County Limerick pupils sleep in their school for the homeless

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


County Limerick pupils sleep in their school for the homeless

Some of the participants in the Bruff sleepout for the homeless

SPENDING time in school over the weekend would make most children run a mile but not in Scoil Dean Cussen in Bruff.

Over 30 sixth class pupils and four staff slept in the sports hall on Friday night for the Mid-West Simon Community. The boys and girls each donated €20 of their Confirmation money and got sponsorship cards. Over €1,600, with more to come, has been raised so far.

While it was called Rang a Sé Sleepover for Simon, deputy principal Shane Mullane joked that there wasn’t too much sleep!

“It was the children’s idea. They were doing persuasive writing in Noel O’Connell’s sixth class. They decided to write a persuasive letter to the principal to do a sleepover in the school. They came up with points and arguments.

“They said they would do it for a homeless charity and in a small way imagine what it would be like to be homeless by sleeping a little bit rough. They also said it would be a bit of independence for them to spend a night away from their parents. Some of them might never have been away from their parents before. They also thought it would be good from a social aspect, having a night with their friends,” said Mr Mullane, who teaches a mixed class of fifth and sixth.   

Joan O’Connor, principal, was persuaded to say yes. Mr Mullane, Mr O’Connell, Amy Kelleher, junior infants, and SNA Niall Barrett put their hands up to be the supervising teachers.

At 10pm on Friday night, 33 sixth class boys and girls from Mr O’Donnell’s and Mr Mullane’s classes arrived at Scoil Dean Cussen complete with sleeping bags. They “slept” on gym mats.

“We made popcorn and watched The Maze Runner. After that we played games and cards, chatted and had a bit of fun. It was lights out about 1am but it finally quietened down at around 4am! From 7am we started making pancakes and they went home at 8am. There was a great atmosphere and the kids had a ball,” said Mr Mullane. Parents thanked the four teachers who were sleep deprived on Saturday.

“They were really appreciative of the whole effort and the time given by the teachers to make it all happen. I think they were delighted with the whole project. The children took real ownership of it which was fantastic to see,” said Mr Mullane.