REFLECTIONS ON A
                                                         REUNION
                                        ...
Former students from the Residential Child Care course
came together again in Kilkenny this year to regroup &
reconnect wi...
SOME OF THE
    REUNION
ORGANIZERS, THE
ONES WHO KNOW
HOW TO BEGIN TO
     BEGIN
OUR YEAR, 1974-75, WAS WELL
REPRESENTED ESPECIALLY IN THE
LATE-NIGHT SINGING SESSION.
BUT GRADUATES FROM ALMOST
EVERY YEAR...
MORE REUNION REVELERS
RE-GROUPING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

 AS WE ALL PONDERED THE COURSE GROUPWORK MANTRA:
WHO’S DOING WHAT TO WHO, AND WITH WHAT...
RE-GROUPING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

 AS WE ALL PONDERED THE COURSE GROUPWORK MANTRA:
WHO’S DOING WHAT TO WHO, AND WITH WHAT...
RE-GROUPING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

 AS WE ALL PONDERED THE COURSE GROUPWORK MANTRA:
WHO’S DOING WHAT TO WHO, AND WITH WHAT...
KILKENNY ITSELF WAS A CRUCIAL PART OF THE COURSE EXPERIENCE.
  IT’S A BEAUTIFUL CITY WHERE OLD AND NEW HAPPILY CO-EXIST
KILKENNY CASTLE SITS
DRAMATICALLY ABOVE THE RIVER
NORE & THE CITY AND IS
SURROUNDED BY A WELL-USED
PUBLIC PARK
THIS IS THE OLD
                   ENTRANCE TO THE FORMER
     SMITHWICK’S BREWERY, LONG SINCE ABSORBED INTO THE
DIAGEO CO...
Kilkenny is a small city that provided a self-contained context for
the course. The city’s cultural mileau (to use a popul...
Pat and Stan were themselves outsiders who fell in love with the city and became
highly respected civic leaders. Bishop Pe...
There was
painful
discussion               Sadly, a small
about the            number of course
clerical child         gra...
Students were required to have two years work experience in the field before
applying. (This is now a standard requirement ...
The twenty students who made up the group each year were very carefully
selected with balance as the watchword. It was a j...
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Kilkenny reunion2010

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Kilkenny reunion2010

  1. 1. REFLECTIONS ON A REUNION IN KILKENNY A gathering of graduates from the School of Social Education on March 13-14, 2010 in Kilkenny, Ireland. Words & Pictures by Juliet and Tom Clancy
  2. 2. Former students from the Residential Child Care course came together again in Kilkenny this year to regroup & reconnect with their mentors, Pat Brennan and Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy. The course was held each year from 1971 to 1981 at the School of Social Education. There were 200 graduates from the course and over 70 attended the reunion. Some of us were seeing friends and colleagues for the first time in more than 30 years STILL INSPIRING, MOTIVATING AND BURNING BRIGHTLY, SISTER STAN & PAT BRENNAN
  3. 3. SOME OF THE REUNION ORGANIZERS, THE ONES WHO KNOW HOW TO BEGIN TO BEGIN
  4. 4. OUR YEAR, 1974-75, WAS WELL REPRESENTED ESPECIALLY IN THE LATE-NIGHT SINGING SESSION. BUT GRADUATES FROM ALMOST EVERY YEAR OF THE COURSE SHOWED UP.
  5. 5. MORE REUNION REVELERS
  6. 6. RE-GROUPING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS AS WE ALL PONDERED THE COURSE GROUPWORK MANTRA: WHO’S DOING WHAT TO WHO, AND WITH WHAT RESOURCES?
  7. 7. RE-GROUPING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS AS WE ALL PONDERED THE COURSE GROUPWORK MANTRA: WHO’S DOING WHAT TO WHO, AND WITH WHAT RESOURCES?
  8. 8. RE-GROUPING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS AS WE ALL PONDERED THE COURSE GROUPWORK MANTRA: WHO’S DOING WHAT TO WHO, AND WITH WHAT RESOURCES?
  9. 9. KILKENNY ITSELF WAS A CRUCIAL PART OF THE COURSE EXPERIENCE. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL CITY WHERE OLD AND NEW HAPPILY CO-EXIST
  10. 10. KILKENNY CASTLE SITS DRAMATICALLY ABOVE THE RIVER NORE & THE CITY AND IS SURROUNDED BY A WELL-USED PUBLIC PARK
  11. 11. THIS IS THE OLD ENTRANCE TO THE FORMER SMITHWICK’S BREWERY, LONG SINCE ABSORBED INTO THE DIAGEO CONGLOMORATE. IN THE OLD DAYS, IT WAS ONE OF THE LOCAL AMENITIES THAT STUDENTS VISITED AS PART OF THE INITIAL KILKENNY ORIENTATION.
  12. 12. Kilkenny is a small city that provided a self-contained context for the course. The city’s cultural mileau (to use a popular term from the course) was very accomodating to the students -most of whom were from elsewhere in Ireland. It’s a city where craft and skill is valued, where social relationships are appreciated, and education and learning is highly prized. Kilkenny was a welcoming and multi-cultural place long before the rest of Ireland caught up with it.
  13. 13. Pat and Stan were themselves outsiders who fell in love with the city and became highly respected civic leaders. Bishop Peter Birch was the brilliant and enlightened instigator of the course. He must be turning in his grave these days with the rolling revelations about clerical child abuse. His response to the crisis would have been more courageous, honest, and vigorously empathetic. What would he have said about his peers shuffling pedophiles from one parish to the next?
  14. 14. There was painful discussion Sadly, a small about the number of course clerical child graduates have abuse scandals been convicted of and continuing child sexual abuse. revelations. It’s difficult to Some imagine how they graduates had got through the stories about intensive Kilkenny witnessing and educational reporting on experience without episodes of being unmasked. But physical and sociopaths are very sexual abuse skillful at projecting but they were pleasant and ignored, impenetrable vilified or personas. ostracized.
  15. 15. Students were required to have two years work experience in the field before applying. (This is now a standard requirement for MSW programs in the U.S.) It’s more fruitful for teachers and students not to be starting with blank slates. Experiential learning was a major focus on the course. Two groupwork sessions a week were mandatory: one with the full class and two teachers, another with half the class. Two fieldwork placements were built in: six weeks in an Irish setting and three months in a British agency. Apart from the skill-building purposes, these experiences were uprooting events designed to help students acquire insight and empathy into what children go through when they are placed in care.
  16. 16. The twenty students who made up the group each year were very carefully selected with balance as the watchword. It was a judicious mix of men and women, religious & lay people (including a few closeted secular humanists), students with rural and urban backgrounds, people with academic potential and practical knowledge, young and old and some in between. Teaching and learning are fundamentally collaborative activities. The course instructors believed very strongly in the concept of I-Thou and modeled deep respect for the other. This is a critical skill in working with children - your own or other people’s. The course offered a rich and deep learning opportunity but you had to be prepared to jump whole-heartedly into the process. You had to risk being vulnerable to get the most from it. It was very satisfying to reconnect with so many unforgettable and admirable people at the Kilkenny Reunion.

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