Students from St John Of God School raised their fourth Green Flag for Travel on Tuesday, June 19.
This flag is awarded by An Taisce to schools who successfully complete a two-year programme that encourages students to walk or cycle to school.
Wide awake from their morning stroll in the sun, the students, staff, then Mayor David Fitzgerald, Environmental Officer Bernadette Moloney and the Green School Committee gathered for the raising of the flag. Mrs Holohan (Principal) thanked everybody in attendance.
Ms Paybody and Ms O’ Neill spoke about the great effort that all the students had made to travel to school in a sustainable manner. In 2010, when work started on the travel theme, only 50% of the students walked to school – although most lived within walking distance.
This created huge traffic problems and serious safety concerns. Over the past two years, the school has introduced many initiatives such as ‘funky hair days’, WOW days (Walk Once a Week), travel workshop and cycling programmes in an effort to get more children to walk to school.
Now thanks to their participation in An Taisce’s Green schools programme, the majority of pupils now walk, cycle or park ‘n’ stride. The Mayor congratulated the children and encouraged them to keep doing what they are doing and to stay healthy. He also spoke to them about keeping Kilkenny beautiful, and working towards keeping Kilkenny litter-free.
The flag was unfurled and raised. Members of the Green School Committee ran around the yard with the flag and each class acknowledged the flag with a Mexican wave.
The children chanted the school travel song: ‘Bígí ag siúl and save the fuel, walk once a week to school’.
It was a fantastic day, which also incorporated the annual plant cake and craft sale. This sale is an annual event organised by the Parent’s Council.
The school garden provided an abundance of plants and herbs for the sale which were eagerly bought by the green-fingered students. Thanks to the generosity of the parents, there was no shortage of cakes and buns on the day. The children enjoyed both the making and selling of their produce.
“Special thanks to all for making it such a memorable occasion,” said Deirdre O’ Neill, Green Schools co-ordinator.
“The future is looking Green.”