Student Council recently spent money on four new benches and parasols that can be now found in the Courtyard area opposite the canteen. We also spent money on some new footballs for the school.
As usual we ran our annual Student of the Month contest in the College. This year we were kindly sponsored by Four Lanterns. Well done to all our winners pictured here alongside Mr.Darby and our Head of Student of the Month Oisin Nee.
This year, Student Council released a survey in a effort to gauge what the students of Saint Eunans, wanted in clubs. After we received the results we planned to run a Film Club, Sports Club and Debate Club which were all well received among the students. Big thank you to Mr. O'Herlihy, Mr. Kelly and Ms. Costello for helping us run these clubs!
It has been a very busy year so far for the Student Council. We held elections for a total of 15 new student council officers, to make up the 16 man council, at the beginning of the year. In October we responded to student suggestions by purchasing six brand new footballs for all students to use at lunch times. Shortly after this we arranged for the RSA Road Safety promoting Shuttle Bus to make a stop at the college. We can safely say that nearly every student from TY to sixth year got the opportunity to have this beneficial interactive learning experience. Then in December we held our annual Christmas Jumper Day to help raise money for the Council so we can do even more for students in 2016. The new year has arrived and we are optimistic after our recent meeting with Councillor James Pat McDaid that our exciting ideas will soon come to fruition.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our principal Mr. Chris Darby and staff members for all their support.
ISSU – Irish Second-level Students’ Union.
The ISSU Annual General Meeting provided an opportunity for second-level students from around Ireland to meet to discuss issues and concerns that are important to them and their schools. Students who attended the ISSU AGM got the chance to voice their opinions, create motions and elect students to the new National Student Executive for the following year.
Itinerary for the AGM
10:30 – 10:45 Registration
10:45 – 11:40 Liberty Hall Theatre – ISSU Introduction
11:00 – 11:10 Welcome to AGM
11:10 – 11:20 Keynote Address followed by Q&A session:
11:40 – 12:30 Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’ Sullivan TD
12:30 – 13:40 Assigned group with ISSU Officer – Group work & discussion topic
13:40 – 14:00 Liberty Hall Theatre – AGM protocol & Election speeches
14:00 – 14:20 Lunch
14:20 – 15:50 Connolly Area – Voting (Delegates only)
15:50 – 16:30 Liberty Hall Theatre – NSE Reports, Motions, NSE Plan Presentation
Liberty Hall Theatre – Election results & wrap up
Students were given Green or Orange badges after registration.
Green badges – This meant you were able to vote on motions/ constitutional amendments and the ISSU elections.
Orange badges – This meant you are an observer and would not be able to vote. This may be because more than two students were attending from your school or your student council has not yet joined the ISSU.
Also the National Student Executive officers wore blue badges. The ISSU AGM Facilitators wore yellow badges.
ISSU AGM 2015
Keynote Address from Minister for Education and Skills
Jan O’ Sullivan T.D
Speaking about her role as Minister for Education and Skills, Minister O’ Sullivan said:
“I believe that education is central to our idea of citizenship, our economic recovery and our social progress. Education has the capacity to transform our lives and our communities in a fundamental way.
As Minister for Education and Skills I have a duty to ensure that our policies and funding decisions support the continued growth and improvement of our education system and that all citizens, regardless of age, gender or social background have equal access to appropriate, quality education services.
I am also committed to ensuring that the skills element of my portfolio contributes to our economic recovery as we use every lever to ensure that people have the skills and confidence to return to work as job opportunities increase.
I have a challenging and exciting job. I have a clear vision of the role of education in modern Irish society over the coming years. However, I do not claim to have a monopoly of wisdom. I would be interested in hearing from your views by email to email@example.com I am also looking forward to working closely with each of the partners during my tenure as Minister.”
Group Work and Discussion Topic
Students were split up into groups and brought into another room. The groups were then introduced to their Group Leader who was also a National Students Executive officer. First all students in the group were introduced to one another by playing a game. Then each student in the group was given a chance to raise an issue or talk about things they felt strongly about. The Group Leader recorded all the issues and topics which were raised by the group. Then a member from each group was nominated to speak about what their group had discussed in front of all the students at the AGM.
