On Friday 9th March, Principal Patricia Bourden welcomed Dr Mary Robinson to her Alma Mater to deliver this year’s Barat Lecture to the entire student body of Mount Anville Secondary School.
The Barat Lecture is a recently-established tradition whereby students at the upper end of the Secondary School have the opportunity to assume a leadership role in the organisation and preparation of a major school event.
Invited guests included Sr. Aideen Kinlen, Provincial, and members of the Society of the Sacred Heart; Members of the Mount Anville Sacred Heart Education Trust Board, Members of the Boards of Management for the Senior, Junior Montessori and Primary Schools, Principals of feeder primary schools, Senior School Parents’ Council and Past Pupils.
The previous day, by way of marking International Women’s Day, every class in the school watched Dr Robinson’s recent Utube interview in UCC and reflected on the issues raised in relation to the impact of climate change particularly on the lives of women.
Mrs Bourden said that the School was honoured that, despite her busy schedule, Dr Robinson accepted the invitation to deliver the lecture. She said that the School remains committed to continuing the tradition of service to others and the greater good which her life’s work represents so powerfully.
In her speech, Dr Robinson, spoke warmly and movingly about the main points of her career as Lawyer, Senator, President of Ireland (Her greatest honour she said), UN Commissioner for Human Rights, and lately, her work for climate justice. Dr Robinson also participated in a Questions and Answers session with the students. She spoke about her time spent as a boarder in Mount Anville, recalling reading in the School Library about Eleanor Roosevelt, someone who had inspired her in her formative years. The 6th Year Prefects were wonderful hosts at this very special occasion, truly a day to remember for Mount Anville.
The invitation to Mary Robinson was the brainchild of one student and the Prefect team managed the welcome at Mount Anville House and introductions to groups of students such as Model United Nations delegates, Lourdes Volunteers, Pamoja leaders, SVP President/Vice President, Senior Maths Winners, Young Scientists and Debating Captains. While this was happening in the school building, the assembling school and guests were entertained in the Sports Hall by the First Year Choir (2nd place in the recent Wesley Festival), Isabelle Cordone (violin) and Stephanie Mc Carthy (singer/guitarist). Throughout, the spirit of student leadership and confidence was apparent as Lisa McCarthy introduced her guest, Rebecca Murphy skilfully managed the Q&A session and Sarah Van Der Laan summed up.