A GROUP of students from New-Bridge Integrated College had a very special invitation this week - directly from the President of the United States.
When Year 10 student Ronan Curran entered an essay competition to mark the visit of President Barack Obama to Northern Ireland, he never envisaged that not only would the President read his piece of creative writing but would invite Ronan and 10 fellow students to the Waterfront Hall on Monday 17
Ronan decided to enter the essay competition titled ‘How to make peace permanent in Northern Ireland’ following whole class encouragement by English teacher, Miss Philips.
He said: “When I read the title, I thought to myself ‘what does permanent peace mean to me, my family and the people of Northern Ireland. Is permanent peace achievable or even realistic’?”
Ronan set about doing some research which included the ‘Good Friday Agreement’. He concluded that permanent peace in Northern Ireland is perhaps an unrealistic goal but feels that it is achievable bit by bit if everyone plays their part.
Ronan said that attending an integrated school is one way of achieving permanent peace as he feels the school you attend determines how you look at religion and culture.
Stormont, Ronan said, has a huge part to play in encouraging integrated education in Northern Ireland and more funding should be made available.
Mrs Anne Anderson, principal is extremely proud that Ronan’s work has been acknowledged by President Obama.
She said: “This piece of work Ronan has produced not only demonstrates advanced creative writing skills as a year 10 pupil but also demonstrates how New-Bridge is succeeding in nurturing our pupils to develop balanced viewpoints about the world around us. Mrs Anderson congratulates Ronan on his achievement. He is a great ambassador for integrated education.”
The Principal, Mrs Hasson, Vice Principal, Mrs Connolly, Chairperson and 10 students made the early journey to Belfast to be present when the President addressed an audience at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
The students brought him a gift of the College prayer in a Newbridge Silver frame made in Ireland by Newbridge Silverware and sourced by Porters in Banbridge. The frame was beautifully engraved by Mr Albert McKee, Victoria Street.