Aoife McClean

Aoife McClean

JLA Member (Junior Leadership Academy)

Hi, my name is Aoife McClean, I am 15 years old, I live in Kilcoo Co. Down and I am an only child.  I have a pet cat and 2 goldfishes which I love ever so dearly. I currently play Gaelic football, camogie for my local GAA club and netball for my high school but I do not play it anymore. I am not amazing at these sports, but I do enjoy playing them.

I began at Robson Family Karate when I was 9 years old and have been here ever since. I started here because when I was in primary school there were only 4 other girls in my class, so boys would often pick on us. There was this one boy who just took it too far, he kept twisting our arms behind our backs nearly every day. He also did karate so I thought that if I took karate, I would be able to defend myself and all of the other girls in my class. To him and to all the other boys in my class who ever picked on us. I only thought I would take a few classes for a few months, but I was wrong, here I am 6 years later and still going strong.

Ever since I was in P1 I was a shy, awkward, and quiet kid, I never raised my hand in class or ever misbehaved. Most would tease me or called me out because I never said or stood up for myself, I would just sit and take it never saying a word back. Ever since I started karate I grew so much in my confidence, in my self-esteem and I believed so much more in myself. I am so grateful for everything I was taught, so I could be the best me that I could be.

My future goals are to become the CEO of a multimillion [whatever currency] business. Before that go to university and business school where I can learn more than everything that I need to know, but before any of that, I want to travel the world. I want to see new things and meet lots of incredible and unique people, and their way of life. I want to say when I am old and grey that I am proud of my life and my achievements. I do not want to be one of those people who lives 100 years, without living for 1 day. My future goals are big and not going to be easy to achieve but I am going to try my hardest.

To be a JLA member has been and is a huge honour for me. To be a person someone can look up to and be inspired by is just an amazing feeling of accomplishment and pride. I want to help others in the same way that karate helped me by helping lots of kids grow in confidence, their self-esteem and just feel better about the person they are and are going to be. There are a lot of pressures in society today to be perfect and a lot of kids/ young people feel they have to change who they are to be accepted, but I want to help them see they are perfect just the way they are. Also, they do not need to change who they are to fit someone else`s description of who they are supposed to be.