Mountmellick CS walk away with a win

Mountmellick CS Travel Flag committee members Esther Mushitu,  Christina OReilly, Nathan Lee & Adam Bracken, with teacher Emma Coleman.
A scheme at Mountmellick Community School to encourage students to walk to school, has won the school an award for ‘Walking Secondary School of the Year’.

A scheme at Mountmellick Community School to encourage students to walk to school, has won the school an award for ‘Walking Secondary School of the Year’.

Last February, the Green Schools Travel students committee began their project, taking up the An Taisce challenge asked of over 1500 schools, “What change can you achieve in three weeks?”.

They first surveyed how all the students travelled to school, and then gave them incentives to change.

“We awarded students who chose the most sustainable choice of travel, such as walking, cycling, and carpooling,” said teacher Emma Coleman.

They got a rapid response, managing to get a third more students to walk to school within the three weeks.

“We recorded a significant increase in the number of students walking, from 201 on day one to 282 on day 15,” she said.

Four representatives from the Green Schools committee attended the Green schools Big Travel Challenge 2015 awards ceremony in the Radisson Blu, Golden Lane in Dublin.

Nathan Lee, Christina O’Reilly, Esther Mushitu and Adam Bracken were accompanied by Ms Coleman and Ms Behan.

They were thrilled to scoop one of eight top awards given for variousmodes of sustainable travel, and were presented with a glass trophy, certificates and €500.

“The prize fund will be used to further develop sustainable travel in our school. The committee are extremely proud of their achievements and would like to thank everyone who made this possible,” said their teacher.

Their next big awards ceremony is on May 29 when they collect their fourth Green Flag, for Travel.

The new Laois Rose and 14 Rose of Tralee finalists will attend their Flag Raising Ceremony on May 29 in the school.

Green-Schools Travel Manager Jane Hackett congratulated all the schools.

“We asked schools to really challenge themselves to bring about real change in how they travel. We hope this has created long-lasting habits,” she said. See www.greenschoolsireland.org for more.