Olive Lynch, Nicole Kowolik, Mya Casey, Ava Carroll, Lucy Chaplin, Zara Hill, Laoise Reddin and AJ Gregorio with copies of Singing in the Wire which are available to purchase from the school
STUDENTS AND STAFF at St Caimin’s Community School in Shannon have teamed up to release a new book of poetry, art and short stories.
‘Singing in the Wire’ was officially launched in the Shannon secondary school on Wednesday afternoon in what was formerly ‘Room 127’, the classrooms of Alan Cunningham and Ger Keane but is now ‘The Hub’, the school’s dedicated autism unit.
It is the third time St Caimins has published a book of this nature following previous editions in the 1990s and 2003. The mix of literature and art at the forefront of the publication has been credited as the brainchild of English teacher Richard Grimes and art teacher Ann Whitty, this year Zara Hill, a member of staff in the English Department also added her expertise to the project which was compiled by 28 artists and 23 writers.
Shannon rapper, God Knows Jonas contributed to the 2003 publication which was titled ‘Penstrokes’. Speaking at the launch, Ms Hill encouraged students to keep in tune with their love of writing, “It was a really special project to be involved with. You never know if you keep working hard and stay committed, you never know what will happen. We do recognise and appreciate all the work you do,” the Lissycasey woman told students.
Readings of poetry and prose were given by the students. Rebecca Healy wrote of school and the lifelong friendships it creates, Saoirse Lagan dedicated a poem to her grand-father Joe. The Magic Box was a common theme and it was covered by Leisha Reddin and Abigail Darcy.
Animals were another form of inspiration for the young writers, Ava Carroll shared her love of dogs, Lucy Chaplin penned a short story on ‘The Good Fox’ while Caoife Gunn brought a chase between a cat and mouse to life.
With Shannon Airport announcing a new route to Paris, Lauren Keane’s poem ‘Paris Night’ can be realised while Eoghan O’Leary wrote of ‘The Night’. Olive Lynch was another to read at the launch, giving a version of ‘No Matter What’.
Sporting exploits were also to the fore with Ciaran Ryan’s short story ‘A Rising Star’ lifting spirits amid a positive time for Clare hurling while ‘My soccer ball’ by Darragh Fitzpatrick recounted the breaking of a window in what attendees were assured was not a true story.
Symbols for autism and to represent LGBT were included, artists Arthurs Pupols and Mya Casey advised. “We spent a lot of time working on this and we’re very proud of what we made,” they commented of the artwork.
According to Ms Whitty, love, memories and friendship came alive through the art and writing. “The art is a representation of the minds and hearts of the people who do art, they did not have a specific theme to go on, the artwork was generated from their own intellect, lives and surrounding.. We’re delighted, the work of the writers is an inspiration, it is wonderful to look at the book and see how it rhymes with the artwork”.
Addressing the students, staff and parents, principal of the school, Alan Cunningham said he was amazed with the quality of the work. He dropped a bombshell by announcing the imminent retirement of Mr Grimes leading to plenty of tears in the audience, “Australia is calling him back,” he commented while paying tribute to his colleague.
Ahead of his retirement, Mr Grimes expressed his gratitude to the students for their contribution to the publication. They like many of the students that have gone before will have taken plenty of inspiration from the Australian native who was one of the most active promoters of women’s soccer in Clare for a generation.