THE pupils and staff at Ardfert Central National School have described their delight, shock and elation following the news that the school had scooped top prize in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme.
At the Young Entrepreneur Awards in Killarney last week the school was named as winners of the entrepreneur education programme's junior section thanks to their work in creating a Kerry-based educational board game "King of the Kingdom."
The board game was the result of hard work carried out by every one of the school's 199 pupils who spent months designing the game which sees players travel around a map of Kerry, stopping at landmarks and answering various questions ranging from maths puzzles to local history.
The pupils came up with the questions themselves and designed the board which was then produced for them by Tralee Printing Works.
The entire school was involved in the project helping out with tasks ranging from designing the board itself, to collecting buttons to be used as playing pieces and cutting out the thousands of individual question cards.
Retailing at just €9.99 the game is available from the school and has already proved a huge hit locally with parents and residents of Ardfert and its surrounding areas snapping up copies of the game. Winning the award was made all the sweeter for the school by the fact that they had been just pipped to the top prize in last year's competition.
All of the school's sixth class pupils attended the awards ceremony in Killarney's Malton Hotel and when the winners of the award were announced, pupils Ronan McElligott and Aoife Lyne represented the school in an interview with the awards ceremony host TV3's Colette Fitzpatrick.
School Principal Betty Stack said everyone at the school was thrilled to have won the award.
"It's brilliant and everyone here is absolutely delighted. We were pipped at the post last year and that was disappointing but it makes winning the award this year even more special. The children and staff put so much work into the game and they really deserve all the recognition they get. It's fantastic," she said.
"It's a brilliant but very simple idea that could actually be rolled out in any county in Ireland. To be honest I really think we should patent it," said Principal Stack.
"The children had a wonderful night at the awards and I'm sure seeing all the entrepreneurs up on stage made a big impression on their little minds. To top it all off we have a beautiful trophy that we'll treasure and €500 in prize money that we'll be able to use to give the children a treat," she said.