Chris's Speech January 2020

My name is Chris, and I am in year 11. I’m well underway studying for GCSE in maths, physics, chemistry, biology, computer programming, French, and my favourite subjects, English, history and sport. Inspirational teachers mean I really enjoy my classes.

 

Because I love English, I was delighted when one of my poems was selected for inclusion in Shimna’s 25thanniversary poetry anthology.

 

I also love sport, and at Shimna we have football, rugby, gaelic and cross country running, and I have represented Shimna in all four. In year 9, I also represented Shimna in Down Schools Track and Field, and qualified for the Ulster finals in the long jump at the Antrim Forum. I was competing alongside our A level students Matthew and Kate who both went on to the All Ireland finals.

 

One of the highlights of school for me has been the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. The Award Scheme is challenging and really pushes you to take on new activities and to raise your game in activities you already take part in. For my volunteering section, I work with the environmental team, making sure our grounds stay free of litter. Walking round the grounds each week makes me appreciate the tree planting, the vegetable gardening and the home made greenhouse our students have created. The best section of the Award Scheme for me is the expedition section. We are very lucky that Shimna is right beside the Mourne mountains, where we completed our practices and our qualifying expedition last summer. A particular friend Owain is a wheelchair user, and you would think he wouldn’t attempt the expedition. However, with the help of a cross country wheelchair, and all of us pulling together when we got to the steep slopes, we are delighted that our expedition group, including Owain, finished the route together. I am now well underway with my Silver Award, and look forward to taking my Gold Award in 6th form alongside my A levels, with a really challenging expedition in Donegal.

 

School is about even more than academic subjects and extra curricular opportunities. School is about relationships and friendships. Integration means that my form class, Catholic, Protestant and people from a mixed background, understand and support each other. We were really proud to welcome Owain, coming from another country and up for everything in his wheelchair. I also really appreciate our relationships with our teachers, who are always helpful as well as inspirational, and there for you if you feel down.

 

Shimna has been full of opportunities for me, and I hope that you will find the same.