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Síol Newsletter - Spring 2017

Pupils from Francis Street C.B.S. Primary School - Pietro Belo, James McNevin, David Narkunas, Reece O’ Connell, Conor Mulcahy and Jake Langley

Gerry Bennett, Chief Executive, ERST, Opening Welcome, Síol Newsletter - Spring 2017

On Friday May 5th – shortly after you return from your Easter break - we will celebrate Edmund Rice Day.  On that day, all the schools in our ever-growing and developing network will unfurl the new Edmund Rice Flag.

This new Edmund Rice Schools’ Flag results from the ‘Design our Flag’ competition, which attracted hundreds of entries from our schools all over the country. Congratulations to all the entrants and winners in each age group.  The overall winner and designer of our flag is Elizabeth Butler.  Elizabeth attends Edmund Rice College Carrigaline, Co. Cork – one of our newest network schools which welcomed its first class only last September.  Well done Elizabeth!

On Edmund Rice Day, I ask you to reflect on and celebrate the diversity of our vibrant network.  Our 37,000 pupils come from a huge variety of backgrounds, cultures and religions.  In one of our primary schools, our students come from no less than 44 different nationalities.

Diversity is wonderful.  It fuels dynamism and creativity.  It fosters tolerance and understanding.  Its very existence means that we can learn about, and importantly learn to respect, the different traditions, ideals, viewpoints and beliefs that make up the world – starting right here in our own school yards.  

Our diversity was reflected in the many entries that we received for our flag competition.  The color, individuality, creativity, imagination and strong social justice messages that were conveyed on the flag designs submitted are a fitting testament to the dynamism that exists everyday across our schools.

I want you to celebrate your special role and your school’s role as part of our diverse network, upholding and contributing to our unique living history since Blessed Edmund Rice opened his first school in Waterford 215 years ago.

Mental Health

Another theme that came across strongly in the flags submitted was that of wellbeing and happiness.  Our happiness, how we view our world, the work we have to do, our self-confidence and our ability to be our best is intrinsically linked to our mental health. 

In Edmund Rice schools, we care about our mental health as much as our physical health and wellbeing.   We don’t separate them.   So many articles and reports in this edition of Síol showcase the fantastic work that is being done across our schools on promoting positive mental health.  As our Charter says, under Excelling in Teaching and Learning, “The school nurtures the full potential of students, so that they may be healthy both in mind and body.” That’s why the theme of many of our activities both this year and next year is supporting and fostering the mental health and well-being of everyone in our school community.

Hoist the Flag!

So, this Edmund Rice Day, hoist that flag.  Celebrate the unique heritage and diversity within our network.  And remember that diversity exists because each one of us is unique, is different. Take time to look around and celebrate your unique friends and colleagues and commit to looking out for one another, particularly if you think that somebody may be feeling unhappy, stressed or anxious. 

Most of all, give yourselves a big round of applause for the role you play every day in contributing positively to your school, your community and our network.

The vision of Edmund Rice – a vision that was founded on love, charity, well-being and respect - is truly shining bright still.   

Blessings to you all for our special day on May 5th.

Every good wish,

Gerry Bennett, Chief Executive

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