18 Nov Integrity of Creation Conference 2019
Our Duquesne Experience September 2019
- Preparing before we left (Jamie Berrie)
The trip had been planned in the months before travel. We had carried out our environmental projects with sustainability in mind done. These were waterless urinals, composter bins, water harvester and LED lighting in our school. We made a video presentation and presented it at Rockwell College during the Developmental Education Showcase Event the previous Easter. All the Spiritan Schools were represented there on the day.
Before we left for America for the Integrity Of Creation (IOC) Conference, we knew that we would be presented in front of a few hundred people, so we had to work on speeches of just under 500 words each which we would deliver at the Conference in Pittsburgh. We would have over 1 hour on the day to present.
In the weeks before we left, the students met with Mr. Kelleher, Mr. Ronan Barry and Mr. Doolan to plan for the day. We took turns reading our speeches out aloud to improve our presentation skills.
We went over our speeches many times and we decided on what else to bring and what to wear while there. We eventually all met a Dublin Airport on Monday 22nd September for our flight all full of nerves.
- What the presentation day was like (Roy Haynes)
The presentation day was a nerve-racking day for me and my classmates. We didn’t’ know how our speeches would go – would we make any mistakes. Mr. Doolan was a great support to us for the speeches helping us to put final touches to them. We attended the IOC Conference in the Power Centre in Duquesne University. We wore blazers with our uniforms. We listened to the speaker prior to us and then after her Professor Richie McGill introduced us. Fr. Billy Cleary also gave a short introductory speech before we went on stage. We set up a table beside the podium showcasing an Irish flag, rugby ball, some of our school honey, school annual and other information about St. Michael’s College. Professor McGill introduced us to the stage and we took our seats all full of nerves. Mr Ronan Barry started our presentation followed by Mr. Doolan. Then it was Conor Crowley, Ronan McArdle, Mark Atkinson, myself (Roy Haynes) and Jamie Berrie. All of our speeches received a huge round of applause. Mr. Kelleher finished off our presentation with an insight into St. Michaels College. This was followed by a Q&A session, and I, as well as Conor Crowley, answered one of the questions. The presentation ended with a group photograph on the podium with Glory Smith and students from Catholic High School. The whole presentation was a huge honour to be part of. We left the Power Centre very proud and happy with how the presentations went.
- The Highlights of the Trip (Ronan McArdle)
Our trip to Duquesne University was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. On this trip, I got to listen and see the projects other people were doing to improve our planet. We got to listen to presentations and it was very inspiring. The exposure to what others were doing was one of the highlights for me. I also enjoyed presenting with my fellow students to hundreds of people in the audience. The response was fantastic and everybody was very supportive. I also enjoyed our more relaxing activities such as going to an ice hockey game and visiting a local mall. Fr. Billy Cleary also kindly treated us to dinner and a boat ride on the Ohio River. We really got to embrace the American culture. This was very enjoyable indeed. Overall this trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
- What we learned from the trip (Conor Crowley)
My trip to Duquesne University was very enjoyable but also very enlightening. It helped me to have more of an understanding of climate change and helped me to fully realise we have an ecological crisis on our hands. It gave me a sense of what people were doing in their various communities in America to help contribute towards a greener planet.
During the conference, I was also informed of what the American government and multinationals in America were doing to enhance global warming and not fix it. I learned that the way the world economy works needs to change by not going out of their way to maximise profit at the expense of the environment.
We are all very grateful to Ronan Barry and Spititan Education Trust for looking after us so well and making the whole trip possible.