Schoolchildren take part in Dragons’ Den-style debate

Schoolchildren take part in Dragons’ Den-style debate

24 November 2021

STUDENTS from six local schools took part in a recent Dragons’ Den-style event in Downpatrick.

Down High School hosted the event organised by Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s Women’s Working Group to celebrate Local Democracy Week.

Students from Down High were joined by others from St Colman’s High and Sixth Form College in Ballynahinch, St Joseph’s Crossmaglen, Kilkeel’s St Louis, St Mark’s, Warrenpoint and St Mary’s Newry to debate a motion on “protecting the environment, local communities take action”.

The Down High team was crowned the winner when students put forward their ideas on organising an eco-fun day and tree planting event for the community to promote and demonstrate the local authority’s commitment to climate change.

The winning debating panel team included sixth form students Cherith Woods, Anna Shiel, Sara McGeown-Hamilton and Ashia Erskine.

They will be invited to attend the local authority’s next monthly meeting at the Downshire Civic Centre in Downpatrick on December 6 at 6pm to present their winning motion to councillors and agree a way forward to develop their ideas.

Members of the Dragons’ Den judging panel included council chairwoman Cathy Mason, a number of local councillors and the local authority’s Director of Corporate Services, Dorinnia Carville.

The judges said the motion was very informative and complimented the many initiatives that the local authority is currently involved with.

Cllr Mason thanked the students and teachers from each of the six schools for participating in Local Democracy Week event.

“One of the council’s strategic objectives is to empower and improve the capacity of our communities,” she explained.

“From listening to the debates, I have no doubt that each of the students will continue to make an invaluable and positive contribution to our local district, as well as acting as great ambassadors for Newry, Mourne and Down in the future.”

Cllr Mason wished all the students well in their studies and has no doubt that they have a bright future ahead.

She also encourage any of the students who may be interested, to consider becoming a councillor as it is a great way to positively contribute to their community.