Students honoured for outstanding school achievements and retiring staff for 289 years combined service

South Tipperary VEC currently provides education to 2,500 full time day pupils in its schools and 4,500 adults participate in a range of education programmes/services through the Adult Education department in various locations throughout South Tipperary. South Tipperary VEC also services the communities of South Tipperary through a range of other education services such as School Transport, Student Support Grants, Adult Guidance, Youth Services, Literacy and is a lead state agency in many countywide projects/bodies, e.g. South Tipperary Sports Partnership.

South Tipperary VEC currently provides education to 2,500 full time day pupils in its schools and 4,500 adults participate in a range of education programmes/services through the Adult Education department in various locations throughout South Tipperary. South Tipperary VEC also services the communities of South Tipperary through a range of other education services such as School Transport, Student Support Grants, Adult Guidance, Youth Services, Literacy and is a lead state agency in many countywide projects/bodies, e.g. South Tipperary Sports Partnership.

As the statutory education provider in South Tipperary, the VEC, as part of its annual programme of activities, hosts an evening to acknowledge the wonderful achievements of their students and pays tribute to their staff who have recently retired for their dedicated service to teaching. The evening of celebration for the six schools and Youthreach centre of South Tipperary Vocational Education Committee took place in Hotel Minella, Clonmel.

The presentation of the VEC Awards is a significant event in the annual VEC calendar. Students from the Youthreach centre in Cappawhite and the six VEC Post Primary schools in South Tipperary, Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir; Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir; Coláiste Chluain Meala, Clonmel; Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn, Clonmel, Scoil Ruain, Killenaule and St. Ailbe’s, Tipperary are presented with an award and a certificate for their achievements under the following categories: Best Leaving Certificate, Best Leaving Certificate Applied, Personal Achievement and Sport.

Cllr. John Fahey, Chairperson of South Tipperary VEC congratulated Ms. Fionuala McGeever and South Tipperary VEC on their work throughout the region and how they are helping many communities and organisations.

Cllr. John Crosse, Chairperson of South Tipperary County Council commented on the importance of education for the students and to ensure they receive the best head start for their future careers so that they can face the current economic difficulties head on.

Award Recipients were -

Youthreach Centre in Cappawhite - Joe O’Riordan received the Best Leaving Certificate Applied Award, and Paulius Aleknavicius accepted his Personal Achievement award which was in recognition of his contribution to the Youthreach centre.

Coláiste Chluain Meala, Clonmel - Tiffany Le Bleis Mulcahy, Best Leaving Certificate Award; Evan Lyons, Best Leaving Certificate Applied Award; Personal Achievement Award, Jason Hawkins; Shane Flynn, Sports Award for his achievements in Soccer and Gaelic Football.

Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn, Clonmel - Niamh Bhreathnach and Eoin Ó Slataire, joint award for the Best Leaving Certificate which they completed through the medium of Irish; Seán Ó Mathúna, personal achievement award for being an excellent student in the Gaelcholáiste; Cathal Mac Íomhair, Sports award for his many achievements on the football and soccer field.

Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir - Maria Doverman, Best Leaving Certificate Award; Dean Buckley, Personal Achievement Award and Marie Claire Murphy, Sports Award for her Sporting Achievements.

Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir - Jonathan Flynn, Best Leaving Certificate; Kerry Ann Cleary, Personal Achievement award and James Greene, award for Sport for his contributions to the Athletics in Comeragh College.

St. Ailbe’s School, Tipperary Town - Best Leaving Certificate Award, Étaín Ryan; Brian Roche, Best Leaving Certificate Applied award; Dean Browne, Personal Achievement; Sean Glasheen, sports award.

Scoil Ruain, Killenaule - Audrey Smith, Best Leaving Certificate Award; Amanda Da Silva, Personal Achievement award for overcoming many barriers after moving to Ireland from Brazil and excelling in her studies in Scoil Ruain; Richie Walsh, Sports Award but was unable to attend on the night to collect his award. Deputy Principal Siobhán Landers collected the award on his behalf.

