Sarah Gave this Speech at our Open Day in January 2018


My name is Sarah and I am in my final year at Shimna Integrated College. You have already heard some of our outstanding academic successes this year, and I did move to Shimna Integrated College from another school in order to have a full choice of academic subjects for GCSE and A level.  My love is for the arts and creative subjects, and I am delighted to report on Shimna’s successes in this particular field.

The music department has been as busy and buzzing as always this year.  We have welcomed two new members of staff, both vocalists, so we now have a permanent choir and wonderful chamber choir who meet on a Tuesday and Wednesday.  On top of that, we also have a magnificent staff choir, who gave their first performance at our Christmas Carol Service in St John’s Church.  We have plans for a Shimna Community Choir to start in January, which everyone in the Shimna community will be invited to join, so that everyone can experience a piece of the action too!  Make sure to visit our music department today for just a small flavour of all our music making.  We have just taken delivery of a full set of ukuleles, and look forward to developing our ukulele orchestra.

We also have our woodwind and guitar groups practising after school, as well as our own school rock band, and all of these groups are helping to make some noise inside and outside of the school walls.  We have been visiting some local businesses this month, and hope that we are able to continue to spread our musical talents far and wide in the new year.  Individual students are continuing to work hard to perfect their craft in drum, flute, saxophone, clarinet, guitar and vocal lessons and are making excellent progress.

The Drama Department has had a busy and extremely successful year also. We started with our Shakespeare Summer School which allowed us to work with a professional film company to create a wonderful piece of work. We were delighted that our summer school was sponsored by the Integrated Education Fund. Our GCSE drama students were crowned Joint winners of best drama piece at the IEF Carson Awards. We were also invited to perform at the Slieve Donard Hotel as part of the annual NICIE conference as well as headlining the ‘Big Small Stories’ event held at the Ulster Museum celebrating 35 years of integration. On the back of our students’ success the ‘Big Stories, Little Stories’ performance will now be documented by a film company to be showcased in a number of schools through-out Ireland.

Our art students have also been busy, with Amy’s work displayed in “True Colours” exhibition of the very best A level art work in Northern Ireland. The work of one of our young OldScholars, Christine Campbell was exhibited  at the Royal Ulster Academy of Art last year. Two of our art students have just won Carson Bursaries which will fund new equipment for their creative work in banner making. Students of art visited Colin Davidson at the exhibition of his work this year, and have welcomed visiting artists in felt making, print making and fashion design.  Two of our recent OldScholars are making names for themselves in fashion design, Gordon Donaldson here in Northern Ireland and Martin Fitzpatrick in Dublin and London.

Our students of Moving Image Arts have won themselves places on the very demanding British Film Institute Academy Programme, which involves a number of weekend workshops throughout the year, culminating in a showing of their films at the Strand Arts Centre in Belfast.  Moving Image Arts students too have won Carson Bursaries, which have funded state of the art film making facilities for their work.  We have an excellent relationship with the wonderful Newcastle Community Cinema, and have showcased our film shorts at the NCC.  We have also hosted events through the NCC Blue Moon Festival here in Shimna, most recently “The Breakfast Club”, complete with bacon sandwiches and tea.

Film making is not confined to the Moving Image Arts department, and our Philosphy and Ethics students won a grant from the Integrated Education Fund and have made a fascinating film in which our students interview representatives of a wide range of the religions, faiths and belief systems currently active in Northern Ireland.  The film is an example of Integration in practice and has produced a resource which will be available to students in other schools.

We are not afraid to say that we are EXTREMELY proud of each and every student who shares their musical, dramatic, artistic and film making talents with us in Shimna.  We’re very privileged to have a school that is bursting with both excellence and potential.  We really hope you enjoy visiting our creative departments.