independent

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Life-changing messages for students

Published 25/09/2013 | 05:36

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STUDENTS at St Brendan's College were taught a life-changing message this week and it was all thanks to a very welcome visitor.

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Fionnbarr Walsh, father of the late Donal Walsh, was the keynote speaker at the launch of the school's Respect Week 2013 and on Monday he addressed each year group in turn.

His message was loud and clear but delivered in a matter of fact manner that struck a chord with students - it was that no young person should ever feel that suicide could offer a solution.

Donal's words were brought to life via YouTube clips and Fionnbarr revealed how the teenager had fought with three bouts of cancer yet still managed to pass on key elements of his message to a national audience.

Fighting bravely to stay alive, he also revealed how Donal had become frustrated with his awareness of the prevalence of suicide as an option in the lives of teenagers and young adults.

Donal eventually lost his fight for life in May 2013 and Fionnbarr and his wife Alma continue the delivery of his crucial message online, through speaking engagements and in a forthcoming documentary

"Donal's belief in living life to the full and in the importance of reaching out if feeling low will not be forgotten," Principal Seán Coffey stated afterwards.

Sixth year students also made a presentation to Fionnbar Walsh to mark the occasion.

Dignity Week provides students at the school with an opportunity to work with a variety of visiting speakers, workshops and activities to highlight self-respect and the importance of engaging with the community and the environment.

Also involved in the week-long activities are South West Counselling Centre, stress and breathing coach Eoin Burns, Cllr Michael Gleeson, gardaí, Kerry Mental Health, Cappanalea Outdoor Education Centre, The Samaritans and Jigsaw.

Kerryman

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