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Children from Educate Together sing to each other at the recent Welcoming Party at their school.

GALLERY: Pupils and teachers celebrate growing school ‘Together’

THE “wonderful addition” 44 children from Ukraine have made to Ennis Educate Together school has been highlighted by principal David Quinn at the school’s recent celebration day.

The event also presented an opportunity to showcase the quite literal growth of a new project which has resulted in a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, planted for every pupil in the school.

As well as welcoming the school’s new enrolments, the day was a celebration for the entire school and offered an opportunity for families to visit for the first time since Covid-19.

On the day Ennis Educate Together’s youngest pupil Oleksandr  and oldest pupil Melisa helped raise the school flag with its newly designed logo featuring new school colours, chosen with input from the children.

Mr Quinn explained, “The children’s voice is very important in our school. Last year we surveyed the children in third to sixth classes to choose our schools colours and to add them to our school logo.” The new logo is a butterfly in the shape of the school’s initials EETNS. “This flag is a symbol of the importance of our children and to add to our school’s identity for years to come.”

Welcoming families to the school for the “very special occasion” he said, “It’s nearly unbelievable to think that this has been the first opportunity we’ve had to welcome you to our school in over two years. Parents are such an important part of your children’s education and we really value and appreciate how closely you work with our school team.

“The last two years have felt like something out of this world for many of us. Who would have thought that our doors would remain shut for so many months and that the only way we could communicate with each other was through phones and computers? Thankfully, with the support of the entire school community, we got through these challenges together and we look forward to further strengthening our relationships and bonds with you all.”

He expressed pride in the continual development of the school adding, “The last few months have really proven what our message is all about. Whenever you’re in trouble, our doors are always open and our arms are open even wider.

After seeing the terrible developments in the Ukraine in early spring, we were delighted to be able to offer our supports to 44 children and their families who came to us in their time of need.

Here in Ennis Educate Together NS, we want each of you to know that we’re here for you. Your children have been a wonderful addition to our school and they’ve changed our school for the better.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful and hard-working staff in our school. Change can be difficult but our teachers and SNAs stepped up to the plate when they were needed.

“Following our nurturing ethos in the school, we all worked as best we could to support not just our new children, but also our children who have been with us much longer than a few months.”

He explained that every day staff at the school talk about what they can do to help, and it was from this the seeds of a new project have bloomed. An idea to create flowerbeds and plant sunflowers was initially proposed by Mary Fallon with the school making contact with Tommy Whitney and the team at Ennis Men’s Shed.

They planted sunflowers for every child in our school in their polytunnel out the Quin Road before being transplanted to flowerbeds which have been created with the support of Councillor Pat Daly.

According to Mr Quinn the project has resulted in, “a wonderful resource which our children will learn to grow and nurture flowers of many varieties at different stages of each year.”

The support of other members of the community was also praised, including the parents who helped prepare the school for the day and teacher Róisín, who ran the Cork City Marathon raising nearly €1000 towards the costs of school tours for the school.

He concluded by thanking those who had come along to the “special day” and paid tribute to the children of the school saying, “They are amazing children and you have all been through so much change in your lives recently but you’ve worked together, and played together and helped each other along.

“You are wonderful children and I just want to say thanks to each and every one of you for being a very important part of our school story. It’s a wonderful occasion, and it’s a day that I can stand here and say that I’m really proud of our whole school community.”

Songs in Ukrainian and English were sung and refreshments served while fun activities included face painting, bead making, art and music.

About Jessica Quinn

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