NUI Galway recently held a graduation ceremony for the Suas Homework Club. Sarah-Jane Smith reports…
An end of term graduation took place in NUI Galway on 20 March to celebrate the achievements of both the students and the mentors of the Suas Literacy Support program.
Present at the ceremony were Deputy Lord Mayor of Galway Frank Fahy, Suas Literacy Support Officer Helina O’Donaghue, Teacher Tracy Cronin, the mentors from NUI Galway, students of Claddagh NS with their parents and some of the other teachers involved.
There was a delightful, warm, celebratory atmosphere to the event as each child and mentor collected their certificate individually from the Deputy Mayor. Cathy Gormley, mentor coordinator, introduced the ceremony, the program and the speakers. She was then followed by Helina O’Donaghue who gave an insight into the general aim and development of the program and finally the guests were greeted by Deputy Mayor Fahy who gave a very heartfelt speech to the children.
He said; “I’m honored to present these certificates to you all this evening and one day I hope that you will be back here receiving your awards for graduating from NUIG.”
The Suas Literacy programme began in 2007 and there are now 16 deis schools involved across Ireland. It is Suas’ aim to have all deis schools in Ireland involved by 2016. It is only after this aim is complete that Suas will look to expand their links with other non-deis schools.
Over 100 mentors from NUIG participated in the program during which they provided support to around 50 students from Galway’s Claddagh National School, helping them with their homework and their literacy skills.
The homework club took place for one hour Monday and Tuesday after school and this year it was the students’ initiative to take part rather than the parents.
Ms Tracy Cronin stated that she has seen a benefit from the program amongst the children. She went on to say that it not only helped with their literacy and academic skills but has also provided them with structure and organization. The program appears to have been a tremendous success and will hopefully continue on next year providing more Claddagh NS students the chance to increase their literacy skills which in turn will increase their prospects for the future.