Community College Students win Garda Achievement Awards

Castleisland Community College students at the Lee Strand / Garda Youth Achievement Awards at Ballyroe Heights Hotel, Tralee. Individual Merit Award, Kacper Podraza (left) is pictured with the award winning Fairtraders group members: Robyn White, Ruth Borgeat, Lucy Setterfield and Conor O’Sullivan.
The Fairtraders of Castleisland Community College won the Eco Community Award at the Eco Unesco’s Young Environmentalist Awards in The Convention Centre, Dublin in June 2019. Included are from left: Conor O’Sullivan, Niall Fagan, Paul O’Connor, Gerard Murphy, Managing Director of Coillte; Elaine Nevin, National Director Eco Unesco; Ruth Borgeat, Liam Moloney, Niall O’Shea and Joseph Sheehy. The group was inspired and mentored by their teacher Doreen Killington.

The Lee Strand/Garda Youth Achievement Awards took place in the Ballyroe Heights Hotel, Tralee with over 200 people attending.

The awards recognise the great contribution young people have made and continue to make in their communities.

There were 20 individual awards, two group awards and one safety award – which Castleisland Community College students won nationally last year.

This year Kacper Podraza won an individual award and The Fairtraders won a group award.

Individual Merit Award: Kacper Podraza

Kacper Podraza with his dedication, single mindedness and his commitment to hard work in school in the midst of his own challenges were some of the reasons why he was singled out for a Garda Youth Achievement Award.

Kacper is exceptionally talented in I.T. and frequently helps teachers and students with all difficulties that may arise.

He is very generous with both his time and his expertise and recently was involved with running a coding class after school for primary school children.

Trips Abroad and Bonding Days

While a T.Y. student he made sure to be involved in all activities ranging from the trip abroad to bonding days to being involved with the Young Social Innovators Fair Trade Project.

Academic Excellence is not only the ability to score high marks in exams, it goes beyond this to include the ability to cope with changing environments, solve problems on ones own and be well equipped for the future.

Good Use of Talents

This excellence has not come easily to Kacper – he has excelled in spite of his challenges not just because he was given everything he needed but also because of his determination to overcome obstacles.

Kacper excelled because he has put his talents to good use, he has mastered what he is good at and in doing so has done himself, his family and his school proud.

Group Award: The Fairtraders

Castleisland Community College became a Fairtrade School in 2015 and The Fairtraders decided to try and make Castleisland a Fairtrade town.

The group contacted Fairtrade Ireland representatives who explained that different sectors of the town needed to become involved.

The Fairtraders pitched their idea to Castleisland Chamber Alliance, politicians, coffee shops,restaurants, Garvey’s SuperValu and Tidy Towns.

Local primary schools were contacted with information regarding Fairtrade.

Events Organised

Coffee shops and restaurants in the town were approached regarding selling and promoting Fairtrade products eg tea and coffee.

Various events were organised by the students to highlight the benefits of Fairtrade.

During a dedicated fortnight a banana worker from a plantation in Ghana visited the school.

She explained that supplying bananas on Fairtrade terms meant that they were given a fair wage for their work.

Castleisland the 50th Fairtrade Town

Children were educated and latrines and classrooms were built from the premium that Fairtrade paid to the co-operative.

Local media were regularly contacted during the campaign and Castleisland became the 50th Fairtrade town in Ireland with 80% of coffee shops and restaurants supplying either Fairtrade tea of coffee.

The students collaborated with Fairtrade Ireland and designed the first bilingual town signs in Ireland. They also worked with Fairtrade Ireland on a new CSPE action guide which is available for all secondary schools nationally.

Multi Award Winners

They promoted Fairtrade footballs within their own school, local soccer clubs and primary schools.

The Fairtraders won a national award in the Young Social Innovator’s Competition category in 2018.

They also won a national award at the Eco Unesco Environmental Competition 2019.

They were shortlisted to represent Ireland in the International Sage Entrepreneurship Competition in 2019.

The students are now in sixth year and the group consists of : Ruth Borgeat, Denise Crowley, Lucy Setterfield, Robyn White, Niall Fagan, Liam Moloney, Paul O’Connor, Conor O’Sullivan, Niall O’ Shea and Joseph Sheehy.