Schools of Sanctuary Ireland was thrilled to start the new school year with an award ceremony for two new Champion Schools. Large groups of wonderful students from Mercy Secondary School (Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath) and St Nathy’s College (Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon) enjoyed a visit to Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), Athlone Campus on Friday September 22nd. They were each presented with their Champion plaques and certificates. It’s always an exciting experience for second-level students to visit a university campus and this university happens to be a very proud University of Sanctuary too!
The schools were each entirely represented by students, who spoke of the Sanctuary journey in their schools. Many students read poems, some in their home languages of Dari, Ukrainian, Arabic and Portuguese. Congratulations to all of the students who were so brave and proud to stand on a theatre stage and speak in public like this!
As well as inspiring words from TUS Vice President Frances O’ Connell, herself a stalwart advocate of Sanctuary, we enjoyed speeches from two very special guests, both Sanctuary Scholars at 3rd level. The first speaker was a young Syrian man Mohammad Zaid, a former student of St Nathy’s College and now of University of Galway. He spoke of the amazing supports that he received from his former school and how much the teachers there have helped him achieve his dreams thus far. The second speaker was a Sanctuary Ambassador from Malawi, Tika Mwalughali. Tika was a Sanctuary scholar at undergraduate level and is now studying for a Masters in Accounting. She has an inspiring drive, commitment and passion for equality and for education. In her speech, she encouraged all the students there to dream big and then go grab those dreams with both hands!
Our sincerest thanks to our friends in TUS for their enthusiasm to present this event on their campus and for all of their support. And our final, and most important, thanks goes to all of the wonderful teachers of Mercy Secondary School and St Nathy’s College who not only helped to make the ceremony and visit a huge success for their student groups but, of course, have been instrumental in garnering the Champion School of Sanctuary status for their schools!