National
recognition for volunteer

St. Anne's student Sarah O'Neil who is one of the top twenty finalist in the junior section of the Pramerica Spirit of Community Volunteer Awards.
St. Anne’s secondary school student Sarah O’Neill is one of this year’s twenty finalists in the junior section of the Pramerica Spirit of Community Volunteer Awards.

St. Anne’s secondary school student Sarah O’Neill is one of this year’s twenty finalists in the junior section of the Pramerica Spirit of Community Volunteer Awards.

The Pramerica Spirit of Community award, now in its eighth year, is an all-Ireland recognition programme for outstanding young volunteers that affirms and rewards post-primary/second-level students for volunteer work carried out in their communities.

Principal Colette Tracey and co-coordinator of the Pramerica Awards in St. Anne’s Ms. Ryan nominated Sarah for the award.

“We received fifteen junior applications and twelve senior applications and we shortlisted three in each category. We chose Sarah to represent the junior category for our school because of the varied volunteer work she has done and also her qualities of determination, kindness, willingness and always being very helpful,” said Ms. Ryan.

In 2011, Sarah and her mother Sinead raised €16K for the mental health charity AWARE by climbing Kilimanjaro. The money was collected through many fundraising activities that were fully supported by the people of Bansha and surrounding areas. In June 2013, Sarah organised a Galtymore charity walk to raise funds for an orphanage that was the brainchild of Ian McKeever who passed away earlier that year. Ian was the guide that took Sarah and her mother Sinead to the top of Kilimanjaro and his dream was to create an orphanage in Africa. Another fundraising effort collected money for The Rainbow Foundation that was created by the parents of William Winder who committed suicide. Sarah is an active member of Bansha Tidy Towns and helped out with the rejuvenation of Bansha N.S. As a past pupil of Bansha N.S. Sarah and her team gained the first and second green flag for the school and as she continued this passion at St. Anne’s Secondary school where as junior secretary of St. Anne’s Green school committee, Sarah and her team colleagues gained their first green flag.