Pupils at three integrated schools welcomed a special visitor all the way from Sydney, Australia at the end of term. Teresa Keating, Executive Director of the Australian Ireland Fund (AIF), was in Northern Ireland see at first hand some integrated school projects that have benefited from the support of the AIF and the Sir Warwick Fairfax Trust – and to see how others are dependent on generous supporters in order to flourish.
At Glengormley Integrated Primary School Teresa Keating was able to view the school’s new computer suite, equipped thanks to the help of generous supporters at the AIF and the Sir Warwick Fairfax Trust. Children are using the new technology to enhance their learning and to sustain links with other schools.
After chatting to their guest, the grateful pupils sent her on her way with a gift: the P4 class recorded a special rendition of “Happy Birthday” on video for one of the Governors of the AIF, Lady Mary Fairfax, who will be celebrating her 90th birthday shortly. Lady Mary Fairfax, of the Fairfax Group publishing empire, is a leading philanthropist and for a number of years has hosted a benefit party in the garden of her home overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Teresa then went to Blackwater Integrated College to be greeted by the new Head Boy and Girl and tour the school. At Forge Integrated Primary School Teresa saw how the AIF had helped to install a new classroom to accommodate the growing demand for integrated school places from the local community. The addition of the new classroom during the past school year has been vital in helping to cope with the school’s growth, allowing the school to offer more children the integrated education their families choose. Teresa Keating met children at work in the new classroom and was entertained by the school choir before she officially opened the new facility by unveiling a plaque acknowledging the help the school has received from supporters locally and in Australia.