An Taoiseach Micheál Martin with Denis Leamy, Chief Executive Cork ETB, Phil O’Flynn, Principal, John Fitzgibbon, Director of Further Education and Training, Cork ETB and Pat McKelvey, Director of Schools with Cork ETB at Terence MacSwiney Community College planting a tree to mark the launch of College Awareness Week. Photo: Jim Coughlan

A tree-mendous day

A Cork school welcomed a special visitor to its campus on Monday to help plant a tree to mark College Awareness Week (CAW).

The CAW campaign promotes the benefits of a post-secondary education plan for all and aims to support students to become “college ready” and showcases local role models.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin visited Terence MacSwiney Community College to plant the tree which was one of four trees planted in each of the four provinces in Ireland across educational institutions that have embraced and supported CAW since it began in 2014. An Taoiseach Micheál Martin welcomed the launch of CAW and stressed the importance of offering support and guidance to students as they prepare for the next chapter of their education journeys. He said: “The Government is committed to investing in the future and the sustainability of higher education. Since 2014, College Awareness Week has raised awareness of Post-Leaving Certificate opportunities for all students.

“This tree being planted at Terence MacSwiney Community College today will need nurturing and care in its new environment. Trees – like schools and their students – go through life stages and respond to their environment.

“I hope this tree will flourish here at Terence MacSwiney Community College for decades to come, as will the students in their chosen lifepaths,” he added. Principal at Terence MacSwiney Community College Phil O’Flynn said the school was delighted to welcome the Taoiseach for the event and went on to explain the significance of the tree planting ceremony in Cork. She said: “The symbolism of the tree planting is very congruent in this context as trees symbolise life, wisdom, power, and prosperity.

“In recent years, the community of Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill has grown organically into a place where the local community can celebrate and embrace its own wisdom and power.

“It is, however, still a community seeking prosperity and change, and all our partners in education have been invaluable in helping us work towards helping individuals dream of better and brighter futures and in witnessing a whole community come of age.

“It has been truly wonderful to be part of that journey.”