Inspiring First Year Class Names

February 4, 2016

As part of our focus on student wellbeing, this year’s first year classes are named after Irish mental health advocates and inspirational people. As school counsellor and year head, I am acutely aware of the need to care for the mental health of our young people, to help them to develop coping skills and resilience, and to learn from the example of positive role models.

Students began the year by doing a project on the person their class was named after, and it is my sincere hope that, at some stage in the next 3 years, while they carry the name, they will get to hear that person speak, either here in Coolmine, or at some outside event.

The class names are as follows:

1 Breen – Jim Breen, entrepreneur and founder of Cycle Against Suicide and the Student Leaders’ Congress attended by students of Coolmine each year. Jim Breen’s visit to Coolmine

1 Breslin – Bressie, musician, sportsperson and founder of A Lust for Life website, campaigner for mental health education in our schools. His recently published book Me and My Mate Jeffrey details his own struggles with anxiety.

1 Cusack – Conor Cusack, former Cork hurler, who devotes much of his time to highlighting mental health and articulating his own experiences of depression.

1 Freeman – Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House

1 McKiernan – Ruari McKiernan, founder of SpunOut website, social entrepreneur and campaigner on youth, community, health and social issues. Ruairi McKiernan inspires in Coolmine

1 McVerry – Fr Peter McVerry SJ has been working with vulnerable young people in Dublin for the last 40 years, campaigning for their rights and setting up the Peter McVerry Trust, a charity to tackle homelessness.

1 O’Riordan – Joanne O’Riordan, has a very rare medical condition called Total Amelia, meaning she was born with no limbs. Her brother Stephen directed a documentary about her inspirational life, ‘No Limbs No Limits’. A disability rights campaigner, she has successfully taken on Taoiseach Enda Kenny, addressed the United Nations and discussed technology with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Apple. She has been awarded numerous awards, most recently one of Junior Chamber International’s (JCI) ten Outstanding Young Person of the Worlds Awards.

1 Walsh – Donal Walsh, the Kerry teenager who touched so many lives when he came to prominence through his writings and subsequent appearance on Brendan O’Connor’s ‘The Saturday Night Show’. Donal who fund raised tirelessly while battling Cancer has now had the Donal Walsh #Livelife Foundation set up by his family primarily in order to promote his anti-suicide #Livelife message. Fionnbar Walsh’s visit to Coolmine.

Coolmine has been awarded the Amber Flag in recognition of the initiatives undertaken in the school to promote positive mental health.