Student Council/ An Chomhairle Scoile
The role of the Student Council is to provide opportunities for students to voice their opinions and offer suggestions in relation to many aspects of school life. The council acts as a channel of communication within the school organisation among pupils and between the home and the school. In St Mary’s School, we believe that our students should play an active, positive role in the life of our school through their elected Student Council representatives.
An Chomhairle Scoile at St Mary’s was first established in 2004 and has been growing from strength to strength ever since. Every September, representatives from Fourth, Fifth and Sixth classes are democratically elected and take a seat on the council for the duration of the school year. The newly elected Student Council members wear specially designed badges for easy identification. They meet every second Tuesday at 12.30 p.m. in the Boardroom to discuss items on the agenda. These meetings are facilitated by the Principal, Mr Ó Coigligh and class teacher, Mrs O’Hare.
Council members deliberate over many issues relevant to the school and sometimes the students are offered opportunities to discuss new school policies and proposed changes to our current ones. One year we discussed appropriate and practical changes to the school’s Healthy Eating Policy, when it came up for debate. On another occasion An Chomhairle Scoile were invited to contribute to our school’s Homework Policy and our Code of Behaviour, when they were being updated.
The girls offer many practical suggestions to enhance our school and to make it a more interesting and eco-friendly environment.
Some of the initiatives inspired by our Student Council members include the installation of solar panels in the school, changes made to the school uniform, the establishment of the school’s Homework Club, the school’s Art Club, the Book Club and the Drama Club.
The Student Council was also instrumental in organising a ‘Reward System’ for pupils participating in our C.O.W. (Cycle on Wednesdays)and W.O.W. (Walk on Wednesdays) days, believing that this would be a good incentive to promote more pupil involvement.
Student Council members were very proactive during the organisation of ‘Be Active Week’ and made many recommendations to the committee, including having ‘active homework’ for the week, involving parents in the ‘Be Active’ campaign and going on an organised Boyne Walk around the Porch fields. These initiatives were introduced to encourage more pupil involvement in physical activity in our school and for St Mary’s to become a healthier, more active environment.
The Sixth Class council members are always on duty for the school’s annual Open Day in January/February and are very proud to bring visitors on a guided tour of their school. They are also available to ‘Meet and Greet’ guests, including for example when the Dublin Youth Orchestra visited us on April 28th 2017 and for the First Holy Communion reception, in our School Hall, on May 14th of the same year. In 2018 they were available to ‘meet and greet’ guests for the opening of our all-weather pitch on September 24th. They proudly sport their designed, enamel Comhairle Scoile badges, which they will keep as a memento of the time they served on St Mary’s Student Council.
The Student Council holds an annual Talent Show, open to pupils from Fourth to Sixth Classes at the end of the school year. All proceeds go to pupil-nominated charities. In 2018 Trim St Vincent de Paul and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland were our designated charities. We take tremendous pride in the quality of our annual Talent Show and the considerable amount of money we raise for charity.
Lots of photographs are taken and articles written by the Sixth Class committee members about events that take place during the school year. These are then compiled for inclusion in the Sixth Class Yearbook, another initiative of the Student Council. The yearbook, a memento of their time in St Mary’s is made available to students on their Graduation Night in June.
Participation in the Student Council is a very positive experience for the pupils involved as their contribution to our school is greatly appreciated and their legacy lives on into the future.