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Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders’ Congress a report by Caroline Leetch St. Louis Community School Kiltimagh

Student Leader’s Congress 2015

image2On Wednesday 14th of January, the Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders’ Congress took place in the RDS Dublin. The aim of the annual Congress is to encourage help-seeking behaviour in young people by promoting the message It’s OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help’. The Congress brought together young adults and teachers from all over Ireland who battled snowy road conditions to attend the event.  They were all passionate about one main issue - breaking the cycle of suicide on our island of Ireland!

The Student Leaders’ Congress as its name suggests is very much a student-led event and a large portion of the day involves students: discussing projects they have engaged with, providing entertainment, conducting peer interviews and interacting with a range of mental health organisations exhibiting on the day.

I attended the Congress as a Student Leader Ambassador.  I became an ambassador last year after undergoing a residential training Programme at Kippure Estate in Wicklow. I was selected for the programme following a selection process having been nominated by my school.  In the course of this amazing, life -changing training programme, we had the opportunity of gaining many new skills such as social entrepreneurship skills, communication, teamwork and leadership skills. This leadership programme had a profound impact on me and I am committed to playing my part towards eliminating the stigma of mental illness in my school and community.

The theme of this year’s Congress was ‘Appreciate Your Mind’. This theme was chosen by myself and the 13 other fantastic Student Leader Ambassadors during our stay at Kippure. Over a 100 schools including St. Louis Community School, attended the Congress totaling an astounding 4000 people. Each school is aspiring to become a Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador school for 2015. The Ambassador School Programme aims to encourage schools to become actively involved in mental health promotion. The programme provides a framework, structure and incentive for schools to integrate mental health activities into the school plan, and rewards schools who go the extra mile.

Each school was asked to produce a project based on the Congress theme. This was a very enjoyable and interactive way to get students engaging and participating in the promotion of positive mental health. Some schools made a video or they created a poster campaign in their school community. Some others created an artefact or an inspiration wall.
St. Louis chose to create a video, ’10 ways to appreciate your mind’, and our ingenious video clip was played as part of the project showcase. It was truly amazing to witness the great impact the projects had on everyone.

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Throughout the Congress there was an abundance of speakers, all of whom had their own unique story to tell. The congress began with an inspiring talk by Bressie, and then there was a Panel Discussion on Mental Health. The panel consisted of: Bressie, as the Chair, Alan Quinlan, Conor Cusack, Seamus Hennessey and Ellie Mc Namara.  Each captivating discussion left each and every person in awe of how brave, courageous and willing the speakers were throughout their journeys and struggles.

The Congress was a huge success, and I’m delighted to be able to say that everyone took something home with them whether it was a Cycle Against Suicide Jersey, an inspiring story, a poster, or even a nice hot cup of coffee. As one of the student leader ambassadors working on the day it was without a doubt, a very busy day, but it was also one of my most, influential, spectacular, and inspiring experiences I have ever had.


After being involved in the Cycle Against Suicide campaign there has been a prodigious increase in the existing awareness of positive mental health in our school. By working together, shoulder to shoulder, we have been able to spread the significant message, It’s Ok not to feel OK, and absolutely OK to ask for help’. We strive to continue our work in raising awareness of this prevalent issue, and we know we are helping to break the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland!


- Caroline Leetch

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St Aloysius College Carrigtwohill Celebrating 75 years of excellence in Education

Sunday March 1st brought St Aloysius College Carrigtwohill to the City Hall Cork to celebrate their 75th anniversary with a magnificent Gala Concert showcasing the very best of musical talent, song and dance by both our past and present pupils. RTE Presenter Dyane Connor, a past pupil, was an excellent MC for the occasion and close to one thousand people attended and enjoying a spectacular evenings' entertainment. 

Saturday March 14th brought past pupils from many different years to a Past Pupils Open Day which began with Mass in the Parish Church with past pupils, staff, parents, congregation and the current school community participating. The whole ceremony was enhanced by the beautiful musical accompaniment of our students and teachers.  This was followed by a reception in the college and past pupils and teachers had a pleasant gathering recalling their shared past experiences with loads of smiles and stories shared over the very welcome refreshments. Presentations were made to all the past Principals who had gathered along with our present Principal Tony Lee and Deputy Principal Margot Hartnett. A new three classroom extension to the college was opened by Sr. Maria St. Joseph from the first class 1939 with Lydia Ken-Imasogie youngest pupil in first year. As part of our celebrations The Frances Taylor Memorial Library, in honour of Venerable Mother Magdalen Taylor was also opened during the year.

The Le Chéile Trust was represented at the Gala Concert by Eilis Humphreys and at the Past Pupils Day by Therese Davey who made a presentation to the College to mark the 75th celebrations. A big thank you to everyone who participated and helped organise these memorable events to mark a very special anniversary.

Sr Maria St. Joseph from the first class 1939 with Lydia Ken-Imasogie youngest pupil in first year pictured opening the new school extension.

Sr Maria St. Joseph from the first class 1939 with Lydia
Ken-Imasogie youngest pupil in first year pictured opening the new school
extension.

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Liam Walsh, Kenneth O’ Flynn Deputy Mayor of Cork, Sr. Mgt Herlihy

 
Youth Volunteer from Monaghan is recognised in Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards Programme

Roisin Dick from Monaghan has been recognised for the motivation, service and impact she has demonstrated for her local community as a 2015 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards top 20 finalist.

Roisin Dick who is a sixth year student from St Louis Secondary School, Monaghan volunteers with Irish Water Safety, the local Arch Club and the youth committee of her local Credit Union. Her interest in helping others has extended to Tanzania where she faced many challenges working on a renovation project in a local school and orphanage.

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World Day of Consecrated Life 2015

We wish all the sisters and brothers in Le Chéile
best wishes and blessings on World Day of Consecrated Life 2015

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Keeping traditions alive in St Mary’s Holy Faith, Killester

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IMG 3726Students from St Mary’s Holy Faith, Killester played their part in Catholic School’s week by getting involved in a St. Brigid’s cross making initiative.  In the days leading up to St Brigid’s day, February 1st, the students of St. Mary’s were busy, during religion class, making these traditional crosses and mounting them onto specially designed cards.

The crosses were available at Sunday morning masses and 500 were given as a memento of this special feast to the religious congregations of the Dublin Archdiocese at their annual mass celebrating consecrated life in St Brigid’s Church, Killester.                                    

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin blessed the crosses and thanked the students for making them. Sr. Elizabeth Cotter IBVM, Vicar of the Religious in the Archdioceses said that as a former Principal herself she was in awe of the teachers and students producing so many crosses, which were distributed and brought back to the Religious Houses of those present. Some travelling as far away as South Sudan and Australia

The school prefects were complimented on the day and on days following for their work, their pleasant friendly manner and interaction with the members of the congregation.

St Mary’s Holy Faith can only be proud. Well done, girls!

 
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