Where you go to post-primary school is a big decision. I was in exactly the same position and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I chose Shimna Integrated College. Since I’ve come here I’ve made lifelong friends, I’ve achieved excellent grades and I’ve been given many opportunities that you rarely get anywhere else, the most important being integration. Some, if not most, of my friends are from what’s considered “the other community” but in Shimna, that’s not important. Integration isn’t just second nature to me, after 7 years, it’s my first and only nature. I struggled to write about integration when preparing for this because it seemed bizarre that you would do it any other way, why would you want to distance yourself from half the population?
At its basic, you want a school that will help you be your academic best. We haven’t been the first year group and we won’t be the last year group that Shimna does this for. In my 10 GCSEs I got one B & the rest were As & A*s. I couldn’t thank my teachers enough for all the work that they had done leading up to my exams. I worked hard for them and they worked hard for me. I strongly believe that with Shimna, you get out what you put in. Shimna is an all ability school which does just that; it enables all students to do well. Any student willing to work will find success here.
One of the many opportunities that I have been given by Shimna is a short residency in Corpus Christi College in Cambridge University. Three other students and I attended a summer school where we received presentations from professors of the College on all manner of subjects.
Not only does Shimna encourage you to be the best you can be in school, but also in extracurricular activities, both in school and in your life beyond. I’m currently a member of the Army Cadet Force and I’ve travelled all over the World with target rifle shooting to places like Canada and South Africa. Occasionally that means I miss a few days of school in order to train, but everyone is very supportive. Teachers help me to catch up on any work that I’ve missed, ask me how my trip was and celebrate my success. Without Shimna enabling me, none of this would be possible.
For AS level I chose to do Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, I worked hard all year, especially in the weeks leading up to May, and my teachers worked just as hard as I did. The reward for us all came in August when I received my results of four A’s, none of which I could have achieved without my school.
Sadly my time in Shimna is coming to an end but yours may just be beginning, if you value academic success, extra-curricular activities and most importantly integration, then this is the school for you.
In January 2016, Adam gave this speech to our P6 and P7 visitors and their parents and guardians.