Students interview Roisin Ingle for school’s podcast, L to R: Chinyere Enyouzu, Katarina Sidorova, Ms Caoimhe O'Malley, Ms Roisin Ingle Irish Times, Ms Michelle Dolan Acting Principal.
Roisin Ingle, journalist with The Irish Times, visited St Louis Secondary School Dundalk yesterday to present students with their Junior Cycle Profiles of Achievement.
This is the first time students have been presented with the profiles, and marks a watershed moment in the Irish education system.
Ms Mary Gilmore, acting Deputy Principal of the school, organised for the well-known writer to present the Profiles to the Junior Cycle students, who sat their exams in the summer of 2017.
“I first met Roisin Ingle 15 years ago in 2003, when I invited her to speak to my 5th years on the subject of the writing process,” Ms Gilmore explains.
“She kindly agreed to visit us in St Louis and also agreed to give an interview to Inklings, our then school magazine,” she reveals. “As we were planning a ceremony to present the class of 2017 Junior Certs with the new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement, myself and Ms Dolan, the acting Principal, decided that it might be a good idea to invite her back to present the award.”
“As coincidence would have it we are both big fans of her writing. I still had her mobile number and I just asked her, and true to her very down-to-earth self, she agreed,” Ms Gilmore laughs.
Ms Gilmore has just returned to St Louis following a four-year secondment with Junior Cycle for Teachers working on the English Team.
“Today was special for me in many ways as English was the subject that changed for the new Junior Cycle, and I worked with teachers across the country since 2013, introducing the new specification in English,” she explains.
The acting Deputy Principal also outlines how the new Junior Cycle is more holistic and well-rounded, which benefits all students.
“Students can include what is known as 'Other Learning Experiences' on their profile, anything which they have been involved with during their three years of Junior Cycle in school,” she says. This can be sports, music or dance, and it offers recognition for talents that are sometimes not rewarded by the school system.
“Students still do State Exams, but they also do Classroom Based Assessments in school, and all of this will be reported on with the Other Learning Experiences. Students get the opportunity to display skills and abilities which may not be captured in a once-off pen and paper exam,” the English and History teacher concludes.
While she was there, Roisin Ingle was interviewed by the students for the school’s podcast. She also gave an inspiring speech about being yourself, finding your talent and sharing it with the world. She mentioned the importance of feminism and empowering women, very fitting for a crowd of young women in an all-girls school.