St Mary’s ‘No BODY Is Perfect’ launch day

YSI Students Laura Kilmartin, Maeve Conway, Aisling O'Keeffe, Eve Donnelly, Mia O'Grady, with Niamh Barry, guest speaker, Yvonne Bane, Principal, and Donna Lyons, teacher, at the launch of 'No BODY is Perfect.'

YSI Students Laura Kilmartin, Maeve Conway, Aisling O’Keeffe, Eve Donnelly, Mia O’Grady, with Niamh Barry, guest speaker, Yvonne Bane, Principal, and Donna Lyons, teacher, at the launch of ‘No BODY is Perfect.’

On Tuesday, 1st December last, the Young Social Innovator students at St Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow held a tremendous launch day to promote their No-BODY Is Perfect campaign. The event kicked off with YSI student Eve Donnelly confidently introducing the project topic and providing an outline of what was in store for the audience. After that, YSI students Doireann Murphy, Lucy Linehan, Orla O’Regan and Katie Sheehan presented a detailed analysis of eating disorder topics, ranging from the new-found 21st century problems of so-called ‘Pro-Ana’ websites which are targeting young vulnerable female teenagers to the latest phenomenon of muscle dysmorphia which particularly affects young men these days.  Next up, student Laura Wilson welcomed Ms Niamh Barry, a naturopathic nutritionist whose practice is located at the MPHC. Ms Barry spoke to the students about the notion of ‘disordered eating’ as opposed to ‘eating dis-orders’ while also providing them with a real-life example of a teenager (whose confidentiality was protected) who overcame her long battle to beat her eating disorder after many years of suffering from the illness. Ms Barry was very down-to-earth in her approach to engaging with the students and they were highly complimentary of her presentation. Also, students Clodagh Moroney Farrissey and Orla O’Regan eloquently recited a poem ‘A girl called Ana,’ surrounded by their YSI peers holding up tea lights. This was a very sombre poem; however, it really encouraged the audience to reflect on the struggle that sufferers of eating disorders are faced with on a daily basis. The tea lights were used as a symbol of light and hope for sufferers who try so hard to over-come eating disorders. To keep everyone engaged in the presentation, students Katie Attridge and Aisling O’Callaghan very successfully played a game called ‘Never Ever’ with the audience. Students Aisling Healy and Emily Brosnan cleverly selected appropriate video clips  for their audience to watch which were very powerful in getting the message of muscle dysmorphia and anorexia across to those who watched them. Next, Leah Cunningham explained the significance of the 50-balloon release which the students held outside the Aemilian Theatre at the very end of the launch. Leah explained that a selection of the St Mary’s students had written positive messages about themselves and tied them to each balloon to promote positive thinking among young people in today’s society. This was a very exciting and much-anticipated part of the launch. Finally, Edel Doolan and Ruth Curtin closed the event by thanking all the audience for their support, in particular the YSI students from the Patrician Academy, their classmates in the Transition Year programme, Principal Ms Yvonne Bane and YSI teacher Ms Donna Lyons. The girls also encouraged all the members of the audience to sign their YSI notice board to show support for their campaign. This notice board will be hung up in the school for many years to come and will be a symbolic reminder for all the St Mary’s community that, indeed, ‘ No-BODY Is Perfect.’