of geography, nature and environmental studies.

It was supported by Learning About Forests (LEAF) which is an international programme operated in Ireland by the outdoor Education Unit of An Taisce.

Earlier this week, LEAF Ireland planted almost one hundred native trees with students and staff from Mary Immaculate College and this woodland habitat will provide an on-site educational and recreational resource for the whole college community.

“This will be there for years to come,” Jane, a former student at both Holy Cross Mercy National School and St Brigid’s Secondary School, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It will promote outdoor learning. Our teachers managed the whole project but we did all the physical work like preparing the ground, marking out the area and planting the trees.”

As part of the Choill Bheag project student teachers have attended forest-based workshops in Coillte Curraghchase Forest Park, where they were shown a variety of different ways that the outdoors can be used to educate children in all curricular areas.

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Top awards for innovative students

By Michelle Crean Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards. The five […]

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By Michelle Crean

Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards.

The five members of ‘Operation Red’ in St Brigid’s Secondary School were celebrating this week after receiving a national Bronze Award for their project which is raising awareness about the lack of knowledge surrounding menstrual disorders. Their goal is to encourage open discussion on these issues, so no woman ever feels alone. The team will receive a prize bursary of €750, which can be put towards developing their idea and increasing the impact of their innovation.

Young Social Innovators is a non-profit organisation that believes in the power of youth. Its vision is to empower, equip and inspire young people to change the world for good. The girls’ project was one of 34 shortlisted from over 400 YSI groups around Ireland.

“As part of our project we’re in the process of developing resources for the SPHE classes in our school,” Transition Year student Anna Cashman told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We’ll try it here as a pilot project and branch out to other schools.”

She added that plans so far include educating students by putting an information booklet together using HSE and NHS advice.

“It’s important to have the right information as it’s a very under researched issue. We have had a positive response to it.”

Cait Fitzgerald Healy from YSI arrived to the school as a surprise to the group and presented the girls with their trophy towards the end of the online ceremony. There was huge excitement all round! Teacher and mentor Catherine O’Donoghue also received the ‘Let them Shine’ award for her involvement with YSI over the last five years.

MAKE OUR WORLD SAFER AWARD

Picking up the ‘Make Our World Safer Award’, a team from St Brendan’s College was recognised for its ‘One Punch Can Kill’ project, which aims to combat toxic masculinity and raise awareness amongst young men of the seriousness of ‘one punch attacks’.

When researching the issue, the team found that many perpetrators rarely reoffend and the percentage of male-on-male violence in society is extremely high. The group examined the route cause of the issue, which stems from a variety of factors, and wanted to raise awareness that spontaneous and random ‘one punch attacks’ can have serious and life-changing consequences.

Amongst its many actions, the team embarked on media outreach, designed and delivered student workshops, created a poster campaign, held an Anti Violence Week and is currently working on a children’s book in an effort to promote the important message that ‘One Punch Can Kill’.

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Pres footballers are in seventh heaven

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The St Brigid’s Presentation Second Year footballers were crowned County Junior B champions on Friday last following a superb seven-goal victory over Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in the Ballymac sunshine.

The girls hit the ground running, bagging two quick goals from the boots of Lily O’Shaughnessy and Niamh Cantillon.

The Pres defence was solid and dogged throughout and managed to keep Mounthawk from breaching their goal for the duration. Abby Cronin scored three goals and a point to torment the oppostion and Niamh Cantillon scored a second goal plus a point to keep the Killarney school well in front.

Further scores from Muireann Healy and a final goal from Lara O’Neill gave us a final score of 7-4 to 0-11.

It was an excellent performance from the entire team, including the substitutes who all played their part. Captain Eve Culhane proudly accepted the cup on behalf of the team, and St Brigid’s, at the end of the game and joyous celebrations followed.

Congratulations to all the players and to their trainers: Mr Counihan, Ms Healy and Ms Brosnan.

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