Derry schoolkid wins all-Ireland writing contest

Ronan Monteith
Ronan Monteith

A Derry primary school pupil has scooped the top award in an all-Ireland story writing contest.

Ronan Monteith, from Oakgrove Integrated PS, has been awarded first place in the senior category of the ‘Tell The Future’ competition.

Part of a pan-European environmental initiative called the Future of Rural Energy in Europe (FREE), the ‘Tell The Future’ story-writing competition was launched in April by Celebrity broadcaster George Hook.

Now in its second year and attracting more than 2,000 innovative entries nationwide, Tell The Future encouraged primary school pupils around the country to write or email in their ideas on how to power Ireland into the future in a sustainable way.

Through the written word, drawings or diagrams, pupils expressed how they would power our homes, hospitals, factories and schools if they were in charge of everything.

Ronan’s winning entry focused on powering Ireland by using all the elements of the weather to create energy.

His idea was based around creating 3 in 1 panels, called All Weather Eco Panels, which are similar to solar panels that are already in use.

Bringing these written stories to life is a key feature of this year’s Tell The Future competition and Ronan’s entry will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind animated video narrated by George Hook himself.

In addition, Ronan will receive his own iPad and a specially-engraved trophy while his school, Oakgrove Integrated, will receive five Netbook laptops, with branded mouse pads and T-shirts for his class.

The Tell The Future judging panel comprised senior management personnel from Government state agency, Science Foundation Ireland; leading youth oganisation, Foróige; and the Northern Ireland-based Rural Development Council.

Michael Kossack, CEO of Calor Gas, one of the initiative’s sponsors, said: “Once again, ‘Tell The Future’ has captured the imagination of thousands of primary school pupils spread across every county in Ireland, and has illustrated the enthusiasm that young people have for safeguarding their future and that of their environment.

“The creativity of our younger generation is a pre-requisite for ensuring that decades from now, Ireland is an adaptable and sustainable country in its energy usage.”

The Tell The Future competition will be launched again this September for post-primary school students across Ireland. Further information on the competition will be available on