A primary school in Kerry with 100 students has grown significantly by admitting 50 Ukrainian children.
Coil Saidhbhín in Cahersiveen took in 50 Ukrainian children between the ages of four and 13.
Principal Treasa Ní Chróinín said she was very proud of the whole school following the children’s arrival in March.
In addition, three new teachers have started at the school who will remain at the school until the summer holidays.
“A month ago we were a busy happy great school, seven teachers, two SNAs, our caretaker Hugh, cleaning lady Pauline with an enrollment of 103 students.
“And just before St. Patrick’s weekend, we found out that Ukrainians are definitely arriving at the accommodation center, which is right across from the school,” she said.
“Well, basically that was it after St. Patrick’s weekend. First of all, I have to say that a month later we are doing very, very well. I am so proud of how everyone came together to make this happen.”
Scoil Saidhbhín is also the former primary school of CNN reporter and Cahersiveen native Donie O’Sullivan.
In a post on Twitter, Mr O’Sullivan said he “didn’t fully grasp the extent to which Ireland is taking in Ukrainian refugees” until he heard about his own primary school’s efforts.
I hadn’t quite grasped the extent to which Ireland is taking in Ukrainian refugees until I heard that my old primary school of 100 students just added 50 more children from Ukraine.
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) April 13, 2022
Ms. Ní Chróinín said the students were “absolutely amazing” at how they welcomed the Ukrainian children.
“They took a complete step back to welcome their new friends. When they got the news their first thought was to remove the paint, get pictures ready, we had teachers painting beautiful welcome signs on the windows,” she told Ray D’Arcy on RTÉ.
“I’ve had parents call and ask what size uniform is needed and another parent, owner of Siopashoo in town, delivered brand new uniforms for each student, I could just keep talking about the generosity of the spirit.
“It was terrifying at first, it was hard to reconcile what you see on the news with what was actually in front of us. More than 200 people with different facial expressions stood in front of the school gates.
“We also had to factor in the language barrier, we have seven young children and some were excited and happy until one absolutely burst into tears.
“The teachers bought nice welcome packs and I just took one of those and said, ‘Oh please don’t cry, here’s a present,’ and she just squeaked like it was Christmas morning.”
Ms. Ní Chróinín said the student’s dignity and courage was “remarkable” and that the entire community had been so generous.
“Our own students really blew me away, their generosity. Same for the teachers, parents and grandparents, I mean everyone has Google Translate on their phone now,” she said.
“You have Irish children trying to speak some Ukrainian phrases and you have some Ukrainian children trying to speak Irish phrases.
“It was really nice to look at, not without difficulties. We already have three children who left over Easter, I know two went to Dublin.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/kerry-primary-school-sees-50pc-increase-in-students-by-welcoming-ukrainian-children-41555009.html Kerry Primary School sees 50 percent increase in enrollment by admitting Ukrainian children