Students logging their walks; and Jack Ahern and Ben Doyle in action.
Laois secondary school students are leading the way in Ireland in a national fundraising for a homeless charity.
The lads at St Mary's CBS have been clocking up the miles but also the funds for Focus Ireland, as they take part in the virtual Camino walk.
The Transition Year students along with school staff and parents are taking part in Camino De Quarantine.
A total of 114km must be completed by each participant within five weeks. So far the school has collectively walked 960km.
There are among 9,000 children, families and individuals all tackling homelessness in Ireland right now by taking part, and St Mary's CBS in Portlaoise are leading them for the level of money they have donated.
Each individual has a fundraising page along with a school team fundraising page St Mary's CBS Portlaoise TY Fundraising Page. The target for fundraising was €500 but the school has already reached €3,211, surpassing any other school in the country.
TY teacher Niamh Hyland organised the fundraiser.
"I can't believe the response we have gotten in less than a week. I am so proud of our students and the school community, it's just fantastic.
"Focus Ireland is such a great cause and an organisation which has always been important for our Transition Year students and our school. Each year we take part in a sleep out to raise funds for the organisation but of course sadly this year that was't possible, so we knew we had to try something different. I knew a lot of us were clocking up the kilometres anyway so I
thought this was an opportunity for us to do it for a good cause and do it together as a community.
"We would like to sincerely thank the school community for their continued support and again express how proud we are of our students. It really does show the power of unity and how when people come together, even in such difficult times, we have the ability to drive change. Thank you to those of you who have already supported us in our attempt to fight this crisis by supporting Focus Ireland," she said.
As of February 22, the school's fundraiser is still the number one Team fundraiser in the Virtual Camino challenge in Ireland, currently standing at €5,046.
Anyone can sign up to do the virtual Camino De Quarantine. The 114km walk is along the French way section of the Camino de Santiago. This year due to Covid-19, the loss of the annual Camino fundraising trip is a huge loss of income to Focus Ireland, so they created a virtual version.
As you walk your 114km over 5 weeks and log your distance, you will receive updates about the towns you are approaching, walking notes, recipes for typical foods in the area, recommended books to read on the Camino, films, podcasts and playlists to keep you in the Camino spirit!