Wellbeing Week 2023

In the fast-paced world of academia, where exams, assignments, and extracurricular activities often take centre stage, the significance of student wellbeing can sometimes be overlooked. Recognising the integral role that mental and physical health plays in academic success, Presentation Tralee dedicated a week in October to prioritise and commit to the long-term health and success of our students.

The dedicated Wellbeing Week, aimed at providing Presentation students with the knowledge, skills and tools to manage and improve their own mental health and wellbeing, was officially opened by Holistic Wellbeing and Lifestyle coach Ms. Mairéad Moriarty before engaging the sixth year students in an invigorating workshop. The 2-hour workshop was entitled ‘Stop Stressing & Start Thriving – allow your inner wisdom to create your best life”. Students were taught how to calm their minds and find focus in order to create the future of their dreams. The fifth- year students followed suit with a 2-hour workshop in the afternoon on ‘The Art of Relationships: Only the Real me can have Real Relationships’,

The rest of the week continued with the same high energy, positivity and enthusiasm from staff and students alike. Throughout the week, Ms. O’Donoghue’s transition year students stepped up to peer mentoring the first years in CPR training for the Irish Heart Foundations initiative to educate all secondary school students in this lifesaving technique. Transition years were themselves instructed in school earlier in the year in order to give them the necessary knowledge and competencies to participate in this initiative.

Astrid Longhurst, Transformational Body Confidence Expert delivered an energetic, engaging and inspirational workshop to 5th years called “Love your body, Love your life”. Combining motivation and upbeat advice, Astrid gave a captivating account of her own struggles with her body image. Ms. Dennehy, Wellbeing Co-ordinator in Presentation said “Astrids message about accepting oneself with kindness and compassion needs to be heard by every young person again and again. Her contagious positive energy was tangible in the assembly”.

John Drummey from the Kerry Mental Health Association gave an informative talk to the first-year students on the 5 ways to Wellbeing as well as an overview as to woek of the Kerry Mental Health Association. First years were spoilt for fun straight after with a lively Wellbeing Quiz expertly facilitated by Ms. Ni Bheaglaoi and Ms. Kennedy.

Second years weren’t forgotten about with Ms. Hartnett engaging them all in Positive Affirmation Workshops to open up their minds to the power that lies in positive thinking.

Tammy Darcy, Founder and CEO of The Shona Project facilitated 2 incredible workshops throughout the week for 2nd and 3rd years students on Kindness and Goal setting and Confidence and Mindset. Both were aimed at nurturing the self-esteem of the students while educating, empowering and inspiring them to embrace their abilities.

Third Year Students also attended a captivating talk by guest speaker Finbar Walsh, the father of Donal Walsh and a representative of the #LiveLife Foundation. The talk was about Donal’s life and struggles when he was diagnosed with Cancer as a teenager. Ms. Dennehy said that “This talk was indeed extremely moving and inspiring for the third-year students and promoted Donal’s message to live your life to the full and when you are struggling in life to reach out and tell a friend, find someone you can open up to, there is always help”.

Fifth years also attended a Schools Cancer Awareness Programme (SCAP) workshop facilitated by Col Conway, registered nurse with a master’s degree in Nurse Education from the Marie Keating Foundation. Col added “SCAP is designed to equip students with all the information they might need to understand cancer better and to inform them of the importance of good lifestyle choices in helping to reduce their risk of cancer”. Information was delivered to students in an interactive style workshop, aimed to make cancer less frightening. Students indeed proved enlightened and engaged by this key learning activity.

A series of ‘One Good School’ workshops facilitated by Jigsaw ensured the week continued to be jam packed! Presentation Tralee are part of Jigsaw’s One Good School initiative, which strives to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people, and those around them by developing a shared response for mental health across the whole school community. Ms. Dennehy, OGS lead teacher added that “the initiative helps us as a school to provide a safe and supportive environment for building life skills, resilience and a strong sense of connectedness in Presentation Tralee”. Caoimhe Keoghan, Jigsaw Tralee further added that “we cannot underestimate the vital role that schools play in supporting youth mental health and the long-term impact that positive school experiences can have on the lives of young people”. As part of the schools commitment to the OGS initative, first to third year students all enjoyed an online workshop ‘Let’s Talk, Sure Why not’ whilst 6th year students all participated in a One Good School workshop ‘Managing exam stress’, right in time to minimise any stress in the lead up to the exams. Transition Year Students further reaped the benefit of a 2-hour workshop titled ‘My Mental Health – What Helps’ with Ms. Keoghan from Jigsaw Tralee.

The highlight of the week for many was an outstanding concert by local band ‘Simple Things’, appropriately named for Wellbeing Week as students are encouraged to appreciate the simple things in their lives. Simple Things are a three piece, featuring vocalist Dylan, bass guitarist and backing vocalist Shane and instrumentalist Kealan. This modern band rocked the school gym with their fresh new flavour to pop music, with a traditional Irish background influence. Presentation Tralee were delighted to welcome our special guests from sixth class Presentation Primary school to enjoy the concert with us.

The week was not without some extremely worthwhile fundraisers for Jigsaw, Kerry Mental Health Association, the Marie Keating Foundation and The Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation. Students donned their uniforms on Friday for a Halloween Dress Up Day and brightened up the corridors with their smiles and costumes in order to raise much need funds for these organisations. With the help of Ms. Prendeville and the Student Representative Council (SRC) over 800 euro was raised for these essential organisations and services. Ms. Dennehys second year Home Economics class furthermore displayed their impressive baking and sales skills by organising and hosting a monster bake sale at breaktime on Friday to add to the fundraising efforts to top off a cracker of a week.

Ms. Mulcahy, Career and Guidance Counsellor in Presentation added “we all know what we have to do to stay physically healthy, but what about our mental wellbeing? Though we are far more open today in talking about our emotional difficulties, psychological health and wellbeing are things that many of us take for granted or worse yet, assume are beyond our conscious control. Our Wellbeing Week is something we can all work towards. That is the message that rang loud and clear in the Presentation Tralee corridors this week”.

Thanks to the goodwill and generosity of spirit of all the staff and students, guest speakers and facilitators, Presentation Tralee left no doubt that this is a school community who mean business when it comes to promoting, supporting and improving mental health and wellbeing for their students, not just this week but each and every day! By dedicating time specifically to wellbeing, our school acknowledges that success is not solely measured by academic achievements but also by the overall wellness of its students.

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