Celebrating three years of the shared education programme

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Local schools have been celebrating three years of an innovative education programme in Coleraine.

At a special event held in St Jospeh’s College last week to mark three years of the Shared Education Programme, Ronnie Kelly, St Joseph’s Principal paid tribute to the teachers and pupils who have made the project so successful. He said: “There are few certainties in life but one underlying truth concerning the process of Peace and Reconciliation is that it does not happen purely by choice.

“It has to be constantly worked at, spoken about, visualized, guided, encouraged, and in some cases, even cajoled. It is to our young people that we must look and concentrate our efforts, if our vision of a shared future is to inspire and engage all sections of the community. Religious, social, economic and cultural barriers must be removed.

“Schools must embrace diversity, celebrate it and nurture it. Our youth are the conduit to deliver such hope. In their hands lie the building blocks to establish a more secure and caring society.”

Looking back on the project, the Principal added: “ Three years ago when we began our partnership, I asked you to visualise the movement of tiny feet, both primary and secondary, as they travelled forward along the five strands or pathways of our project.

“The hope was that a convergence would evolve, creating a motorway for social change and community cohesion. I know that this was and still remains, the vision that lies close to the heart of our funders and the work being carried out by Queen’s University.

“Like the stages of life itself, we start by coming together, just being in the same room or building. Then we progress by continuing the links and maintaining the contact.

“For real success however, the yard stick is measured in the way we work together, share our hopes and dreams and finally, place our trust in one another.”

The principal concluded by thanking all the schools who have taken part in the Sharing Education Programme. In particular, he thanked

Coleraine College - Madame Stella Skobel; North Coast Integrated College - Mr Jimmy Frizelle; Coleraine High School -Mrs Ann Bell; Harpur’s Hill Primary School – Mr David Radcliffe; St John’s Primary School – Mr Kieran O’Neill; St Malachy’s Primary School – Mr Tony Fisher; Millburn Primary School – Mr John Platt and Sandelford School – Mrs Sharon Tennant

He also thanked the funders of the project the Atlantic Philanthropies and the International Fund for Ireland.