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St Patricks Comprehensive school, Shannon. Photograph by John Kelly.

Comp shoots video to put students in the picture

WITH its traditional open evening unable to go ahead, St Patrick’s Comprehensive School has had to improvise to show potential new students and their parents what it has to offer.

The school has teamed up with a past pupil to shoot a video capturing the Comp’s unique atmosphere and the sense of closeness and camaraderie that defines it. “Normally what we would have had on Thursday night would have been our actual open night,” principal Mary Costello told the Champion.

“The school would have been open, all the classrooms would have been open and we’d have had tours going around led by students and staff, where prospective students could come in and walk around and get a sense of it.

“Obviously with Covid we can’t do that. We looked at all the different options that were out there, there are Google earth ones, but what we wanted very much was to give a sense of the school, the atmosphere and the connection.”

Jacquie Murphy, the teacher who looks after PR in the school, had come upon Memory Box Media run by Dom McInerney, and along with Ms Costello, met him for a chat. “The beauty of it was that Dom was a past pupil of the school, so he was kind of invested in it and had a personal connection,” said Ms Costello.

“We said we wanted to be informative and give parents and students information about the school, but more than anything else it was about capturing the atmosphere of the school and the sense of how our pupils feel about being in the school and things like that.”

Even if students can’t get to the school, she feels young people will have had the chance to get a good sense of the Comp. “The video is five minutes long and we also have our school prospectus Dóchas which is available online, but we also print it and send it around to all our feeder national schools,” she added.

“When you look at it, read Dóchas and see our website, you get all the practical information and the open night video gives you a sense of the school. I got goosebumps watching it, he really managed to capture the brief exactly, to show the sense of camaraderie and connection and closeness, the sense of fun and individuality that’s in the school.”

She says they will probably use video technology again in the New Year, as their usual induction process probably won’t happen. “We have quite a unique induction process, where we bring applicants from sixth class into the school for two days, we’d mix up the feeder schools, they’d try all the option subjects and get a sense of the school.

“It really helps alleviate the anxiety that sixth class students have about coming into the school. It’s doubtful if we can do that with Covid, but we’re looking at taking on Memory Box Media to do something and we’ll bring out a junior cycle prospectus to deal with the practical information around subjects.”

Ms Costello said that the school has adapted well to the day-to-day restrictions associated with Covid-19 and hopes classroom education will continue. “It would be horrible for us to have to go back online, you just miss that energy and connection,” she concluded.

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.