Cavan student wins Irish Heart Foundation award

By June Shannon Policy News   |   21st Mar 2019

Ellie Flanagan honoured for her passion for physical activity

Transition year student Ellie Flanagan from Bailieborough Community School in Cavan, received the inaugural Irish Heart Foundation Award at the 2019 PE XPO which took place in Dublin recently.

The 2019 PE XPO took place in Dublin City University on March 9th when students showcased their knowledge and understanding of the theory and science behind physical education.

Now in its fourth year, the 2019 PE XPO received more than 250 entries from primary and post primary students around the country.

PE XPO was originally founded in 2015 by PE teachers at Trinity Comprehensive School in Ballymun in Dublin, Paddy O’Reilly and Gerry McDonnell, and PE teacher Chris Steele. The aim of the event is to promote PE as a subject in Ireland and to encourage students to research PE-related topics.

“Ellie’s tremendous dedication and determination to be physical active seeing barriers as opportunities was remarkable.,"

Laura Hickey, Children and Young People Programme Manager , The Irish Heart Foundation

Like the Young Scientist Exhibition which takes place in the RDS in January every year, PE XPO is a competition that examines the science behind sport where students are invited to enter their project for exhibition on the day.

The Irish Heart Foundation sponsored award was won by Ellie Flanagan for her project entitled ‘This is me – a story behind a smile’ which describes Ellie’s passion for physical activity and how it positively affects her wellbeing.

This is the first year of the Irish Heart Foundation award which recognises a project that contributes to sport or PE promoting heart health and the positive promotion of physical activity.

In her project Ellie researched many ways to be physically active which included swimming, kayaking, ballet, walking and cycling. Most recently she achieved Grade 2 in ballet and took part in a duathlon.

Ellie faces an uphill challenge to be active as she lives with cerebral palsy and has poor mobility. Her ultimate goal is to walk unaided to her debs and after completing her project she is now able to sit on a stool unaided and take part in kayaking, swimming, ballet and cycling.

“Ellie is a most inspiring young lady and an incredible role model for all who come to learn at Bailieborough Community School,"

Martha Lievens, Principal, Bailieborough Community College, Cavan

Laura Hickey, Children and Young People Programme Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation, said, “We were looking for a project that stood out across the categories, that added to the evidence or that could be built upon to improve physical literacy in children and young people.

“Ellie’s tremendous dedication and determination to be physical active seeing barriers as opportunities was remarkable. Her can do attitude is contagious, and she has an exceptional ability to motivate others to participate in physical activity which promotes good heart health. She has had a greater impact beyond her own personal achievements and has also motivated her community to be active as well.

“We were delighted to award her the first Irish Heart Foundation award at the PE XPO,” she added.

Asked why she decided the enter the PE XPO Ellie said,” to tell people my story and how physical exercise has helped me throughout the years and is now helping me to achieve my goals.”

“I feel good after I do physical activity and I am happier and more motivated because of it,” she added.

The principal of Ellie’s school Bailieborough Community College in Cavan, Martha Lievens said, “Ellie is a most inspiring young lady and an incredible role model for all who come to learn at Bailieborough Community School. Her perseverance and resilience in staying well through physical activity really shone through as we studied her project.”

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