It’s around 8am on 1st March 2018 and I am nervously anticipating the days events. Although I am excited I have several reasons to worry;
Will the young people like me?
Will my fellow alumn like me?
But mostly I’m wondering:
How on earth am I getting to Carrickfergus in this snow?!
Let’s backtrack a little and get some background to this snowy bundle of nerves.
My name is Niamh Galwey, I am 21 ¾ years old and an alumna of Brownlow Integrated College in Craigavon (the best school in the world and I’m totally unbiased obviously). I have a passion for cats, dogs, motorbikes and Integration!
Around 3 weeks prior to the March Snowmaggedon I had signed up to volunteer to be part of the Integrated AlumNI’s Back to School Roadshow as I felt like I could finally spread my words of wisdom and passion for integration to the next generation of young people.
As the first alumna of Brownlow I felt like I had a lot of responsibility to represent the school I loved so much properly and I’m certain I did them proud!
I pulled on my hiking boots and began the trek to Ulidia Integrated College, no amount of snow could stop me!
My experience at Ulidia was fantastic, on arrival my team were made to feel right at home and all the young people involved were very eager to listen to our stories, advice and also voice their opinions. I discussed my personal struggle with mental health issues through my school years and how integration helped prepare me for the ‘real world’.
We do live in an ‘integrated’ society after all!
I found my nerves were unfounded as the young people, staff and fellow Integrated AlumNI team members were so enthused and welcoming.
My fellow Integrated AlumNI were great! So enthusiastic and friendly Stuart even gave me a lift home to Portadown in the snow!
Sadly because of the weather our team were only able to visit one school, however I found it very rewarding to give the pupils of Ulidia some advice, encouragement and share my passion for integration!
On Saturday 3rd March I also attended the Integrated AlumNI AGM and found the brainstorming session so inspiring and encouraging.
I felt totally welcomed by all and I felt so proud to represent Brownlow Integrated College, the AlumNI and myself!
AGM @ The MAC
If you are thinking about getting involved, DO!
Volunteering with the Integrated AlumNI is so rewarding and inspiring, we are the future of this wee country and if we can help shape and inspire not only the young people but our whole society to succeed and move on from this sectarian and segregated way of life then is that not the best reward ever?