Students compete with young people from across Ireland for the ‘experience of a lifetime’

Pictured are all the 6 finalists from Rotary's Youth Leadership Development Competition (l-r) Maeve Henry from Ballymena, Cara Lemon from Larne, Rebecca Gibney from Carrick, Lauren Laverty from Ballycastle, Anna Toner from Coleraine and Laura McFarland from Limavady.

ONE of Rotary Ireland’s longest running projects, the Youth Leadership Development Competition , has seen the regional finals take place in Ballymena.

Students from the region battled it out for a place amongst the final 24 from across Ireland who will be sent on the ‘trip of a lifetime’ where the EU offices in Dublin host a special reception for them, then they visit three parliaments; Stormont, Dáil Éireann and the EU Parliament in Strasbourg in February 2020 where they will compete in a debating style event with young people from across Europe.

Pictured are winning student Maeve Henry from St.Louis G S in Ballymena with Jim Briggs President of Ballymena Rotary Club and Willie McKean Youth Convenor Ballymena Rotary Club


The competition is an annual event organised by Rotary clubs all over Ireland offering students the opportunity to develop their debating and leadership skills whilst having fun and making new friends from across Europe.

The three finalists impressed the judges with their leadership qualities, confidence, knowledge of their subjects and desire to win.

Speaking at the event held at the Adair Arms in Ballymena, William McKean, of the Rotary Club of Ballymena, said: “We have been delighted with the five-star quality and calibre of the finalists and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them and everyone who took part.

“The local schools have once again embraced the competition wholeheartedly and the candidates which came through the internal school interview selection process represented their schools with great distinction.

“We look forward to working with these students towards their trip in February 2020 and to see how they develop as future leaders in their chosen fields.”

The next stage of the Rotary YLC will take place in February 2020 and will see 24 winners from all across Ireland visit the two parliaments in Belfast and Dublin, where they will meet with politicians and business leaders.

They will then travel to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to take part in the Euroscola in a five-day round trip accompanied by Rotarian volunteers.

Euroscola offers the winners an immersive experience in the Chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, allowing them to learn about European integration by experiencing it first-hand.

Students from the 28 EU Member States get the chance to take over the European Parliament in Strasbourg for a full day of debating topical issues and current affairs, all the while practicing their language skills and making friends with fellow students from across Europe.

For further details on the Youth Leadership Development Competition and to find out more about joining Rotary and getting involved in shaping the youth of tomorrow please visit

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