Go Girls!

Every once in a while an idea takes hold that has the power to transform an organisation’s future. When a teacher inspired the idea of forming a Guild with transition year students, it was the touch-point to bring a new wave of enthusiastic and tech savvy members.

LEFT: Back row (l-r) Joe Keane, Federation PRO; Joan Furlong, Women’s Refuge Officer; Cassie Murphy, Ms Greene, Bridgetown College Principal; Aine Maher, Mary Nolan, Federation Treasurer; Mary FitzGerald Federation Vice President.  Front row (l-r) Zara McGuire, Guild Secretary; Hannah Dodd, Guild President; Deirdre Connery Federation President; Shauna Boyne, Guild Treasurer; Molly Kavanagh, Guild Vice President. RIGHT: Back row: Cassie Murphy, Aine Maher, Shauna Boyne;  Front row Molly Kavanagh, Hannah Dodd , Zara McGuire.

When a transition year student in Bridgetown College, Shauna Boyne, heard one of her teachers, Ms Fitzgerald speak about the activities of the ICA,  her enthusiasm led her to delve further. As Shauna explains: “When we found out that students could start a Guild in Transition Year and Fifth Year, we asked other girls in the school and found lots of interest in the venture. All of us were very excited about our first meeting. We came together and met at break time with Ms FitzGerald and she told us what ICA was all about and what was expected of us as an ICA Guild. We elected President, Hannah Dodd, Secretary Zara McGuire and Shauna is the Treasurer, Molly Kavanagh is the Vice President and the other members are Aine Maher and Cassie Murphy.

Formed in October 2015 the Bridgtown Flowers have been busy with meetings under the guidance of one of their teachers Ms Mary Fitzgerald, who is currently Vice-President and Information Officer with Wexford Federation. Ms Eileen Creevey, TY Co-Coordinator and the School Principal, Ms Fionnuala Greene, have also been a huge support to the girls. Wexford Federation Committee members attended the formal launch which brings the total number of Guilds in Wexford to thirty-three.

The new members are very enthusiastic, setting up a Facebook and Instagram account to promote their activities. They have an interest in drama, singing and acting. Some of the students are involved in mini companies and the sale of cakes as part of their Transition Year projects. This is the first post primary school in Ireland to set up a Guild and the news has spread quickly on Facebook with sharing of the photo from the launch. We hope it encourages other schools in the County and further afield to consider setting up more Guilds. We wish the new members every success for the future.

“Bringing ICA to our school is something unique and new to do. It has brought a change to our lives and given us a new focus and connected us to other Guilds in the Federation. We were delighted to hear that we were making history as being one of the youngest Guilds ever and the first in a post primary school. We decided to call ourselves the “Bridgetown Flowers” as we are blossoming into women and ICA is helping us learn new skills and bond as a Guild,” says Shauna.

The Bridgetown Flowers have created quite an impact in the locality and received visits from the Federation President, the Treasurer and the PRO along with the Women’s Refuge Officer, who were all delighted at the initiave shown by the young women. “Deirdre Connery, Wexford Federation President, presented us with our ICA badges which we wear proudly every day in school. The Principal Ms Greene joined us for the event along with some of our teachers including the Transition Year Co-ordinator Ms Creevey whose mum is also in the ICA,” explains Shauna.

The Guild has no intention of sitting back and has already been very active organising a clothing appeal for the homeless, a food appeal for the St Vincent de Paul and a bake sale to raise money for membership fees. Future plans include make-up evenings and knitting blankets to send to refugees in Syria. The Guild hopes to enter the Special Occasion Competition in June which is one of the major competitions in Wexford Federation.

“We are confident that the ICA will continue to grow and develop in our school and be part of school life for many years to come,” concludes Shauna.