Prize day told how one boy stood up to the school bullies

Published: 1 Nov 2012 13:000 comments

The Director of a Fermanagh victims group has told a school speech night of how he fought back and gave an older bully a black eye after years of being picked on in grammar school.

Mr. Kenny Donaldson

Mr. Kenny Donaldson, Director of SEFF (South East Fermanagh Foundation), a victims/survivors group in south east Fermanagh, was guest speaker at the Lisnaskea High School Celebration of Success last Thursday night.

Describing his first two years in Armagh Royal as "tough", the former Ulster Unionist election candidate admitted he had been "bullied fairly badly".

In a very personal address, he told the students, parents and school staff: "I'm going to share a story which I wouldn't necessarily recommend young people follow my example but it did resolve the bullying issue which focused upon me a culchie, farmer, sheep interferer and that sort of nonsense.

"One day I came into school and the usual main bullies (there were two of them) who were two years older than me started a vicious rant on me and I struck out and gave both of them a couple of good clips under the jaw and inflicting a black eye on one.

"Just as this happened the Vice-Principal (who had a notorious temper) came by and of course I was called to his office. I expected to be for the high jump but instead he reached out his hand and shook mine and said that I had done a job of service today for all young people who had been bullied by the two individuals concerned. After that day because a lowly second year had got the better of not one but two fourth years, their bullying stopped," he said.

Mr. Donaldson said through his experiences he would empathise with young people today. "Hence [I] would empathise with the experiences that vulnerable young people go through today and of course with the advent of technology, there are now ways for this practice to be done both at school and outside of it, with the developments we've seen with mobile phones and social networking," he said.

His first day at primary school had also brought its challenges.

"I was born and bred in a Border area, just two miles from Crossmaglen in South Armagh and because of the religious demographics of that area, I had some eight miles to travel to the nearest state school of Newtownhamilton Primary.

"I remember my first day at school very well, setting off the day after I turned four years old to board a bus with a small number of others from our area. My recollections of the journey are very vague but what I do remember is arriving to class and after a short period hoking in my pockets where I found a packet of Strawberry Chewits - my Mum had put them in there as a surprise for me and a treat on my first day at School. I took the packet out and sat it on the desk but without me noticing, the Chewits went missing. At lunch time another boy was eating Strawberry Chewits and when I challenged him that he'd stolen mine. He, of course, denied it".

Mr. Donaldson went on to describe how he reacted: "After lunch when he went to sit down at his desk I pulled the chair from under him and he fell back and bumped his head. Now the teacher at the time was able to do what can't be done in 2012 -- she smacked me on the bum. That day's experience lived me with for many years because it was my first sense of an injustice that had been done which I sought to rectify. Did I do it the right way then -- probably not -- but that experience in part helped shaped the young man I grew into and the larger, rounder man that I am today".

"After seven very happy years at Newtownhamilton Primary School and then after passing the 11+ I set off for Armagh Royal (or as it was known in my area - the snauby joint). Looking back that was not the right decision for me to have made because whilst I was considered 'clever' I was not from a family who were 'social elitists' or who bought into the falsehood that smart kids go to Grammars and stupid kids go to Secondary or High Schools. That wasn't how I saw the world -- the reason I chose to go to that school was more so about my belief that I'd have a stronger opportunity to advance in sport which I was extremely into at that age - athletics and football particularly. Of course when I arrived to the Royal, it was rugby and cricket that were the sports to be played and to excel and football was given no status whatsoever," he said.

He went on to describe his career after leaving school.

He has been Director of Services for SEFF for the last four years. For full coverage of Lisnaskea High School Celebration of Success see pages 36 and 37.

Jump to first paragraph.

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

Get more stories from our Roundup section

23 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department

In tomorrow's Impartial Reporter:

The phone call no mother wants as Ruby Brown tells of the moment she learned of the death of son Richard in a motorbike accident. Read her in-depth and moving interview.

