James Connolly is an alumnus of Errigal College and attends the class that day. Like Jack Bond, he wanted to leave school, but today he studies at university and sometimes comes to give advice to college students who know how to find the right words: “If you come here thinking you don’t like school, it’s a trap, it’s going to really trap you, you’re going to hate it, He tells the hesitant schoolboy about his future. On the other hand, if you tell yourself that this is a place that helps you, it is the key to your freedom. Every wall of this Irish college has the same message: “Every student counts, every day.“
The institution has means for the DEIS program (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in School) which aims to ensure equal opportunities in school by taking care of the educational needs of disadvantaged groups. Four teachers supervise twenty students, for example, in a math class. “Teachers work together, students help each other. It’s like a big family, a collective effort.”Professor Kelly White tells “We, the Europeans” magazine (Replay).
“If I have children, I want them to be like you”
Support for students goes beyond the walls of the school. Maggie McAteer, a liaison officer with families, meets with Jack’s mother that day to offer to arrange her schooling with professional internships to give her time to think. Adolescent consent is found when considering the transition of a year, thinking about this solution to work a little. “Two work experiences a year?” Mother asks. The Magi confirm and tell the youth: “The fact that your father is an electrician will help you find an internship.”
“Initially, I was afraid to let her into my house, Kate Bond opens up. I was afraid she would judge the cleanliness of the house, but she is part of the family. The liaison officer, sometimes dressed as a social worker, explains his approach: “I enter their homes with respect. I don’t arrive with answers. I try to make things easier and participate in the parents’ journey so they can help their children. I always say to students: ‘I don’t’ have children, but if I did, I would want them to be like you.
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