A Cork secondary school is championing the achievements of women by naming class groups after strong female role models.
The initiative was piloted by St Aloysius' College in Carrigtwohill last year and owing to the positive reaction it has received, has expanded its reach this year.
"In listening to the voices of our students across the college we became aware of our girls’ desire to have opportunities to meet and be inspired by the stories of others.
"We cultivate many opportunities for such experiences to enrich learning at the college and it was out of these experiences that the seed of the idea for naming our base classes was germinated," Vice Principal Sharon Holland told.
"We started with a school pilot last year in second and fifth year and these class groups have retained their class names into third and sixth year for 2020/21.
"Such was the positivity around the project that we decided to expand its reach this year," she continued.
All class groups within each year are now named after inspiring women.
Included are past pupils such as comedian Maeve Higgins, psychologist and author Aisling Leonard-Curtin and chef Clodagh McKenna.
"Others are girls and women that our students have told us they look up to in terms of their successes and achievements such as Simone Biles, Doireann Garrihy, Sonia Deasy, Anne Anderson and Mary McAleese," Ms Holland explained.
"We hope to involve our active Student Council and supportive Parents’ Association annually and to regularly add new names to the ‘Be Inspired’ campaign each year.
"After all, there are so many exceptionally inspiring women out there that it would be a shame not to champion them," she continued.
Ms Holland said the chief aim with the project is to increase awareness of strong female role models in Ireland and abroad.
"We constantly encourage our girls to strive to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
"In tandem with this though we reassure them that their journeys in life will often take them in directions that they didn’t choose or plan - that’s life.
"However, it is these ‘side trips’ that will often fortify their strength, resilience and growth.
"There is no perfect person, woman or St Al’s girl and these inspiring women are credible and relatable.
"They are symbols of achievement in a broad range of sports, art, media, science, business entrepreneurship, music, writing, acting, culinary arts, comedy, politics, law, public life, diplomacy," she said.
The ‘Be Inspired’ campaign has received a hugely popular reaction from students and their families as well as online.
"Doireann Garrihy has already been in touch wanting to visit Rang Doireann in first year as soon as it is safe to do so.
"She also had a chat with Eoghan McDermott about Rang Doireann on their RTÉ 2FM breakfast show this morning so our girls are really enthused by that," Ms Holland said.