01 Dec 2021

Win thousands and help send Portlaoise students to volunteer in Zambia

Win thousands and help send Portlaoise students to volunteer in Zambia

Rugby player Sean Masterson at his old school St Mary's CBS Portlaoise with students Luke Walsh and Ciarán Leonard to promote the 20k Drop Fundraiser for Zambia

The Portlaoise public are being asked to support an exciting fundraising night, to help send a group of young lads on a volunteer trip to Africa.

St Mary's CBS are holding a '20K Drop' fundraiser where eight people from the audience will win a chance to each play in a fun gameshow where they can win up to €2,500.

It will take place in the Midlands Park Hotel on April 26 at 8pm. 

It was launched today Wednesday April 11 in the school, with the help of former pupil, and Connacht and Ireland rugby player, Sean Masterson. 

Sporting an injury (read more about it here), Sean was among a previous group to take part in the school's Zambian Immersion Project in 2015.

"It was one of the best experiences in my life so far. It is a different world over there. Everyone of you should make the application to go," he said.

He told the Leinster Express that the experience in Zambia had changed him.

"A lot of people there were sick with HIV and AIDS. Sometimes we take everything for granted here, but there even though there was a drought, people were still smiling. We complain about school but they love school, and they loved seeing us," he said.

At the launch, 1st year Luke Walsh and 2nd year Ciarán Leonard, played the game and each won a ticket to the real event.

The Zambia trip will see nine Transition Years and seven Third year students going out for two weeks next February to teach in schools. They were chosen out of many applications after undergoing interviews.

They are Daniel O’Toole, Jack Delaney, Ben Brennan, Eddie Critchley, James Connolly, Marc Ramsbottom, Kevin Swayne, Alain Carroll, Brian Fingleton, Thomas Dunne, Peter Conroy, Adam Duffin, John Keogh, Michael Rogers, Níall Carey and Ben Dunne.

Each must now find four €200 sponsors to pay for the 20k Drop prizemoney, and then must each raise €1,200 to cover the cost of the trip. 

Teacher Brian Carroll is urging students and parents to support their biggest fundraiser.

"I am asking your to please support your colleagues in the senior classes, and encourage your parents to come along and have a great night. This Zambia Immersion is one of the great things about our school, we are helping marginalised people, and we are blessed to be able to go every two years," he said.

The 20k drop, much like the Million Pound Drop gameshow, involves the player choosing an answer to a question, and pushing the cash over one or more trapdoors. If the money is on the wrong answer, the trapdoor opens and it is lost. The event is run by Pallas Marketing, complete with lots of big screens to make the night exciting for everyone.

Tickets are €15, available from students and staff in the school. Student tickets are €10. Four tickets are €50 (four adults, or two adults and three children). 

Below: Sean Masterson with some of the 3rd year and TY students who will go to Zambia in February 2019, along with their teachers James Walsh, Cathy Mulligan, Emer Lewens, Brian Carroll and Stephanie Buckley.

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