Issues discussed by groups included:
• PE course in schools i.e. Not just football
• Irish examination for LC
• Junior Cert reform
• Career Guidance in schools
• CSPE course in JC
The students who ran for National Student Executive positions were allowed 2 minutes each to give their opinions and explain to students why they should get their votes.
The National Student Executive positions:
• Deputy President
• Education Officer
• Welfare and Equality Officer
• Irish Language Officer
• International Officer
• Campaigns and Communications Officer
• Student Council Support Officer
There were 18 candidates running for the above positions.
Only delegates who registered for voting and joined the ISSU are allowed to vote. Each member school has two delegates who can vote.
National Student Executive elections are done by secret ballot using the proportional representation single transferrable vote system.
ISSU Work Plan 2015 – 2016
The work plan is a plan of the main work that ISSU will undertake as an organisation for 2015 – 2016 year. This work will be mainly led by the National Student Executive but will also include the National Council, Regional Council of Schools and Student Council members at grass root level. It is important that the ISSU Work Plan includes everything that members feel should be ISSU’s main priorities for the year.
2014 – 2015 Priorities included:
• LGBT Rights Movement – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
• Junior Cert Reform
There was one motion put forward from a school. This was
‘To support the continuing development, assessment, accreditation and certification by the State Examination Commission of the second-level examinations in Ireland.’
Other motions related to ISSU constitutional amendments andall motions were carried.
President: Rob O’ Donnell
Deputy President: Joanna Siewierska
Education Officer: Jane M. Hayes Nally
Welfare and Equality Officer: Isabelle Geraghty
Irish Language Officer: Liam Morris
International Officer: Gearoid Dardis
Campaigns and Communications Officer: Art O’ Mahony
Secretary: Helen Ryan
Student Council Support Officer: Alex Fogarty
Honorary President: Craig Mc Hugh
ISSU AGM 2015
Note to all members from outgoing ISSU President 2014 – 2015
Craig Mc Hugh
This year, our student voice is more relative than ever before. We are witnessing change within our second-level education system with the implementation of curricular reform such aswith the Junior Certificate and also discussions on voting at the age of sixteen has moved our student voice on to our national airwaves and into the pockets of citizens nationally through social media.
Last April I was elected President of the ISSU. I stood before a group of students just like you to make my case and to provide commitments as to why I should lead the ISSU. My key goal was to improve accessibility and relevancy. As a student lead organisation - I believe we should be proud to provide the persona and representation of the diverse student population that exists within our society. Chairing the National Student Executive (NSE), leading the ISSU and developing our agenda with the team this past year has certainly been challenging but equally rewarding. The opportunities the ISSU has created for all of us are of an indescribable nature. It has been an honour acting as the President of the ISSU and I am very excited to be returning as Honorary President for the 2015 – 2016 term; a year that I know will be filled with interest but also of change.
We have successfully built on our strengths as an organisation and have set out priorities for making ISSU as inclusive of an organisation as possible. One of the first decisions of the NSE this year was to declare support for the LGBT rights movement. As a student lead organisation we feel it is our responsibility to contribute to the formation of an equal Irish society and an equal second-level student environment. Following this and other international events to which we have been involved with we have developed our first ISSU Equality Policy.
As I have previously said, the next twelve months will be driven by change. The work plans set out for the NSE is fuelled with potential, and from what I have grasped the calibre of those going forward and leading the ISSU next are second to none. For next year’s team, I cannot stress how important membership development is. We need to be constantly thinking of how to expand our membership base and aim to engage on a grassroots level with second-level student councils and we need to always be striving to engage with our student representatives across the country.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for committing to taking the time from your Easter Break to come to Dublin for ISSU AGM 2015. It’s essential that these events are student led and student focused. It’s important that students turn out for events like these as it ensures students in Ireland are correctly represented on local and national levels.
In Ireland today, 1,831 men are supporting #HeForShe. If you want to join this Solidarity Movement, visit www.heforshe.org, “so [your] daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that [your] sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too.”
In further support of this campaign, the Student Councils of Saint Eunan's College and Loreto Convent organised a debate on the matter, with the motion: "Women are not afforded fair opportunities, even in today's society".
The Debate took place on the 30th of January in Loreto Convent and was attended by over one hundred students from St Eunan's College and Loreto Convent. !The debate took a somewhat unorthodox approach, with the boys from St Eunan’s supporting the motion, debating that women are not given fair rights and opportunities; and the Loreto girls opposed the motion, arguing that women are in fact afforded fair rights and opportunities.