Social: Comments0 comments

23 Apr 2014 21:30

Late Breen strike sends Town into final

Enniskillen Town Utd came from a goal down to book their place in the final of the Impartial Reporter Mulhern Cup with a 2-1 win over Kesh at Ferney Park tonight.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 15:35

Car stolen in "creeper burglary"

A car was stolen during a so-called “creeper burglary” at Raceview Court near the Cornagrade Road in Enniskillen.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 13:15

Castle Archdale hosts Dawn Chorus event

LOCAL people are invited to meet at Castle Archdale at 5am on Saturday, May 3, to listen to the birds welcome the new day in fine voice.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 11:30

Radio DJ includes Fermanagh stop in marathon challenge for charity

A radio DJ will bring her fundraising marathon challenge to Fermanagh this June in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 09:30

Arsonists responsible for 15 gorse fires since beginning of April

Arsonists are being blamed for starting around 15 gorse fires in the Garrison and Belcoo area since the beginning of April.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 17:00

Mallards slip into bottom two

Ballinamallard United slipped into the bottom two in the Danske Bank Premiership on goal difference following today's 2-2 draw with Dungannon Swifts at Ferney Park.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Opinion - Kylie Noble - Why I’m excited to vote for the first time

The rites of passage of growing up vary from person to person but throughout my own life events such as turning 13, my first formal, my GCSE and A level results, my 18th birthday (and my first and to date only hangover that followed), getting into university and moving away from home are just a few which I imagine are pretty common landmarks among my generation.

Social: Comments0 comments

22 Apr 2014 15:00

Rucksacks stolen in car break-in

A car was broken into at Navar Forest near Derrygonnelly last night (Monday).

Social:

22 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards

Stormont Files: Farm Watch designed to prevent rural crime - O'Neill

FARMERS in Fermanagh are being encouraged by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in Enniskillen to take part in the Farm Watch Scheme, an initiative endorsed by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 12:00

Lisnaskea home attacked

A house in Lisnaskea has been attacked.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 11:00 • Rodney Edwards

Stormont Files: Litter droppers approach MLA to quash £75 fine

A NUMBER of people in Fermanagh have been fined £75 for “dropping a cigarette butt or a sweet paper” on the street, according to UUP MLA Tom Elliott.

Social: Comments0 comments

22 Apr 2014 09:00

Motorist knew insurance shown to police had been cancelled

A 47-year-old factory worker has admitted fraudulently using a certificate of car insurance by showing it to the police, knowing it had been cancelled.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 22:30

Man(20) took father's car without consent

A 20-year-old man thought he was being “sensible” when he got behind the wheel of a crashed car to drive it home.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 19:00

Jail sentence for driver caught without insurance four times in two weeks

A 30-year-old car dealer caught driving without insurance four times in two weeks despite paying out £3,500 in premiums has been given a jail sentence.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 17:30

Number out of work in Fermanagh fell by 2.4 per cent in March

Unemployment in Fermanagh fell by 2.4 per cent last month.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Steering a safe path of expansion through the downturn

Liam Connolly Road Freight (LCRF) provides groupage services (i.e. from single pallet collections to full double-deck trailer collections) for over 300 customers throughout Ireland and the UK each day.

Social: Comments0 comments

21 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards

Irish President is latest to commend work of Enniskillen church leaders

THE work of Enniskillen’s two main church leaders, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall and Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, has received a warm acknowledgement from yet another head of state.

Social: Comments0 comments

21 Apr 2014 09:00 • Editorial Department

Not against a community centre but not on ‘our doorstep’

“WE are not against a community centre, we just don’t want it on our doorstep.”

Social: Comments0 comments

20 Apr 2014 19:00

'We want to do it for the supporters' - Davy Black

Clogher Valley coach David Black has vowed to make up for their All Ireland Junior Cup Final defeat by winning the Ulster Towns’ Cup for their supporters when they take on Donaghadee at Ravenhill on Easter Monday.

Social: