The Obamas inspire pupils

‘Inspirational’ and ‘surreal’ were among the adjectives used by Lurgan students to describe the speeches given by President Obama and the First Lady in the Waterfront.

Among those attending Monday’s event were Lurgan College Politics students, who left Lurgan at 5.30am and ended up with front row seats in the auditorium.

St Michael's students outside the Waterfront Hall.

St Michael's students outside the Waterfront Hall.

The opportunity was a result of a long running educational link between the school’s Politics Department and The US Consulate General in Belfast. Included in the Lurgan College delegation were Principal Trevor Robinson, Politics teacher Mr Uprichard, Head Boy Jack Patterson and Head Girl Laura King.

Politics student Kyle Parks commented: “It was an almost surreal experience! It’s not every day you get to be in the same room as the most powerful man in the world, never mind having front row seats! Amazing!”

St Michael’s were invited to the Waterfront event thanks to a similar relationship with the consulate. St Michael’s students who attended were Fionntan Curran, Paul Morrow, Ann Dowds, Pete Giffen, Oisin Lenehan, Tara McKerr, Alex Mackie and Rebecca Haire. They were accompanied by Vice Principal Michael McCafferty and Head of Year Philip Brunt.

Rebecca Haire said: “Michelle Obama was inspirational. She made us think hard about how the young people of Northern Ireland can make real progress in the future.”

Brownlow College were also invited to the event at the Waterfront. The pupils who attended were Teri Millar, Scot Hughes, Ross Hume, Jack White and Jemma Parks from Year 12, and Dylan Johnston, Sharon Freeburn and Naomi Byers from Year 11, along with Miss Niamh Campbell, Head of Year 12 and Principal Stephen Creber.

Teri Millar, Deputy Head Girl of Brownlow commented: “Spending a Monday morning listening to the 44th president of the United States of America Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama was not what I pictured or even would imagine doing on my last day of wearing a Brownlow Integrated College uniform.

“When Obama made his speech it was truly inspirational and I took many of the words he said into consideration, and I thought well and truly about them when I got home and was speaking to my parents about knocking walls down and how Northern Ireland is the blueprint for other countries to have peace.”