ST Patrick’s Boys’ National School in Skibbereen has been named joint winner of a national competition.
The school was named at a special awards ceremony in Blanchardstown, Dublin, last Thursday. The competition is run by regional newspapers’ representative group Local Ireland and the main sponsor is the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Each project was championed by their local newspaper with the Skibbereen boys’ school project having been entered in conjunction with The Southern Star.
The school competed for the overall award against projects from Tipperary, Limerick, Longford, Leitrim and Sligo.
The previous week the judging panel visited each project and all of them were also filmed during the on-site judging process. The school will now be awarded a €3,000 prize.
Principal Alan Foley and teacher Brian Granaghan who led the initiative, along with other staff members of the school, met with the judges, along with Sean Mahon, managing director, and Con Downing, editor, of The Southern Star.
The awards presentation took place last week in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown with the Skibbereen school’s principal Alan Foley and teacher Brian Granaghan, as well as Con Downing, editor of The Southern Star, in attendance. The school’s pupils received great praise for their work on the project, which is ongoing and is one that schools all over the country could copy.
Each shortlisted project had to make a two-minute ‘Dragon’s Den’-style presentation to the judges and a short film of each project was also screened.
‘To win the Get Involved competition has just been incredible,’ principal Alan Foley told The Southern Star. ‘To even be shortlisted was a massive achievement as it is a national competition. We travelled to Dublin last week, more in hope than expectation, and we had a fantastic day but to win was the icing on the cake. The whole school community – pupils, parents and staff – are so proud of what we have created. On behalf of the school, I would like to thank everybody who has supported us since we started our garden 14 months ago. Without that support, we would not be where we are today.’
He said the school recently surveyed parents and found that 64% of parents had started growing at home, directly as a result of their child’s interest in the school garden.
A total of 59% of parents said that the school garden had transformed their child’s eating habits.
‘One of our 5th class pupils said to me that it was a great way to interact with nature. It is also educational for them as they can learn all about soils, the right temperature for plants and about plants themselves. Our garden has a geodome which allows us to grow things such as rice, pineapple and tea. We also have a zen garden which our ASD pupils use to relax and play in,’ added Mr Foley.