Home News Education Laois students reflect on ‘Inspiring Women’s Week’ in their school

Laois students reflect on ‘Inspiring Women’s Week’ in their school

A Laois secondary school recently held an ‘Inspiring Women’s Week’.

International Women’s Day was on Monday March 8 – but a group in Scoil Chriost Ri in Portlaoise decided to extend the celebration for the entire school week. 

The Spreagadh Committee, comprising of 30 students, undertook several activities activities and engaged with past pupils and members of their community in discussing the ways in which women have inspired us in our lives. 

Transition Year students Kelly Abidoye, Aoibheann Kelly, Caoimhe Moore and Kate O’ Toole have put together the following report on what was a wonderful week. 

Where would we all be without the incredible inspiring women in society today?

Whether the woman who inspires you is your Mam, Grandmother, auntie, sister, your female teachers/coaches or colleagues, women are incredible and have truly inspired us all in our lives some way.

It is undoubtedly worth celebrating the strength, determination and creativity of the women in our society, both young and old.

Monday March 8 was international women’s day but instead of making just one day out of it, Scoil Chríost Rí ensured that this day and the idea that we should celebrate women became a week long celebration.

Students across the year groups came up with ideas on how to celebrate the importance of women in history and the world today.

With the help of their inspiring teachers, the students of Scoil Chríost Rí celebrated what it means to be a woman.

They celebrated women’s history, the many achievements of women in STEM and inspirational women that surround them today.

Highlighting the importance of international women’s day is necessary everywhere but particularly in an all-girls school. In Scoil Chríost Rí it is important to understand that every leadership role is filled by a girl, this simple yet empowering fact impacts how the students in the community view their world.

They know only of leadership roles among students being filled by intelligent, kind and inspiring young women.

Every girl is afforded the self-belief and opportunity to take on these roles in her school community and when they leave they expect that leadership should be taken on by women.

These young women understand the importance of representation and self-belief.

Despite students being forced away into their homes, longing to be reunited with their school community, the students and staff of Scoil Chríost Rí have persevered.

Thanks to the wonderful committees being ran in our school, they have managed to keep everyone connected. As physically connection is unavailable, connection via the internet was our next best option.

Themed weeklong events such as “Wellbeing Week,” “World Book Day” and “International Women’s History week” have been a key factor in maintaining the close-knit community. In a time like this, people yearn for anything to keep them busy.

The strong women operating our committees saw this need and went to work on filling in the gap. Wellbeing week was a massive success, with both students and teachers alike engaging fully.

The rise in moral was apparent as everyone waited in anticipation for the next event in line, which was world book day. A group of students along with the aid of their teachers took it upon themselves to run a “guess the novel” competition throughout the school.

The girls received over 150 entries ranging throughout the years. The high involvement really sparked the beginning of our latest weeklong project yet. International Women’s History Week.

The week dedicated to the inspiring women in our lives has been our most successful online event so far.

The hours of preparation and dedication to making this week the phenomenal event it has turned out to be is evident in every aspect of the project.

These women compiled and created so much content that would be accessible and engaging online -from movie lists based on powerful women, to interviewing famous women around Ireland.

The student and staff body also chipped in their two cents. The male teachers did their part by submitting videos discussing the female role models that raised them and how their care has made them the men they are today.

Girls from around the school were interviewed regarding their aspirations for the future. Honouring the elderly and women from the past, the first years read accounts from female nursing home residents on life as young girl growing up.

Concluding the week, tales of women in a time before us and how they overcame all odds were published on the school Facebook and Instagram.

The girls at Scoil ChrÍost Rí reached out to women in Laois who are evidently proving that no matter your gender, you can succeed.

These women included Kelly Lou, a successful Laois Entrepreneur and baker, Sara Birch, a mindset and empowerment coach and Clíondhna Nic Gearailt and Sarah Cullen, two past Scoil Chríost Rí students (who have now launched a podcast on being a woman in the modern world @roarintwentiespod).

It also includes Ali Spillane, a former student and works in Long Media in Galway and Ladonna McCartan, owner of Nook and Cranny gift shop and The Pantry Café.

Student, Alison O’Kelly even managed to reach out to RTE Education Correspondent Emma O’Kelly to give an insight on being a woman working in the media.

The snippets of advice gave the students an insight into working in the world as a woman.

Not only did the women get to hear stories from other women, the male staff in Scoil Chríost Rí contributed to the celebration.

Five male teachers; Mr Moss, Mr Williamson, Mr Scully, Mr Murphy and Mr Whelehan sent videos praising the women who inspired them in their lives and made them the men they are today.

The men spoke about their mothers, sisters and their wives. It is great to see the male perspective on how inspiring women are and how women shape us and make us the people we are today.

As one staff member said, “Not often a lad will turn around and say that about their mother but she’s a constant support to me through college, school and she still is today.” This shows no matter our age, how young or matured we may be, women still continue to inspire us.

It is undeniable that Scoil Chriost Ri is a place that facilitates change and nurtures future female leaders. The pandemic has provided Transition Year students with unique opportunity to not only showcase the talent students in the community possess but also to address important social issues as we have seen this week marking international women’s week.

Even when organizing the week’s events, the spirit surrounding the student body was one like none other, with everyone rallying together for a common good.

The schools’ efforts are so important in promoting a healthy environment for young girls to grow up in.

Jump forward to the present day, obstacles still face us, but they just take a much different form- the sneaky comment or passing remark.

Even the word “feminism” is sometimes seen as a negative when in fact it is anything but; now more than ever it is so important to focus on the positives of what it means to be a woman in the 21st century and strong leadership and healthy female role models the likes of which are around every corner in Scoil Chriost Rí are just what it takes to create a hearty schooling environment and redefine what feminism is in the modern day.

A woman can do anything, be anything and achieve anything she sets her mind to- evidence of this grace the halls of the school and are celebrated at the earliest opportunity.

The leadership opportunities, without which events such as International women’s week would not be possible, are proof of the atmosphere of “anything’s possible” that surrounds the school community, regardless of whether we are online or in person.

SEE ALSO – Watch: Laois family produce brilliant virtual St Patrick’s Day parade of their own

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