CEIST Schools Win Young Social Innovator Awards

IF YOU were looking for apathetic teenagers, you wouldn’t find one at the Young Social Innovators’ annual showcase in Citywest, Dublin, yesterday.

Some 3,500 secondary school students were at the event, which recognised their work in tackling problems including poverty, homelessness and mental health issues.

They enthusiastically told of how they started campaigns on issues such as making Holy Communion affordable, encouraging restaurants to provide Braille menus and discouraging animal testing in the cosmetic industry.

The screams of delight when their schools won awards could probably have been heard at Áras an Uachtaráin, from where President Michael D Higgins had come to view the projects. He received a standing ovation after he said it was not a time for cynicism.

“It’s a time for us getting beyond anger, often righteous anger,” he said. “There just isn’t any point in flailing around in negativity. It is a time to be positive. It is a time to look out there ahead and see the kind of society that you want it to be . . . and put it into practice.”

He had already been lobbied by the project that eventually won the Young Social Innovators of 2012 award. Davis College of Summerhill, Mallow, Co Cork won the award for their campaign to raise awareness of missing people and have a national day for missing people established.

They gathered 12,000 signatures from students, ran a bus shelter and billboard campaign and addressed the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality in March.

Josie McGrath (16) said it was “absolutely unbelievable” to win the award. “This is just the icing on the cake.”

They will meet Minister for Justice Alan Shatter today and hope he will announce the establishment of a national day for missing people. “We’re not going to take no for an answer,” she said.

The idea has already received all-party support.

More than 40,000 young people have taken part in the Young Social Innovators’ initiative since 2001.

More than €85,000 was raised for 90 charities and organisations this year.

The Silver Award went to Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk, Tralee, Co Kerry.

St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath won the Bronze Award.

Category Winners - CEIST Schools

St Anne’s Secondary School, Convent of Mercy, Rosanna Road, Tipperary. (Making Our World Healthier – Physical Health).

St Mary’s Secondary School, Irishtown, New Ross, Co Wexford (Making Our World More Fair and Just).

St Anne’s Secondary School, Convent of Mercy, Rosanna Road, Tipperary Town (Making Our World Greener).

Other awards

St Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross, Co Wexford.

Our Lady’s College, Drogheda, Co Louth.

CEIST congratulates all of our schools who took part in this notable and very worthwhile initiative.