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02-06-2009

Winners of Spring Day 2009 competition

A group of 21 students from Holy Family Secondary School, Newbridge and Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf participated in the Euroscola programme on 2 June 2009. Read the report of their visit written by the students from Holy Family Secondary School.

Holy Family Secondary School, Newbridge and Holy Faith secondary school, Clontarf represent Ireland in Euroscola 2009

By students from Holy Family Secondary School

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'On Tuesday morning 2 June 2009, a group of thirteen happy Second Year students from the Holy Family Secondary School Newbridge waved goodbye to their parents as they travelled to join eight other students from the Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf at a reception/buffet in the European Parliament Office in Dublin. The above students were representing Ireland in the "Euroscola" programme in the EP, Strasbourg, France on Thursday the 4 June 2009.

The two schools won the privilege of representing Ireland through their participation in a poster competition run by the EP Office in Ireland. The competition involved the students working in small groups in order to create posters that promoted '2009: The European Year of Creativity and Innovation.' A total of twenty one students and two teachers from each school (Aoife Carey and Orlaith Carr from the Holy Family School and Mary-Elaine Tynan and Sheila Drumm from the Holy Faith School) travelled to Strasbourg to participate in the programme.


The first day of the trip was spent exploring the city of Strasbourg and also visiting Chateau de Haut-Koeningsbourg. On Thursday 4 June the group visited the enormous and impressive EP building on the banks of the river Ill. Here the Holy Family and Holy Faith students joined with over five-hundred students from eighteen of the twenty-five member states of the European Union.

The students were led into the massive hemispherical chamber of the EP and took up their seats in the places normally occupied by the MEPs. Each participating country was introduced by a student from their own school but in a language other than their native language.  Aoife McNamara introduced The Holy Family Secondary School in Spanish. Her speech was translated instantly by a team of translator and relayed to the assembled audience in English, German, or French by means of earphones attached to each participant's desk.


Following the introductions there was a plenary session of the meeting with explanations of how the EP works and on EU policy. This was followed by a series of votes on various topics using the electronic voting system at their desk with the results being displayed instantaneously on large screen within the chamber.

After lunch in the EP restaurant the students played the 'Eurogame' where they formed groups of four from four different countries completing a series of questions on European issues. The twist in the game was that these questions were in eighteen of the languages of the Member States so there was lots of interaction as students tried to find a speaker of the language of the question and then tried to figure out an answer. Jennifer Brennan from the Holy Family School was one of the finalists in this game.


The students were organised into working parties. This allowed for in- depth discussion on various topics that had been prepared in school.  Some of the topics included, 'European Democracy', 'Youth' and 'The Future of Europe'. The groups met in the EP Committee Rooms and availed of the instant translation service to overcome language difficulties and set to work on generating a report on their topics for the final plenary session. Meanwhile the teachers took part in their own 'Eurogame' and enjoyed a guided tour of the EP building.

When the students returned to the plenary session in the main chamber individual students from the various member states presented their reports to the packed assembly and took questions from the floor on issues they had considered.  The assembly then voted on whether to accept the report and the officials who ran the session praised the students on their work, insight and quality of the reports produced.

The session ended with a flag presentation while the European Anthem was played. The students of The Holy Family and The Holy Faith schools did themselves, their schools and their country proud with their participation and outstanding contribution in the Euroscola programme and returned home with a much greater understanding of the European Union. Other highlights of the trip included a boat trip on the Rhine, a visit to Europa Theme Park and of course some retail therapy.'