Last Friday, the recently appointed Minister for Education & Skills, Joe Mc Hugh, visited Ballyshannon to speak to students from both sides of the border who were taking part in arts workshops organised by Sligo IT, the Allingham Festival and Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon.
The first stop on the minister’s visit to Ballyshannon was Coláiste Cholmcille, where he was welcomed by Head Girl Ana Keon, principal Jimmy Keogh and the chairperson of the Allingham Arts Festival Tom Sigafoos. After a brief chat, he called in to the feedback session from the workshops which had been delivered by four lecturers from the BA in Writing and Literature at Sligo IT to over sixty Leaving Cert and Transition Year students.
Minister Mc Hugh introduced himself to the group, charting his journey from student to Minister of Education, before inviting some of the students to share their work from the morning. A number of students read their pieces of descriptive and dramatic writing. The Minister praised the students and Sligo IT for the standard of work, and was particularly impressed by the confidence the students displayed in sharing their writing, sharing his observation that confidence in one’s self will lead to success in life.
The next stop was the Abbey Arts Centre, where Minister Mc Hugh was greeted by students from St. Michael’s College and the Grammar School, both from Enniskillen, and Coláiste Cholmcille students, all of whom were there to attend the talk on poetry, art and writing by Niall Mac Monagle. Having spent some time mingling with students from both sides of the border, the minster told the assembled young people that they were not just the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today. He also acknowledged the work of the festival organisers for promoting the arts to schools from both sides of the border.