Tracy Piggott to Honour Pupils in NUI Galway's Uni 4 U Initiative

Friday, 11 April 2008

Over 100 pupils from primary schools across Galway will be honoured by RTÉ sports commentator Tracy Piggott at a special ceremony at 7pm on Wednesday, 16 April, for their participation in NUI Galway's 'Uni 4 U 2008' programme. The children will receive medals and certificates from the TV personality in recognition of their involvement in the three-year programme which promotes education, school attendance and personal development through sporting, cultural and academic activities on the University campus.

'Uni 4 U' is developed and delivered by NUI Galway's Access Office in partnership with Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla; Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue; and St Michael's Boys School, Mervue. Now in its eighth year, the programme includes a homework and sports club which is run on campus in conjunction with Áras na Mac Léinn. The children are helped by undergraduate volunteers for two hours a week in completing their homework and playing sports.

Explaining the significance of the programme for those involved, Imelda Byrne, NUI Galway's Access Officer, said, "Specifically, this programme aims to help students by building their self esteem, confidence, communication skills and social behaviour through team games and sports activities. In addition, there is a focus on their educational attainment, especially improvement in numeric and literacy skills".

Brenda Foy, Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator with Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue, commented, "The Uni 4 U programme is an excellent introduction to the University for the pupils of Mervue. They can enjoy the atmosphere and develop serious aspirations for continuing their education onto third-level. Not alone does it benefit the children but it also involved their parents, many of whom might never have stepped onto the University grounds. The Uni 4 U programme has made third-level education a given for our children and look forward to it continuing in the future".

Easter and Summer camps facilitated by university staff volunteers have introduced the children to topics in science, engineering, languages and the humanities. This enables the children to get a feel for their subject choices in secondary school and encourage them to participate more actively in their own learning. New initiatives in 'Uni 4 U' during 2008 included a storytelling course and performance where the children told stories they had created themselves in seanchaí style. The programmes' success includes the participation of parents with their children in the study skill and homework support workshops run by the Access Office.

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