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12-05-2010

St Mary's Diocesan School Drogheda will travel to Strasbourg on 21 May

A group from St Mary's Diocesan School Drogheda will travel to Strasbourg on 21 May to take part in the Euroscola programme, a prize for their success in the 'My Vision for Europe' competition which is an all-Ireland competition where students compete in presenting their thoughts on the future of the European Union using Youtube videos.

St Mary's production presented a dream sequence where the President of the European Council delivers his first speech announcing his wish to achieve solidarity with the poor and disadvantaged, debt relief for the least developed countries, improvement of the Copenhagen deal on climate change and improved regulation of the banks. He then wakes up in his classroom to find that it was all a dream!

For their prize, the students of St Mary's won an all-expenses paid trip to Strasbourg and the opportunity to take part in debates with groups from other Member States of the EU in the in the chamber of the European Parliament.

The judges of the videos remarked on the impressive creativity and imagination of all competing teams. Teachers commented on the sense of teamwork that they observed among the groups when preparing and researching their material.

See below their account of the trip to Strasbourg :

"The trip began with an early start on Thursday, 20 May at 4 a.m., when the students got on a bus to the airport.  They flew from Dublin to Frankfurt, and then got a bus to Strasbourg.  After settling into their hotel the Drogheda lads, led by their teachers Joseph Sweeney, Dolores Mullins and Roisín Curtis, were treated to a guided tour of the ancient heart of Strasbourg.  The class really enjoyed this beautiful city but headed back to the hotel early as they had a long day ahead of them the next day.  Friday began early with a light breakfast and a bus ride to the European Parliament's building.  The class were introduced to the rest of the students from all over Europe over croissants and the day was explained to everyone.

The lads spent the morning in the giant Parliament chamber, known as the Hemicycle, hearing about the work of the EU, and the role it has in each of their lives.  Each country then gave a short introduction by a chosen speaker.  Our representative was Barry O'Connell.  After the speeches and talks were made, the students had dinner and played the "Eurogame" in which the students would need to be teamed up with students of a different nationality.  When this was finished they split into working groups.  The groups went into different conference rooms where they discussed different topics and which they debated and talked about.  There was a chairperson and a secretary elected to carry and direct the talks.  Of the total six different topics, there were two Irish presidents elected, Conor Rothwell and Gareth Lacour.  The idea was that all of the students would get the opportunity to have their say in topics which they would like to see action taken on.

When all of this was done, the students returned to the hemicycle where a report was given by the secretary of the ideas and opinions that were given by the students. The presidents then answered questions by anybody in the chamber with an argument or opinion to share.  A vote was taken to decide whether to pass the reports on to the European Union or not.  Fortunately, all of the reports were passed!  The "Eurograme" was then finished and after the trophies were given out, a final speech was given by the EU officials congratulating the students, and especially commending smaller countries like Ireland and Malta for their large contributions to the day's work.

The lads then left for home after a very interesting and productive day.  It was a unique and wonderful opportunity for the TY students and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved.  A special thanks goes to their teachers, Mr Sweeney, Ms Mullins and Ms Curtis, for accompanying them on the trip and to Euroscola for organising and co-ordinating the event".

St Mary's TY class Drogheda

 

For further details on Euroscola contact Marie Quinn  at epdublin@europarl.europa.eu