...at Catholic schools, for children winning prizes in the Assn of Catholic Women's Schools Religious Education Project. (BTW, that link takes you to a full list of winners).
Amazing experience today. I hurried (through pouring rain, making everything fresh and green, badly needed) to St Joseph's Catholic Primary school in Kingston-upon-Thames. Met by a charming young lady who explained that she'd be taking the morning Assembly, and had been involved with getting the children involved with the RE Project. I started to explain about the background to it etc, and she shyly said "Well...I was your first prizewinner, back when I was a little girl! I'm Maria Byrne..." Young Maria was indeed our first-ever winner, when we launched the whole thing over a decade ago. We had raised some modest funds from coffee-mornings, produced a brochure,photocopied it and and mailed it out to schools, bought some Catechisms as prizes and a cup as a trophy...and young Maria, who was being home-educated, won that cup with an excellent essay on 'What happens at Mass'. And now here she is, working at a Catholic school, and the whole project has grown and grown since then, and this year we had some 2,000 entries from across Britain, and prizes donated by the CTS, and two trophies for children in different age-groups, and dozens of Catechisms sent out to children in schools from Inverness to Bexleyheath, from Manchester to Port Talbot!
A happy morning, and it was a pleasure to present young winner Tashlyn Pereira with her prizes (a celebration book commemorating the Papal Visit to Britain, a book of Gospel stories, a Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and a £50 cheque for the school). The children sang a Gospel song, to a rock-beat, led by Maria, with the words projected on to a screen.
Tomorrow I am off to present prizes at St Edmund's prep school in Ware, Herts.
Then I'm off to my own exams...at Maryvale! Two exams on Monday!More on Maryvale and Birmingham here...