‘Walk in my Wellies’: ‘Royal’ winners of Angus Schools Competition revealed

Five students from Royal School Cavan have been announced as the winners of the 2020 Certified Irish Angus Schools Competition.

The winning school was revealed at an awards ceremony which took place at Croke Park in Dublin today, Wednesday, March 4.

Winners Rachel Alexander, Barry Stratford, Sophie Reilly, Lloyd Hastings and Kelvin McNally are the first group from Cavan to participate in the prestigious calf-rearing competition.

During the competition, which is now in its sixth year, the winning group raised awareness for mental health among their local farming community, holding a ‘Walk in my Wellies’ fundraising event in their school for Pieta House.

Irish Olympic hockey star Katie Mullan was the special guest for this year’s awards ceremony.

The Winning Project

To highlight the importance of positive mental health among farmers, the group’s “Walk in my Wellies” day saw the finalists wear wellies to school, encouraging their peers to join them in doing so to draw attention to the important cause.

As part of their project, the students also explored how the Angus breed could provide an opportunity for beef farmers in Cavan, where beef farming is predominantly part-time.

In the course of this project, the students recognised that, while Cavan has a passionate farming community, there still exists a need to promote positive mental health to address the challenges faced by farmers in the region.

An additional “Outstanding Achievement by an Individual” award was also presented, which recognised the personal contribution made to the competition by one individual, with one student shortlisted from each group.

The award went to Keelan Gallagher from Roscommon Community College who the judges said demonstrated “a can-do attitude, displaying courage and determination throughout the competition”.

Announcing the winners, Charles Smith, general manager of the Irish Angus Producer Group, said:

“The students at Royal School Cavan displayed excellent teamwork and enthusiasm throughout the competition, and faced up to challenges with confidence and maturity beyond their years.

The group was driven and knowledgeable and this, coupled with an excellent mental health promotion, focused on the farming community made them the worthy winners of this competition.

The Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools competition, created by Certified Irish Angus ABP and Kepak, challenges students to rear five Irish Angus calves for beef production.

It aims to promote the Certified Irish Angus Beef brand while communicating the care and attention required to produce quality beef for consumers.

New schools

The organisers are currently in the process of selecting five new schools from a shortlist of 35, who presented their project ideas at the Croke Park event today.

The judges included representatives from right across the agri-food industry.

The five schools who best demonstrate an understanding of the project along with innovative ideas will be announced in April and will receive their calves at the National Ploughing Championships in September 2020.