ARMAGH PROJECT 2007 WRAPS UP
FINAL PRESENTATION DRAWS PRIEST, ASTRONOMER, CITY COUNCILLORS
STUDENTS MAKE THEIR WAY HOME
STUDENTS MAKE THEIR WAY HOME
THE ARMAGH PROJECT 2007 drew to a close on Thursday August 16th with a final presentation of the work so-far completed and a sneak preview of the still-in-progress website, inamagh.net. The presentation, held upstairs at the Amma Centre, was attended by students, faculty, and various members of the community.
Director Andy Ciofalo started off the proceedings with some opening remarks, piling thanks on the Amma Centre, the Armagh City Hostel, and the welcoming locals. "From my point of view," Ciofalo said, "This has been an excellent program."
Irish culture professor Margaret McAliskey, described by Ciofalo as the Project's "umbilical cord to the soul of Ireland", agreed. "You've been an outstanding group," she said, addressing the class. "Every morning I'd drive by the hostel and see you all there coming out."
"It's going to be very sad to see you all go," she said, choking back a tear.
Next the teachers of various modules spoke. Photo prof George Miller was pleased at how the students had taken to snapping their shots: "You guys were out there shooting all the time," he said, "Which I appreciated."
No less enthusiastic were writing profs Judy Dobler and Tom Petner.
"I came late, but I discovered all kinds of interesting stories," Dobler said. "Road bowling, Cloud Cukoo, the Green Lady..."
Petner concurred, adding that he had been sending out photos taken by students to subscribers of his e-mail newsletter, viewed by thousands of colleges. "They were stunned by your photos," Petner said.
The event was rounded out by a showing of a number of the videos shot, as well as the web pages in progress.
"I'm really glad that I did this program," Oklahoma student Sarah Turner said after the crowd had watched her movie, a spooky drama on local ghost hauntings. "I'm really lucky and I feel really fortunate to have had the chance to come here. I've learned a lot about myself and others."
Similar testimonials were received from the community.
"I've been struck by the commitment of the students," local priest Fr Kevin said. "After all-- you are on summer holiday!"
A delegation of astronomers from the Armagh Observatory also turned up after a chance viewing online of some of the videos.
"We've watched the Armagh Observatory video 100 times," Romanian astronomer Miruna Popescu said with a smile. The team at the observatory liked it so much, she added, they incorporated it into their website.
"What an exciting programme-- we're delighted," said Armagh City councillor Sylvia McRoberts, enthusiastic about the benefits such a program can bring. "We appreciate your positive approach to showing Armagh, and you have demonstrated there is a lot happening here. You've been wonderful ambassadors."
Her partner, fellow councillor Thomas O'Hanlon, agreed. "I hope you's come back," he grinned.
The festivity continued later that night at Guildernew's bar, where program director Ciofalo treated the students to a night out, featuring cider, chicken goujons, and mayonnaise, with a musical backing courtesy of "DJ Chill".
But all good things must come to a close, and on Saturday morning the group left Armagh, sharing cabs to Belfast airport, doing last minute airport gift-shop shopping, and ascending into the dark clouds on their way back to the United States.
We at the Armagh Examiner would like to thank everyone-- readers, contributers, students, faculty, and 'Armaghnians' alike, and especially the Amma Centre, without which this project would not have been possible.
See you again next year!