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KCVS Awarded the Champion School of Sanctuary Status

A School of Sanctuary Monitoring visit was conducted at Kilkenny City Vocational School (KCVS) in Kilkenny City on Thursday, 5th October 2023, and the members of the team unanimously recommended the school to be awarded the Champion School of Sanctuary Status.

The team was led by Homayoon Shirzad, and included Ashlee Hally, Mark Kelly & Liz Murphy (School of Sanctuary Champion Teachers), Bohdanna Harasimenko, Hashem Badran (Sanctuary Ambassadors), Alina Piskaryova (Kilkenny Leader Partnership Company of Local Action Group) and Inga Heafey (Parent Representative KCVS).

KCVS’ outstanding work and contribution to students from near and far inspired the team to award it Champion School of Sanctuary status immediately.

All the teachers and students at the school welcomed the team with great care and empathy from the moment they arrived at the school. It was clear there was a real sense of belonging and community associated with the school and this could be instantly seen in how all students and teachers interact so pleasantly with one another.

The principal of KCVS, Cathay McSorley, passionately spoke about the school’s efforts to acknowledge and care for every child. Over 15 different nationalities are represented at KCVS, and their moto ‘We are One, But We Are Many’ permeates everything they do on a daily basis for their students. Their efforts really do create a world that values and accepts cultural diversity. All team members remarked on how clearly this school embraces diversity and exemplifies care and welcome.

Students from the KCVS told the team about their struggles before entering the school and how they ‘Now feel safe, appreciated and valued’. They also spoke of how teachers ‘Support us in achieving our dreams’ and how the students are ‘Proud to be part of KCVP and we feel a sense of community’ at the school.

The presentations by students and teachers were followed by a tour of the school, which included visits to the fantastic art room showcasing the talents of students, the sanctuary room where students can feel safe, peaceful, and calm, and the display of traditional foods and projects prepared by students from a variety of countries that the students prepared themselves. Following this, the team attended a Diversitea party, which was incredibly impressive and attended by both the mayor and city councillor. The local newspaper reported on the special event and it was clear to the monitor team that the KCVS appreciates the opportunity to share their message, and they are committed to spreading the good news and inviting other schools in the region to follow their fantastic example of compassion and empathy.

With great delight, Homayoon shared the good news by officially recognizing KCVS as a Champion School of Sanctuary with immediate effect. This was received with a large round of applause. Immediately after the mayor’s speech of praise, Cathay Mcsorley, principal, thanked all the teachers and students of the school, as well as Linda McCormack and Aoife Doyle, and other members of the school, who worked hard to ensure that the school received this recognition. In due course, the school will be moving into a new building and displaying their award. The school community is truly experiencing an exciting time!

Congratulations to KCVS, now the second Champion School of Sanctuary, along with Bunscoil McAuley Rice Primary School but the first Secondary School in Kilkenny receiving this prestigious title.

Most importantly please do not forget to see some brilliant pictures and also clicking the following very important links to learn about about the KCVS. 

Click here to read more about the KCVS by clicking on their Schools of Sanctuary Portfolio

Click here to listen to KCVS talks on on their  School’s Journey of welcome, support, empathy and impact KCLR News: KCVS School of Sanctuary (5th Oct 2023) by KCLR96FM ( 

Click Here for KCVS Video

Some wonderful photos of the day taken during the School of Sanctuary Monitoring visit from KCVS on 5th of October 2023 

3 Principles of Schools of Sanctuary and KCVS Ethos and values

KCVS School of Sanctuary Pledge visible to all on the school walls

Schools of Sanctuary Ambassadors and Parents Participated in the Monitoring Visit and Diversi-Tea Day

Student Sanctuary Ambassadors and Members of the monitoring team having a tour around the school, chatting with teachers and students

Cllr Joe Malone, The Mayor of Kilkenny, Ms. McCormack at the Ukraine Table

An Amazing Representation of the Traveler Pride, Art Work and Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassador of KCVS originally from Ukraine receiving his Award

Ms. Heafey a parent of the KCVS delivering a speech

KCVS’ Members of the School of Sanctuary Committee and Student Ambassadors sharing about their journey at the KCVS Sanctuary room to the member of the monitoring team.

Values of Respect, Love, Support and Compassion is visual everywhere

A Student Ambassador of the KCVS originally from Bangladesh receiving his Award

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