Meitheal What is Meitheal?The Meitheal Programme is a leadership programme for senior secondary school students.It Is part of the Meitheal Programme run by the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. The students are trained to become mentors for incoming students at junior level. It is a programme based on pro-respect between students and enables students to take responsibility for the happiness of others and for the safety and well-being of all who share a school environment. How do you become a Meitheal leader? The programme is advertised among senior students who are invited to become Meitheal Leaders in their school. All applicants are interviewed and a selection is then made. The students who are chosen to become Meitheal Leaders undergo a training programme in the summer prior to their return to school the following September. This training programme covers the areas of personal development, identity, self-esteem, communication, listening, assertiveness, group dynamics, group management and many other skills that are necessary for the students to develop if the programme is to be successful. After their training, the students return to their schools as 6th years, and each is given responsibility for a number of incoming first years. Then the task is to ensure the smooth transition of these young people into the school. For 1st years, our Meitheal programme offers guidance in their first weeks in St. Mary’s. Each class group is assigned a contact Meitheal leader(s), who are there as support for any difficulties they may encounter throughout the year. The leaders are there to help the students, whether it be as emotional support or regarding the confusing logistics of navigating secondary school- lockers, timetables and finding the right classrooms can be daunting tasks for any first year! The Meitheal team are, for the first years, a group of familiar faces that can make their new school seem more welcoming and less frightening The hope for the remainder of their first year is that if any student should experience difficulties or anxieties of any kind, they can turn to their Meitheal Leaders and find in them understanding, respect, advice, and assistance. For the senior students chosen to be Meitheal leaders, the Meitheal programme offers a taste of responsibility. It educates and empowers them to look at themselves and make worthwhile contributions to the school and community. It gives sixth years an opportunity to be leaders in the school, and the training they undergo as part of the Meitheal programme imparts to them valuable life skills that are transferrable as they enter the working world. For all students, both leaders and first years, Meitheal is an exciting opportunity that fosters a sense of team spirit in the school. The leaders organise bonding activities, ice-breaker games, and fun day trips for the first years, bringing the group closer together and encouraging long-lasting friendships. Teachers in school volunteer to act as overseers of the programme. They organise the day-to-day running of the programme and provide any in-school assistance or backup that is needed. Mrs M McDonnell has been the organiser of this Programme since it began in St. Mary’s and currently, Ms F Bradley helps to facilitate this Leadership programme.