At the end of November Mr. Lenssen, director of the Bernardinuscollege in Heerlen, the Netherlands, received the EPAS (European Parliament Ambassador School) plaque on behalf of the school in the presence of six junior Ambassadors. During this digital meeting, a member of the accreditation committee indicated why the Bernardinuscollege is now an EPAS school.
Mr Lenssen about this accreditation: ‘’The development of our students is of prime importance for the Bernardinuscollege. Personal development starts with such questions as: who am I? What can I and what do I want? Our students find answers to these questions by not only learning at school but also outside the school. Our participation in EPAS helps to broaden the horizons of our students, which is why we are so proud of the certification thanks to the great commitment of our students and the teachers involved in the field of internationalization at the Bernardinuscollege.’’
In recent years there have been various initiatives to stimulate the political skills of students. Bernardinuscollege from Heerlen organized student exchanges with a Polish school from Opole, which is also EPAS certified. Bernardinuscollege organized also MEP (model European Parliament) on Tour and students prepared various Erasmus + projects (SOS: it is time to take action for technology addiction). In these Erasmus + projects Bernardinuscollege students work internationally with schools from different countries, including a Polish from Zgorzelec.
This school year, there are about 30 students who learn about how European democracy works and develop their skills in European citizenship. This school year EPAS has been integrated into special project: students will publish an information newspaper about EPAS (the first edition will be published in week 51), take part in Webinars (Wednesday 9 December they will talk to a Dutch politician Kim van Sparrentak about the Green Deal) and on Monday 17 May 2021 they will organize a Europe Day. This Europe Day is part of the project day for junior students from classes 1, 2 and 3.
Additionally two students have started research into the influence of the corona measures on the well-being / well-being of the school-going youth as part of their school project. In this research they work together with students from Spain, Turkey, Italy and Poland. On Thursday 21 January, 2021, they will organize a webinar in which the first results of the survey will be shared with the students from the participating countries.
Bernardinuscollege is the oldest secondary school in Heerlen founded in 1911 by Franciscans. In 1913 it was attended by the first students. It consists also of a Bernardinus Chapel which is a national monument. Many famous people attended this school including Jan Mans Dutch politician, mayor of many Dutch cities and Frans Timmermans Minister of Foreign Affairs, First Vice-President of the European Commission.