UL Academy for Children graduates Jay Broe, Abigail Barry, Niamh O’Callaghan, Warren Mahon, Chad Molloy, Alex Heffernan and Aaliyah Pickford from Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School, Janesboro, Limerick. Also pictured Eamonn O’Connell, School Principal. Picture: Don Moloney
UL celebrates the graduation of the first group of 6th class students from the new UL Academy for Children
The celebrations at the University of Limerick yesterday were as warm as the weather as 39 pupils from Our Lady Queen of Peace National School in Janesboro collected their certificates as the first graduating class of the new UL Academy for Children.
The UL Academy for Children encourages and supports local primary school children to reach their full potential and begin their journey onto higher education. The graduation ceremony was officiated by Professor Nigel Healey, Provost and Deputy President, who spoke about the transformative power of education: “University education can transform a person’s life chances and enable them, regardless of their background, to achieve their potential”.
The UL Access Office created the Academy for Children in late 2020, enhancing the University’s commitment to community engagement, and widening the participation of underrepresented groups at third level. The ethos of the Academy is based on a firm belief in partnership, in community and in keeping children at the heart of the decision-making process.
— University of Limerick Access Office (@access_ul) June 15, 2021
Our Lady Queen of Peace National School were chosen as the pilot partner school and worked in collaboration with the Access Office, Limerick Sports Partnership and the Irish Athletic Boxing Association to design specific aspects of the programme. The principal of the school, Mr. Eamonn O’Connell, spoke about the importance of the “meaningful links that had been created with the University” and how the programmes “lessened the daunting challenge” of the move to secondary school.
The highlight of the Academy was the delivery of a French programme developed by staff in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics. The initiative was praised by Dr. Loïc Guyon, Consul Honoraire de France, during the ceremony as he welcomed the support UL has given in terms of language learning at primary level and how this is “beneficial in helping the kids to successfully progress from the primary school environment to the post-primary one.”
The role of the Academy is to open doors and expand horizons, to introduce the University to those who do not know it and to inspire future graduates. To bring the University to the community and the community to the University. The UL Academy for Children will expand its membership to other local DEIS primary schools in the coming year. The programme of activities will include exploration days at UL as well as the delivery of bespoke programmes for the 5th and 6th class children in the schools.
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