'Gatsby' proves a big hit on visit to Skerries Community College
The Transition Year students of Skerries Community College got a chance to get up close and personal with a guide dog and learn about the value highly trained dogs like this one brings to the lives of their owners.
Guide dogs can have a completely transformative effect on their owners, winning them back that precious sense of independence.
To illustrate the point, the group of Transition Year students were visited by well known guide dog user, Tom O'Neill and his faithful companion, 'Gatsby'.
The TY students of Skerries Community College were paid a surprise visit recently when Gatsby the guide dog, and his owner Tom O'Neill and a representative from the local branch of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind who arrived unannounced to their classroom.
Elaine Skehan from the local branch of Irish Guide Dogs gave a talk to the Transition Year students, informing them of the important work the organisation carries out, and of the work she herself performs as a volunteer for the group.
This is the second time Gatsby has been to the school following a visit in 2008, when he was invited to visit the school with Tom by Ms Timmins.
This time around, Ms Kelly extended an invitation to Tom and Gatsby, allowing a new group of students to be made aware of the organisation's work.
Following on from the talk, the students of '2 Picasso class' held a cake sale, raising an impressive sum of €201.95, which was gratefully accepted Tom on behalf of the local Irish Guide Dogs branch.
Although perhaps in a different context, it was not the first time The Great Gatsby had been given such positive reviews at Skerries Community College and we feel certain it will not be the last time this remarkable guide dog visits the school either.