In 1976, friends and associates of the late Michael Sweetman established an Educational Trust in his memory. It was decided to establish a competition with a European dimension for students of Vocational Schools, Colleges and Centres and each year prize winners from around Ireland are awarded a trip to Strasbourg.
In the past 15 years, over 30 students from Enniscorthy Vocational College have successfully participated in the scheme, which has seen students from all European Union member states discuss on the floor of the European Parliament issues of social concern directly related to their study of the Social Education module in the Leaving Certificate Applied programme.
This year the two students selected Daniel Rainsford and Edward Murphy came through a rigorous interview process show casing their respective Social Education task worth 10% of their overall mark in the Leaving Certificate to become this year’s successful recipients among twenty-four students in Ireland as a whole. Over the three days from January 23rd, the two students will engage in seminar discussions in a Dublin hotel with their fellow students from across Ireland before flying to Frankfurt. They will then stay in Kiel from where they will attend and contribute to a number of debates with their EU counterparts in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on matters of social concern including matters of social exclusion. The visit will also include a number of cultural excursions during the course of their stay including a tour of the historic centre of Strasbourg as well as a river cruise.
Speaking of the visit, Dr. Iain Wickham, Principal of Enniscorthy Vocational College thanked the trust for the strong productive relationship that has developed with the school over the last decade. The student’s tutor, Conor Dempsey said that “a trip of this type was the essence of real education with the student’s exposure to new cultures and their interaction with their fellow EU citizens”.