Banbridge Academy pupil Nicole Parkinson-Kelly has overcome nerves to win the local school’s heat of the Rotary Youth Leadership and Development competition.
She is now preparing for the regional heat where she will again be interviewed against pupils from other schools across Ireland to compete for a space as one of 24 representatives on a trip to the European Parliament, Strasbourg.
Nicole was described by the judges as ‘an excellent ambassador for young people,’ but said before the interview started nerves almost got the better of her.
“Nerves are overwhelming,” she said, “causing your palms to sweat, your fingers to fidget. I was glad to sit down in the interview room.
“As soon as we began our discussion on my previous experiences in leadership, I began to relax.
“I was able to discuss my work experience with the British Council in Belfast and my progression with National Citizen Service incorporating life skills and lessons as we spoke.
“I have been to Stormont, historic political buildings in Dublin as well as Westminster and Downing Street with NCS. I would be honoured to now be selected to visit the European Parliament with my interest in politics ever growing.
“I am grateful to have this chance to represent my school and my community and I will try to make them proud.”
From a young age, Nicole said she was a shy, cautious person but explained how joining the NCS helped build her confidence. The Rotary Club Youth Leadership Development Competition is her most recent endeavour.
To date there have been seven representatives selected from Banbridge to got to Strasbourg, of which Banbridge Rotary are very proud.