Students at Scoil Ghormáin Naofa in Castletown ended their year on a high note by winning four awards in recognition of their contributions to the environment, science and health.
As the year came to a close, the school was awarded its 7th Green Flag, 5th Active Flag, 2nd STEM award and 2nd Amber Flag Award. These achievements are the result of the many initiatives that the students took part in throughout the school year.
The Green School Flag was awarded for global citizenship with an emphasis on energy. The school has been a hive of activity with regard to conservation and biodiversity this year and the Green School Committee headed up by Maresa McDevitt submitted a lengthy application detailing their endeavours. They are looking forward to applying for their 8th flag next year which will focus on the area of global citizenship within the marine environment. With the school being situated so close to the beach, they envisage lots of hands-on activity in this pursuit.
The Active Committee, led by Paula D'Arcy, worked hard to secure the Active Flag for the school, impressing the Active School rep with their ability and work done in preparing for the flag application. Their activities included a whole school walk on Croghan mountain, promoting active school leadership, Active Week and the installation of an Active Walkway on the school grounds.
The school was delighted to receive the highest accolade, the Plaque, from the Science Foundation of Ireland's Science and Maths Award. Led by Louise Whittle, this award was given in recognition of the school's efforts in promoting and teaching STEM through initiatives such as Engineer’s Week, internet safety lessons, experiments, tower building/ construction and coding. Digital learning was emphasized in the school this year, with a virtual reality workshop and the investment in more IT equipment just some of the few improvements that were made.
Mental health was also in the spotlight at the school this year and this won them their second Amber Flag for mental health and well-being in conjunction with Pieta House. Led by Fiona Byrne and Emer Russell, the Amber Ambassadors committee ran initiatives to promote mental wellbeing and the importance of it throughout the year. Crazy hair and pyjama day was a very successful fundraiser, while healthy breakfast day was also a hit. The Amber Ambassadors were polled on their views about issues that affect them and their wellbeing.
" Development and supporting the holistic growth of each individual child is central to our ethos so the achievement of this flag is hugely important to us as a school,” said Principal Emer Russell. “Being content is the foundation for learning so creating a school atmosphere that is conducive to wellbeing is fundamental for success in learning.”
According to Emer, the student body was active and engaged in the pursuit of each award.
“Listening to and promotion of the student voice is something we strive to do here in Scoil Ghormáin Naofa, through assemblies and the various student committees. Encouraging the children to be agents in their own development, finding their place in society and understanding issues that affect their world is as much part of their education as the core subjects are. The achievement of the various flags is testament to the staff's commitment to encouraging these extra curricular values in an educational way.”