Striving for Holistic Health for All by ‘Strength in Unity’
- Prize Category: Supporting Healthy Lives
- Country: Ireland
- Languages: Streamed live in English with automated captions in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Filipino, Malay, Serbian and Hindi.
- Learn more about the Top Ten Shortlisted Schools in the Supporting Healthy Lives category on the World’s Best School Prizes website.
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About the school
Gort Community School is a co-educational school found in the rural town of Gort, County Galway in the West of Ireland with a population of 1,000 students, teachers, and support staff. As a health-supporting school, Gort CS has been recognised on the national arena as ‘excellent’ in different areas; from human rights to environmental action; project management to entrepreneurship, creative thinking to artistic musical endeavours; digital learning to student leadership, holistic health, sport & wellbeing.
On entering Gort Community School, a stained-glass window crafted by students, celebrating diversity and inclusion welcomes visitors. Students thrive as they are recognized and supported as key stakeholders and agents of change.
For the past 27 years, Gort CS has harnessed close links with local business and community services, CSO’s and NGO’s, who value the outsider, the ‘others’, for the wisdom they may imbue. Believing in strength in community, they have sought connections as far away as North Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal, Finland, and the Silicon Valley. With a game-changing, inclusive and creative approach to health as a human right, Gort Community School has been more recently recognised with several titles and awards.
Gort Community School nurtures the ‘Meitheal’ approach (neighbours helping neighbours) akin to Ubuntu’. Emerging student leaders guide younger peers in the transition to experience the ethos and values of the school from the first day by ‘thinking local, acting global’. In this way, the expectation of ‘leadership, belonging and belief’ is passed on from one year to the next.
Initiatives that complement the academic classroom practices, programmes, and pedagogy are the ‘fertile ground’ on which a ‘healthier lived school experience’ shoots out strong roots. With a sense of fun, a community element, and a recognition that fitness is not just for academics or elite athletes, the focus is simple; “Minding the body, Minds the mind”. After all, the school crest “Ní neart go cur le cheile,” fosters the belief that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”.
Telling the story of how powerful change can happen, when ethical ideas, environmental approaches and inclusion actions become the guidelines for supporting healthy lives, locally and globally
Speaker 1: Aoife Lynskey
Aoife is married to Alan, and had 3 children, Caoifa (9), Iarla (7) and Gearoid (2). Galway born, Physical Education (PE) and Geography Teacher has worked for 15 years in Gort Community School. She won a scholarship to Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania in US, qualifying in 2007 from the University of Limerick. Aoife was on the Galway Senior All Ireland Camogie team in 1996. She has run 5 marathons for different Irish Charities including London, and New York. Best recent adventure so far was to Everest Base Camp. Aoife was successful as part of the team, to ensure Gort CS became Ireland’s Fittest School for 2 years in a row. Aoife lives and breathes ‘sport, health and community’ and is passionate about getting everyone involved. ‘Go big or Go home’ and ‘Let’s not leave anyone behind!’ is the driving force. Through the T4 platform, Aoife worked closely with fellow teachers, Marianne Gardener, and Aisling Collins, in linking ethical ideas, environmental approaches and inclusive actions, using their own human rights-based approach to ‘Circular Reflection’. By ‘Thinking Global and Acting Local’, Gort CS has a vision of ‘supporting Healthy Lives’ whether inside and outside the school gates.
Speaker 2: Erin C.
Erin is a 5th year Student at Gort Community School.
Speaker 3: Dillon
Dillon is a 3rd year Student at Gort Community School.
Speaker 4: Ruaraí
Ruaraí is a 2nd year Student at Gort Community School.