Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn Among Winners In Junior Entrepreneur Programme

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Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn pupils working on their ‘An Nead’ birdboxes as part of their Junior Entrepreneur Programme, when they were visited by Minister for Education Norma Foley earlier this year. Photo by Dermot Crean

GAELSCOIL Mhic Easmainn, Tralee was among the top schools recognised in the national Junior Entrepreneur Awards announced today.

‘An Nead’ was the creation of the 5th Class pupils supported by their teacher Dónal O’Sulleabháin earned them the JEP Community Champions Award 2021.

The brightly-coloured bird boxes were handmade and painted by the pupils. The class came up with the idea during lockdown when they became more aware of the importance of nature and wanted to help biodiversity by creating a safe cosy place for birds to nest.

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The special features of these bird boxes include a removable floor to facilitate easy cleaning, different designs for different species and the use of water-based paint to make it safe for all wildlife.

The pupils sold their product at Tralee Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. They sold 330 units and made a fantastic profit of €2,040. The pupils donated 10% of the profits to ‘ Green Schools’ Committee and the rest was spent on a class picnic in the local woods.

Three other Kerry schools were also recognised –  Ardfert Central National School, Presentation Primary School Castleisland and Kilcummin National School all received Merit Awards for their project submissions. Details are as follows:

• 6th Class Ardfert Central National School, Ardfert. Teacher: Marie O’Connell; Project: Fab Bits Incorporated.

• 5th and 6th Class Muire Gan Smál Presentation Primary School, Castleisland. Teacher: Claire Smith; Project: Scented Serenity

• 6th Class Scoil Náisiúnta Cil Cuimin, Killarney. Teacher: Patrick Mannix; Project: Key Kings

Nationally, over 3,500 primary school children began their entrepreneurial journey this year while they were learning remotely, finding out about entrepreneurs, and brainstorming ideas over Zoom.

JEP became the ideal vehicle to help pupils bond again as a class on their return to school as they worked in teams to carry out market research, calculate costs, source materials, and design products.

They went on to launch approximately 100 classroom businesses right across the island of Ireland. Schools worked on their projects right up to the conclusion of the school year.

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