The Graduate Euroscola on 23 April
On 23 April, 25 Irish secondary schools students, winners of this year's Graduate Online Youth Quiz, will participate in the European Parliament's EUROSCOLA programme, representing Ireland in Strasbourg. The 'Graduate Online Youth Quiz' is a free on-line educational Quiz for primary and post primary students throughout Ireland. During the Euroscola day, the students will get the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the workings of the European Parliament.
The aim of the Graduate Online Youth Quiz is to increase students' civic, social and political awareness in an innovative, fun and engaging manner. The Quiz encourages students to develop an understanding of how various public institutions work, how they interact with young people and how they impact upon their everyday lives, as well as developing their internet and computer skills.
The Quiz operates on an annual basis during the academic year, starting in September and concluding in May each year. Students can register to participate at any time during the academic year by logging on to the website (www.graduate.ie). Each week a new set of questions relating to areas as diverse as the Arts, environment, politics, health and safety, the Irish language, music, sport, European affairs, etc becomes available on the website. The website provides links to the relevant websites and WebPages making it easy for students to correctly answer the questions.
Many national public and private organisations and European institutions support the Quiz through sponsorship and the provision of prizes.
The main prize is the opportunity for 25 students accompanied by their teachers to participate in the European Parliament's Eurroscola programme in Strasbourg. They are first invited to the European Parliament's office in Dublin to be presented with their prize and to prepare themselves for their visit to the European Parliament.
On the 23 April Twenty-five students selected through the graduates on -line competition travelled from their hotel to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The day started off with a photo outside of the entrance of the Parliament underneath the twenty-seven EU member's flags. It was then we entered the circular open court yard of the Parliament and were awed by the sheer volume of glass that made up the building.
We took lots of photos and then we were ready for our entrance in to the building just before a security check. As we entered the building I was overwhelmed at the experience of being in such a historic building. At first we sat down in the lobby and made sure we all had our correct topics of discussion.
After this we were taken into the restaurant of the MEP's and had some breakfast while every country was introduced. It was then time for us to be seated in the hemicycle of the Parliament and here we were given talks by EU officials, voted on important issues regarding Europe and also had time for questions and answers on Europe.
After this it was time for dinner and so back to the restaurant. After dinner we had a quiz comprising of twenty different languages from the EU and we had to team up with four other different nationalities to complete the quiz.
After dinner we were broken up into our working groups. In these groups we discussed topics such as employment, environment and the future of Europe.
In groups of about 60 or 70 students a President and Secretary were elected. This was done by the students who elected a leader when they made a nomination speech.
We had one hour to discuss our topic and the President and Secretary put a report together. This report was then read out to the hemicycle by the President and was voted on whether to be adopted or rejected. At the end of our debates we had the Euroscola game and the winning four teams from the quiz competed in a general knowledge quiz for the Euroscola trophy.
We then ended the evening with the parade of flags and the ode to joy anthem. It was very enjoyable event and a great experience.
Many thanks to the organisers,
By Steven Dooley, TY Coláiste Naomh Cormac, Offaly
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