Creativity to the fore
The creativity of primary and secondary school children across the county came to the fore in County Hall with the culmination of the annual Christmas decoration competition which is organised each year by the local authority.
There were scenes of great excitement at the prize-giving reception which saw dozens of children, parents, family members and teachers gather to acknowledge the innovative, inherent creativity of the children which was exemplified by the various pieces on show.
On display were hundreds of colourful and ingenious Christmas decorations and the vibrant spectacle of seeing them on view created a very festive atmosphere within the local authority building.
The Cathaoirleach of the County Council, Cllr Keith Doyle, welcomed everyone to the reception and he highlighted the fact that all of the entries were created using recycled materials.
He said everyone involved should feel proud of their achievements.
'The school children who participated in this competition have shown us all how to reduce waste by making wonderful and unusual Christmas decorations from everyday household waste materials,' said Cllr Doyle.
'They simply used their imagination,' he added.
Cllr Doyle went on to say the entrants set a wonderful example for everyone and he congratulated them, their teachers and their parents for making 'such a great effort'.
The competition was open to primary and secondary school students all over Wexford and saw hundreds of children from throughout the county submit entries.
This year also marked the 15th anniversary of the initiative which has been increasing in popularity each year.
A significant aspect of the competition is that it encourages children and their parents to think about how to reuse materials that might otherwise be discarded.
Commenting on the initiative, Cliona Connolly, Environment Education Officer with the County Council, said that was the main aim of the competition.
'Schools around the county were invited to make a Christmas decoration out of waste materials,' she said.
Numerous schools throughout the county participated and one entry, per category, from each school was put forward to the County Final.
'Among this years submissions were cribs, Christmas trees, snowmen, angels, Christmas village scenes, Rudolf, and lots of tree decorations,' said Ms Connolly.
All 294 decorations that were received were displayed in the County Hall and they received great praise from those attending the prize-giving ceremony.
The People's Choice award proved to be a great success again this year. It involved members of the public voting for their favourite decoration on display.
Ava Skye Byrne, from Castledockrell National School, secured this award with her decoration 'Winter Wonderland'.
A category that proved very popular was for groups and Ms Connolly said its significance was in how it encouraged children to work together in a collaborative way to make decorations.
The overall primary school winner was a group entry called 'The Christmas Coffee Tree' which was created by pupils in Scoil Naomh Abbáin, Adamstown.
They used a range a waste materials including coffee pods, cardboard, lids, straws, plastic bottles and sweet wrappers to create their piece.
The overall runner-up was another group entry, by Kellie and Amy Cloke, from Kilmyshall National School.
They created a 'Vintage Christmas Tree' with an old mirror frame, Pringles box and an old net curtain.
Other winning decorations included 'Recycled Elf' by Aisling Kehoe, from junior infants in Rathnure National School; 'Christmas Tree' by Tiernan Goff, from senior infants in Kilrane National School; 'Christmas Wreath' by Lara McDermott, 1st Class, Mercy School, Wexford; 'The Krindle Candle' by Conall Rice, 2nd Class, St Garvan's National School, Caroreigh; 'Snowman' by Kellie Brennan, 3rd class, Scoil Mhaodhóig, Poulfur; 'Joe the Elf' by Patrick Rossiter, 4th class, Danescastle National School; 'Christmas Reindeer' by Sophia Silva, 5th class , St John of God Primary School, the Faythe, Wexford, and 'Art in Christmas' by Una Fae Flavin, 6th Class, Ballyduff National School.
Primary school group categories winners included 'Santa's Toy Factory' by Abigail, Eli and Tara Hegarty, from the Mercy School, John's Road, Wexford, and 'Christmas in Whoville' by Leah Wright and Grace Donnelly, Scoil Mhuire, Rosslare.
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