Climate Change Project scoops top prize for Nenagh primary school

Anne O'Grady


Anne O'Grady

Climate Change Project scoops top prize for Nenagh primary school

St. Mary’s Convent Primary School, Nenagh

A primary school in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary has been named this year’s winner of the prestigious annual Our World Irish Aid Awards.  Fifth class pupils and their teacher, Ann-Marie O’Sullivan, from St. Mary’s Convent Primary School cheered with delight today when Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon, T.D., made the announcement at the national final, held at Dublin Castle. This is the second time in two years that the school has received an Our World Irish Aid Award, having been named ‘Best Newcomer’ at last year’s awards.


Entitled “Children’s Voices on Our Climate Choices”, the school’s project is the culmination of two month’s work which saw all 34 Fifth Class pupils learn about the important work done by Irish Aid and about each of the 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development.  The pupils themselves chose to base their project on climate change and how it impacts children in the developing world.  Much of their work explored what they, as children here in Ireland, could do to live more environmentally friendly lives in a bid to help slow down climate change and minimize its effect on the lives of children in the developing world.  This included writing letters to local T.D.s in support of the proposed Bill to ban new fossil fuel explorations on Irish territory, visiting a market that sells local fresh produce and creating and distributing a leaflet outlining 50 ways to save the planet.


Congratulating St. Mary’s Convent Primary School on winning the overall title, Minister Cannon said that the judges had a particularly challenging task this year due to the extremely high standard of entries across the board.  


In relation to St. Mary’s Convent Primary School’s winning entry, Minister Cannon noted that:


“The range of activities undertaken and the depth of the students’ understanding and engagement with the local community and elected representatives, really impressed the judges. Not only did they feel that the winning entry was a well-researched project, but they also felt that it had a very clear structure with excellent information and presentation, which helps people to understand quite complex ideas in a clear and concise way.


“It is evident that the pupils at St. Mary’s Convent Primary School have learnt a considerable amount by taking part in the Our World Irish Aid Awards. I am really encouraged by how they have applied that learning to their daily lives, in full knowledge that we all have a role to play in combating climate change and minimising its impact on those living in the developing world.


“This only happens through dedication and a strong vision and I would therefore like to applaud teacher Ann-Marie O’Sullivan and her Fifth Class pupils for all of the time and energy they invested, not only in their Awards entry, but also in raising awareness of the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development amongst their families and the local community.”


Two other awards were announced at today’s national final.  The award for Best Newcomer School was presented to Scoil Choilm Community National School, Clonsilla and the award for Teacher of the Year went to Cecelia Gavigan, a learning support teacher at Balbriggan Educate Together National School.  


Now in its 13th year, the Our World Irish Aid Awards teaching and learning materials help primary school pupils learn about the lives of children and their families in developing countries, and how Ireland and 192 other countries are working together to create a safer and fairer world and a better future for all through the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. 


This year, the awards attracted entries from right across Ireland, and were framed around the theme of ‘Transforming Our World’ - reflecting all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  The projects also highlighted the role that education can play in making a positive difference to the lives of people in developing countries, as well as here at home.


Each entry was assessed on its creativity and understanding of the theme Transforming Our World.  The first round of judging resulted in a shortlist which saw 60 schools gather at four regional finals held in Sligo, Dublin, Limerick and Cork. These 60 schools competed for 12 places at today’s national final.  Today marked the culmination of the final judging process which led to the selection of an overall winner, best newcomer and teacher of the year.  All 12 schools at today’s national final were also presented with a ‘National Finalist’ trophy.