Deirdre Murphy is a Primary school teacher in Temple Street Children’s Hospital School, Dublin. She is a graduate of University College Dublin spending and holds a Postgraduate Degree in Primary Education from Froebel College of Education where she was a member of the Student Union and the Irish Language Officer. As a 2019-2020 Fulbright Irish FLTA she taught Irish at Gonzaga University, Washington State.
“As part of my Fulbright FLTA Award, I took part in one of Gonzaga’s Alternative Spring Break Trips. I was the Faculty Advisor with 10 Gonzaga undergraduate students on a trip to Denver. We spent a week volunteering with different organisations and attending information sessions to learn more about the immigrant, refugee and undocumented communities there.
We volunteered with Re:Vision, an urban farm in Westwood, Denver helping with farm work and meeting members from their community. We cleaned at ‘Casa de Paz’, a house located close to an ICE detention centre. When people are released from the ICE centre they are brought by volunteers to Casa de Paz, where they can stay/shower/eat/call family and volunteers help them get a flight back to their families or the place in USA in which they reside. We attended an information session with an ICE community officer and were able to ask questions about immigration issues etc at Denver’s Department of Homeland Security.
We also volunteered at a Spanish bi-lingual, bi-literate school ‘Esquela de Guadelupe, we helped out in the classrooms and helped with some custodial work in the playground. We taught a beginners ESL class to a group of 30 students, this was an amazing experience and we met some extremely inspirational community members who are making a difference for the refugee and immigrant communities.
As the first Irish Gaelic FLTA to go to Gonzaga University, I worked hard to make connections with the Irish community in Spokane and I put on a 4-week Gaelic class for the Gonzaga and wider Spokane community. This was a fantastic way to connect with the Irish community in Spokane and as a result of these classes, I’m currently helping with a translation of a beginners Salish (Native America Language) curriculum into Irish with the Principal of the Salish immersion school in Spokane.
I was really delighted to have been selected as Irish Colleen in Spokane for 2020 by The Spokane Branch of The Friendly Sons of St Patrick. This is awarded for contributions to volunteer and community work for the community in Spokane. The Irish Colleen walks in the St Patrick’s Day Parade. Unfortunately due to COVID 19 the St Patrick’s Day parade was cancelled. But I was lucky to be able to visit the 4th grade class who were selected to walk in the parade. We visited the school and I was able to donate some St Patrick’s Day costumes that I had brought from Ireland with me to the school.”