St. Matthews' students learn about their Irish roots
A culture of people separated by ocean, time and politics connected on Friday over the internet.
Grade three students at an elementary school in St. John's came face-to-face with their Irish counterparts in an effort to learn and celebrate how closely linked they are.
Students at St. Matthew's School and grade three girls of Presentation Primary in Carrick-on-Suir, Ireland, connected in real time over Skype.
The meet and greet was part of a program called School-Twinning, sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Irish Connections Association.
The association wants to re-connect people from Newfoundland and Labrador to their ancestors in Ireland.
Sherry Gambin-Walsh, chair of the Irish Connections initiative in the province, said the children got to learn about each other during the Skype conversations.
"Then they realize they have the same last names and the same culture, and then they start asking, 'Well how come our names are the same?'" Gambin-Walsh said.
It's not just students trying to forge a stronger bond between the two places. Mayor of Waterford, Ireland, John Cummins was at St. Matthew's School to watch the students meet each other for the first time.
"I want to encourage greater links between St. John's and Waterford city in the area of tourism and economical development," Mayor Cummins said.
"We saw today here in the school, in St. Matthew's, the strong educational links being built between St. John's and Waterford city. We hope to develop them in the coming years into something even more."
Representatives from Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador hope the initiative will thicken connections and make a strong base for stronger relations in the future.