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New Mural unveiled at KHS!

Kilkeel High School were delighted to receive a new mural last week, to commemorate 100 years of Northern Ireland. It was unveiled at a ceremony in school, by Year 11 pupil, Kasey Nicholson, who features in the mural. The mural was funded by the Northern Ireland Office and The National Heritage Fund. The school would like to thank, Roberta and James of the Schomberg Society for organising the project and also artist Dee Craig who painted it.

So what does the mural represent???

The Art Department was asked to come up with something to celebrate 100 years of NI.  In art classes, pupils were consulted and given the opportunity to put forward ideas. Staff in school were also asked if there was anything that they felt was important to include. Many ideas were received and it was really difficult to settle on the final design as the school recognises that there are many more people who could also feature on the mural, if there was more room! Some of the painting represents people from the school who have done great things and some are inspiring people from NI that were chosen as a face to represent a bunch of people.

Firstly, the art form of painting celebrates the creative industries which is a fast-growing industry in NI. There are many pupils who have passed through KHS who work in the creative industries such as kitchen designers, TV producers, shoe designers and art teachers to name a few.

The man on the left you may not be familiar with. It is Frank Pantridge who invented the portable defibrillator, saving millions of lives. One of the most recent public uses of this was when Christian Erikson almost lost his life during a game of football and thanks to the use of the defibrillator, he survived. Pantridge grew up just outside of Hillsborough, went to Friends High School and later onto Queens. We chose him as the face for all the successful doctors, scientists and others working in the medical profession, that have passed through KHS.

We then have Harry Ferguson, who was a Northern Irish mechanic who invented the three-point linkage system for the modern tractor, which revolutionised agriculture globally, as well as being the first person on the island of Ireland to build and fly his own aeroplane. We chose Harry Ferguson to represent the many engineers and trades-people, that have come from KHS and also the importance of agriculture and farming in the area of Mourne.

Next we have Kasey Nicholson, one of Kilkeel High School’s own pupils. Kasey is a senior Highland Dancer with Kirknarra School of Dance in Kilkeel and has competed at some of the highest levels in her categories across NI and also Scotland.

She regularly performs at events, both locally and across NI to showcase Highland Dance to others, inc. performing at tattoos, festivals and major tourism events.

Kasey has been involved in Highland Dancing from a very young age in Nursery school and is an inspiration to other young Highland Dancers starting out in their dance careers.

The centre of the mural features past-pupil, Captain Justin Teggarty. Justin has achieved highly in his musical career and directed The Band and Bugles of the Rifles in the funeral procession of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip. Justin represents the many successful pupils from Mourne who excelled in the area of music and performing arts.

Then we have past teacher, Violet McBride MBE. Violet excelled in all sports but really made her mark when she represented the Great British hockey team at the1988 Summer Olympics and captained the team in the bronze medal match against the Netherlands. Whilst playing for GB she also picked up the team’s Player of the Year award in 1987. As well as sport, Violet is also a former drum major World Champion and the first ever woman to win the title. We are very proud to say that Violet was Head of PE here at KHS for many years. She is best found nowadays out on the golf course where she continues to complete at a very senior level! Violet is a great inspiration to all our young sport enthusiasts and gives them a lot to aspire to.

The last figure in the painting is Johnny Evans. Jonny was born is Belfast but we chose him because of his success at International and Club level – playing for Manchester United and later for Leicester where he remains today. He achieved 9 A*/ A grades in his GCSEs and we think that he is a great representative for all the fantastic football players, both girls and boys who have passed through KHS, are currently here and have yet to come. He gives them something to aspire to and shows them that it is possible to follow your dreams.

In the background there is a war pane to represent all those from the area of Mourne who fought in the Wars and anyone who serves today. There is Haulbowline Lighthouse in Cranfield and the Mourne mountains, both being very important to our tourism industry and enjoyed by all who live here and also a fishing boat representing all the fishing families in Mourne and the importance of the fishing industry and the need to preserve this.

The quote at the bottom is a C.S. Lewis quote. He was a very famous writer who was born in Belfast. The writer loved to explore the Mourne Mountains and was inspired by the magical landscape. Our Northern Irish landscape was his biggest inspiration for the magical world of Narnia! He reminds us to appreciate our beautiful surroundings.

The school is delighted with their new mural and thinks that it is a great way to mark 100 years of our wee country!!