The debate teams of Loreto Convent and St Eunan’s College consisted respectively of students from every year group. Michael Kelly, teacher at St Eunan’s College and supporter of the debate remarked that it was great to see the older boys supporting the younger students, and vice versa. “I think the best thing about the debate, was the collaboration between Loreto Convent and St Eunan’s College. It's great to see the two bodies working together in things such as this Debate, this year's musical and Transition Year Media Studies Videos”.
The arguments were strong, thought-provoking and poignant. Shay Halligan, debater at St Eunan’s College who tackled Mental Health shocked the audience when he said that, according to the reputable Mental Health Associations, women are much more likely to be prescribed medication for Mental Illness, while Vanessa, of the opposition argued that this is because men are, from nature, less willing and able to talk about their feelings which contributed to the fact that according to the C.S.O., in 2011 in Ireland 84% of suicides were committed by men, suggesting that it’s not that women have an abnormally high rate of mental illness diagnoses, rather that men have an abnormally low rate.
Other points made varied from our pre-history, education, sport, media perception of women, stereotypes, sexualisation of women in the film industry and many, many more. Adjudicator, Dr Sharon McLaughlin of the Department of Law and Humanities of LYIT agreed that "Gender Equality is undoubtedly a complex issue and it is fantastic to witness young people engaging wholeheartedly with the issue. The students of Loreto and St Eunan's are to be commended for debating the issue in such a competent, articulate and thought-provoking manner". The Student Councils would like to thank Dr McLaughlin, Dr Ramsey and the Department of Law and Humanities in the LYIT for their support and advice regarding the debate.
While the Student Councils agreed that there should be no winner as it would defeat their purpose, the message was heard loud and clear. “There has been very positive feedback from the staff and students of both schools; the topic is extremely strong and envokes a lot of interest and, as Dr McLaughlin said, is so so very complex, but that the debaters did very well to address them as they did”.
“Gender Equality, in my opinion, is a topic which is brushed under the carpet a little bit. We seem to think that it’s not as much of an issue in Ireland as it actually is: statistics can be interpreted in many ways, but, as Emma Watson said, “both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum; not as two opposing sets of ideals,” said Ayrton Kelly on behalf of St Eunan’s Student Council.
“It was our view as a Student Council that we needed to tackle this from a different angle: we needed to dosomething that engaged and excited and envoked interest. This debate is exactly that. But we have a lot more planned too for this Academic Year, so keep an eye out!”
Mr Chris Darby, Principal of St Eunan’s College added that “The HeForShe debate held in the convent last week was a brilliant example of cooperation between our two schools. Students really bought into the project and the level of debate on both sides reflected the huge amount of thought and effort that went into the preparation of the event. The arguments presented by both sides were particularly detailed and intricate and gave us a great insight into the maturity of the students and their commitment and interest to dealing with serious and complex issues. Both schools I think benefited enormously - particularly the debaters themselves and those in attendance - from the experience and I look forward to more debates of this nature in the future. A great learning experience for all. The speakers and audience should be proud of the manner in which they conducted themselves. Finally, thanks to Loreto for hosting the event and making us most welcome. Hopefully we can return the complement and host the next event in this fantastic programme”.
The Student Councils’ support of Gender Equality comes after the launch of the #HeForShe Campaign which was launched at the UN Headquarters back in September 2014. “HeForShe is a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all.”
Saint Eunan’s College student council are collaborating with their counterparts in Loreto Convent to launch a gender equality campaign this week. The student councils are showing their support for the United Nations #HeforShecampaign which is a solidarity movement for gender equality by coming together to help raise awareness about gender inequality in their local and global communities. They are launching the campaign this week by putting up signs which they designed together. One at the Polestar roundabout and the other in front of the Pine Hill Business Park, at the Mountain Top.
When we all came back after the holidays we outlined which projects we would like to be involved in this year. Kicking off the year in an enjoyable but informative way we promoted the nation-wide Blue September ‘Keepy Uppy Challenge’ to raise awareness of men’s cancer. We then decided to help promote the use of Irish language by taking part in Gaeilge 24. This involved a 24hrs sponsored speak Gaeilge only. Another one of our aims for the year was to find an international project to collaborate with the Loreto Convent Student Council and to raise the profile of our student council in the Letterkenny area. This, lead us to the #HeforShe campaign launched by Emma Watson. Gender inequality is a very important issue for our student council to quote Emma Watson “if we do nothing it will take 75 years……..before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education.”
