There was a rapturous welcome awaiting transition year student Emily Noonan Keane, who recently returned from a three-day trip to Brussels, where she and a group of her peers took part in the prestigious European Parliament Ambassador School Programme.
Emily, a student of Gaelcholáiste Dáibhís in Mallow, became involved in the initiative after entering a competition run by Seán Kelly MEP under the European Parliament’s Meet Your MEP Programme. Securing one of just 10 places that were on offer as part of the programme, Emily joined Mr Kelly and her fellow winners on an all-expenses-paid trip to Brussels, which took place from November 18 to 20. During the trip, the Mallow student was given the opportunity to learn about the role of a member of the European Parliament (MEP), to familiarise herself with the work of European institutions and to engage in a number of workshops dealing with topics such as climate change.
In order to enter the competition, students all over Ireland were invited to submit a 500-word essay on the topic of ‘How Ireland can play its part in the global fight against climate change’. Emily’s entry was completed under the direction and guidance of her geography teacher, Debbie O’Sullivan, and was completed as Gaeilge.
Initially launched in 2015, the European Parliament Ambassador School Programme for post-primary schools has grown from strength to strength, with 60 schools across Ireland now taking part in the initiative. Teachers involved in the delivery of the programme receive specific training and are known as Senior Ambassadors, while students such as Emily, that show particular drive and enthusiasm, are selected by their teacher as Junior Ambassadors of the programme.
Speaking ahead of her educational trip to Brussels, Emily commented: “I’m really nervous but also really excited about the trip, because I don’t know what to expect but I also know it will be an experience of a lifetime. To get an opportunity at my age to witness the workings of the European Parliament first-hand and meet so many important people that deal with issues like climate change every day is amazing. I’m so grateful to Ms O’Sullivan for all her help and support with my entry and in the lead-up to my trip, and I’m looking forward to doing her and Davis College proud!”
To find out more about Davis College, Mallow, visit daviscollege.ie or follow Davis College on Twitter at @Davismallow.