Bright young Cork sparks get creative

EVENING classes in creative writing, basic science and computer animation have never been so popular, but the latest set of graduates at one Cork city school are a lot younger than the usual set of people developing their skills.

A group of children aged six to 12 have just completed the eight-week courses at Rockboro Primary School, with pupils of other city schools also among the honoured few.

Run by staff of University College Cork and the Centre for Talented Youth in Ireland, the Sparks Programme was initiated by Rockboro — an independent, fee-paying school — as an opportunity to offer something alternative and additional to run-of-the mill extra-curricular activities.

“There are no requirements to be at one end or another of the ability spectrum, and we were anxious to open the courses up to kids from other schools this year,” explained Rockboro board chairperson Kevin O’Leary.

Parents and friends got to see and hear some of their science experiments and creative writing at yesterday evening’s graduation ceremony in the school.

As students finished their courses this week, a new round of the programme begins next week, with the addition of drama and zoology for interested aspiring actors, directors and vets.

“We already had our own drama classes where the kids were writing and acting their own plays and some of our other after-school classes for our pupils have included Mandarin Chinese, as well as a range of sports and other activities,” Mr O’Leary said.

A second computer animation class has already been set up because of increased demand, and the students will produce their own short film at the end. The zoology programme has also attracted interest from enthusiasts, with creatures of the sea and the African plains as well as native animals among the lessons.

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