FOUR high-flying secondary school students were still on cloud nine when they touched down at Cork Airport on Sunday night having won first place in their category at the prestigious European YouthStart Entrepreneurship Awards.
The students from North Presentation Secondary School in Farranree travelled to Switzerland, where they represented Ireland at the awards with their innovative company Know Your Buttons, a sexual health programme for primary schools to help teach consent.
Fifth-year students Jade Guiney, Shanice Pepper, Sommer Nolan, and Shanice Browne had already received national recognition for their company, winning the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship National Award for Social Enterprise in 2021. They have now added to that win, coming first in the ‘We Grow Together’ category at the European awards.
Know Your Buttons created an improved sexual health resource for primary school-age children to teach consent using a Gingerbread Kid theme.
The resource helps younger children differentiate between a good and a bad touch, and explains the idea of consent using simple language that they will understand.
Jade, Shanice, Sommer, and Shanice have been developing their idea while studying for their Leaving Certificate, with the support of teacher Stacey Higgins.
They have attended workshops with Muire O’Farrell, an outreach worker with the Sexual Health Centre, as well as coaching from ActionCoach Ireland, one of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme’s major sponsors and supporters.
Arriving home on Sunday, the students were greeted by a surprise welcome from teachers at their school.
“We at North Presentation Secondary School are extremely proud of our four students, Shanice Browne, Sommer Nolan, Shanice Pepper and Jade Guiney,” Ms Higgins said.
“They put huge effort into their NFTE enterprise and are fully deserving of this fantastic award.”
Ms Higgins also thanked Cork NFTE programme officer Angela O’Connell for the support she provided and also thanked the parents of the students.
Following their gold medal win, the students have received scholarships to the Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna in November.