Pictures: Students are looking after their wellbeing in city school

Micheál Martin cut the ribbon to officially open a new wellness zone at the Presentation Secondary School in Ballyphehane.
Pictures: Students are looking after their wellbeing in city school

Taoiseach Micheal Martin cuts the ribbon to officially open the 'Chill Room' with Principal Barry O'Shea and students Laura O'Sullivan, Abbey Cotter, and Caoimhe Hall. Pic: Larry Cummins.

A NEW wellness zone was recently opened by the Taoiseach Micheál Martin in a Cork city secondary school.

He cut the ribbon on the chillout zone in Presentation Secondary School in Ballyphehane.

Their school principal Barry O’Shea said the new area is a ‘welcome’ resource. “The Taoiseach cut the ribbon for our new wellbeing zone. It is an area where students can go and relax. They can chill out and focus on their own wellbeing. It is a quiet place. There are soft furnishings such as two couches and facilities for making tea and coffee. It is a great resource,” he said.

Pictured at the Wall of Fame are Erica Kiely 1st year, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Sophie O'Mahony, 5th year and Jade O'Flynn 5th year. Photo Joleen Cronin
Pictured at the Wall of Fame are Erica Kiely 1st year, Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Sophie O'Mahony, 5th year and Jade O'Flynn 5th year. Photo Joleen Cronin

Mr O’Shea added the new chillout zone enables students to focus on their own wellbeing. “Inclusivity is important in our school. Well-being is the core of any sort of progression, but particularly educational progression. It has been a great addition. It means students can focus on their own wellbeing. The better they are in terms of their own well-being the more they achieve in terms of their academic results. The students are making use of it.”

The Taoiseach’s visit was timed to coincide with the conclusion of College Awareness Week which is an annual event held in the Cork city secondary school. The school principal said students ‘engage’ in positive talks during the week.

“College Awareness Week is a whole school event. It is held to build awareness and empower students in the school. It strives to enable the students to discover opportunities beyond second level education. It was an extremely successful week.

Pictured at the Sports and PE wall are 4th year students Emily O'Connor and Lauren Daly with Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo Joleen Cronin
Pictured at the Sports and PE wall are 4th year students Emily O'Connor and Lauren Daly with Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo Joleen Cronin

“It is reflected in the fact that the vast majority of our students progress on to university. 83% of our students progress on to university. During the week students engaged in positive health and motivational talks. The Taoiseach left us with a quote that resonated with the pupils. “Do what you love, and it will always take you places.” The girls thought it was very wise,” he added.

The Taoiseach also presented awards during his visit to the Presentation Secondary School said Mr O’Shea. “The Taoiseach awarded the Catriona O’Flynn scholarship which is based on the UCC Quercus Scholarship. The senior cycle winner was Kayleigh Walsh. The junior cycle winner was Aoife Delaney. These students were recognised for their talents in the performing arts. The Taoiseach was also interviewed by Abbey Cotter, Caoimhe Hull and Laura O’Sullivan for the internal school podcast. We have been interviewing past pupils and asking them to discuss their own career progression. It has been very successful.”

 Taoiseach Micheal Martin relaxes in the 'Chill Room' with students Abbey Cotter, Laura O'Sullivan and Caoimhe Hall. Pic: Larry Cummins.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin relaxes in the 'Chill Room' with students Abbey Cotter, Laura O'Sullivan and Caoimhe Hall. Pic: Larry Cummins.

The all-girls secondary school is the only secondary school to have a purpose-built theatre on campus. This enables their students to ‘achieve’ high standards said the principal.

“The Nano Nagle Theatre is attached to the school. I think we are the only secondary school to have a purpose-built theatre on campus. This means we have the best facilities to provide the best education in terms of drama and music for students. Our students achieve high standards in those areas."

Mr O’Shea said the school which has 200 pupils hopes to introduce computer science as a subject for the Leaving Certificate next year.

“We have a very active parents association and board of management. The staff are very dynamic and very able. We have excellent facilities. We have science labs. Next year we hope to introduce computer science as a subject for the Leaving Cert. We are very much into STEM and encouraging girls to progress on to careers in engineering, sciences, and the arts which we are strong in.”

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