Twenty years ago a group of parents had the foresight to try and overcome some of the problems faced in daily life within Northern Ireland when they decided to take the plunge and set up an integrated school in Armagh. Little did they know then how much they would “inspire the next generation” to grow in tolerance and respect. In so far as the London Olympic Games aroused a passion for sports and athletics in young people so too did those first parents at Saints and Scholars Integrated Primary School. They had a vision which has influenced pupils, staff, parents and Governors for the last two decades.
“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort,” said Jesse Owens Olympic gold medalist.
Twenty years ago, those inspirational parents, had a dream for a school which like the London Olympic Games, would be a celebration of friendship, unity and peace where each pupil was able to work and play fairly in an atmosphere of mutual respect regardless of race, gender, colour or creed. Like Jesse Owens, they worked tirelessly to make their dream a reality. Michael Pheleps, like those dedicated parents believed that , “Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it, it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.”
Twenty years later we can all take inspiration from Sebastian Coe and say that in our twentieth year we have never been so proud to be involved with Saints and Scholars Integrated Primary School and Nursery Unit and part of the Integrated Education Movement. Like the Olympic Games, Integrated Education, brings together the people of Northern Ireland in harmony, friendship and peace to celebrate what is best about mankind.