Ruby's Speech January 2020

My name is Ruby, and I joined Shimna last year in year 8. I’m in year 9 now, and I can look back to everything I got to do in my first year. First of all, I love sport, and I got to play football, netball, hockey, gaelic and I got to run cross country and track and field. We got to the Ulster Final in gaelic, and I won Player of the Match. Very proud of that. My team also reached the netball semi-finals.


I love to sing, and our production of “Beauty and the Beast” gave me the chance to meet up with other singers. We sang in the show as the Singin’ Sisters, including brother Ríagan, and since the show, we have continued to sing and perform together. Best of all was when Ria wrote a song for the 25th anniversary of Shimna, and we got to record the song along with a huge choir of students, staff and parents. We also performed the song at an anniversary concert, which also featured us as the Singin’ Sisters, and lots of other Shimna musicians and singers.


I love to sing, and I also love to act, and this year, I was lucky enough to be cast in our production of “Scrooge”, which let me work with actors, musicians and dancers from year 8 right up to A level performing arts students. We gave two fantastic shows just before Christmas and I loved every minute of it.


One of the great things about Shimna is the opportunity to learn more languages. I chose French and Spanish, and I then had the opportunity to take part in an exchange programme with our partner school Eridan in France. That meant that I got a fantastic trip to Montpellier, and my French partner student got to come to Newcastle. Both in France and in Ireland, all the families got together to make sure everyone had a great time. It is so much easier to learn a language when you get to visit the country. I know that Shimna also has trips to Spain and Germany, and Shimna students go to the Gaeltacht in Donegal.


Highlights of the year for me were getting up to Greenhill YMCA for outdoor activities with my form class, and later with our French visitors. I also loved the geography trip to the Balmoral Show.


Sports and trips and music and theatre are the things I remember most from year 8, but I also loved the challenge of all the new subjects: technology, science, computing and languages. This year we have also begun home economics and careers education. One of the best things was when a science roadshow came to Shimna, and we all got to take part in some spectacular experiments. There is a great photo of me as “Ruby in the Smoke” of one of the experiments, and some of you may get the reference of you’ve read the book!  I remember that on the first day of year 8, we had the school to ourselves, and spent the time getting to know our form class and the form teacher who will travel with us throughout our time in Shimna. We meet as a form class with our form teacher every morning, and get to spend time together once a week in pastoral care.  The relationships among our form class are special


I went to All Children’s Integrated Primary School, so Integration was normal for me. But in year 8 I also got to meet students from all sorts of other primary schools, and realised the importance of our motto, “Learning from Each Other”. Our teachers and our classes are lovely, and I hope you come to love Shimna as much as I do.