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For International Women’s Day, pupils from Magherafelt High School and St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, share the females they consider role models in their own lives.

​Ben Charles, Magherafelt High School: Tyler Hyde. She’s the bass player in my favourite band, Black Country, New Road. I love music and she plays the instrument I play. She’s a stand-out in her field and makes the instrument the focal point of the band. I follow her on Instagram and watch the videos to copy the riffs.

​Addison Fawcett, Magherafelt High School: My sister Lucy. She’s in upper sixth at school. She was diagnosed with autism when she was 15 and I know it was very difficult for her, particularly for all the years she went without knowing. Watching how she has coped has been an inspiration to me. She was mature in how she told all of her family and she gives her all in everything she does. She won’t let anything stand in her way of achieving what she wants in life.

​Regan Bamford, Magherafelt High School: I love football and I chose Northern Ireland international footballer Lauren Wade. She was my football coach at Moyola Park FC and was always there to help me. I follow her on Instagram now, and seeing someone you know, and who has helped you in doing something you love, achieve so much in the sport makes it special. I suppose there’s a personal connection there too. She’s someone I would love to emulate one day.

​Katie Clinton, Magherafelt High School: My mum Danielle. No matter what she faced she never gave up. She runs a business in the town. She’s my best friend and I’m so proud of her. She might have struggled, but she never let that show to her family. It’s the independence she showed me that’s the biggest inspiration.

​Natasha Varghese, Magherafelt High School: I thought about Zendaya — she’s all about female empowerment, she’s feisty and she’s great at what she does — but, to be honest, it’s my granny. She’s the ideal woman I’d like to become in the future: someone who’s always there for her family, with a smile on her face.

​Emily Silverson, Magherafelt High School: I recently started drumming in a pipe band and the biggest role model for me is a Magherafelt girl I know, Kara Gilmore. She’s a two-time World Pipe Band Drum Major champion already. She is someone I would love to emulate. Had it not been for seeing what she has already achieved, I don’t think I would have been able to stand and play in front of 11,000 people at the SSE Arena during the Peace Proms.

​Anna Hurl, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: My granny Bridget. She’s the only grandparent I knew growing up. Compassionate and empathetic, she worked all her life for the family business and taught me that a family working together can provide everything it needs. She was widowed while still young but is still the centre of our family. She’s my neighbour too, so she’s never far away with a smile. I hope I can do something similar.

​Conor Tohill, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: My mum Deirdre. Her dad died when she was very young but she went on to medical school. She’s a nurse at Antrim Area Hospital. I watched her go to work, self-isolate during Covid, put the health of others before her own because she was in a position to help. I’ll always be proud of her for that.

Orlaith Mulholland, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: My aunt is vision impaired, but she works in a psychiatric hospital in Antrim. She uses a guide dog, but she’s still so outgoing, always seeking to help people. That’s the person I want to be.

​Charlotte-Rose Eastwood, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: I fell in love with music thanks to Taylor Swift. I can remember listening to her music for the first time and that inspired me to sing, learn piano and play guitar. She’s taught me to ignore what other people say about you and always be yourself.

​Eilish Young, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: I’ve loved stories since I was very young and my mum and granny always read Enid Blyton to me. They loved her work and I’m the same now. It’s her sense of adventure and creativeness, at a time when women weren’t as common in literature. The love of words and creativity has followed down through my family and it has inspired me to be as creative as I can in my own school work.

​Conall Gribben, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: My granny Kathleen lost her mother when she was just 12. She was the woman of the home from a very young age, looking after five children and working on the family farm. She had to give up her own education to do all of that. Attitudes were different back then and she was never encouraged to return to education. I often wonder if her life would be different had she been born 50 years later. Opportunities today are so different, but she always showed a wonderful work ethic I would aspire to copy.

​Feargal Logan, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: My aunt Hannah Shields. She was the first woman from Northern Ireland to reach the summit of Everest. She got to within 100 metres four years before. She got frostbite and was told to either carry on with no guarantee she would get back down or give up. She may have given up that first time, but she went back and did it. She has inspired me to enjoy what I do and she has taught me that there are no limits to what you can achieve in life.

​Neva Chauhan, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: My mum was a single parent and made sure my sister and I always had everything we needed in life. I think it’s her determination and resilience that has had the biggest effect on me. And I saw how she was always surrounded by network of strong women for support.

​Louise Likeman, St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: My mum Frances. She’s a gynaecologist and built her reputation at a time when women’s bodies were not talked about as much as they are today. She had the confidence to stand up and start that — and she’s never stopped. A couple of years ago she got breast cancer. It was difficult to watch how someone who was always on the go suddenly had to stop. But she refused to give in, and she’s now back at work, recently opening a new clinic in Magherafelt. She’s had a few hard years but her strength is an inspiration. My mum has shown me that there are so many paths we can now take and that women can lead from the front thanks to how society has changed.

Source – International Women’s Day: NI pupils reveal the empowering ladies they look up to |