As part of the school’s commitment to service to others our sixth formers volunteer to serve on the Charities Committee. Every day the school receives numerous requests from charitable organisations and individuals, wishing us to support their own particular cause. All requests are worthy but a sorting process has to take place to decide which charities will be supported by the school each year; this is one of the jobs of the Charities Committee. Once they have decided on whom we will support their next job is to make a plan for the best means of raising money and awareness for each charity. Finally, they must implement their plan and support classes in their fundraising activities.
The chosen charities fall into three categories: local, national and global. Members of the Charities Committee take assemblies to help raise awareness of what we are supporting and how we are going to show our support. They also come up with some very original ideas for raising money such as: carol singing in the local shopping centre, having a Christmas jumper day, running around the Mall in ‘onesies’, abseiling down the side of the Europa hotel, sponsored silences, as well as numerous bun sales! Throughout the school there is active engagement in considering the work of charitable organisations and choosing innovative ways in which we, as a school, can offer our help.
Many of our pupils have charities which are close to their hearts and do their utmost to support these; thereby demonstrating their positive commitment to leading a life of meaning, where relationships and engagement in society are key. One such pupil who deserves a special mention is sadly no longer with us, but her legacy lives on. Both in life and death Charlene Barr set a tremendous example of what can be done for others, if we work together. In Charlene’s case it was all the more poignant as, despite being so ill herself, she came up with the idea of building a school in Uganda and worked tirelessly towards a goal which is now a reality. ‘Charlene’s Project’ now supports multiple education projects in Uganda and it is a charity which our pupils are consistently inspired to support. All that Charlene stood for and worked towards has been recognised as she has been awarded the Spirit of Northern Ireland Award. The Spirit of Northern Ireland award gives recognition to those who are doing extraordinary things to help others, people whose uplifting stories of selfless acts have touched the hearts of all they have come into contact with. If anyone qualifies for this award then surely it is Charlene.