Students in Northern Ireland Bridge Differences Through Facing History

Facing History and Ourselves' collaboration with the Corrymeela Community, "Facing Our History, Shaping the Future," inspired teachers at two schools to work together across the divisions that dictate so much of Northern Irish life.

Darren Scott, a teacher at the St. Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls, partnered with Iris Bradfield and Donal O’Hagan of the Friends’ School, Lisburn to bring their Year 10 students together for an intense study of Northern Irish history. The students visited historic sites in Northern Ireland and Ireland and spent a weekend at the Corrymeela Centre in Ballycastle. Corrymeela is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting peace and reconciliation across Ireland and beyond.  

 “Working with the other school,” said one student, Shauna, from St. Dominic’s, “we learned that we have more of a shared history than we realized.”

“It also showed us that even if they have different beliefs and they’re in a different school, we’re still studying the same things,” said Curtis, a student at Friends’ School, Lisburn.  

 “Some young people have developed specific friendships out of it and meaningful friendships that will last,” O’Hagan said. “Other people have put question marks in their own mind about how they relate to people and that’s maybe one of the most profound aspects of change – that when you place that question mark within yourself, that makes it uncomfortable for you to just slip back into easy assumptions.”

The project is based on Facing History and Ourselves and Corrymeela Community’s “Facing Our Past, Shaping the Future” initiative.

Watch the final project, “1916: A Tale of Two Stories,” on YouTube.

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