Belfast Telegraph

Pupils get the measure of men who matter to them

Pupils at Belfast Boys’ Model School in Ballysillan have been busy nominating men they would like to measure up to.

The school then held an event to celebrate the success of its ‘Men We Value’ initiative which encourages pupils to nominate a male figure who has had a positive influence on their life for special recognition.

The initiative was introduced into the school three years ago by Barnardo’s as a way of encouraging more fathers, uncles and brothers to participate in school life and is now run as a partnership between the children’s charity and the school.

The initiative begins with Year 8 pupils running right through to Year 10 and sees students choose someone they believe has made their life more enjoyable or helped them out in a difficult situation.

Nominees range from brothers, fathers and uncles to prefects and teachers, with one Boys’ Model teacher, Mr Bridges, being nominated for the third year in a row.

Students chose their nominees for encouraging them, raising aspirations and motivating them to do well in education.

Anne Elder, Belfast Boys’ Model School’s attendance officer, said: “This is the third year of ‘Men We Value’ and each year we see staff and students alike getting more involved. For students it offers the opportunity to say thanks to a male in their life who has dedicated a few hours of their time to them each week. Similarly, nominees say it is very humbling and rewarding for them to be recognised for something which they enjoy and are delighted that students value them so highly”.

She continued: “We believe that this initiative works on two levels; firstly it ensures that current students benefit from having a positive role model in their life and secondly that when these students become adults they will act as positive role models for younger generations.”

Lynda Wilson, Director of Barnardo’s Northern Ireland, added: “It is very important for young males to have someone to look up to and Belfast Boys’ Model School’s ‘Men We Value’ is an excellent initiative as it helps students identify someone they aspire to be like.

“It also encourages them to value that friendship and understand that investing some time in a friend can greatly improve the lives of both individuals involved”.

Each student presented their nominee with a ‘Men We Value’ certificate recording the reason why they were selected as their role model.

Belfast Telegraph

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