Rachel Kitchen, 14MG, wins Carson Award for Integration
WHAT INTEGRATION MEANS TO ME – Rachel Kitchen 14MG
Integration in education means everything to me. I have been through integrated education my whole life, having previously attended Portadown Integrated primary school and now a sixth form student in New-Bridge, I feel it has helped shape who I am. My project demonstrates what integration means to me as it shows bringing all aspects of our school community and our wider community together. We have forged strong links with the local nursing home Bannview House and I have worked with some of the residents there, their ideas have helped shape my design. Mr McGrath, a retired gardener who lives close to the school has been instrumental in guiding me in my planning for this work. I have also had so much help from our school Eco Committee and I think that integrating all these aspects of our school community and beyond have been helped in bringing the project to completion.
Our school badge has four sections; the yew trees representing Newry and the bridge representing Banbridge. There is also the dove signalling peace and the hands shaking demonstrates integration and friendship. It shows how different people from different backgrounds and religions can come together, work together and be friends. Also with this project I am hoping to make the school stand out in the community and celebrate it, to show how much our school has achieved and all that it does for the community. My project was also influenced by the theme for this year’s Integrated Education Week ‘HORIZONS.’ It shows that hopefully this sculpture will be here for the next 20 years and more that integrated schools can grow and develop in to the future. My sculptures are placed in the school garden so everyone who attends or visits the school can see how people from different religions can come together and change things for the better. This project also demonstrates our school motto ‘A school for all the family’ even though it is my project, many people helped and advised. It just shows that although we are independent we rely on others, especially the wisdom of our older generation. My Harmony Garden also shows that people, pupils, staff and local community from different backgrounds can come together to create something new, fresh and alive!
I felt honoured to accept this award for my sculpture on behalf of the school last Thursday.