Principal of Graignamanagh Boys’ National School Jennifer Barron with students Dan and JJ Bolger (cousins and rugby fanatics) celebrating the sports funding windfall.
There’s double delight for the staff and students of Graignamanagh Boys National School who have managed to score two major recent successes.
Last Monday, they found out via a video message from Leinster and Ireland rugby star James Ryan that the school has won funding for sports facilities as part of an Aldi/IRFU competition.
Last year, the boys — like many other schools —collected huge amounts of Aldi stickers and the posters needed to be included in the raffle. They were delighted to later receive an IRFU kit bag including some rugby balls last year after sending away their full posters.
Then, on Monday morning, they received word from star second row Ryan and Aldi that they were one of the 10 schools to win a €10,000 funding windfall. There was great excitement also to see former Lions and Ireland captain Paul O’Connell mention the school on social media .
“We are in the process of finishing some external works to improve the playing pitch for the boys, so we envisage that our Active Schools Committee along with Ms Byrne will have great plans on how to spend the money to further promote our sports facilities,” confirmed school principal Jennifer Barron.
There was already plenty of cause for celebration as the school was preparing to launch a new school library as part of the Robert Dunbar Memorial Library scheme.
The annual award sees the delivery of carefully chosen books worth €2,500 and access to online materials to promote reading within the school. It also involves a reading champion visiting school to give the boys lessoms in creative writing and illustration.
Principal Barron saw it as a great opportunity for the school community, and applied without hesitation, outlining how the award would benefit the students.
“Reluctance in reading is often seen more in boys, so it is important to us that we supply the boys with a wide variety of interesting books,” she said.
“I felt that having a self contained library within the school would hugely benefit all and that they could have a relaxing space to come and read a book during the school day.
“We were delighted in January 2020 to hear we had been shortlisted for the award, and even more thrilled in March 2020 to hear we were one of four primary schools in the country to have been chosen to receive the Robert Dunbar Memorial Library.”
Due to Covid, it wasn’t possible to go ahead with the celebrations planned, or to welcome reading champion Alan Early into the school. However, with the support of CBI (Childrens Books Ireland) they planned an online session with Alan, and launched the library last Tuesday, November 10.
“All the staff have worked hard in recent weeks to create a warm inviting space for our Library,” said Ms Barron.
“The boys will begin to borrow books this week. We are delighted with how it has turned out and we look forward to promoting a love for reading long into the future.
“We also hope that by helping to foster a love for reading within school and at home, that families will be encouraged then to make more use out of the public library here in Graignamanagh. The library in Graignamanagh is always a great support to us in school so we hope that we can promote its use also outside of school.”