Carnaun School makes Headlines again – 2002

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Feature Photo – Tara Higgins, Kiera Laffey, Chrissie Qualter, Tara O’Regan in the school garden

I eat, therefore I am” is a Comenius Schools Project funded by the European Union under the Socrates Action.

Its aim is to encourage the emergence of a European identity for children. The European Union is a vast place with many countries and many differences in location, climate, housing, living and eating habits, wealth and religion. By understanding these differences and realising that we are all fellow E.U. citizens we can learn to live in harmony with each other and build a better and more peaceful Europe for the future.

This is a telecommunications project with “food” as the main topic of conversation between the schools – hence the name, derived from “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am -Descartes 1596 – 1650). Sharing ideas about good, healthy food from a local, regional and international perspective is good and attractive initiative for children, parents, teachers and communities. Sharing them with schools in Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Malta, Slovenia, Greece, Italy and Spain is indeed a challenge but for us in Carnaun School it complements our work in Environmental Awareness, in the production of certified organic food in our school garden and in the integration of Information Technology in our curriculum.

Organic Lunch  for Visitors, Board of Management and Friends in Carnaun School 10.05.2002

Online information

Our project website www.eat-online.net acts as a showcase for the huge volume of work done by the various partner schools. Here one can see the contributions of the Athenry children the eating habits of the Irish people, an international cookery book in all the different languages, organic gardening, the school’s heritage trail, traditions for feasts and festivals especially Christmas and Easter.

The children and teachers have made many good friends through email, weekly chatrooms and personal contact throughout the project.

Highlights of the year are the coordinators’ meetings held in different venues throughout the partner countries. Last year I have had the wonderful experience of visiting colleagues in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Sweden. Next year the children and l are invited to Slovenia, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Italy and we hope to avail of whatever funding we are offered.

Fortunate schoolchildren

Preparing the Organic Banquet for the visitors are Enda Trowell, Chrissie Qualter, Visitor from Romania, Barry O’Brien, Gerry Qualter, Visitor, Kiera Laffey, Visitor, Conor Feeney and Tara Higgins.

lt was a proud moment for our little school in the western tip of Europe when 30 teachers and students met in Athenry in May. And did Athenry “do them proud”? The community gave them “Céad míle fáilte” a true Irish welcome. They will never forget their sincere welcome into our schools, the generous hospitality of the B&Bs and the hotels, the courtesy in the Heritage Centre and the Castle, the friendliness of the people in the pubs, the parties they were invited to, the quality of the food in the hotels and restaurants in the area and of course the beautiful organic lunch served to them by the people of Carnaun School. They learned in Athenry all that is good about our Irish society. They learned that our schools in Athenry are second to none in Europe and that in their warm, safe and friendly atmosphere our children are privileged. Here, compared to the majority of European schools, our worries are minor and our complaints are trivial. They will never forget Athenry!

Award list

Since we started this project we have achieved many awards. Among them the Global Junior Challenge in Rome, 1st. Netdays Italia with a presentation in Florence and last November we were one of only 4 projects in Europe to be invited to Brussels to present our project for Netdays Europe. We now hope to continue into the next school year with 28 partner schools. So that, not alone do we have Europe’s best school’s project but we may also have Europe’s biggest school’s project.

Finbarr O’Regan, Carnaun National School, Europe.

Editor’s Note: Visit the project on the old Carnaun National School website, fossilised as it was in 2007, at  Carnaun School Project 

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About this record

Written by Finbarr O'Regan

Published here 15 Jul 2023 and originally published Summer 2002

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