CARE FOR THE POOR AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Care for the poor and social justice is something that matters greatly in St. Gerald’s DLS College. Students are encouraged to be charitable where possible. Transition years help with collections for Daffodil Day and Oesophageal Cancer. In January 2018, our LCAs organised a sponsored run, proceeds of which went to Cancer Care West. Each year the Student Council, in conjunction with the RE Department, encourage the members of the school community to participate in the St Vincent De Paul Food Appeal and the now annual Christmas Jumper Day, proceeds of which go to our local St Vincent De Paul office in Castlebar.
The Student Council also help Ms Geraghty with the Respect for All / Anti bullying Week / Mental Health Week which is also an annual event in some capacity. In 2017, the school focused on facilitating the Cycle Against Suicide and was duly awarded the Amber Flag and the status of Ambassador School for Mental Health. This is due to the continued programme of promoting Mental Health in our school throughout the year. Ms Geraghty, with the help of Ms Rice, Ms Connolly and Ms Cafferkey also ran a tea / talk session for all students and the Student Council also promoted the Schools Go Orange day by providing all staff and students who an orange ribbon.
In 2017, 5th years were offered the opportunity to go to Lourdes in August and help guests with additional needs who are on pilgrimage. This programme has also been offered to 5th years and will run in 2018. This year, TY and 5th year students were also offered the opportunity to go to Romania as part of the Aurelia project. Some of our students also teach computers voluntarily to senior members of our community in the Le Cheile Family Centre each week.
John Paul II Award:
A vital part of Jean Baptiste’s Lasallian school was the participation of students in RE. Students in St. Gerald’s DLS College are invited to participate in the John Paul II Award in TY where they are required to spend 20 hours working in the Parish (Reading at mass / Eucharistic minister / setting up the Crib etc.) and 20 hours volunteering in the Community (Charity shops / playing music in the local nursing homes / hospital etc.) 5th years who have completed the JPII Gold Award are invited to work on their Papal Cross Award. This award is led by Ms Loftus and Ms Duffy.
De La Salle Schools Project:
In 2015 / 2016 / 2017 John Paul II participants have worked with Ms Loftus and Ms Duffy on the De La Salle project, which is a national project presented to the Brothers in Castletown. The SGC students have won the overall prize each year for presentations and projects, both written and practical (Woodwork) on the Life of Jean Baptiste De La Salle, on the Lasallian Community internationally, and last year’s prize was awarded to the De La Salle App based on its futuristic thinking and technical ingenuity. In 2017 / 2018, students will work on the project title: The Lasallian Family, with Mr McGee and Ms Rice.
FAITH IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Faith and community were an important aspect in the schools the De La Salle founded. Active participation in one’s faith is encouraged in St. Gerald’s DLS College, no matter what your religion. Classes are encouraged to learn about the faith of others and junior classes are usually brought to either the Synagogue (Judaism) or the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (Islam). Students who celebrate particular religious customs, such as praying five times a day, especially during Ramadan, will be facilitated to do so. TYs have a module which deals with the different aspects of other Major World Religions such as Buddhism / Hinduism.
During the year, staff and students are encouraged to participate in the Opening School Mass, the Advent Reconciliation Service (Confessions), the Mass of Remembrance (November), Catholic Schools Week, De La Salle Day (May 15th) and Graduation, all of which are organised by the RE Department. Over the last few years, both the staff and students have participated in choirs directed by Ms Hiney, that sing at some of these events.
Peer 4 Peer Team:
Each year, our TY students are invited to apply for positions on the Peer 4 Peer team. The team makes a series of four presentations to Confirmation classes in the feeder National Schools. Students are interviewed by Ms Loftus and Ms Duffy and those successful proceed to complete two days of training with the Youth Diocesan Co-ordinator, Siobhan Bradley and Yvonne Horkan. This programme is based in the Parish of Castlebar and Mary Connell, the Parish Co-ordinator, organises the schools for the teams to attend. In 2017 / 2018, St Gerald’s DLS College will visit St. Pat’s BNS, Errew NS and Ballyheane NS.
Le Cheile Trust Celebration:
Our school is a member of the Le Cheile Schools Trust. Each year two students represent St Gerald’s DLS College through active participation in the national leadership programme, which takes place in Athlone. Students are invited to present their school’s Le Cheile characteristics. This is an important aspect of our school’s identity, to be associated with other Le Cheile schools.
Lasallian Leadership Programme:
Students who are actively involved in religious and social activities in the school community and in the parish, are invited to participate in the newly formed Lasallian Leadership Programme. This involves attending an induction course, run by the Lasallian Mission Council in Castletown. This year 12 Transition Year students participated in it, and have led other religious events in our school community since they returned.
RESPECT FOR ALL PERSONS / INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY:
All members of our school community are encouraged to respect each other. Over the years we have celebrated Respect for All Week / Anti bullying Week.