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Cork Education and Training Board and Cork County Council host virtual presentation to mark ‘outstanding’ winners’ performances in first-ever Méihuā Cup

 

Students from Carrigtwohill Community College and St. Brogan’s College Bandon will today be honoured for their winning performances in the first Méihuā Cup Chinese Learning Competition.

The competition, a Cork County Council initiative in conjunction with Cork Education and Training Board (Cork ETB), Nanjing Municipal Education Bureau and Jiangsu Foreign Affairs Office was first introduced in November 2019 and received 21 team applications from post-primary schools across Cork.

Of the 21 schools, 15 were selected based on video submissions to compete in the finals at Cork County Hall in February 2020, where each school read a chosen poem about the Méihuā flower in Chinese, then in English, before delivering a performance based on the poem.

Students from both Carrigtwohill Community College and St. Brogan’s College delivered outstanding performances in the final at Cork County Hall and initially secured an eight-day trip to China along with their teachers for their first prize efforts.

The following Carrigtwohill Community College students were one of two winning team groups:  Hazel Nolan, Ciara Deegan, Kasia Rycharska, with their teacher Tadhg Long, while Eoin Riordan, Natalia Kowalska, Anna Gao and teacher Carmel McSweeney were part of the winning St. Brogan’s College Team.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the winners’ trip to China was postponed, however, Cork Education and Training Board and Cork County Council wanted to mark the winners achievements and are hosting a zoom call this afternoon May 12th to present the students with prizes as recognition of their brilliant efforts.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley said ‘One of the key lessons we have all learned in the past year is how connected we are with the wider world. Nations have pulled together in support of one another, sharing knowledge and resources. The students who partook in the Méihuā Cup competition are prime examples of global citizens, who have gone above and beyond in expanding their cultural horizons. I have no doubt that this celebration will be first of many for these students, who will be excellent ambassadors for Cork County when they will be able to travel.”

Also echoing comments was Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey who said: ‘Cork County’s link with China opens incredible opportunities for sharing of knowledge, trade and culture, and the Méihuā Cup is a great example of how these ties can benefit residents in Cork. The students have demonstrated remarkable talent in understanding and communicating with China’s rich culture, and I am delighted to see their work celebrated. Feats such as theirs will be hugely beneficial for them personally and for the County of Cork in the future.”

Cork Education and Training Board’s Chief Executive Denis Leamy said Cork ETB were proud to be associated with the first of many such collaborations for schools across Cork and paid tribute to the winners from each school.

He said: “Cork Education and Training Board were delighted to partner with Cork County Council, Nanjing Municipal Education Bureau and Jiangsu Foreign Affairs Office for the very first Méihuā Cup. Promoting and encouraging cultural diversity is one of our key pillars at Cork ETB and we welcome any programme which seeks to promote and encourage this particularly through educational purposes such as the Méihuā Cup.

Regrettably we had to postpone the students’ trip to China but we wanted to mark their brilliant performances and achievements and we are very much looking forward to our next opportunity to collaborate with our friends in Nanjing Municpal Education Bureau and the Jiangsu Foreign Affairs office and continue to strengthen our cultural and educational ties.”

Chairman of Cork Education and Training Board Cllr. Patrick Gerard Murphy, also echoed Mr. Leamy’s sentiments and said that Cork ETB would be seeking to continue developing and nurturing cultural links through education in the coming years:

He said: “This brilliant competition demonstrates how we can work together to create stronger cultural links with China through the medium of education and it is something that we look forward to building on in the coming years.

“The winning students have set a brilliant standard for future students, immersing themselves fully into understanding Chinese language and culture which is wonderful to see and their victories today are a testament to both them and their teachers – they have done their schools and the people of Cork proud.

“I would like to pay tribute to their efforts today and congratulate them. I would also like to say thank you to Cork County Council for partnering with us to facilitate this  competition – this really is just the beginning and we are all excited to see this develop further in the coming years.”