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First Minister praises young people’s commitment to shared future


Our children and young people play a full and active role in building towards a shared and better future for everyone, the First Minister has said.


The First Minister was speaking after she visited Rathfriland High School today.


Arlene Foster met with pupils and took part in a tree-planting ceremony as part of a celebration event being hosted by Rathfriland High School to mark both the school’s 60th anniversary and the centenary of Northern Ireland.


The First Minister said:


“This has been a fantastic opportunity to hear from a range of young voices about what the centenary means to them and their aspirations for the future.


“Like the generations before them, they have come through a difficult time and this has given them a strong understanding of the importance of pulling together for the common good.


“Our young people embody the spirit of Northern Ireland, they are fearless in facing challenge and confident in facing the future.


“It has been heartening to see the strength of their commitment to a shared society where everyone can live, learn, work and socialise together.”


The First Minister also took the opportunity to congratulate Rathfriland High School on their 60th anniversary.


She added:


“I was delighted to be invited to join in Rathfriland High School’s celebrations and to plant a tree to commemorate the event.


“It is clear that the school is an important part of the local community and that is testament to the work of the principal, teachers, wider staff, pupils and parents.


“I’m sure this sense of community will contribute to continuing success as Rathfriland High School looks towards its own centenary in the future.”


Ian Matthews, Principal of Rathfriland High School, said:


It is wonderful to have all our pupils back in the classroom following their return to school.


“I know they have enjoyed exploring Northern Ireland’s achievements and heritage in a range of lessons across the curriculum to mark the centenary.


“The topics have clearly captured their interest, and we are delighted that the First Minister was able to join us today to get a sense of that enthusiasm and learn about the excellent work they have been doing. 2021 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of Rathfriland High School and today’s visit is a lovely way to start our year of celebrations.”