Raising the flag with anti-homophobia project

Kerry Nolan; Kerrie Fitzpatrick; Claire Mulligan; Katie Leonard and Dearbhaile Genoe, pupils from Largy College, Co Monaghan, were named the Young Social Innovators for 2015

Students from Largy College in Clones, Co Monaghan, were yesterday named the Young Social Innovators for 2015.

The transition-year students were among 60 semi-finalists chosen from 414 entries from schools and youth organisations across the country.

Their project, entitled ‘LGBT — Let’s Get By Together’, is about the effects of homophobic bulling.

The students won the top award for working to create a safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and staff in their school.

The winners said being named Young Social Innovators of the Year showed young people had the power to make real and lasting change in their own communities and in wider society.

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They all agreed that being involved in Young Social Innovators had been a lifechanging experience. The students plan to achieve an even greater impact with their project. It was really a work in progress, they said.

“We won’t be stopping here,” said winners Kerry Nolan, Kerrie Fitzpatrick, Claire Mulligan, Katie Leonard and Dearbhaile Genoe.

The judges said the project excelled in innovative thinking and social impact. They also recognised that the team had the passion and support to continue to further develop their social innovation.

Yesterday more than 5,000 young people attended the annual awards and showcase — one of the largest youth events in the country — at the Citywest Conference Centre in Dublin.

All of the young people have been involved in creating positive change through social innovation projects.

Runners-up were students from Cashel Community School in Co Tipperary for their concussion awareness campaign.

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Their project ‘Without Your Brain, You Have No Game — Step Up’, aims to prevent further tragedies from happening and make playing fields safer for every young person.

In third place were pupils of Schull Community College, Co Cork, for their project ‘Blind Consumption’ that examined the harmful chemicals in cosmetics, food and beverage packaging.

Co-founder of Young Social Innovators, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, said it was hard for young people to access power in Ireland, or even to know where to start.

“Many young people here today are politicised; they take their community and society seriously,” said Sr Stan.

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