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17 Aug 2022

‘Pioneer’ Derry students become MEE graduates at Oakgrove College

‘Pioneer’ Derry students become MEE graduates at Oakgrove College

Mayor Sandra Duffy and Mrs. Katrina Crilly, Principal presenting flowers to Aislinn Breslin, Judith Colvin (MEE Teachers), Marie Dunne (Resilio) and Amanda Blaha (MEE Teaching Assistant).

Year 10 students at Oakgrove integrated College in Derry received their MEE Graduation Awards before the school broke up for the summer.

Among those in attendance were the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Sandra Duffy, parents, teaching staff and the school’s governors.

The graduation, the first Mental and Emotional Education (MEE) event of its type in the college, was the culmination of three years of dedicated work by the Year 10 students who were pioneers in this bespoke subject.

They received their awards from Marie Dunne (Resilio) and were praised by the Mayor for their dedication and positiveness in following through with the course over their years at the school.

Mental and Emotion Education (MEE) was created and developed to promote positive mental health and wellbeing throughout the Key Stage 3 pupils time at the Gransha-based college while equipping them with emotional coping skills that will hopefully support them throughout the rest of their school career and indeed theirs lives when they encounter adversity.

This subject addresses what was traditionally called 'The Hidden Curriculum' as students were expected to subconsciously learn these key life skills indirectly through the mainstream curriculum.

However, in an everchanging, fast-paced world, the college decided it was important for students to take time out during their weekly timetable to nurture and educate their emotional brain ensuring each pupil received a student-centered and holistic education.

The young students completed modules on resilience, empathy, hope, metacognition, attitudes and perspectives, goal-setting and growth mindset during years 8, 9 and 10 and despite being interrupted by two Covid lockdowns they continued engaging and working in their new subject.

Judith Colvin, MEE teacher, praised the young students for their endeavours especially through the Covid-19 lockdowns, adding: “The Year 10 students have been fantastic students as well as pioneers on their journey with this new subject.

“They have been committed since the beginning and even during lockdown they engaged so well with the subject through their remote learning.

The Year 10A Class who received their MEE Graduations last week at Oakgrove Integrated College. Included are the Mayor, Sandra Duffy, Marie Dunne (Resilio) and MEE teachers, Aislinn Breslin and Judith Colvin. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)

“The subject would not have been such an overwhelming success without the participating students’ willingness to embrace this new subject and style of learning.  We here at Oakgrove are so proud of them.”

Endorsing Ms. Colvin’s comments, fellow MEE teacher, Aislinn Breslin said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to have spent the last three years on this journey with our Year 10 students.

“They have fully embraced the MEE subject from Year 8, and it has been wonderful to watch them grow and flourish during this time.

Adding that the young people were now well equipped to face what new challenges come to them in the coming years, she added: “Indeed, this journey would not have been the same without each and every one of them. They now have the tools, knowledge, and a better understanding to enable them to deal with the many situations and challenges they will face in their everyday lives, both as a young person and into their adult lives.

“It's important to remember that we cannot build a future for our young people, but we can build our young people for the future - they are our hope!”

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