First award for Limerick's newest school

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Principal Liam O’Mahony, English teacher Justin O’Connor and members of the students’ council receiving the Robert Dunbar Memorial Library Certificate from Elaina Ryan, Children’s Books Ireland

Principal Liam O’Mahony, English teacher Justin O’Connor and members of the students’ council receiving the Robert Dunbar Memorial Library Certificate from Elaina Ryan, Children’s Books Ireland

LIMERICK’s newest post-primary school has received its maiden award.

Staff and students at Mungret Community College received an early Christmas present after winning the Robert Dunbar Memorial Libraries award.

The scheme, backed by Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) and dedicated to the late champion of children’s literature Robert Dunbar, is also in its first year.

Mungret Community College beat 158 other primary and secondary schools to the prize, which will see €1,500 worth of books donated to its new library.​

English teacher Justin O’Connor said: “Our first whole school trip out was to the library in Dooradoyle, and this is our first national prize. It’s fitting, as reading and literacy is central to what we are doing.”

As well as the main prize, CBI will link up with the school to organise a visit from a children’s author and illustrator.

To win the prize, Mr O’Connor said school staff highlighted the “identity” and “sense of community” in the school.

“Some of the students in the school have a very positive reading identity, while others have yet to find it. Some still see it as a chore and a struggle This is something we want to work as a community together to change. This is a great opportunity to look to this,” he added, “It's not that you don't like reading, it's just you haven't met a book yet that will grab your attention and make you start reading.”

Principal Liam O’Mahony added: “We're delighted to see a library being developed in the school. Going forward, we would love to see students valuing reading as it's the basis to every single subject and also a life skill that will stick through people's lives.”

Mungret Community College opened to its first year of students in September.

It will progressively grow to become a whole school community of around 600 students in the next five years.

The Robert Dunbar Memorial Award is given to two secondary schools and two primary schools in memory of the critic and editor, who passed away last year.

The scheme was founded in May this year.