Strathearn School, Belfast, President Clinton has commended year 8 student Elena Gourley for playing her part in the special event held at the Ulster Hall on 10 April to confer the Freedom of the City of Belfast to President Bill Clinton and Senator George J. Mitchell.
Belfast City Council notably honoured the prestigious Freedom of the City title to the former US President and the Senator on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement; for their enduring contribution to the peace process of Northern Ireland. Students from secondary schools read poems and works of their own, including Elena reciting her award-winning entry at the momentous occasion.
Elena was awarded runner up in 11-14 years category of the British Council’s Commonwealth Schools creative writing competition. The 1,500 entrants came from 53 countries, submitting moving and thought-provoking stories on the theme of peace. Elena was presented with her prize at the Peace and Beyond Conference, held at Belfast City Hall.
Nicola Connery, Principal of Strathearn School said – ‘We are delighted that Elena was invited to read her work at the landmark event, and to have met two historical figures which made such a difference to the future of Northern Ireland.
‘Her essay reflects a beautiful insight into a young person who has fortunately lived through peaceful times in her own country, however has the awareness of conflict in other countries throughout her whole life.’
Nicola adds – ‘Her work has been inspirational to her fellow students who are encouraged to express themselves creatively and to be proud of their personal accomplishments.’