More than 40 students slept in school gym raising funds for homeless charity

Students stayed in school for an extra 12 hours and slept over last night in aid of the Simon Community.

Students endured a night class with a difference last night to help the homeless.

More than 40 students of a Cork secondary school spent the night sleeping on the floor of their school gym to raise funds for Cork Simon.

And, in an even greater test of their endurance, the teenagers also imposed a social media blackout for a full 12-hours as part of their ‘sleep-in for Simon’.

Moved by the homeless crisis, the students of St Vincent’s all-girls secondary school on the city’s northside wanted to experience what it might be like to have to sleep rough, and opted to spend the night on the floor of their school gym.

Supported by their teachers, parents, school principal, and Simon community, they bedded down at 8pm.

However, before they settled in, their parents signed forms to guarantee the students had left their smartphones at home. Most admitted being unable to check Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram was a tougher test than sleeping on the floor.

The fundraising event was a key part of their junior cert CSPE project, said teacher Michelle Fitzgerald. “As part of the CSPE programme, the students have to do an action project,” she said.

“They were following the general election and the various political debates of recent weeks very carefully and realised that homelessness was a major issue, so the second years decided to take this on.”

They invited fourth years to take part, and in total, more than 44 students volunteered for the sleep-in.

After signing in at 8pm, they enjoyed some ice-breaking activities, watched a movie, enjoyed some karaoke, and even managed to get some study done. They were due to finish at 8am.

While the students got to go home, the sleep-in supervising teachers, Ms Fitzgerald, James Deane, Stephanie Reed, and Claire Barry, were facing in to classes.

The students hope to raise several hundred euro from their efforts.

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