Lessons on Life – Makers, Watchers, Wonderers

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On Friday 8th January, New-Bridge Integrated College was delighted to welcome Mr Peter Sheridan OBE as our latest guest speaker for our “Sixth Form LOL’s” (Lessons on Life) talks.  

As part of our Enrichment Programme in Sixth Form at New-Bridge Integrated College we have invited a number of guest speakers to visit and present their stories on ‘Life’ to our students. We know that our students will benefit from listening to these inspirational and fascinating true life stories that can motivate, inspire and broaden our young people’s minds. 

Mr Sheridan is known for his work formerly, as a leading Senior member of the PSNI but more recently as CEO for the peace building cross border charity Co-Operation Ireland. Mr Sheridan’s spoke about having joined the RUC as a Catholic during the troubles and rising through the ranks of the PSNI to being at one stage, responsible for 4,500 staff.   

He spoke movingly about themes such as ‘Wickedness vs Kindness,’ and how fundamentally, ‘human beings care’.  Answering questions from our students, Peter spoke of how he had witnessed many terrible events but ‘For every murder, he witnessed thousands of acts of compassion’. He challenged our students to ‘be the strangers (helping someone) of the future’. Inspirational words indeed.  

Peter’s theme: “Makers-Watchers-Wonderers”, encouraged students to reflect on which type of person they want to be. Those who take creative action, those who watch and see but don’t take action, and those who turn up and wonder.. He spoke of choices; the responsibility for one’s own life and for the environment, ‘Your ability to choose is your freedom’, ‘People who believe succeed’.  

Having taken on his Co-operation Ireland role in 2008, Mr Sheridan has witnessed some of the most pivotal and once unthinkable moments in our recent history: he was on hand when EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier visited the Irish border on a fact-finding mission and was present when the Queen – who awarded Sheridan an OBE for services to the community in 2008 – first shook hands with former IRA chief of staff Martin McGuinness, then the north’s Deputy First Minister. In fact, the day before his visit to New-Bridge, Mr Sheridan chaired a meeting between Angel Merkel, Leo Vradkar and families from the border region. 

Having visited New-Bridge Integrated College for the first time, Mr Sheridan commented upon the warm welcome he received and the caring ethos which is evident throughout our school. He praised our parents for their courage and faith in Integrated Education and the obvious strong relationships between staff and students in our school community. 

Head of Sixth Form, Mr Clarke commented, “At New-Bridge Integrated College we pride ourselves on the extra experiences and enrichment we can offer to our Sixth Form students. Real life stories delivered by extraordinary people which will help our students grow to be fully rounded young adults and will only add an extra dimension to the excellent Sixth Form provision we offer. Our students and staff thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from the privilege of having such an esteemed guest as Mr Sheridan. The theme of Peter’s Talk, his wise words and sentiments will stay long in the memory of all our students and staff.” 

Mr Clarke – Head of Sixth Form 

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