Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Members of Laois Comhairle na nÓg (Youth Council) and Laois Youth Work Ireland Ava Prendergast from Scoil Chríost Rí and Portlaoise and Muireann Byrne from Saint Fergal’s College Rathdowney who attended the TEDx conference in Dún Laoghaire recently.

By Joe Barrett

THREE students from Laois, two from Laois Comhairle na nÓg (Youth Council) and Laois Youth Work Ireland, attended and spoke at the recently held day long TEDxYouth conference in the Lexicon Theatre in Dún Laoghaire.

TEDxYouth is aimed at secondary school students who hold live debates, hands-on activities and conversations. Budding scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, artists, performers share short talks, serving both as a source of knowledge and inspiration for youth around the globe.

Discussions centre on global, national, regional and local issues affecting young people and their solutions to some of the problems they face.

Ava Prendergast from Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise, Muireann Byrne from Saint Fergal’s College Rathdowney and Saul Whelan from Cóláiste Íosagáin attended the event.

The students were selected to attend the event following a zoom call with the TEDXDL group in May. They then had to record a short video on what, if they were selected, would speak about in a TEDx talk.

Ava Prendergast works part time in a takeaway restaurant and a stage school. She coaches her local soccer academy. She is a member of Laois Comhairle na nÓg, which is a child and youth council which gives young people the opportunity to be involved with local services and policies and with Laois Youth Work Ireland.

During the conference she discussed how sometimes in our fast paced society we cannot help but feel a false sense of exclusion by our community.

Ava spoke about finding your tribe, your place of belonging and how as a human being that is the most important thing we need.

Muireann Byrne is also a member of Laois Comhairle na nÓg and Laois Youth Work Ireland. She plays camogie with the Clough Ballacolla Club and ladies football with Shanahoe Football Club. She also plays camogie and football with her school. She is an active member of the student council and very interested in art and reading.

Muireann spoke about how powerful words and language are and how people need to place emphasis on our gift of language .

Saul Whelan attends Cóláiste Íosagáin and is a member of Offaly Comhairle na nÓg. He has talked at Co-Op 26 and climate summits. He plays soccer with Arlington AFC.

He has been getting help for his anxiety and depression for two years. But, his mental health always seems to creep up on him. At the conference he discussed his struggle with mental health and how to be more of an asset than a liability to those struggling with their mental health.

Ava Prendergast said that it was “a great experience for any young person who is offered the chance to do a Ted talk , it’s amazing . From the first day to the last everyone has been so supportive. Everything’s so new and exciting between the preparation and the interviews. It’s just unbelievable and I’ll never forget it.”

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