The Germans are coming!
The week of the 26th – 30th September has finally come to pass and Balbriggan Community College is awash with colour as it welcomes with aplomb our European cousins on their annual Exchange visit. The brain child of the Balbriggan Town Council, the European Exchange is regarded as an important whole school/departmental event in the school calendar. It’s an example of the collegial supportive family that is the foundation of Balbriggan Community College. For example, the Woodwork department crafted a welcome signpost. Transition year students painted it in their Art class. And that’s just the start of it. The word “Freundschaft” (“Friendship”) was chosen for the sign as it forms the basis of the connection between Balbriggan and St. Wendel and indeed the school community itself.
Host students from 2nd – 6th year are welcome to participate in the Exchange Programme, the aim of which is to give students, their families and staff an opportunity to enjoy an extended cultural learning opportunity in a fun, safe, good value and welcoming atmosphere. The college is partnered with two neighbouring schools in St. Wendel, Saarland – Cusanus Gymnasium and Wendalinum Gymnasium. The German word “Gymnasium” means “second level school”.
As we speak 13 students from St. Wendel, Germany are being hosted by 13 Balbriggan/Stamullen/Naul families in their homes for the week. Teachers Susanne Raeuber and Patrick Welsch are enjoying the hospitality of the Bracken court Hotel. A busy week is planned. The group will compare and contrast the school systems on Tuesday and Thursday morning as well as exploring the locality, eg the harbour and Bremore Castle. The Saarland is landlocked so being by the sea and walking the beach is a treat. A day trip to Dublin is planned on Wednesday where the group will visit Trinity College, the Book of Kells and the Long Room, the National Art Gallery, Natural History Museum as well as the Viking Splash Tour and a roam free, shop and see time. On Thursday afternoon the group will take the No. 33 bus to the Ladies Stairs and enjoy a tour of Ardgillan Castle before returning to the John Bailey Hall to meet up with the host families and staff where they will be served a delicious home cooked meal provided by Kevin Craven of Glanmore Foods. Lively music will be provided by much loved group The Tulips and a superkuhl disco with former student DJ Jamie Carroll will tire the babies out before bedtime. The final night celebration is a perfect opportunity to say thank you to our wonderful host families.
The school community is delighted to welcome friends from far and wide. Such is the good humoured warmth and friendship extended to our visitors by our families and the school community that the Germans compete to travel!
Students involved in the Exchange this year are:-
* Daniel Forde Anna Sesterhenn Cusanus
* Gideon Apara Franz Krieger Cusanus
* Nicholas Zacchaeus Philipp Goeddel Wendalinum
* Brian Tweene Jonas Wengel Cusanus
* Femmy Olanyi Franziska Hubertus Wendalinum
* Olayinka Adelodun Luca Barth Cusanus
* Noah Geraghty Bjoern Franke Wendalinum
* Cormac Flynn Paul Erlenkoetter Wendalinum
* Jack Whelan Maurice Plein Wendalinum
* John Burnett Noomi Hoer Cusanus
* David Coulahan Emmanuel Fleisch Cusanus
* Andris Zihelmanis Carina Mast Cusanus
* Rebecca Harold Alina Piro Wendalinum
The Balbriggan students look forward to our return visit in March 2017 when as well as attending school students will visit Saarbruecken and enjoy a day trip to France.
Well done to all involved – the student body, staff including teaching, office, caretaking, catering, SNAs, students, their families, the local business community and Fingal County Council, on yet another inclusive and enriching event. Ye’re playing a blinder.