Wednesday, September 14, 2022


St. Laserian’s NS Carlow has been chosen as the Rockville Centre St Patrick’s Day parade Irish Charity of the Year. Celebrating the announcement are Principal Rachel Dolan (left) and teacher Colleen Scully (right) with students Ellen, Amber, Abigail, Callum, Chantelle, Clara, Cian and Brian Photo:



By Elizabeth Lee


ST Laserian’s NS in Carlow town has just been awarded a massive $25,000 by an America charity group and now plans to use the money to develop the school grounds for the students with special needs.

Principal Rachel Dolan is over the moon about the funding, which will be spent on buying and installing a special swing for the school’s wheelchair users.

“It’s amazing to get this money. It’s huge for us because it would take us years to raise that much,” a delighted Rachel said.

The money is coming from a charity fund that is run by the Rockville Centre in New York state and is raised by their St Patrick’s Day parade committee every year.

The Rockville Centre’s St Patrick’s Day parade committee is dedicated to “promote Irish heritage and culture, family and patriotic values” and all funding that they raise is split three ways – locally to an organisation in Rockville, nationally to an American organisation and, finally, to a deserving organisation in Ireland.

Rachel was first alerted to the organisation by former county councillor Walter Lacey, who had visited the New York St Patrick’s Day parade during his tenure on the council.

Rachel, with the help of teacher Colleen Scully, who works with students who are wheelchair users, began the process of applying for funding. The application was very detailed and involved an interview with the charity committee via Zoom, as well as a presentation.

Rachel and the staff were overjoyed to hear that they were chosen by their benefactors as the Irish awardees.

They will invest the $25,000, or €25,000, to buy the special swing and, if there’s anything left over, invest it in the school grounds.

“Our students are aged between five and 18-years-old, so we need a very high-spec piece of equipment, while there’s also the ground work to be done, too,” Rachel pointed out.

“When we returned to school after Covid, some of our classes and activities moved outside. We noticed that our students really benefited from being in the fresh air, you could see an improvement in their mobility and wellbeing. We now want to continue with that because it works so well for them.”

The school plans on developing a water and sand play area for the youngsters, while the older students can focus on activities like horticulture and outdoor classroom space will be developed. They have lots of plans for their gardens and grounds and this New York money is just the beginning of it.


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