This year Sligo Grammar School is taking up the environmental challenge and going for their first Green School Flag. The aim for the first year is to reduce landfill waste in SGS and generally make the school greener. Under the leadership of Ms Caldwell a group of TY students are busy raising awareness in the school about waste of all kinds. Already the Green School Committee has addressed Assembly, asking the students – and staff – to bring re-useable water containers to school. The school is going to introduce more water fountains throughout the school so that students can more easily fill their bottles. There have been new food waste bins installed in the sandwich bar and in the staff room and the committee oversees the emptying of these after lunch each day. One of the members of the Green School Team, Laura Chau represented Sligo Co. Council Green Aware Programme in an interview on Ocean FM where she spoke about the programme and about how Sligo Grammar School is taking on the Green Challenge. This is a very important project and we wish Ms Caldwell and her team success in getting their first Green School Flag.
Over the last number of years the SGS TY students have had a Sustainable Living module as part of the TY course. This year the module is being taught by Ms McIntyre, who is very knowledgeable when it comes to all things organic and sustainable!
SGS BIRD FEEDING PROJECT
In October last Mr Michael Bell of Birdwatch Ireland came to the school to talk to the TY Sustainable Living class. He spoke to them about the richness of Irish wildlife and the many challenges our native birds and animals face. He asked the students if they would be interested in doing a survey of birds that feed in the grounds of Sligo Grammar School. A number of TYs signed up and set up a Bird Feeding Club. Sligo Tidy Towns provided sunflower seeds and lard balls for the project and our very talented maintenance men, Harry Nairn and Michael Fadian designed and made a bird feeding table. The eye-catching feeding table is in the form of a house and is brightly coloured so as not to attract rodents. It has been placed in the courtyard of the school which is quiet and peaceful and will hopefully attract garden birds. It also has the added benefit of being just outside many classrooms so students should enjoy bird-song as they study! Unfortunately due to Lockdown the students have not been able to participate in the Birdwatch Ireland Irish Garden Bird Survey, but hopefully when school returns they will be able to get involved and log SGS bird life. If YOU would like to get involved in the Birdwatch Ireland survey, just visit the website at
This term the Sustainable Living module will focus on the old walled Hermitage Garden, and Ms McIntyre and her band of students will attempt to revitalise this once magical space. The plan is to erect raised beds where pupils will learn to grow their own organically grown vegetables. The Sus. Living students hope to work closely with the Woodwork Dept. who will help in the construction of the raised beds. Currently the woodwork students are designing colourful bird boxes to attract more of our feathered friends into the garden. We are so lucky to have this wonderful walled garden on the school grounds and hopefully it will re-gain some of it’s old magic under the watchful eye of Ms McIntyre and her gardeners!
On Thursday 17th January, the TY Sustainable Living group spent the morning on Strandhill beach picking up litter as part of the Clean Coasts programme. This is a national drive operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce. It aims to get local communities involved in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The local group organised a clean-up in Strandhill and our TY students eagerly volunteered their services! Seamus McGoldrick of Sligo Surf co-ordinated the clean-up and provided the necessary cleaning equipment. The students found that a lot of litter gets trapped in the crevices in and around the rocks on the beach and it is only when you get down onto the sand and look back towards the shore that it becomes very obvious. The students worked hard for a few hours, managing to gather a lot of rubbish. They even found a Fanta can from June 1994 – World Cup USA!! A special thanks to Mammy Johnstons who provided free ice-cream for the troops!
Various Sustainable Living projects have been set up in recent years for the Transition Year students. Experts in the area of sustainable living have come to talk to students and in response to this the students, with their teachers, have taken on environmental projects of various kinds. Projects include building a leaf mould in the Herm garden and maintaining a compost bin.
The TYs of 2017/18 made an Insect Hotel!
One of the very popular Sustainable Living projects has been centred in the woodwork room. In this workshop, the students created a range of items from salvaged timber. This includes a raised bed and outdoor seat as well as some extra seating for the TY locker area. The students are so proud of their furniture that for the last two years the TYs took their bench with them to the 5th year locker area!
For the past number of years Sligo Grammar School has been involved in the Fields of Life project.
What is Fields of Life?
Fields of Life is a Christian organisation which supports communities in order to enable them help themselves.Sligo Grammar School was involved in the building of a Fields of Life School in Bajja, near Masaka, in Uganda.The school was represented by pupils, staff, parents and past pupils on a trip to paint the school just after it was opened.
Fields of Life Mission Statement:
Fields of Life is committed to sharing the Christian faith by collaborating with local communities and churches in East Africa to bring about positive change through the provision of quality education, clean water, health promotion and other community based projects. It is our vision to see 1,000,000 people in Central East Africa impacted practically with the good news of the gospel by 2015 and to act as an effective Christian response to communities gripped with poverty and suffering.
The art department in the school is a very active and vibrant one. The art room is always a hive of activity with students coming in and out on various projects – art students and non-art students alike!
Ms. Hynes makes a consistent effort to keep the work of her pupils on view throughout the school and has frames around the walls to display their work. This changes a few times a year as the students produce new work. After the Junior Cert results are out the 3D work of the art students is displayed in the hall outside the Staff Room along with work from HE and woodwork students. All parents and families are welcome to drop in to see what their sons and daughters have produced.
In recent years the Sligo Grammar School Art Department and the Emergency Department in Sligo General Hospital have joined forces and some of the work of the students is on display in the ED waiting room. This work is changed twice a year and is a great forum for art students to see their work displayed in public.
For the last four years Sligo Grammar School has entered the National Junk Kouture design Competition. Each year we have had Regional Finalists with a National Finalist in 2015
The competition is a challenge to design and construct an outfit entirely from re-cycled materials. Interested TY students have a Junk Kouture class each week to help them prepare for the competition.