Well done to all who participated in the recent LCC Amnesty group’s international postcard campaign “Equality for all, We stand together with the LGBT community in Uganda – Stand with us” . In one week we collected 310 signed postcards from 2 year groups, being by far the highest participation rate of any postcard campaign run by us in the last 7 yrs and clearly showing the strength of feeling on this issue. Currently 111 out of 129 5th yr students have signed, 87 Ty’s, 60 teachers and the remaining being signed by family and friends. We believe this sends out a very powerful message to authorities in Uganda to promote respect, human rights and equality for all, as well as reinforcing our support for the LGBT members of our own school community.
The Lucan Community College Amnesty “Sleep Out” on Friday May 6th was a great success. 29 students and teachers slept overnight in the courtyard of the school to experience what sleeping rough feels like and to raise awareness about homelessness among children in Ireland. The students also raised funds for Amnesty International.
The aim of the Sleep Out was to draw attention to child and youth homelessness across Dublin and Ireland. There are currently 1,723 homeless children living in Dublin, a 90% increase since our Sleep Out last year (New figures from last week). 75% of these children are under the age of 8 and 13% of all homeless children in Dublin live in the Lucan/Clondakin area area (Irish Times, February 2016). This was especially important to the students, as people in our local and school communities have personal experience of the homelessness crisis.
The Sleep Out began on Friday evening at 8 pm. Students dispersed themselves around the courtyard with cardboard, blankets, and their sleeping bags. Each student received an identity card for the night that gave them an age, cause of homelessness, and place of accommodation based on the experiences of real homeless people. The aim of the identification cards was to inform them about the different faces, struggles, and experiences of homelessness that people go through.
Local politicians were invited to the event but couldn’t attend due to the negotiations going on in the Dáil. Students instead debated the homeless crisis amongst themselves and discussed possible solutions. The students also gave up their access to technology for the night as part of Amnesty International’s ”Give It Up” campaign.
The night certainly took a toll on the students, especially when it began to rain and they had to relocate to a sheltered area of the courtyard. They found it near impossible to sleep on the cold, hard ground in unpredictable weather and many were more worn out than rested by the time morning came around. ”It was an exhausting experience, I felt very unsafe”said one TY student. They certainly gained an insight into sleeping rough. ”I couldn’t imagine doing it every day” said another TY student and ”I believe that more people would feel compas
sion towards the homeless if they experienced sleeping rough for just one night.” The Sleep Out ended at 9 am and the students received a light breakfast before they went home.
The Amnesty group , as well as the 1st – 5th year religion classes, were also involved in creating an art display of the silhouettes of all 1,723 homeless children in Dublin to draw attention to the crisis and put the number of children into perspective. This was successfully unveiled on Friday afternoon, attracting a lot of attention and questions from the other students in the school.
Overall, Friday was a great success in terms of raising awareness about the homeless crisis. Those who participated in the Sleep Out will never forget the strain and uncertainty of sleeping rough and hope their experiences will encourage others to be more aware of the struggles that homeless people regularly face.
The hall is all set up for the Transition Year graduation on Tuesday 24 May at 7.30pm. All parents/guardians are invited to attend to get a flavour of the wonderful work and achievements of our TY students over the last year. Congratulations to all involved in our wonderful Transition Year programme – Mr Grimes our Year Head, tutors, Ms Mellett, Ms Doyle, Ms Hickey, Mr Doyle, Ms Higgins, Ms Gallagher and In Ni Riain. You have served as excellent examples of leadership to your students. Well done to Ms Williams our Transition Year Coordinator for putting together such a wonderful programme for the students – every year sees some new initiative or event added to the schedule. Well done to our TY class of 2016. You have truly made a difference to the atmosphere of the school this year as you got involved, strived to achieve and overcome setbacks. Congratulations and enjoy the celebration of all you have achieved.
We again welcomed Irene Eckart and her 30 second level teachers from around Kiel and Flensburger, towns in the North German state of Schleswig-Holstein, to Lucan CC on Friday 6th May.
They are on a one week visit to Belfast, Derry and Dublin and listened to Mr Purcell give a talk on the Irish Education system. They visited classrooms and also enjoyed the TY musical ‘The Addams Family’ rehearsal.
Thanks to Ms Clarke, Mr Foley, Ms Conway, Mr Duffy and Devan O’Kearney for facilitating the annual visit.