Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Llanelli Schools’ Triumphant Exhibition

Ysgol Coedcae and Ysgol Maes y Morfa

It was a triumphant exhibition for the two Llanelli schools. Stradey Park Hotel was the venue and its luxurious surroundings were an apt situation for an event that was attended by so many wearers of 'bling'. By that I mean all the mayors, mayoresses and chairmen of community councils and county council who wore their dazzling gold chains of office. It was very pleasing to see the Mayor of Llanelli, the Chair of the Llanelli Rural Council and the Chair of the County Council there to make a fuss of the kids and to compliment the children's work. Quite rightly, their worships all were extremely impressed by the quality of the images in the show and they all stayed behind after the speeches to add their positive comments. With so much good work on show, it took everybody a long time to get a real sense of what was in the exhibition.

Twenty nine pupils, each with their ten favourites, plus nine extra shots from each of the locations, plus over six hundred smaller pics in the collages adds up to more than one thousand photographs on show. Together, the two schools had taken nearly eleven thousand pictures on eight field trips, plus the initial forays in their school grounds.

Above: Two of the Maes y Morfa kids with the dignatories

Tuesday at the launch and there must have been at least eighty people admiring the photos. Without doubt, every one of the visitors was highly impressed – not just by the beautiful images, but also by the joy on every child's face. The sense of pride in their achievement was palpable. They had endured horrendous weather for most of the field trips to come back with pictures that anyone could be pleased with. The Mayor of Llanelli, Councillor Dyfrig Thomas presented each pupil with a goody bag with a framed print of one of their favourite pictures and various other gifts. Later, they will receive DVDs on which will be all their photographs. The prints at the exhibition will go on show at the schools and the cameras and computer equipment will stay with the schools for continuing projects.

The Chairman of the County Council, Mrs Tegwen Devichand had great praise for both the children's excellent photography and the project itself, which she thought was doing unique work in raising the pupils' pride and self esteem.

On Wednesday, we had a visit from Assembly Member Helen-Mary Jones, who was very complimentary and stayed for over an hour taking in the show and talking to the family members who had come to view their children's work. She said she realised that the project, which involves ten schools from around the region and one hundred and fifty pupils visiting forty locations, has a national significance. Bearing that in mind, she suggested that a final exhibition in 2011 could be at the Senedd in Cardiff. It's a very exciting idea and we hope it can be arranged.

Above: Cheryl Kit with Helen-Mary Jones, AM

Later that day, pupils from Penybryn School in Swansea came to visit the exhibition. It was a good opportunity for them to get a real sense of what they were working towards. Also, we had a visit from one of the teachers at the Rhys Pritchard School in Llandovery, which is one of the two from that town we will be working with next year. This time in 2011 we will be having their exhibition. In September, we work with the Swansea schools to teach the principles of computer work with images and we begin with two new schools in Carmarthen. The dates for the Swansea exhibition are 2nd and 3rd November, which will be held in the lovely surroundings of the Grand Theatre.

Above: What a wonderful exhibition!

This is the end of the school year for the project and it has been a brilliant first half. All the objectives have been met and all the outcomes achieved. The hard work (and endurance of very bad weather – not to mention the loss of a favourite hat!) has, most importantly, brought a grin to lots of kids from six schools in west Wales.

Have a great summer.