Furglan National School, Lahinch and Burrane National School, Killimer, Kilrush have been named Junior and Senior County Winners, respectively, of the prestigious national art competition.
The competition, which is supported by the National Disability Authority, attracted more than 2,600 entries from national schools across the length and breadth of the country. Now in its fourth year, Someone Like Me aims to raise disability awareness among primary school children and give them a greater understanding of what unites children of differing abilities.
In order to enter the competition, teachers and their pupils worked through a special lesson plan which challenged them to respond artistically and creatively to the theme of Someone Like Me, while, at the same time, appreciating and respecting similarities and differences in people, developing a shared understanding of how we should treat others in a caring, sensitive and inclusive way, and promoting a sense of belonging and connectedness.
The judges were particularly impressed with the submissions from pupils and teachers at Furglan National School and Burrane National School, selecting them as County Winners based on their insightful and inspirational responses to the theme.
Congratulating Furglan National School and Burrane National School on being named County Winners, Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath T.D. said that he was hugely encouraged by the growing interest in the competition.
“We are exceptionally pleased with the response to this year’s competition which illustrates just how willing our primary school teachers and pupils are to help build a more inclusive Ireland where everyone, irrespective of ability or disability, is treated with equal respect and feels like a valued member of society,” he said.
“There are almost 650,000 people in Ireland with a disability which equates to 1 in 7 of the population. Almost 10% of that number are children aged 15 and under. Initiatives like this are an important part of the work carried out by the Department of Justice and Equality to promote inclusiveness and I would like to pay tribute to the commitment of the teachers who invested important classroom time in working on their competition entries.
“While I know it will be an anxious wait for the pupils and teachers to hear which of the 49 county winners has been awarded the national title, we must not lose sight of the fact that every entry is a winning entry when it comes to helping to nurture a new national understanding of, and attitude towards, disability. Each and every single teacher and pupil who has taken part in the competition has been encouraged to treat others the way that they like to be treated themselves and has developed a greater understanding of what unites children of differing abilities which is enormously positive in itself.”
Furglan National School and Burrane National School will now go on to compete with 47 other schools from around the country for the overall national Someone Like Me award which will be announced at a ceremony at Dublin City Hall on Tuesday 3rd December, the International Day of People with Disabilities.
The competition, which offers a range of prizes up to the value of €750 was open to all primary school pupils from junior infants to sixth class and more than 2,600 entries were received from individual pupils, class groups and whole schools right across Ireland. Entries ranged from posters and collages to large sculptural installations and multi-media pieces.
Junior County Winner: Furglan National School, Lahinch
Teacher: Monica Dilleen
Class Group: Junior Infants to 2nd Class
Project Description: A floral poster featuring inspirational words on each petal.
Senior County Winner: Burrane National School, Killimer, Kilrush
Teacher: Niamh Kelly
Class Group: 6th Class pupils Leah Kelly and Jessica O’Sullivan
Project Description: A poster of children playing sports and in school, bearing the caption ‘Treat others as you like to be treated’.