The final Slingshot Academy in a series of three was staged last Sunday and was arguably the most inspiring academy to date for the Transition Year students who had gathered in the Temple Bar location, reports Conor Nealon.
The focus of the final academy was shared between both academic and social pursuits as mentors and speakers were invited from all walks of life. My personal highlight was a speech from street artist and teacher Joe Caslin who’s critically acclaimed artwork has adorned walls throughout Ireland and Scotland.
 
Joe is the man behind the vast mural on Georges St. in honour of the upcoming Marriage Equality Referendum. 
 
An insight into the man behind the mural was touching as he spoke about the outlet which art provides for many young men who find themselves in hard times. The murals are modelled upon the young men and each one is designed to promote the message of integration and outreach. 
 
Sinead Burke was on hand to deliver the final closing address of the year and she too spoke on the topic of social exclusion and the impact which this has on the lives of many. Sinead was born with a genetic condition which has restricted her growth and stands at three foot and five inches. 
 
Despite the challenges she faces in everyday life, Sinead became a national school teacher, and a very good one by all accounts. The advice which Sinead offered was that we are all different, a fact which should not be allowed hold us back in any instance. Difference is to be celebrated as normality takes on a new meaning from one person to the next.
 
As usual, the panel discussion produced moments of wisdom, as well as comedy. Dublin comedian and DJ, Marcus O’ Laoire, was joined on stage by Deposify’s COO Tracy Keogh and the entrepreneur responsible for Travel Bay Nubi Kay. 
 
As has been a running theme in the academies, the advice of following what you’re passionate about was given by each member of the panel who had each made sacrifices in the pursuits of their dreams. 
 
The academy experience is made possible by mentors who dedicate their time to the enlightenment of others. The noble cause was taken up by undergraduates in the areas of Law, Business, Art History and Computer Science. Each of whom offered their own take on the discipline which they chose to study. 
 
Hundreds of TY students have passed through the doors at Filmbase and left with a more informed understanding of the opportunities which lie ahead of them. The academy is a credit to the dedication and passion of the organisers under the leadership of Patrick Guiney. 
 
The break from Student Slingshot business will be a short one as plans are already afoot for the installation of a full programme of academies beginning in September.