What a (Port)rush!

Posted By: DanaDiRenzo
Posted On: August 30th, 2019
Attending: Letterkenny Institute of Technology

So, we definitely saved the best day of training week for last! I really enjoyed going to both Limavady High School and St. Patrick’s Primary School in Portrush. It’s truly amazing how welcoming everyone is here! The Principal and staff at Limavady had coffee, tea and cookies for us in the morning and had a really nice spread for us at lunch time, and the staff at St. Patrick’s had pizza and juice for us when we arrived too! They were so grateful to have us come into their schools and interact with their students, who were all so great to work with!

There was one little girl at Limavady named Ella in my group who was super shy and reserved in the beginning of the session. But, when we got to the basketball station I noticed a little bit of excitement in her. We organized them into different teams for the game we were going to have them play called “Steal the Bacon.” Basically in the first round, if your number is called you have to run out to half court, grab the ball, and score it before anyone else does. When Ella’s number was called the first time, I had to urge her a little bit to run out and get the ball because she was nervous. But the second time she was called out, she ran to pick up the ball and scored before anyone else! Her face completely lit up when she saw that ball go through the net, I’ve never seen anything like it. It gave me such a good feeling to see how happy she was and at that moment, I realized just how amazing this journey would be. To be honest, I didn’t quite know what to expect about the community service aspect of SCL before I got here. But going out to different schools to talk to young kids and play games with them, playing pickle ball with people of ages 50 and up, and spending time at a nursing home have all been such eye opening experiences for me and I’ve only been in Ireland for 9 days! It’s all been so rewarding and I can’t wait to continue this aspect of being a Victory Scholar.

After spending our day with the kids at both schools, the SCL Staff (who are all so amazing by the way) took us to a mini amusement park in Portrush. (Fun fact…the British Open was just held in Portrush a few weeks ago and we drove right by the golf course they played on – super cool!) Of course, as soon as we got off the bus I went straight to the claw machines and won 2 little bears on my first try (first win in a foreign country!!) and I only spent 1 pound on the game (Mommom, I hope you’re proud)! Then we continued to explore a little bit and found a beautiful beach where people were actually surfing! Mind you, it was raining and only about 60 degrees – but I guess that’s the norm around here.

All in all, it was a really great day with a lot of great moments. Now, all of us scholars will have to go our separate ways and begin our next adventures at each of our schools. It’s bittersweet to have to leave but I’m so excited to get to Letterkenny and of course, play some ball!!

Traveler tip #3 (courtesy of Sam Woodside):

Do NOT call anyone a “Goat” here…it may mean “greatest of all time” in America but it is apparently a pretty derogatory term here in Ireland. If this piece of advice can prevent just one bar fight..my job here is done! 😉

Until next time…

-Dana D.

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