National Tidy Towns Award For Castleisland Community College

Better late than never: The 2021 National Tidy Towns Award which arrived at Castleisland Community College this week. Included are, front from left: Shauna Tangney, Abbie Mahony, Laura Burke, Emma Kerin and Bernadette O’Mahony. Back row:  Doreen Killington, teacher; Celia McMahon, Sarah O’Connor, Lauren O’Sullivan, Bríd Anne Crowley, Ruairí Mannix, Kerry Hennessy, Ciara O’Shea, Mary Keane, Sheila Hannon and Mary Walsh, Castleisland Tidy Towns.

Castleisland Community College won the Tidy Towns Youth Award for Sustainable Development, but, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the awards were announced late last year in November and the presentation of the awards never occurred.

However, the school received the award this week. This is an exciting new Special Award, which recognises communities for their significant efforts to increase awareness and engagement on the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

Transition Year Students

The transition year students of 2019/2020 worked hard to promote the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Green School Co-ordinator and Tidy Towns Junior Liaison Officer, Doreen Killington, co-ordinated the project.

A Fairtrade Bake Off was held during lock-down in March 2020 that the students organised.

Judges were Selina from Selina Cakes and TJ O’Connor from IT Tralee. The students also worked with Ecologist Brendan Kirwin, Mary Walsh and Sheila Hannon of Castleisland Tidy Towns.

Local Biodiversity Studies

They learnt about the biodiversity of the school grounds and the local river walk. The students designed bee signs, bat signs and swift bird signs that have been placed along the river walk.

They worked with the Irish Heart Foundation and designed a Slí na Sláinte sign for the school that illustrated walking routes on the school grounds. They also organised a food appeal for the Tralee Soup Kitchen with their English teacher, Annette Steinborn. They worked with past pupil Lee Mangan of Madden and Mangan Construction Limited and they designed a sustainable home for ‘A Home for Everyone’ National Competition which they won in May 2021!

The Physics of Beings

They researched the physics of bees and physics in nature, beluga whale, pig and chameleon. They won national awards for their work in the National Sophia Physics 2021 Competition with their teacher, Kellie Sheehy. Santa’s elves were busy in Woodwork class under the supervision of their teacher Aidan Joy.

Hand pallets that delivered hand sanitisers and paper roll were reused and up-cycled into snowmen and Christmas trees. They completed their bravery blankets for Saint John’s Ward – the cancer ward in Crumlin Children’s Hospital before the end of the school year with help from teacher Jo McGrath.

Community Garden Sign

The Community Garden sign that was erected at the entrance to the Castleisland Community Garden was designed using recycled items only with help from their Engineering teacher Ms. Buckley.

The school was contacted by the Department of Education to present (virtually) to the Minister of Education Norma Foley, Department of Education Senior Inspectors and UNICEF representatives regarding the Sustainable Development Goals in May 2021.

Initiatives Undertaken

The school was chosen by the Department due to the many initiatives undertaken over the years that address sustainability and climate change.

Minister Foley praised the school for how it has implemented sustainability and the SDG goals very successfully into the school.

She acknowledged the work and leadership of all involved and stated how the school has built bridges with the Castleisland community. ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’ a dúirt teacher, Ms. Killington.

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