Northern Ireland’s new First Minister, Arlene Foster, conducted her first official engagement at Pond Park Primary School in Lisburn on Tuesday (January 12).
Mrs Foster was welcomed to the school by Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan and Principal Mr Geoffrey Cherry, who both said they were delighted that the new First Minister has chosen to visit Pond Park Primary.
The First Minister was taken on a tour of the school and had a chance to meet with some of the pupils, who presented her with a card to thank her for taking the time to visit.
After spending time with some of the younger pupils in P1, P2 and P3, Mrs Foster held a Q&A in the school hall, giving the older children the opportunity to ask some pressing questions, including why Mrs Foster got into politics, what her view was on the transfer test and what she would like to achieve as First Minister.
Megan Williamson, Charlie Andrews, Aimee Budd, Katrina Mason, Matthew Crowe and Ryan McKay all put questions to the First Minsiter.
During the Q&A Mrs Foster revealed she first became interested in politics whilst studying at Queens University, she also said she believed there should be one single transfer test, that her most memorable engagement to date had been meeting the Queen and that one of her main aims was to ensure that every child in Northern Ireland had the best possible opportunities in life and that they would be proud to come from Northern Ireland.
Following the Q&A the school’s senior choir, which holds the title of School Choir of the Year, sang two pieces for the First Minister, who admitted she was very moved by the performances, even having a tear in her eye at one stage.
Principal Mr Cherry thanked the First Minister for visiting the school and wished her every success during her time in office.
Mr Cherry said everyone at the school was very proud to welcomed Mrs Foster to Pond Park Primary.
“We were particularly pleased that she was able to spend so much time focusing on the children,” said Mr Cherry.
“She was so warmand it was very special for the school to have her visit. The children were very excited,”
Thanking Mrs Foster for visiting the school, Mr Givan said this would be just one of many visits the First Minister would make to Lisburn.
“I am delighted that Arlene’s first official visit was to Pond Park Primary, a school that is particularly close to my heart as I am a former pupil, with children myself at the school.
“The message to the children very much focused on making sure they get the best opportunities in life.”
Speaking after her visit, Mrs Foster said she wanted to visit a school for her first official engagement.
“I wanted to interact with young people,” she continued.
“Pond Park Primary is a very forward thinking school and I have been very impressed by the young people, by their confidence and their self esteem.”