Maynooth Post Primary - Making a difference

Edel Murray, Sean Hartnett, Eoin Reidy, Keelan McCarthy and Maeve Nolan along with teachers, Roisin Donohoe and Philip Blythe.
Since September students in Maynooth Post Primary have been involved in an exciting and innovative European project called ‘Make A Difference’.

Since September students in Maynooth Post Primary have been involved in an exciting and innovative European project called ‘Make A Difference’.

The ‘Making A Difference’ project (MAD) is a three year European Comenius project involving five countries across Europe. Schools from England, Ireland, Poland, Finland and Germany are involved in this school partnership project.

The main aim is to raise awareness of social needs and to encourage students to think of creative ways of dealing with the problems addressed. Students from the school will be involved in international workshops that involve the participation of each school. In September 2013, Maynooth Post Primary School was proud to host the initial meeting. This involved two teachers from each school planning the project for the next three years. Since then, students involved in the project in the school have decided to try ‘Make A Difference’ by improving relations between younger and older people in their community. The school hosted coffee mornings and took part in carol singing in local community centres. The school has forged strong links with Age Action Ireland. This has seen the school host weekly computer classes in the school where transition year students have provided IT training to people in the community. The training has seen students build strong relationships between young and old.

Five students and two teachers from the school flew out to Essen in Germany recently to take part in the second workshop. Students spent the whole week living with German families of students involved in the project. Students spent four days in the Essen school planning and working together to put on a theatre performance based on the idea of social problems found in each school community.

A professional theatre expert was hired and each social problem was portrayed by the various schools in a packed theatre hall. The students involved were Edel Murray, Eoin Reidy Maeve Nolan, Sean Hartnett and Keelan McCarthy.

Funding for the project has been provided by Leargas. Maynooth Post Primary School successfully applied for a grant of €16,000. This grant provides for cost of travel, accommodation, food and theatre experts etc... The next phase of the project will see transition years reaching out to all years in the school. Various competitions will be held such as art and poetry bashes.

Winners of these competitions will be able to take part in the next international workshop which will be held in Darlington, England. This workshop will be held in November of this year. Again, five students and two teachers will travel to take part in this workshop. The project sees weekly communication take place between students and teachers via an online community site known as twinspace. The school is continuing to build on its European status as it will also be taking place in a new European school project. This project is known as “MoVE” (Mobility Venture Europe). The project will be a multilateral school partnership and will involves students from schools in Germany, Spain, Poland and Ireland. The project will focus on the needs of young people who intend to spend some time living and/or working in another European country, particularly for a placement of any length of time. Students from the participating schools will prepare the necessary material concerning their respective countries and regions for their peers in the other countries.

Expected subtopics are practical issues like the educational system, finding a work placement, accommodation, general information about life and work and attitudes in the respective countries.