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.
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.
These awards are in recognition of the efforts of students, teachers and schools to achieve continuous improvements and excellence in academic study and personal development.
Fionuala McGeever, Chief Executive Officer of South Tipperary VEC welcomed everyone to the evening of celebration at Clonmel’s Hotel Minella for the six schools and Youthreach centre of VEC.
School Principal, Charlie McGeever spoke kindly of each of the following recipients of the awards made to the Colaiste Chluain Meala students - Barry Mulcahy received the Best Leaving Certificate Award, but was unable to attend; Stephen Magorrian received the Best Leaving Certificate Applied Award and the Personal Achievement Award,and he is currently studying Business in Waterford IT; Ian Fahey collected the Sports Award for his achievements in Soccer and Gaelic Football and he was also complimented for his contribution to All Ireland Minor Football success for Tipperary.
An Muinteoir i bhFeighil, Mathúin O’Caoimh introduced the award recipients from Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn in Clonmel. Diarmuid Ó Icí received the award for the Best Leaving Certificate, which he completed through the medium of Irish. Diarmuid has gone on to study PE and English in University of Limerick. Dhearbhla Nic Amhalghaidh received the personal achievement award for being an excellent student in the Gaelcholáiste. Her commitment to the school life as a whole proves she has an excellent future ahead of her. She has gone on to study Business and French in University College Dublin. Ciarán Thomás Mac An Ghaill received the sports award for his many achievements on the football and soccer field. He recently achieved a long-held ambition by gaining a place on the Soccer Education and Training course at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork.
Principal Mary Finnegan-Burke introduced the following students from Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir - Maurice Casey, who received the Best Leaving Certificate Award following his excellent results in June. Maurice is now studying English and Spanish in Trinity College Dublin. Lynn Burke was presented with the Personal Achievement Award and was referred to as “one of the unsung heroes”. She is now studying Primary School Teaching in the Marino College, Dublin. Niamh Myles received the Sports Award for her achievements in Ladies Football, Camóige and Basketball and for her representing her club Brian Borus and her county in Ladies Football.
Acting Principal of St. Ailbe’s School, Tipperary Town, Noel Clancy introduced the following award recipients from his school - the Best Leaving Certificate Award went to Daniel Bresnan, who has gone on studying for a Degree in Physics following his excellent Leaving Certificate results; Louise Roche was awarded the Best Leaving Certificate Applied award, and as Louise is gone to Australia working her aunt Celine accepted the award on her behalf. Matthew Ryan received the Personal Achievement award for his contributions to the school. Maeve O’Gorman received the sports award for her achievements in the school, including playing a vital role in capturing the school’s first ever Munster title in Ladies Football and her contribution to athletics is truly commendable.
John Kelly, Acting Manager of the Youthreach Centre in Cappawhite spoke favourably about the two award recipients from his centre. Jimmy Ryan received the Best Leaving Certificate Applied Award but was unable to attend. William Morey accepted his Personal Achievement award, which was in recognition of his contribution to the centre. He has secured a job in the computing industry and was wished the best of luck in this.
Students from Scoil Ruain, Killenaule were introduced by their new Principal,Gerry McGill. Maria Ryan received the award for Best Leaving Certificate Award. After coming to Ireland from Spain to stay with her grandparents to completed Transition Year, Maria’s admiration for the school made her stay and complete the Senior Cycle in Scoil Ruain and she went on to gain the best results in the school in her Leaving Certificate in 2011. Aisha Tobin received the Award for Best Leaving Certificate Applied but was unable to attend and Deputy Principal Siobhán Landers collected the award on her behalf. The award for Personal Achievement went to Anthony Curran for his personal and intellectual qualities, which were reflected in him as a student of Scoil Ruain. Tomás Nolan received the Sports Award and was commended for his contributions to his school and club alike. Tomás won two Hurling All -reland medals in successive years.
Principal, Pat Callanan introduced the students from Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir, starting with Laura Dunphy who received the award for Best Leaving Certificate Award and has gone on to University of Limerick to continue her studies. Danielle Roche received the award for Best Leaving Certificate Applied Award following her excellent results and is now gone on to study Beauty Therapy in CTI, Waterford. Billy Power received the award for sport for his contributions to all sports in Comeragh College but none less than football. He is now a student at University of Limerick.
