PUPILS at St Kevin’s College were given an insider’s insight into the world of politics recently when a former pupil returned to the school to attend its first Student Council meeting of the year.
Áine Murphy MLA was a member of the Student Council herself while a pupil at the Lisnaskea school, and upon her return attended both the Junior Student Council and Senior Student Council meetings, discussing a wide range of important issues with the young people throughout the day.
From safeguarding to eco awareness, period poverty to school improvements, students covered a wide range of topics with the Assembly member, and were pleased to be able to raise their concerns and share their ideas with an elected representative.
Ms Murphy said she had spent seven very happy years at the school and was delighted to be back.
“Sitting with pupils during their student council meeting, I thought it was brilliant that all pupils were able to put forward their own proposals to improve their school experience as well as raise issues that they wanted addressed,” she said.
“It’s vital that this forum is available to pupils to allow them to express their views.”
Ms Murphy also met with senior staff at the school, and was briefed on the current challenges that the school faces in terms of the impact of the cost of living crisis as well as the new school extension project. She said she would be following up on these issues with the Department of Education.
“I will continue to work hard and lobby all relevant statutory bodies to deliver for our rural schools and families,” she added.
Ms Murphy joined joined by the chairman of the St Kevin’ board of governors, Cllr Thomas O’Reilly, for the visit.
Cllr O’Reilly, who also joined the Student Council meetings, said healthy discussions about both the great things happening in the school, and what need to be improved on.
“By and large people are happy with the systems that are in place,” he said.
“We have some improvements that we are going to look at from the Student Council and I’m delighted that the school council is working so well and providing students with a voice.”
St Kevin’s principal Gary Kelly said Ms Murphy was “an inspiration” to the students, “as she was not only an outstanding pupil she was also a role model pupil and a fantastic sports woman” while at the school.
“Áine as a student was a very active member of St Kevin’s College Student Council and was instrumental in bringing about many changes to benefit her fellow pupils,” said Mr Kelly.
“It is truly amazing that following Áine’s university career she followed this passion first shown in the Student Council and went on to become such a vibrant MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.”
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