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Laois students put finishing touches on community projects as school ends for Christmas

Laois students in secondary schools have really played a blinder this year.

With Covid-19 limiting what they can enjoy, many of them have turned to community projects that have seen thousands of euro raised and many donations made to various different local groups and projects.

When the Coiste Cineáltais (Kindness Committee) in Scoil Chriost Ri started off on their Christmas adventure to collect donations of new toys for children in need they could never have imagined the generosity they would find in our community.

They have raised over €3,200 and over 500 brand new toys for children. Their coin box alone brought in €807 and it is a sign of how if we each contribute even a small amount, a few copper coins here and there, that we can create something positive and powerful.

The Coiste spent so much time seeking out direct and efficient distribution pathways, coming up with fun and motivating ways of getting our fabulous girls to help build up a real movement of kindness.

They have been able to help SVP Vincent’s Portlaoise, SVP Stradbally, Laois Domestic Abuse Service, several of our local schools including Scoil Bhride NS Portlaoise, St. Francis and the Kolbe School, the Amber Refuge in Kilkenny and many in the community who came to light as needing that bit of extra magic this Christmas.

The group said: “From the very impressive and festive coin box by Ella Byrne’s dad (and a bit of help by Ailbhe Quinn too) to the pretty professional social media interactions lead by our Instagram maestros (Aoibhinn O’Connor, Orla Sheridan, Tara Fahy and Lisa Keane), we have seen so much effort to reach this point.

“We also had Kate O’Connor’s lovely Gorilla grace our presence and Danielle’s Husky and large teddy drum up interest in the raffle.

“The generosity of the 5th year girls (Eleanor Healy, Danielle Brennan, Aoife O’Driscoll, Orla Ramsbottom, Fiadh McCann, Ava Prendergast) to donate their TY bank haul was amazing.

“We had Mr. Coolahan ferrying around drops offs, Ms. Dollard harnessing the brilliant thinking and generosity of the Parents Council, teachers desperately buying raffle tickets to win Gary the Gorilla, so many girls emptying piggy banks and parents pockets to add to the coin box, the coin counters, the sweet eaters, the people who shared posts, the many girls who labelled and sorted the gifts, the girls who alerted us to particular families needing a bit of help.

“We hear so much about kindness. Our social media feeds are awash with memes and pithy little slogans around the word “kind”.

“But living your life through the lens of kindness, using your energy to drive home the importance of helping others is something that takes time, patience, self awareness and determination.

“Our students have once again used their time and energy to live kindness, not just speak about it. Our girls have been so willing to help others in a time where it would be so easy to only worry about themselves and for that we know we are blessed.

“A massive and sincere thank you to all those who helped and contributed as you have once again shown us how powerful a school community can be and how much we all look after each other.”

In Mountmellick Community School, Ms Dwyer and the TY students have been busy collecting presents for those currently in hospital.

The students wrapped all the presents and presented them to patients in St Vincent’s hospital in Mountmellick and St Brigid’s hospital in Shaen recently.

Meanwhile, Knockbeg College students raised €650 for the Carlow Lions Club St Vincent de Paul Christmas Food Appeal with their Christmas Jumper Day.

The students and staff in the school also brought in food items which were donated to St Clare’s Hospitality Kitchen in Carlow.

Well done to all!

Scoil Chriost Ri 

Mountmellick CS 

Knockbeg College

SEE ALSO – Coronavirus: 13 further deaths and 938 more cases, 10 in Laois, as Minister tests positive

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.