At the wonderful 2017 Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) conference lead by Sister Monica Matthews, Priory School's Assistant Head Teacher and former Holy Child School pupil Sarah Mullin, and Holy Child Killiney's Junior Year Head Fionnuala O'Leary, shared examples of good practice from each other's schools. They were pleasantly surprised to find that although each school in the SHCJ network is unique, they all share the same core values: delivering an education which centres on the development of the whole child, instilling in pupils the core Catholic values and virtues. Feeling motivated and empowered by the conference, Mrs Mullin and Mrs O'Leary were inspired to organise a SHCJ exchange programme.
Bright and early on Friday 15th September 2017, Priory School pupils Angel, Eneesyia, Almaas and Gursimran along with Mrs Mullin and her PA/Marketing manager, Raegan Blake, boarded the plane to Dublin where they were given a warm Irish welcome from Mrs O'Leary, Head Teacher Caroline O'Brien and an excited crowd of Holy Child School pupils. The girls exchanged a myriad of gifts, from Irish keyrings, House t-shirts, birthday cards and Priory School eagles! Whilst the adults enjoyed tea and scones served by Transition Year pupils, Priory School and Holy Child pupils went for tours of the school, excitedly comparing the similarities and differences between them.
In celebration of their 70th year as a Holy Child School, HCK held a celebratory mass where pupils reflected on their evolving community over the past seven decades. Pupils and staff from HCK, Priory School and Holy Child School Sallynoggin all shared in the mass and were guests of honour in the blessing and unveiling of the 70th anniversary memorial directional sign, illustrating the distance and direction of each of the schools in the SHCJ network from Killiney. Mrs O'Brien delivered an engaging and passionate message that pupils who attend any one of the Holy Child Schools are not just receiving an education, but a
Cornelia Connelly education. These words resonated with her captive audience as we thought about the aims of our foundress: to provide an educational experience for our learners which is intellectually challenging and creative that helps develop a love of learning and academic excellence.
Just as Cornelia Connelly had a passion for taking learning into the outdoors, after mass we all enjoyed a lively picnic with delicious food served by HCK pupils. Pupils from all three schools mingled, danced and laughed with one another and they even learned an Irish Ceili dance!
After a delicious feast at Milano's, Henry Street, HCK and Priory girls shared warm embraces as they waved farewell, not goodbye to their new friends. They excitedly shared email addresses and planned their next adventure when HCK
pupils will come over to Birmingham!In the afternoon, Mrs O'Leary took her Priory School visitors on a tour of Dublin where they visited Oscar Wilde's birthplace, the cricket pitch where Samuel Beckett played, The Book of Kells at Trinity College, Dublin and there was also time to enjoy the talented musical performances on Grafton Street.
"You will never really work well with anyone unless you think it possible for others to know much better than yourself."
By Sarah Mullin