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Ireland's 'Captain Europe' sets off for the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Twenty four Transition Year students from Coláiste Chiaráin in Leixlip will travel to Strasbourg this week to participate in the European Parliament's Euroscola programme alongside secondary school students from the EU's 26 other Member States.  The Coláiste Chiaráin students, with their 'Captain Europe' video, succeeded in wowing the panel of judges at the finals of this year's My Vision for Europe competition at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Dublin on 11 March.  All participating schools had put together a 4-minute video portraying their Vision for Europe.  On the day of the finals, five Irish secondary schools (the chosen regional finalists for this year's My Vision for Europe competition) competed to impress a judging panel which included Nicky Phelan of Brown Bag films, Alicia McGivern, Head of Education at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Dublin and Francis Jacobs, Head of the European Parliament Office in Ireland.  

The students presented their short videos, explaining how they had come up with the ideas and put them together.  All five videos were then shown on the IFI's big screen to a live audience which included Labour Party MEP Proinsias De Rossa.

Coláiste Chiaráin from Leixlip and Methodist College Belfast were chosen as the winners of this year's competition.  The Coláiste Chiaráin students had set out to examine the complexities and implications of EU Member State stereotypes and the powers of a fictional 'Captain Europe' who called on the Member States to 'eurofy'.  Their video can be viewed at

The Oscar-nominated Nicky Phelan of Brown Bag films, who announced the winners, said 'I hope this experience will inspire these students to become the next generation of Irish film-makers.'  Both Alicia McGivern and Francis Jacobs emphasised that the videos 'reminded us that the European Union is not about dry policies, but about people, teamwork and solidarity.'  Alicia also commented that 'this competition is a brilliant example of film education.'

The competition:
Transition Year classes throughout Ireland submitted short, 4-minute videos, based on one of four 'challenges'.  The videos were intended to represent their 'Vision for Europe' and were uploaded, in each case, on to You Tube.  In February of this year, a panel of judges selected five regional finalists (representing the five European Parliament constituencies on the island of Ireland) to progress to the next stage.  

What is Euroscola?
24 students from Coláiste Chiaráin in Leixlip will travel to Strasbourg on 19 May to participate in the European Parliament's Euroscola event. During this one-day event, the winning students have the opportunity to sit in the EP's chamber and to get a sense of the work of an MEP. The participating students take part in discussions on topical European subjects and engage in group activities, interacting with students from other EU member states and communicating using an EU language other than their own.  

The other finalists for the 2011 competition were:
Dublin - Loreto Abbey, Dalkey - the students chose to demonstrate the rights available to citizens of EU Member States via the powers of 'Captain Europe'.  The video included a song composed by the students.
North West - Mercy College, Sligo - the students portrayed a future European Union (EU), concluding that although the Member States arrived into the EU as strangers, they ended up as friends.
South - Presentation Secondary School, Thurles - the students used a studio/roving reporter approach to portray a future European Union (EU) and its achievements.

The organisers and next year's competition:
My Vision for Europe is organised by a partnership including the European Parliament Office in Ireland, the European Movement Ireland, The European Studies Programme, Community Relations in Schools (CRIS), the European Commission Representation in Ireland and the Michael Sweetman Trust.  The 2012 competition will be launched in the early autumn

Photos: Available from Fennell Photography at 01 6689766 or


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