CEO Fionuala McGeever also made a presentation to five members of the South Tipperary VEC teaching staff who had recently retired. Marguerite Fahey of Coláiste Chluain Meala, who was recognised as true professional received her commemorative piece of crystal for her 31 years service with South Tipperary VEC as a Domestic Science Teacher. During her time in Clonmel, Marguerite devised and developed two Post Leaving Certificate courses; one in Tourism Studies and the other in Nursing Studies. She was the examination secretary for all three sections of the Central Technical Institute, covering both the State Examination Commission and FETAC examinations. This was an enormous task, on top of a full teaching load, which she carried out with competence, efficiency and attention to detail.
Michael Berry, Teacher of Mathematics and Geography and outgoing Deputy Principal of Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir retired from his post after providing 37 years service. During his time in Coláiste Dún Iascaigh he taught Mathematics and Geography; held a Special Duties Teacher post; an Assistant Principal post and a Deputy Principal post. He took groups of students on various outdoor pursuits, trips to local Youth Hostels, adventure centres and climbing local mountains. He initiated trips to Premiership matches in England for groups of students. He trained various Gaelic Football teams in the early days, he trained soccer teams, introduced competitive soccer for the students and entered teams at all levels in the schoolboy soccer competitions. He coached school debating teams, served as staff representative on the Board of Management of Cahir Vocational School, he was a T.U.I. observer at VEC meetings in the 80s and is currently in his second term as a member of South Tipperary VEC.
Fr. Matthew Knight received his presentation after 39 years of dedicated service to South Tipperary VEC. He taught Religion to all levels as well as carrying out his duties as a Chaplain. His contribution to education in Cahir and its hinterlands over a period of 40 years was enormous. He was present at all events in the life of the schools in which he worked. All School activities were photographed by him. He has left an everlasting portfolio of 40 years of photographs that is meticulously arranged. He has performed the marriage ceremony of most students who passed through the system in his era. He has baptised their children, attended funerals of friends, parents and grandparents. On an annual basis he organised liturgical events, opening and closing year Masses, confessions, Easter, Christmas and other Special Day celebrations.
Marie Farrell joined South Tipp VEC in 1997 when Scoil Chriost Rí amalgamated with St. Joseph’s School and the Vocational School in Cahir to become what is now Coláiste Dún Iascaigh. Marie was a teacher of Geography and History. She made the art of teaching enjoyable for all her students by bringing her geography students on various field trips, which included weekends away in Co. Clare studying rock formations and the flora and fauna of the area, as well as outings to the Mitchelstown Caves, to Dublin, to manufacturing plants such as Medite and Merck and strenuous mountain climbs to places like Coumshingaun in the Comeraghs and Glendalough in Wicklow. Her pupils always got on very well in the state examinations, many of them achieving As in Geography at Leaving Cert level. As with her teaching, Maria brought a deep sense of professionalism to her post work. Her work as Assistant Principal was a nice blend of care combined with discipline and was appreciated by all.
The Sisters of Mercy employed William (Bill) Noonan as caretaker in 1987 and he transferred to the Coláiste on amalgamation in 1997. Bill’s attention to detail ensured the highest standard of workmanship and he always commanded an A1 grade for care and attention lavished on the school building. He contributed enormously to the development of the Coláiste. He was an invaluable person in the Coláiste team who worked tirelessly to ensure that the Coláiste day was run smoothly.
This year there was a first when a special tribute was paid to a group of 19 people, made up of the CEO, staff and students, who all took part in a Climb of Mount Kilimanjaro this summer. The group began training for the trip back in March with the aid of the Project Co-ordinator Ian McKeever. The first 5 participants from South Tipperary reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on Monday 4th July and the remaining 14 participants went on a later trip and reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on Monday 29th August. The group maintained a 100% record of reaching the summit and in the process raised €16,012.37 for their chosen charity Aware. Thanks are extended to everyone who sponsored the participants and helped them reach their goals. One of the biggest achievements was that of 11 year old Sarah O’Neill on reaching the summit and becoming the youngest girl to ever reach the top of Kilimanjaro. A presentation was also made to Ian McKeever for his help, support and contribution to the project.