I am a Trustee of the Integrated AlumNI. I attended Mill Strand Integrated primary School in Portrush and North Coast Integrated College in Coleraine. On leaving school I went to the University of Liverpool to study Law and Politics. I went on to study a Masters in Understanding Conflict at the University of Liverpool. I currently work as a regulatory solicitor in Leeds.
I came across the Integrated AlumNI on Facebook. I had done little to support integrated education since leaving school and I thought the Integrated AlumNI would be a brilliant way to reconnect with the integrated movement. I believe that I have benefited greatly from attending both an integrated primary and secondary school. The integrated ethos instilled in me the idea that it was not necessary to agree with everyone’s opinions or beliefs but that it was necessary to respect everyone’s opinions and beliefs. Integrated education granted me the ability to foster friendships regardless of denomination or academic ability. I realised in doing so that we were all equal and not only can we learn together, but most importantly, we can learn from each other. These skills have proved highly beneficial when making new friends at university and when entering the world of work.
Having studied conflict on an international level, I believe that educating all children together is an essential part of the reconciliation process in Northern Ireland and toward the building of a society that promotes the development of friendships, respect and understanding across the traditional divide. The Integrated AlumNI aim to grant past pupils of integrated schools the ability to share experiences and give back to integrated education. We aim to raise awareness of the success of pupils coming through integrated education, sharing our experiences in order to promote the development of integrated education in Northern Ireland.