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Ukrainians raise Carnacon’s Green Flag


RAISING THE FLAG Ukrainian refugees pictured with Burriscarra NS Principal James Rafter at the flag raising ceremony for the school’s sixth Green Flag, from left: Paulina Kovych (4), Olexandra Kovych, Natalia Butko, Olena Shyianovska, Ania Shyianovksa (11) and at front, Veronika Butko (6), holding the rope that raised the Green Flag. Pic: Oisin McGovern

Oisín McGovern

THREE children who fled the horrors of the war in Ukraine were given the honour of raising Burriscarra National School’s sixth green flag in Carnacon last week.
Ania Shyianovska (11), Veronika Butko (6) and Paulina Kovych (4), who enrolled in the rural school shortly after arriving in Mayo, stood with their parents as the flag was proudly hoisted last Thursday morning.
Originally from Kharkiv, Sumy and Bucha, the girls came to the school after Burriscarra NS offered school places to Ukrainian children through local charity Candle of Grace.
Burriscarra National School’s enrolment now stands at 18 since Ania, Veronika and Paulinajoined the school community.
“All the teachers are very kind and very positive for every child,” Kharkiv native Natalia Butko told The Mayo News through interpreter Olena Shyianovska, who works with Ukrainian children in Carnacon and Louisburgh.
“I like all the children, all the teachers and I feel very happy here,” said Natlya’s six-year-old daughter Veronika.
“The Irish people are very nice, and the children are kind to me. I have a lot of friends here,” said Olena’s daughter Ania.
‘Global Citizenship: Litter and Waste’ was the theme of the school’s latest Green Flag, which they were first awarded in 2007.
“It has taken over two years to achieve this flag, and we are very proud to be raising this flag today,” said Buriscarra NS Green Schools Committee member Tadgh FarrelMcNamara.

‘Extremely proud’
Burriscarra NS Principal James Rafter described it as ‘a considerable achievement andsomething we are all extremely proud of’ The school was awarded their previous Green Flags for their work on litter and waste, reducing the cost of energy, biodiversity, reducing water usage and active travel.
Mr Rafter thanked all the current and past students that had served on Green Schools committees over the years. He also thanked all the school staff, including his fellow teacher Ms Hughes, who could not attend the ceremony.
“The theme of ‘Global Citizenship: Litter and Waste’ is one that is extremely important as we live in an increasingly globalised society,” Mr Rafter said.
“We understand that our actions, and the actions of everyone in the world all have consequences for our climate and environment.
“Undoubtedly, over the last couple of years, working towards our Green Flag was made verydifficult due to our school closures, but the children and Ms Hughes are to be commended in maintaining their focus and dedication to the project throughout the process.
“The Green Schools Awards, and in particular the current theme, are very important to all of us here in Burriscarra National School, as they are closely associated with the values we endeavour to promote on a regular basis; values of respect, inclusivity and caring for each other are all central to life in Burriscarra National School.”

For more on Burriscarra Nationals School’s welcoming of the Ukrainian refugees, see the Living section in next week’s edition of The Mayo News.