|Portlaoise Awards||Portlaoise Pictures||Roscrea Awards||RoscreaPictures|
Over six hundred teachers, parents and parents converged on The Heritage Hotel, Portlaosie on Tuesday 5th May and over four hundred converged on Racket Hall Hotel, Roscrea on Thursday 7th May to celebrate the publication of over 1,250 books by 1360 pupils from thirty three schools in the Midlands (Laois, Offaly, Carlow and North Tipperary) in the Write-a-Book project. This project is co-ordinated by Laois Education Centre in partnership with Laois Enterprise Board.
The Write-a-Book project which is in its eleventh year, links the curricular areas of Visual Arts and English, while also prompting integration with practically every other curricular area for teacher and pupil. It is a very valuable tool for teachers to develop pupil writing and in particular creative writing skills while at the same time it gives pupils the opportunity to explore different genres, language and structure and enables them develop techniques and skills and ultimately see their writing valued.
Guest of Honour on the night, Jim O’Brien, journalist, author and scriptwriter for RTE complimented Laois Education Centre on the very efficient organisation of the project. He said the books were a great compliment to all the teachers, pupils and parents involved. He also said that it was not just the number of books published that was significant; it was the quality of the work of all involved. Jim entertained all present with his own ‘jumbled up’ version of Little Red Riding Hood and read one of his stories which he had just completed for the occasion. Jim also emphasised how writing was such a creative process and recalled how he had been supported by teachers when he was in school.
Jim Enright, Director of Laois Education Centre said the Write-a-Book project is one of the most exciting, interesting and finest projects for pupils organised by Laois Education Centre. Jim went on to say that ‘we are honoured this evening to be in the presence of so many fine your writers’ and commented on the quality of the books which represented a very diverse range of topics from poetry, travel, sport, novels and many other topics, all of which were beautifully and artistically illustrated. This year we received entries from two Gaelscoileanna and were delighted to have entries for the very first time from Kolbe Special School in Portlaosie. Jim thanked his colleagues in the Education Centre particularly Yvonne Nolan and Margaret Mary Grant who had done enormous work in coordinating and organizing the vast quantity of entries. He thanked the teachers who supported their pupils, read other class books and helped with recommending merit awards. He also thanked the pupils and their family members and had a special word of thanks for the local project co-ordinators Rosemary Day and Bridie Dunne for their support of the project over the many years and finally thanked Jim O’Brien for his contribution to the evening.
92 Merit awards and 271 highly commended awards were presented over the two evenings by Jim O’Brien and each of the 1360 participating pupils received a certificate of participation.