Amber Flag / Cycle Against Suicide – report by Ms. Kelly
On Wednesday, 4 March 2020 we celebrated Schools Go Orange. This was an event undertaken by our Amber Flag/ Cycle Against Suicide committee. In preparation for this day, each committee member read out to their base class group the new important message about the best way to get help when in emotional distress (see below). Committee members also distributed posters around the school, outlining these steps. Furthermore, all students were invited to wear something orange with their uniform and committee members were present first thing in the morning to do orange face painting or nail varnish for interested students. Ms. Shannon kindly organised a Ceili Against Suicide in conjunction with CBS, Wexford for the TY students in the afternoon.
I think it’s safe to say that our students have been made very aware of the important messages we are working hard to deliver. By wearing orange to school that day, we all gave each other the message that we support people with mental illness and that we are very open to helping anybody in need of help. I would like to thank all of the students and teachers on this committee who have helped me with events this year.
It’s OK to not feel OK and it’s definitely OK to talk about it and get help. . Here is the best way to ask for help…
Tell an adult as soon as possible. (in school it’s either your Year Head or a Deputy Principal, outside school it is the adult who is taking care of you at that time)
If you feel you can’t tell an adult, tell a friend and ask them to tell the adult or tell the adult with you.
If you can’t think of a trusted adult, then call a helpline like Pieta House on 1800 247 247 or Samaritans on 116 123.
Remember that if you tell a friend that you are thinking of harming yourself or that you are in danger- they are obliged to tell a trusted adult. That is the responsible thing to do in order to get you the help that you need to get better.
Disability Awareness Talk – report by Grace Roche (4.5)
On Friday, 6 March past pupil Amy Hassett (above) visited the school and spoke to all TY, 5th & 6th year students as part of our Disability Awareness Day. Mr. O’ Shea warmly introduced Amy to us, briefly outlining her remarkable life and achievements. Amy has brittle bones and uses a wheelchair and sometimes crutches to get around. She was a pupil in Loreto when we were based in Spawell Road with its many stairs and lack of lifts!
I think Amy’s talk was very helpful and insightful. We learned about many different disabilities, both hidden and visible. Amy shared many stories about her experiences as a college student with a disability in Ireland and in Rotterdam where she now studies Science. For example, once she lived with a person who had the hidden disability of depression, but Amy didn’t know at first. When she did find out, she had to get used to looking out for another person rather than always having people look out for her. She saw this as an important experience for her.
Amy explained the importance of treating people equally regardless of their appearance. She also highlighted how we should be careful about how we speak about disabilities. We shouldn’t say we’re dyslexic if we can’t spell or we’re depressed if we’re feeling a bit sad.
Amy is a truly inspirational person who has faced the challenges in her life with good cheer and determination. She is a wonderful role model for us all.
Age Awareness Day Talk – report by Molly Holden (2.3)
On Wednesday, 4 March, in Loreto, we had our Age Awareness Day. During this day we talked about the importance of the elderly in our communities and in our lives.
We were very lucky to welcome Sean Kinsella to our school to give a talk to the younger years about age awareness. Sean Kinsella is a very hardworking man – he is a founder of St. Bridget’s Day Care Centre, the Chairperson of Wexford’s Meals on Wheels, he works for St. Vincent De Paul and is the Chairperson of the County Wexford Age Equality Network. He is also a principal founder of the Citizen’s Information Centre on Henrietta Street. As well as all this amazing work, he is an advocate for older people’s issues in Wexford.
As you can see, he has had many great experiences and had many interesting stories to tell. During his talk, he spoke about the importance of the older generation in our society; how they pass on traditions and cultures and are key members of the community. He was proud to say that he has helped to make Wexford an ‘Age Friendly County’ for all to enjoy. However, he spoke about the hardship and bullying that some elderly people unfortunately experience. He expressed his outrage at some rules surrounding pension being changed, and the stereotypes or stigmas around older people- that they are miserable, old- fashioned or boring. These stigmas are simply not true. He mentioned that certain measures could be put in place to aid older people in living alone, for example if homecare was improved it would improve the lives of those living independently.
Sean also mentioned his astonishment at the fact that the present generation could live to be 120 years old! He wanted to show us that we can live our lives to the full (all 120 years of it!) as we are expected to live longer than generations 100 years ago.
His main advice for the girls of Loreto was:
“Start preparing now. Get your education and skills now and you could live to be as old as me, or if you’re lucky- even older!”
Sean Kinsella’s message was heard loud and clear at Loreto. He is a remarkable man and is an inspiration to everyone, due to the time and effort he dedicates to helping others. It’s no wonder he won the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ in 2017!
Sean made our Age Awareness Day a memorable one, inspiring many of us. On behalf of the staff and students of Loreto – thank you Sean! We hope to see you again!
LGBTQ+ Awareness Day at Loreto Wexford – report by Muireann O’ Gara (4.1)
On Thursday, 5 March, Loreto held an awareness day to promote the inclusion of and acknowledgement of the school’s LGBTQ+ population. The event, organised by the Student Council and Ms. Jordan, coincided with World Book Day, so not only were several well-loved book characters to be seen roaming the corridors, but many students also sported the rainbow colours as part of their World Book Day costumes in support of the event.
In the morning, Student Council members sat in the GP area of the school and painted rainbows on the faces of passing students, which added great fun and excitement to the event. LGTQ+ terminology, selected by the Student Council and Ms. Jordan, was called out over the intercom to give pupils a better understanding of their LGBTQ peers and to refresh the important meanings of these words in their minds.
Throughout the day, ShoutOut, the Irish charity dedicated to taking the question-mark out of LGBTQ+, held workshops in the school for the TY students. These sessions were an hour long each, and Aoife Rees and I were lucky enough to be privy to the amazing work they were doing and how well they connected with the students in attendance. Each class took a great interest in the workshops, and everyone walked out having learned something new about the LGBTQ+ community. Aoife took some excellent photos of the workshops and their impact can easily be seen in the photographs.
Overall, the LGBTQ+ Awareness Day in Loreto was creative, informative, and well-researched. This event broadcasted a clear, undeniable message to every person in Loreto: we support you. I believe the student body benefited from the awareness day. Students were greatly encouraged to show themselves as they are, and to be such as they appear- without fear of judgement.
A job very well done by the Student Council and Ms Jordan. Thank you!