Posted: 22nd April 2021
Pupils form Parkhall Integrated College jumped at the chance to show their creativity during March 2021 during the height of the Pandemic. They enjoyed writing poems, designing digital posters and drawing and painting landscapes on the theme of ‘Together’ to celebrate Integrated Education Month 2021. Given the global events of the past year, integrated schools wanted to use the occasion this year as a platform to celebrate the ways that they have found to be ‘together’, despite the challenges they have faced and reflect on the importance of togetherness and integration in our schools and communities.
The teachers at Parkhall IC were very impressed with the high standard of competition entries and the innovative and insightful work. As learning was not possible in the classroom the poetry lessons designed by Mrs Bigger, Head of English and Miss Hughes were delivered via the Google Classroom platform and work was uploaded here by pupils. In Modern Languages, Mrs Sufferin and the department asked pupils to design a digital poster online with words for ‘Together’ in as many languages as possible and in Art, Mrs Maguire, Head of Art and her colleagues supported pupils to design landscapes which represented diversity and cultural identity. The competitions proved difficult to judge due to the high standard of so many entries according to Mrs McIver, Integrated Education Co-ordinator at the school. The winners were delighted to receive vouchers and art packs as prizes. The winning work was shared via social media with the whole school community and further afield. The poems in particular impressed the CEO of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education who called the poems ‘beautiful’ and ‘brilliant’ and thanked the pupils for their efforts. The poems featured on the homepage of the NICIE website and have been entered into a province wide competition, The Carson Prize, run every year by the Integrated Education Fund.
Throughout the month pupils in all year groups were reminded of what it means to be an integrated school and some pupils recorded why they believed it was special to go to an integrated school on videos clips at home which were joined together in an ‘imovie’ to share with everyone. This was another example of how despite being apart the school and pupils were able to communicate and carry on their work and learning. It was a fabulous opportunity for pupils to reflect on the importance of being with others and the need for interaction and collaboration which was difficult for them due to the pandemic but despite the challenges were managed in creative and alternative, effective ways at Parkhall Integrated College.
Here are some snippets from some of the fantastic poems submitted
1st Place –Clarke Dalton Year 8
What does Integration mean to me?
There are many different characters, who go to school each day,
Everyone is equal, all should be treated the same way!
Don’t judge by personality, or by color of their skin,
Everyone is special, many talents hide within!
2nd Place – Oliver Johnston Year 9
No matter where you are from or how you sound,
At an integrated school you will be found.
No matter your religion, even your size,
No matter if you are from a group of girls or guys.
No matter your race or even your voice,
You will be accepted no matter your choice.
3rd Place – Emma Dixon Year 8
What does Integration Mean to You?
It is time for our nation,
To say no to segregation
The younger generation,
Want combined education.
We need to end isolation
And encourage participation.
Parkhall Integrated College Mission Statement