Gluais is a voluntary organisation which began in 1995. It started in Collinstown Park Community College in 1997. Gluais is a leadership training programme which was set up by Rose Dolan and a few others to develop the leadership potential of senior students. At the moment the programme is operating in seven schools around the area. Since it began in Collinstown Park Community College there have been four co-operating teachers involved: Eilis Monaghan, Maura Griffin, John Paul Reilly and Winnie Kirwan. Since January 2014 John Paul Reilly has taken on the role as one of the Coordinators of the Gluais programme.
In Collinstown Park Community College there are usually 10 students in the group, all from Fifth Year. For the school year they work together as a group looking after the first years by settling them in and helping them make new friends. Their job is to make the first years’ transition from primary school to secondary school an enjoyable and easy one. The Gluais group also try to make the school a better place for all students.
Each year a new Gluais group is selected. This is done by filling out an application form and sitting an interview. The person who interviews the students is from outside the school and so each member is selected to the group based on their leadership qualities, interests, hobbies and overall suitability to the programme. Once the person is selected they then go on a five-day training course to learn the skills necessary to work as a group and train the students in the various aspects of successful leadership. Over the five days they meet new people their own age and it gives them an opportunity to become responsible adults by the activities they take part in and to bring the new skills they learn back to their school. After they are trained the students are sent back to their school and with the help of a co-operating teacher they hold meetings each week and implement the training they have had with the first year students.
In previous years Gluais have had an induction week for First Years, acted as class mentors, helped out on Sports Day and Open Day, gone to the primary schools and talked to 6th class pupils, organised quizzes, fun days, trips to Bowling and painted classrooms.
Collinstown Park Community College is very happy to have the programme in the school and see it as being very successful. Any person that has been through the Gluais programme will tell you it’s a great experience and are glad they had the opportunity to do it. At present the school has 10 past pupils going back each year to help out on the training programme five-day course. These people give up their own time to go back each year as they see how important it is in shaping students to become responsible role models.