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Achill school claim national prize


WINNERS ALRIGHT Winners of Trócaire’s annual Game Changers competition, Achill Sound National School, show their game ‘Roll and Catch’ at event at the Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin. Front, from left: Tyler Stynes, Jamie Ryan, Niamh Foley and Isabella Ryan. Back, from left: Cara O'Malley, Angel Dempsey, Niamh McNamara and Sky Dempsey.  Staff, back, from left: Maura Joyce (Principal), Pauline Gallagher, Cait McNulty and Eileen Mullarkey. Unavoidably absent were Austin and Anstine Kurian. Pic: Peter Houlihan

Anton McNulty

A BOARD game created by pupils of Achill Sound National School based on protecting the local environment won a national competition last week.
The pupils from Achill Sound NS were the top winners at the 2022 Trócaire Game Changers competition which is a national competition for school children who come up with innovative ways of tackling climate change through games.
Pupils from the ten-pupil national school on Achill Island won first prize with their innovative, interactive boardgame ‘Roll and Catch’ which aims to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 
Pupil Cara O’Malley (12) said: “We have lots of beaches where we live so we wanted to do something to protect them. For all we know by 2029 there will be no icecaps left. We had a great laugh making the game and learned a lot too.”
Their teacher, Pauline Gallagher said: “We have a school of creative children, and I knew Trócaire’s game changers competition would suit them. It has been hugely beneficial to the students and the programme covers a lot of the curriculum from art, science and geography.”
Trócaire judges said they were blown away by the quality and creativity of the games. The final selection of prize winners on the day were chosen by the finalists themselves and announced at the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin.
Trócaire Game Changers is an annual competition run by Trocaire’s Development Education team, who help students learn about the issues facing people in developing countries through workshops in schools through the country.

The programme invited students to create a development education game that focuses on one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students from across Ireland played and judged the games of fellow finalists at the event, exploring issues such as gender equality and climate change.
Many of the games that have been submitted in previous years have explored the SDGs through the lens of climate action, peace and justice, good health and wellbeing and responsible consumption.
Now in its fourth year, 212 games were entered into the competition with 28 shortlisted from each of the three categories – Primary, Post-Primary, or Youth - for the final showcase. The games are a mix of board games, digital games and some traditional games like Twister and ring toss. 
Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra said: “The Game Changers programme provides an excellent opportunity for students to explore the SDGs, get creative, and raise awareness of global justice issues as well as providing students with an opportunity to learn from one another.  
“Never underestimate the power that young people have. The Climate School Strikes in Ireland is a great example of how young people can achieve change. Do you think the Climate Bill (Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021) would have happened without the Climate Strikes and young people raising their voices?”