Pictured above: Minister of State for New Communities, Culture, Equality and Drugs Strategy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin with sixth class pupil Aisling Tanner from Coppeen NS.
Minister of State for New Communities, Culture, Equality and Drugs Strategy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin recently presented sixth class pupil Aisling Tanner from Coppeen NS, Enniskeane with a prestigious county award for her inspirational essay ‘Someone Like Me’.
The awards saw primary school students from around the country arrive at Farmleigh House, as part of a national essay competition hosted by the Department of Justice and Equality to promote positive attitudes towards disability in primary schools. The competition was entitled ‘Someone Like Me’. The students in attendance were shortlisted for their entries, which saw a mix of written and video essays, with many showcasing their own disabilities or those of their friends and families, all with a common theme of celebration.
Minister of State for New Communities, Culture, Equality and Drugs Strategy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin commented “I am absolutely delighted to meet each and every one of today’s finalists and present them with their award. I understand from the judges that the quality of the entries has been exceptional and the enthusiasm of the schools, teachers and students wonderful. The primary schools competition is an excellent opportunity for the youngest members of society to have a carefully thought out conversation around disabilities against the backdrop of the classroom. It is so important to drive this agenda from a young age and teach children to respect themselves and how unique they are and also to respect the uniqueness of the people around them. Aisling is a thoroughly inspiring winner and her entry was excellent”.
The Judging panel for the competition included Brent Pope, rugby analyst and author of many children’s books including Woody the Whale, The Wheezing Wolf, Bones, Arnold The Anteater and The Adventures of Herbie. He joined acclaimed Galway children’s author Deirdre Sullivan and a range of other judges to choose the national winner.
“I was delighted to act as a judge for the competition and was really drawn to the theme of ‘Someone Like Me’. I am no stranger to feeling different and really believe it is so important that we celebrate our uniqueness, what sets us apart. Writing and expressing ourselves is a terrific way to do this and I spent a lot of time reviewing the entries. I was really blown away by the standard of the essays and the story many of them were telling. I absolutely loved Aisling’s entry,” commented Brent Pope
Aisling says her inspiration for her story came from the discussions she had in class with her teacher and from her experiences in life.
Aisling is the youngest child of Fergus and Therese Tanner and lives in the village of Castletown.
She loves hanging out with her friends in school (there are four other girls in her class and one boy and they are a close and tight unit).
Even though Aisling avails of ABR treatment she is still first out in the field with her helmet and hurley and she bravely goes into goals during break for soccer. She takes part in gymnastics, tag rugby, guitar and is great at tinwhistle. Aisling is an inspiration to everyone around her and her family and school are incredibly proud of her.