Catholic Education - A Student's Experience

The following is an account from Presentation College Currylea Transition Year student, Ailis Broderick, on her experiences of Catholic Education.

"This week Presentation College Currylea, are celebrating Catholic schools week. It seems ironic that we should focus on the Catholic ethos of our school in a week when sixty percent of the population declared they didn't want the church in control in our schools.

I have given the idea of the Catholic influence in this school much thought in recent days, Catholic education is inspired by Jesus Christ, is person centred and acknowledges the unique giftedness of all its students.

In days when much is lightly made of the awful abuse in Irish schools in the recent past, I feel I should speak of my experience in a modern catholic school. I am part of a community which is happy, open and stimulating. I witness every day in hundreds of ways the Catholic value of "Love thy neighbour" played out in the bits and pieces of everyday life .

This could be something as simple as holding the hand of a first year who is finding the going hard or rejoicing in a friends success, I watch as staff and students imbued with Christian love, try and fail and try again to give without counting the cost and love without waiting for a return.

Each morning at ten o'clock we stop and pray. Students lead us in song and reflection. This is an opportunity to centre our lives for the day.

This is the moment when we pray for members of our school community who are sick and joyfully give thanks to God for our achievements big and small.

The God of our school I believe is a God of love and a God of fun, a God of understanding and a God of Joy. Our school is not a restrictive place, but a place of happiness and laughter, a place of very hard work and great achievements. It is a place where each is challenged to use her talents to the limit of her ability.

We frequently share our talents with our local and global community. Every student and teacher contributed to the relief effort in Haiti. We raise money continuously for the Presentation Zambia mission. We are twinned with a school in South Africa under the "Amewale" project.

You might say you would find this in any school but I believe, however, it is the sense of justice learned from the Gospels that inspires our activities. Our school values tolerance and inclusiveness. We always welcome students of other traditions, faiths and nationalities seeing such diversity as offering opportunities for deeper understanding among people holding diverse convictions.

We the students of this school feel valued; we are treated with the utmost respect and with justice and are constantly challenged to become the architects of the future of mankind. The relationship of man to his environment is constantly emphasised.

There is one very special place in our school: Our Prayer Room, This is a place where I can go and pray to God and thank Him for all of the good things in life. I sometimes sit here with students who have lost a family member, who are remembered in our special parent’s memory book. I can only guess what it must mean to these girls to realise there is a special place in this school where they can remember in safety.

I am very happy and proud to be a student here in Currylea and I know I matter as a student in this Catholic school, so yes I want to celebrate this week."

Ailis Broderick,

Transition Year Student,

Presentation College, Currylea, Tuam.