Friday, February 09, 2018

Leadership conference inspires CPC students

TY students at leadership conference.
Transition Year students from CPC who attended a recent national conference on leadership, came away inspired by speakers who lead in their various areas, writes Chloe O'Connell.

The event, held on 2 February in the Convention Centre Dublin, was the 'Leaders on Our Level' Conference. The conference was organised by the Transition Year students of Terenure College in Dublin. The aim of the conference was to inspire, empower and build on our leadership skills. The conference included speakers from different areas that would require different leadership skills to show how versatile leadership is.

Some of the speakers included in the Conference were Anne Cassin from RTE’s 'Nationwide', Mark Pollock the first blind man to race to the South Pole, Fr Peter McVerry of the Peter McVerry Trust and Professor Donal O’Shea, Clinical Lead for Obesity in the HSE

When Anne Cassin addressed the 2,000 Transition students in attendance she spoke about all the different opportunities that were open to her since working with RTE. She had the opportunity to go to Africa and provide bikes to girls who had to travel long distances to go to school. In the early stages of her career she worked as an announcer for the broadcaster, and she spent a number of years working on 'Prime time' before moving on to 'Nationwide'.

When Mark Pollock took to the stage to tell us of his journey, we were all awestruck by such an incredible man who has never let life’s difficulties stand in his way. Mark has been blind for over a decade but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming the first blind man to race to the South Pole. However, in recent years he fell from a second storey window, breaking his back and leaving him wheelchair bound. But that hasn’t stopped him or slowed him down; he is now determined to walk again and is working with scientists from around the world to make the technology advances to make it possible.

Fr Peter McVerry told us his story about how he came to set up the 'Peter McVerry Trust'. He told us about the rise in homelessness and the struggles that homelessness charities are under. He explained that some people are forced into homelessness because they couldn’t keep up with debt repayments or mortgage payments. While others are battling drug or alcohol addiction. But what many people don’t realise is that there is often a reason these people take drugs or use alcohol; it is there way of trying to escape their past.

Next up was Professor Donal O’ Shea, the HSE’s clinical lead for obesity. He spoke to us how endorsements are causing more and more people to become obese. Simple things like McDonalds sponsoring the Ronald McDonald House to house families with seriously ill children in hospital shouldn’t have been allowed to happen as it is promoting an unhealthy food chain that is the cause of unhealthy eating which can lead to obesity.

The conference concluded with Shane Curran, a 6th year student from Terenure College, who won the BT Young Scientist Awards last year. He gave a small talk on how to not let anything hold you back from achieving your goals.

All CPC TY students left the conference feeling more confident in taking on a leadership role. It was a good experience for all of us to have.

(ED NOTE: Chloe O'Connell is a TY student in CPC who did her work experience week with the Kilcullen Diary.)