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Michaela Foundation

 

Michaela Foundation Student Awards

 

Blog 1: April 2012

Hi, is mise Eilís Ní Chaiside a 19 year old student teacher hailing from a quiet little corner in south Derry known as Slaughtneil. The area I come from has been much better known for its disco that operated for over twenty years, attracting teenagers from across the Mid-Ulster area. As I have mentioned I am studying teaching at St Mary’s University College Belfast my main subject being Irish. Having been taught ‘trí mheán na Gaeilge’ up to the age of eleven I hope to teach in the primary education sector.

The provision for the Irish language is thriving most definitely or as they say in Irish ‘Ag dul ó neart go neart.’ How different the outlook now for this one time undervalued language, once the preserve of the educationally elite now accessible to all.

Now it is now a vibrant, growing and unifying language with great thanks to initiatives such as Líofa 2015 , Bródclub and even sporting courses in the form of Campa Chormaic- a brilliant weeklong summer camp in honour of the late Cormac McAnallen in which the children experience all aspects of our culture including language, dance, sport and music, currently operating in four of the nine Ulster counties. In some regards the Michaela foundation is another example of the growth in our language, culture and games. It is my fervent desire to in some small way contribute to the beliefs and principles espoused by Michaela.

In my local area, An Carn provides an excellent network of support for those who are both learning Irish and those who speak their native tongue fluently. I presume being surrounded by the opportunity to use ‘Gaeilge’ in everyday life has encouraged and strengthened by decision to continue in this field of study.

Teaching I believe is in my blood, dating back into the early fifties. My Granny, Betty Mackle started teaching the infants in a small rural school outside the village of Swatragh. Having died at a young age leaving a large family I never had the chance to meet with her but I am continually reminded of her gentle touch and caring personality that were and still are highly valued in the people she came into contact with during those years. I learned a really interesting fact last summer from a teacher that taught alongside her for a number of years. She was indeed the first female to make a stand against the regulations of the educational board at that time which forced women to leave their post after having a child. I believe this was a huge turning point in the perception of women in education and has had a considerable impact on the male/female ratio in the primary sector.

 

Michaela Foundation Student Awards Logo

 

I first became informed of the Michaela foundation student award scheme through the Irish News. Having followed the different promotional events and activities organised throughout Tyrone and further afield to raise funds and awareness for such a wonderful organisation in Michaela’s honour I was inspired to apply. It seems the life of such a beautiful person has touched the lives of so many even after her premature death. I remember being in Belfast when the news broke of this terrible tragedy. Although I had not known her personally the short but inspirational clips broadcasted on the news were enough to convince me that she indeed was a role model but unfortunately it is through great grief and sorrow that this foundation has been founded. It is my objective to keep her beliefs and traditions alive and I am extremely honoured and privileged to have been chosen as one of the three first ever recipients of this award in memory for such an inspiring Gael.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a hanam dílis.

Over the course of the year my series of blogs will cover numerous topics regarding student life. As we know students don’t always get the best of press especially following the commonly asked question, ‘Cá bhfuil tú i do chónaí?’ expecting the infamous reply of……’The Holylands!’ I can assure you it’s not all fun and games, well for me anyway. Playing camogie for both county and club means I have had little time to spend socialising round the hot spots in Belfast but as they say ‘ Ní bhíonn an rath, ach mara mbíonn an smacht.’ (There is no prosperity unless there is discipline)

Go dtí an chéad uair eile, slán agus beannacht.

Eilís