Salesian Limerick Students win European Finals of the JA Company of the Year Competition 2012

Salesian Secondary College, Limerick with Sign4Life, was announced European winner of the Junior Achievement Company of the Year 2012 hosted at a Gala Banquet event on the evening of July 22nd in the Great House of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania.

Pictured are Fiona Mangan, Colleen Mullane (TOP) and Caoimhe O'Neill and Ciara Reidy (FRONT) who's project Sign 4 Life won, COMPANY OF THE YEAR COMPETITION 2012 with Sign4LifeThe team, made up of students from Salesian College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick were competing against 32 other European Countries and have put in endless hours of time and effort supported by their teacher Mr. Paul Whooley. The team includes Fiona Managan, Colleen Mullane, Chris O’Brien, Caoimhne O’Neill and Ciara Reidy. The team had already been announced winner of the Junior Achievement Company of the Year 2012 hosted by Citi, Dublin on the 3rd May last. (see news item below)

This year’s winners proved astute entrepreneurs

With almost 2,000 Transition Year students countrywide taking part in Junior Achievement’s Company Programme, this year’s winners proved astute entrepreneurs.

“We are absolutely thrilled that our students won the Junior Achievement National Company of Year with their company Sign4Life a sign language app and will now get the opportunity to represent Ireland at the European Finals. Geoffrey Blondelle from Dell did brilliant work with the students guiding them on setting up their company and working with them on the development of their product. His expertise was invaluable. Dell also very kindly hosted a ‘Dragons Den’ where the group were put through their paces in preparation for the final. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank both Geoffrey and Dell for their support of Junior Achievement and in turn their valuable contribution to our school.”
Paddy O’ Neill, Principal Salesian Secondary College

The Junior Achievement Company Programme is a hands-on business learning experience. Students create, operate and manage their own business. It provides numerous opportunities for the development and reinforcement of important academic and leadership skills. Each company is mentored by a business volunteer from a local supporting business organisation who provides the students with hands-on experience, advice and expertise. The national Company of the Year Competition follows the regional finals of the Company Programme.

Judges Cathal O’Daly, Head of the Financial Institutions Group, Citi, Jonathan Campbell, CEO, Social Talent and Katherine Jensen, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Abbott Ireland, were very impressed with the level of competition. They had a tough decision to make after receiving each company’s business plan and listening to a professional business pitch and presentation.

Two children each week born deaf in Ireland

The inspiration for their idea came while doing work experience as part of their Transition Year Programme in Mid West School for Hearing Impaired Children in Rosbrien, Limerick and seeing first-hand the difficulties young deaf people go through.

Two children each week are born deaf in Ireland and 90% of them are born to hearing parents. Sign Language is different in every country, even between English speaking ones. The product made by the students from Salesian Secondary College under their company Sign4Life is a Sign Language App currently available on the Android Market designed to bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf communities. It uses video technology through the smartphone to teach users Irish Sign Language in everyday categories such as foods, numbers, sports, calendar, colours, family and animals. It is truly a European product as the template can be adapted to any language world wide.