Young pupils from a Dublin school at the launch of the someonelikeme art competition.
Annacarty National School is one of two Tipperary national schools in a celebratory mood this week as the judges of a prestigious national art competition named them Junior and Senior County Winners, placing them in the running for the coveted national title.
The competition, which is entitled “Someone Like Me”, is sponsored by the Department of Justice and Equality. It aims to develop children’s understanding of disabilities and to promote the celebration of the aspects that make them and their classmates unique. There are more than 600,000 people in Ireland with a disability, of which 53,000 are children under the age of 15.
And the artistic efforts of pupils and teachers at Annacarty National School and St Michael’s National School, Cloughjordan have paid off as their imaginative “Someone Like Me” submissions were singled out by the competition’s judges - Sinéad Burke, Padraig Naughton and Beth O’Halloran - for being exceptionally insightful and inspirational.
The entry from St Michael’s National School, Cloughjordan, named as Junior County Winner, was created by the school’s Autism Centre Class 1 pupils Eva O’Brien, Ivo Ivanovas, Lena Hurley, Nicky Quinlan and Ramin Nove with teacher Antoinette Moromey. The judges were impressed by how well their piece reflects the school’s ethos of promoting the uniqueness of each individual child and the things that unite children of differing abilities.
The entry from Annacarty National School, named as Senior County Winner, was created by 5th and 6th Class pupil Ciara Jackman with teacher Mairead Ryan. Mairead’s clay rose was inspired by a poem she wrote about disability not being the thing that defines you and a group called “roses” who help people with disabilities.
Both schools now go on to compete with 49 other schools from around the country for the overall national “Someone Like Me” award which will be announced by the Minister for State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath T.D. at a ceremony at Farmleigh on Monday 12th December.
Congratulating both schools on becoming county winners, Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath T.D. said that he was hugely encouraged by the number of competition entries.
“This year we received almost 2,000 entries from all 26 counties which means that teachers and pupils right across the country have taken the time to think carefully about the similarities that exist between all people and to foster more positive attitudes towards people with a disability,” he said.
“Having met to choose the county winners, the judges now have a difficult task ahead of them in order to decide which of the 51 junior and senior entries will win the national title. I look forward to meeting all of the pupils and their teachers at Farmleigh in December and announcing the judges’ decision.
“While I know that it will be an anxious wait for the pupils and teachers to hear which of the 51 entries has been awarded the national title, we should not forget that the real winners in this competition are the future generation of adults who will have developed a better understanding of disability and who will have, in turn, formed more positive attitudes so that everyone, irrespective of ability or disability, feels a valued member of society.”