29/06/13 - Shared Education in South Armagh
Thursday 20th June 2013 was a significant occasion in the school calendar, when an event took place in St Paul’s High School to mark the success that had been achieved in the last 3 years through the Shared Education Programme. Funding provided by Atlantic Philanthropies gave an opportunity for pupils to explore identity and appreciate the richness of diversity and cultures represented by the pupils in South Armagh.
It was a privilege to see Ulster Scots dancers performing their intricate footwork between crossed swords. Pupils of the school, who are also members of Whitewater Pipe Band, drummed and piped in perfect harmony and rhythm. Members of the joint rugby team performed a “haka” on stage, much to the delight of the large, mixed audience of parents and governors from various schools in the area. Pupils from St. Paul’s also celebrated their culture with performances of traditional Irish music and dancing. The memory of such fine performances, particularly of Ulster Scots culture, appearing on stage in St Paul’s High School and being so much appreciated, is a source of satisfaction.
As Mr Mooney (Principal of St Paul’s) stated in his closing speech, this collaboration and venture into Shared Education does not mean a loss of identity for either tradition, rather an opportunity to showcase what are cherished parts of our respective traditions and all carried out in an atmosphere of respect.
A big “Thank you” therefore goes firstly to the pupils who performed so admirably on the night; secondly to the parents, without whom the event would not have been possible; thirdly to the teachers who worked so tirelessly in the background and those who attended on the night; fourthly to the governors, who have supported me on this amazing venture into unknown territory; finally to the sponsors. Arguably, none of this great progress would have been possible without the funding available and the advice provided.