Piercestown becomes a mini EU for Europe Day
Every country in the EU had its place in the hall when Piercestown National School hosted a Europe Day event recently.
The school, which is in its fifth year of participation in the Blue Star programme, is required to hold an event each year to celebrate Europe Day, or Schuman Day as it is also known. The event is usually held on May 9 but, this year, the date was falling in the middle of the school's midterm break and so the decision was taken to bring the event forward by a week.
The day was planned and organised by the pupils of sixth class under the watchful eye of teacher Julie Sinnott.
As part of the festivities the group prepared information projects and essays, created artwork related to the various places and even learned a few lines of their country's respective language.
Ms Sinnott explained that the students themselves asked for cuisine to be included in their projects so each student got the chance to try their hand at cooking some authentic food from each of the 28 EU countries.
She said: 'It worked out very well. There were 28 countries and 30 pupils so there was very little doubling up and every EU country was covered.'
Local councillor Lisa McDonald was the guest of honour on the day, while pupils parents and family members were also invited to attend and enjoy the occasion. The students welcomed the crowd by playing 'Ireland's Call' on the tin whistle, and also Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy', which is the anthem of Europe.
The pupils also invited everyone to take part in a special 'Handshake for Europe'.
The Blue Star Programme is an education initiative for primary school pupils across Ireland. The idea of the programme is to foster better understanding and knowledge of Europe and how it affects the lives of Irish citizens among Irish primary pupils through classroom projects and activities.
Ms Sinnott said: 'It was great fun and a special occasion as the kids really took ownership of the event. I was very proud of them. They worked so hard - the week before the event, they had visited the other classes in the school and presented their projects to them so it did benefit the whole school.'