St Aidan’s National School, Shannon officially opened their new AstroTurf/running track facility last Friday afternoon.
School principal Patrice Hayes said, “Going back about two years ago now, our students’ council wrote a letter looking for somebody to contribute funds towards an AstroTurf facility. Paddy Purcell of Mincon came forward and said he would be delighted to be part of such a venture. We sat down and spoke with Paddy, who came up with a project called Project Young Eagles, where every class would be timetabled to be physically active for 20 minutes every day. We would gauge the results and see if there was an improvement in children’s alertness and readiness to learn, as well as their physical activity, to see if there was an improvement in that and, ultimately, in their academic success,” Ms Hayes said.
After a couple of months, it seems the initiative is doing what it was hoped it would. “We have been doing this since September and, so far, we have seen that it is an absolutely fantastic success, so it bodes well for the future. The actual programme is being rolled out by our teacher here, John Conlon, the Clare hurler. He is passionate about it and every class is out being physically active every day of the week,” Ms Hayes explained.
She was pleased that Mr Purcell’s sons, who are based abroad, were able to attend last week’s ceremony.
“We officially had the opening ceremony on Friday and Paddy Purcell formally opened it. The children recited a few poems they had written and presented him with pictures they had drawn. It so happened that Paddy’s sons, who live in Australia and America, were all in the country, because Mincon were celebrating 40 years in business as well. They came to the ceremony, which was fantastic,” the school principal commented.
The AstroTurf pitch is 40m x 20m in size, while the running track will have four lanes.
Mr Purcell founded Mincon Group PLC in 1977 in Shannon. Mincon manufactures and distributes a range of precision-engineered hard rock drilling tools for a variety of industries.
By Owen Ryan