Bags of talent were on display at the University of Limerick today at a ceremony to announce the winners of the ‘Class of 2014 Design a Bag Awards’ which saw second and fifth year students of St Enda’s Community School designing reusable cloth bags around the theme of inclusivity. The ‘Design a Bag’ Social Inclusion Project was developed by the University of Limerick Access Office and the UL Arts Office with the aim of capturing the equality and inclusivity message through the eyes of today’s young people.
UL Access Office’s Elaine Byrnes worked closely with the students and their art and civics teachers on the project over the past number of months. The top award went to 2nd Year Mark Buckley and 5th Year Sara Pokrywczynska whose winning designs were printed as bags to be distributed throughout the school and wider community.
Many of the students who partook in the project are part of the Class of 2014 Programme was established by UL in September 2008. Located at St. Edna’s Community School, Southill, Limerick; the programme works with the one cohort intake of September 2008 throughout their second level education through a series of sustained, intensive interventions, such as in-school support, after school activities and summer programmes. The core aim of the prolonged programme is that the pupils will realise their full potential, complete the second level senior educational cycle and subsequently transfer to higher education.
Speaking from the award ceremony Professor Paul McCutcheon, Vice President Academic and Registrar at UL said “the University of Limerick’s Strategic Plan clearly outlines the University’s commitment to widening participation at third level for students from schools and communities traditionally under-represented at university. In pursuit of this goal the University of Limerick has a dedicated Access Office co-ordinating a number of programmes to encourage those between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age who may not traditionally see University life as an option for them. The University has a very long relationship with St Edna’s, of which it is very proud and it is wonderful to see the incredible amount of creativity on display here today.”
Class of 2014 project coordinator, Elaine Byrnes praised the efforts of all the students and reiterated the importance of the overall project. “43.2% of adults from the St Enda’s Community School community finish formal education at Primary Level. In order to counteract this outcome, it is essential that we raise the aspiration levels of the group therefore aspiration raising is the key fundamental underpinning the Class of 2014 Programme. It necessary to raise the self-expectation of the pupils, so that progression to higher education is natural for them, “she said.
Article and Image courtesy of UL Press Office