News Releases
Government Home Search Sitemap Contact Us  

April 5, 2006
(Innovation, Trade and Rural Development)

Tilting student wins Ireland Business Partnerships poetry contest

A grade nine student from Tilting has won the Ireland Business Partnerships (IBP) poetry contest. The poem "Connections" by Maria Foley of Fogo Island Central Academy was judged by Irish poet Tom Henihan as the best of 131 entries submitted by grade nine students from all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. The contest was sponsored by the IBP to help celebrate the historic connections between Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador that continue to this day.

Lucia Westin of St. Bonaventure�s College, St. John�s, won second place for her poem "Connected by a Great Divide," and Mary McLevey, also of St. Bonaventure�s College, took third place for her poem "Two Lands, One Ocean."

"The entries were quite impressive and I congratulate the winners for capturing our shared and sometimes poignant histories. I am pleased to discover how much students know about our province�s ties with Ireland," said Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and Minister responsible for the Ireland Business Partnerships.

"It is really wonderful to see so many students demonstrating such a keen interest and knowledge in our heritage and culture," said Joan Burke, Minister of Education. "This is indeed very encouraging as the Department of Education moves forward with many initiatives under the $10 million Cultural Connections strategy announced last year."

Adjudicator Tom Henihan said of the first place poem, Connections, that it showed "the cultural ties between the two islands are not just a celebration of a shared past but that they can also be a source of inspiration as we move forward." The poem is set in a cemetery in Tilting and reflects on the courage and sacrifices the young poet�s ancestors made in leaving Ireland to carve out a place to live in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The 131 entries came from 13 schools throughout the province. The largest number of entries, 35, came from Stephenville High School, followed by St. Bonaventure�s College with 27 entries, and Fogo Island Central Academy with 16 entries.

First prize was an Apple iPod, second prize a digital camera, and third prize a Future Shop gift certificate. In addition, a package of Newfoundland and Labrador literature worth $150 went to the schools of the winning students for their libraries.

The mandate of Ireland Business Partnerships is to assist provincial companies and organizations interested in developing economic, cultural and educational opportunities with Ireland by identifying common interests and complementary skills; increasing awareness and collaboration between businesses, cultural agencies and educational institutions; and exchanging up-to-date information on the economy, legislation and regulations. The IBP also identifies strategic business alliances through marketing agreements, joint ventures and technology transfer opportunities, and develops linkages between the public and private sectors in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Ireland.

All three poems can be found on the IBP web site at:

   by Maria Foley

I stand among the weather beaten headstones
of the Irish cemetery
On the barren hills of Tilting
nestled by the sea.
I picture all the people as they crossed
that treacherous sea
Hoping for a better life and a place
where they could be free.
They brought so very little but their faith
in God above
And through hard toil and labor
carved out this place I love.

I think of all the stories that have been
told to me
Of the hardships and the dangers of
the ocean fishery.
So many men have lost their lives
and women left alone
But still we are so very proud to call this
place our home.

This ocean that connects us to Ireland from
where we came
Has been raped of all its bounty and our lives
will never be the same.
The spirits whisper to me the wheels of
life have turned
For hope and new direction turn to the land
for which we�ve yearned.
The sinking sun is being engulfed by
the oceans mighty waves
But my mind it is at peace, as a soft wind
gently stirs the flowers on the graves.


Media contact: Lynn Evans, Communications, (709) 729-4570, 690-6290

2006 04 05                                                    11:25 a.m.

SearchHomeBack to GovernmentContact Us

All material copyright the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. No unauthorized copying or redeployment permitted. The Government assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any material deployed on an unauthorized server.
Disclaimer/Copyright/Privacy Statement