As well as their Maths, English and Irish, students of Scoil Mhuire, Clondra have been brushing up on their production, sales and marketing skills recently, thanks to the Junior Entrepreneur Programme.
Pupils of fourth, fifth and sixth class put their heads together to create their range of beautiful, natural slate products, ‘Only Ogham’.
After the school roof was re-tiled, there was a lot of slate left over and school Secretary Sheila Stephenson explained that, “they decided it would be a good idea to recycle the slates”.
“This project is led by the kids so they decided how to do things,” Ms Stephenson continued.
To make the slates look more appealing, the pupils carefully hammered off the rough edges of the slate. They then tried out various types of pens and ink with which to write on the slates. Finally, varnish was applied and holes were drilled to put string through.
Every one of the pieces made are entirely original, no two are the same shape, and they bear different words in the Ogham writing, including the Irish words ‘grá’, ‘suaimhneas’, ‘fáilte’ and ‘sonas’. The pupils also received several orders for words in particular.
According to class teacher, Fiona Kiernan, the students started off with a number of projects. Split into groups, each group came up with their pitch for the programme, which was then presented to another teacher and two local business people in a Dragon’s Den style event. Though all the ideas were excellent, it was decided that all the students would work on Only Ogham.
The entrepreneur programme called on the students to not only create their product, but also carry out market research before advertising and selling it. According to Ms Kiernan, it’s given the pupils crucial skills in design, sales, marketing and PR.
“They certainly have grown in confidence when communicating with adults,” Ms Kiernan added, going on to say that “they’ve kind of come to realise the value of money a little bit more”.
It’s the first time the school have participated in the programme, but it likely won’t be the last as Ms Kiernan concluded, “It’s quite a big project so I don’t know if it’s doable every year, but I’d definitely do it again.”
Only Ogham products are still available from the school with prices ranging from €4 - €12. For more information, contact the school on 043 33 26417.