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11 Aug 2022

Pupils at Limerick school draw inspiration from an array of female role models

Pupils at Limerick school draw inspiration from an array of female role models

Becasue we’re worth it: Nikola enjoyed a master class with stylist Aisling from Mary's Hair Salon in Croom

A FEMALE role model does not have to be a celebrity is the empowering message given in Catherine McAuley School.

A female role model can be your mum, sister, teacher, local hairdresser or vet. She can be any woman who makes a difference, any woman you can look up to. She can be any woman who inspires you to do better, to be better. A role model is someone who walks the talk!

The students of Room 11 in the South Circular Road school worked on a very meaningful and educational Role Models project as part of their QQI studies throughout 2021/2022.

Over the past nine months they have had the opportunity to speak with amazing women from many different walks of life. A key discovery by the students has been that role models can be found anywhere and everywhere.

Some of the role models which the students interviewed were well known personalities, while others were the everyday people in their lives.

“After completing our project, we know that role models do not have to be famous, they don’t have to get everything right the first time but they are people who keep trying and never give up in order to be who they want to be,” said Alex Collins, student.

Fellow student, Zoe Long said: “Our project started with a really inspiring interview with sports presenter and author Jacqui Hurely. Jacqui was amazing. She gave us lots of time and showed such interest in our project. We loved listening to Jacqui speak about her own role model and friend Katie Taylor.”

Some of the other incredible and inspiring role models interviewed include; Kathy Enright of Rockhall Veterinary Clinics; Kelly Mara, zoologist at Dublin Zoo; Dara Stanley, scientist from UCD; Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland; Norma Bargary, data scientist from UL; Sharon Huban, art teacher at Catherine McAuley and Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, of the Woodlands.

A key highlight of this project for the students was their interview with award winning Limerick hairdresser and salon owner Mary Ryan, of Mary’s Hair Salon, Croom.

Mary kindly invited the students to visit her salon for their interview and afterwards were treated to a master class in hair styling by Mary and her wonderful staff Kay, Brigid and Aisling. Make-up artist Lorainne Treacy, who runs a nearby beauty salon, treated the students to make overs and lots of skincare and make up tips.

The students have just completed a QQI module in Hair and Beauty and a number are interested in working in hair and beauty down the line.

“Listening to Mary about her journey in becoming a hairdresser and salon owner was such an inspiration. Mary has so many years of experience, yet she continues to do courses and develop her skills. She said you should never stop learning new skills and I loved how she takes so much joy in teaching others too. She is a great teacher.” Holly Mulcahy, Room 11 Student.

Mary exudes so many characteristics of a great role model. She is positive, hardworking, she recognises and appreciates all she has achieved. In short, she walks the talk. In addition to all her many great qualities, in 2018 she won a national customer service award and in 2021 she was awarded the title of ‘The Nations Favourite Hairdresser’. This shows that hard work and dedication pays off.

The staff at Mary’s Salon are undoubtedly women to admire and look up to also. “I am inspired by Aisling who works at the salon to get a summer job in a salon to build my experience as someday I would like to be a hairdresser.” Nikola Viglasova, Student.

The inspiring experiences for the students continued with student Rachel McInerney recounting, “After spending time in the Salon with Lorraine who has her own beauty salon business, I am so excited about my own future. I would love to work as a makeup artist and maybe travel with my job. I chatted to Lorraine about what it takes to become a makeup artist and she was so interesting and supportive”.

Throughout this project, each and every role model who was interviewed by the students showed themselves to be hard workers, proud of their achievements and thankful for everything they have accomplished. Many of the role models interviewed see themselves as ‘works in progress’ with continuing and growing dreams. This in itself is something to aspire to.

In the words of Jacqui Hurley “Role models exist in all walks of life and having them in our lives is one of the best forms of education. I am lucky to have them in my life and I am now proud to be called one. As the saying goes, if we know them, we can be them”.

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