Ms. Fionuala McGeever (CEO) made a presentation to four members of the South Tipperary VEC staff who had recently retired.

Ms. Alice Halpin, HR Manager in the Administrative Head Offices listened to kind words being spoken about her during her time working with South Tipperary VEC. Alice will be sadly missed by all her colleagues. Her experience, wisdom, good humour, patience but most of all her friendship and support around the office will be sorely missed. There is no doubt Alice has more than earned her retirement and we wish Alice a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Mr. Paul O’Callaghan, Teacher of Woodwork and outgoing Principal retired from his post after providing almost 40 years service to South Tipperary VEC. Paul carried on the O’Callaghan family tradition of vocational teaching in St. Ailbe’s, providing almost 80 years service between himself and his father. Paul was commended for being instigator of many successful programmes delivered in St. Ailbe’s and his hard work in securing the Sports Hall development for St. Ailbe’s was commended also. Paul was wished a long, happy and fruitful retirement.

Mr. Jack Looby, retiring caretaker from St. Ailbe’s School, Tipperary Town was next to receive his token of appreciation for his 25 year’s service to South Tipperary. Many memories of Jack’s time were shared including his skills and expertise in the area of caretaking; his ability to interact with staff and students were second to none; his fitness and love of cycling and hill walking; his wit and good humour; his intelligence and knowledge which has helped him to win many pub quizzes. All in all, Jack will be sorely missed by all those in St. Ailbe’s but the School is lucky to have had the pleasure of having Jack for 25 years of his life. It is now hoped Jack will travel the world, visiting his family and that he will enjoy his retirement.

Ms. Cathriona Ní Chathail, retired Irish and English teacher from Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir was last but not least to receive her commemorative piece of crystal in recognition of her valued 21 years’ service to South Tipperary VEC. Cathriona provided the School with much expertise in addition to her teaching, in the areas of Special Needs and State Examinations. Cathriona’s love of Toastmasters, Public Speaking and charitable fundraising were just some of her own extra-curricular activities which were portrayed and we have no doubt will ensure she is kept busy and enjoy a long, happy and healthy retirement.

In 2011/12 South Tipperary VEC has seen 10 staff members retire. In addition to the above four retiring staff members who were in attendance, the following staff members also retired but unfortunately were unable to attend on the night. Michael Kelly (Retired Deputy Principal, Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir); Mr. John O’Neill (Retiring Caretaker, Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir); Ms. Alison O’Neill (Retired Cleaner, Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir); Ms. Teresa Downes (Retired Teacher, Coláiste Dun Iascaigh, Cahir); Mr. Richard Brennan (Retired Teacher, Coláiste Chluain Meala, Clonmel); Mr. Michael Dempsey (Retired Caretaker, Coláiste Chluain Meala, Clonmel). All in all, the collective service of the 10 retiring staff members is in the region of 289 years’ service to South Tipperary VEC.

In 2012, following on from the successes of the 2011 trip, a special tribute was paid to a group of 17 people, made up of the staff and students who all took part in a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in the Summer of 2012. The group began training for the trip in January with the aid of the Project Co-ordinator Ian McKeever. The 17 participants including 15 from South Tipperary and 2 from North Tipperary reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on Monday, June 25, 2012. The group maintained a 100% record of reaching the summit and in the process raised €9,455.72 for their chosen charity “South Tipperary Hospice Movement”. In addition to this, the following monies were also raised for Irish Cancer Society (€1,000); North Tipperary Hospice Movement (€763.73); L’Arche charity (€500); Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (€430); African Charities (€128). All in all, the total amount of money raised by the group was € €12,277.45. A special thanks should go to everyone who sponsored the participants and helped them reach their goals. Each participant received a piece to commemorate their magnificent achievement. A presentation was also made to Ian McKeever for his help, support and contribution to the project. Here’s hoping 2013 will be just as successful!