Regional Week Schools Quiz Winners Tralee
On the 12th of October 2012, the transition year European Studies class in Mercy Mounthawk took part in the Euroscola European Studies table quiz in Killarney. We put so much hard work into preparing for the quiz and thankfully, it paid off. We came in first place and our prize was a trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Just over four months later, we left Tralee at the crack of dawn to embark on the trip of a lifetime. We flew from Cork to Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris. We were lucky enough to spend Sunday in Eurodisney but the real fun began on Monday. Monday was our day in parliament and we got to be MEP's for the day. We got up at 4am and two trams, a bus, and a train journey later, we arrived at the European Parliament in Strasbourg... an hour late (through no fault of our own, there was heavy snow!)
After a thorough security check, we were seated in the Louise Weiss Chamber where the MEP's meet and debate. There was a number of introductory speeches and we heard all about the role of the European parliament. There were 27 schools there representing 27 countries.
A student was nominated from each country to introduce their school and country. The representatives from our school were Sean Hurley and Niall Buckley and they did us proud. Reflecting on the day, Niall Buckley described his experience: "No words can describe it. It was the most beautiful, enlightening, dramatic scene I've ever seen. Every step was just amazing. You read about things like the future of Europe but then to see it in action was incredible. Seeing all the young people so interested, the interest was amazing. So worthwhile."
After this we were given the opportunity to vote on different European issues using the electronic voting system used by the MEP's when they are in parliament. The floor was then open for questions from the students for the representatives from the European parliament. Important issues were raised such as questions about the independence of Scotland and the rights of asylum seekers.
At lunchtime we had to form teams with people from other nations. We then had to complete a quiz in which each question was written in a different language. It was thoroughly enjoyable and a great way to get to know our European neighbours.
We were then split into different committees to discuss European issues and come up with solutions. We had done a lot of research beforehand to prepare for this part of the day. After two hours of intense debate, we formulated our legislation. We went back into the chamber and presented our legislation to the other committees who either passed or rejected them, just like they do in plenary sessions in the European parliament.
We had the time of our lives and it was a highly rewarding, educational and unforgettable experience. We would like to thank all of the teachers who came with us and who helped us in our preparations for the day, Ms Carey, Ms Hickson, Mr Behan, Mrs Sheldon and Ms Muldoon Walsh. We would also like to thank Euroscola for the incredible opportunity.
By Maeve Lyons and Mark Lynch.