The campaign will then go on until the end of the school year. Both councils are planning to hold a gender inequality awareness week starting on 16th January with a series of activities including a joint schools debate and guest speakers. Later on in the year we hope to hold joint hockey match with other plans to be decided. These activities will be used to inform students about gender inequality and which students from both schools will be able to participate.
Ayrton Kelly secretary of Saint Eunan’s student council had this to say; “I'm really proud to be a member of the Student Council here in Saint Eunan's College. We've done an absolutely huge amount this year and over the past couple of years for our peers - most recently Gaeilge 24 and the Blue September campaign, as well as a non-uniform day which has raised funds that will soon be spent on what students want and need. #HeForShe is something different however, it's not something that the boys would ask for, nor is it something that they think they need. But it is. To quote Emma Watson, a UN Ambassador and supporter of HeForShe: "[there are] young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either... Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals."
And that is why we are getting involved with and supporting #HeForShe. Just as our peers in the Loreto Convent agree, we men need to stop being victims of Gender Inequality, and we want to be part of something that we feel will change that.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our principal Mr. Chris Darby and the school communities of Saint Eunan’s College and the Loreto Convent for their continued support.
We would also like to thank the Donegal County Council sincerely for sponsoring the cost of renting the signs.
"Má tá beagáinín Gaeilge agat, labhair í!" - Over one hundred staff and students speak Irish for the
day in St Eunan's College !
Letterkenny, 24 November 2014 - On the 11th of November) the Student Council of St Eunan's College got involved in Gaeilge24, a nationwide campaign to promote the use and love of the Irish Language! Gaeilge24 has been organised by Conradh na Gaeilge for the past three years; its aim is to "inspire young people to speak Irish for 24 hours: at home, at school, in shops, with businesses, around their hometown, in sports clubs, at youth clubs and everywhere else too!", and it has most certainly done that in St Eunan's College!
Gaeilge24 was brought to the attention of the Student Council in early October, when one of the members saw a Tweet from the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs promoting Gaeilge24, and encouraging students and schools to take part!
The day was a huge success, with one hundred students officially taking part and many more using Gaeilge in any and every way the could: "Ba mhaith le Roinn na Gaeilge comhghairdeachas a dhéanamh le na daltaí uilig a ghlac páirt i nGaeilge 24. Rinne gach dalta sár-iarracht an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn agus í a spreagadh i measc daltaí uile na scoile. Comhghairdeachas fosta le Comhairle na Mac Léinn as scoth na hoibre in eagrú na hocáide agus as atmaisféar Gaelach a
chnithiú sa scoil ar an lá sin. (The Irish Department would like to congratulate every student who took part in Gaeilge 24. Every student did their absolute best which inspired all the students of the school. Congratulations as well to the Student Council, for their work in the organisation of Gaeilge24.)" - Ms Diane Sweeney, teacher and head of the Department of Irish
at St Eunan's College!
The Irish language is very important to the Student Council and management of St Eunan's College. "It's the first and official language of Ireland, and though that doesn't mean as much as it used to, we still felt the responsibility to promote the language in our halls, to our students and ultimately to their families. Irish, and all Celtic Languages are very unique. Our feeling towards the Student Council can be summed up in an old Irish proverb - Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam - that is,
a country without a language is a country without a soul. We have an immense sense of pride in our language and country, and it really was a no-brainer to get involved in a campaign that would promote the irish language in such a fun way," added Ayrton Kelly on behalf of the Student Council!
The day itself saw "seanfhocail" and phrases put up throughout the school so that all students could be immersed in the Irish Language. There was also a quiz at lunchtime, and a prize at the end of the day for students who made the best effort - as chosen by the staff of the College. The Student Council would like to thank all the Irish teachers of St Eunan's who were so supportive, and in particular to Ms Martina Gormley who helped an unparalleled amount with everything, and to Ms Una Ní Fhatharta and Ms Máire Ioannidis who organised the quiz!
Níos mó eolas ar Gaeilge24 ar suíomh Conradh na Gaeilge.