Congratulations to Aoife-Marie Todd and Jessica Quinn – Recipients of the Carson Bursary 2017
The Carson Awards are named in honour of the legendary Northern Ireland comedian Frank Carson who was a passionate supporter of integrated education. The Carson Awards aim to support students who are interested in demonstrating what integrated education means to them through their creative talents. We are delighted that two of our students, Aoife-Marie Todd and Jessica Quinn have been awarded the Carson bursary for the academic year 2016/2017.
Aoife Todd is an A Level Art student and the youngest of 6 children, all of whom attended New-Bridge Integrated College since the foundation of the school in 1995. Integration has been a very significant part of Aoife’s life since she and her siblings attended Bridge integrated primary prior to transferring to New-Bridge. “Meeting so many new people from different cultures, recognising our differences and respecting them; I have come to learn that everyone should be treated as equal. My eldest sister was one of the first students to join New-Bridge shortly after it opened in 1995. I remember distinctly listening to discussion about the risk it was for our family to attend a new school with little history and uncertain future. For me being part of integrated education means that we are making a significant step forward in moving to a better place for education in Northern Ireland. The school for all the family’ is our school motto and it is only in my final year in New-Bridge that I have really thought about its meaning and understood the significance of this phrase. As a family, we embraced the caring, all inclusive and all ability ethos of the College. My siblings all worked to their strengths in New-Bridge, which allowed them to progress to a professional level. I am very proud of them all and I hope to follow in their footsteps next year at university. I am hoping to focus on the work of Eddie Rafferty ARUA, an artist and print maker whose work will inspire me to look at portraits of myself and my family and connect them to the history of our school. ‘The school for all the family’ has certainly looked after my family and as the youngest I want to use the Carson Bursary to leave a lasting legacy for my family in our school.”
Jessica Quinn is a year 11 student and a team leader with the Anti-Bullying ambassadors. Jessica has used her creative musical talent to compose a song ‘Where is the love?’ to express what integrated education means to her. Jessica’s lyrics reflect the excellent work the anti-bullying ambassadors do in our College community. Jessica was so impressed with the support provided by her peers that she was inspired to become an ambassador herself. Jessica will use the bursary to undertake a full CD production of her track which she hopes will inspire young people who feel isolated or alone to embrace the friendship offered through Diana Award, anti-bullying ambassador team. ‘My project will reflect that I feel Integration is the way for the future. I have already started to think about the lyrics of my song and plan to have our College Chamber Choir sing on the recording. This will be a wonderful way to celebrate the successes of pupils past and present.
‘People hurting people dyin’, kids you tease you see them cryin,……………’
These are some of the words I will put into my song. These words echo how I feel about Integration and how much our country has moved on. On a personal level, I feel I have grown in confidence since becoming a pupil at New-Bridge and in particular being nominated, interviewed and most recently given the role as one of the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors. The ‘pupil voice’ is very important in our integrated school community and is the key to the success of our school.
‘Cause together we are stronger…………’ these words reflect exactly how I feel as a pupil at New-Bridge. I am very passionate about the anti-bullying programme in our school and I know I can make a difference to some of the younger pupils in school. Our college message is a very strong one. Each time we say our school prayer we reinforce our tolerance of each other regardless of our ability, colour, race or religion. I am proud to be a pupil at New-Bridge and I am delighted that through the Carson award, I can celebrate diversity through my music.’