GALLERY:

Young Laois winners attend the National Final of the Someone Like Me art competition

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Two Laois primary schools were among the 45 attending an Awards ceremony for ‘Someone Like Me’ art competition held in Dublin City Hall on Monday December 4.

A group entry Sandy Lane NS in Portarlington was the Junior Laois winners, and Shanahoe NS pupil Michael Bergin is the Senior Laois winner.

The entry from Sandy Lane was created by 1st and 2nd Class pupils with teacher Mrs Bailey. Each pupil decorated their own Lego character, as they are all big Lego fans and thought it would be a fun way to show how they are all similar yet different.

The entry from Shanahoe was created by 5th Class pupil Michael Bergin. it is a highly graphic entry of his fingerprint, with an illustrated magnifying glass on his slogan ‘We each have a different print’.

The winner of the ‘Someone Like Me’ national art competition was announced as Killeevan National School from Monaghan. The competition, sponsored by the Department of Justice and Equality aims to promote disability awareness at primary school level.

The Killeevan NS entry was created by first and second class pupils, with their teacher Ms Beagan. Their project comprises a book in which the pupils took one page each to illustrate their responses to various physical, emotional and societal challenges.

Speaking on behalf of the winning school, pupil Rachel McPhillips said “I think my family will be very proud of me because I was able to share our family's story of life with a special needs brother. The competition lets lots of children in Ireland learn about the difficulties that families have because of a disabled child. However, they will also learn about my brother James and how special he is to me”.

Judge Mark Maguire said, “I really responded to the winners' entry because I could see the individual contribution of each child; each page was a separate authentic voice conveying a single but significant point. There is something unique in every child's response to the theme and that uniqueness is embodied in how they respectively use drawing and paint. By sequencing the pages together in a book-like format, these distinct responses are drawn together as a coherent group with a unified message”.

The competition received more than 2,000 entries ranging from posters and collages to large sculptural installations and multi-media pieces.

The Downs National School, Mullingar was Highly Commended for its group entry which included school notice board displays, question and answer sessions with the school architect on making the school accessible, and a large installation piece of a wheelchair – all linking to someone each of the pupils knew personally who has a disability.

Now in its third year, ‘Someone Like Me’ allows children to learn about and discuss these topics and creatively express what they have learned. The competition, which offers a range of prizes up to the value of €750, is open to all primary school pupils from junior infants to sixth class, and this year entries were received from individual pupils, class groups and entire schools from 25 counties nationwide.