An 18 year-old Comeragh College student, who moved to Carrick-on-Suir from London five years ago, has won the top prize in Carrick-on-Suir Town Council’s 175th anniversary essay competition.
Leaving Cert student Kerry Cleary from Kickham Street, whose essay about her personal experiences of Carrick-on-Suir, is published in The Nationalist this week, was presented with a framed certificate and a E100 book voucher by the Mayor of Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald at an awards ceremony in Carrick-on-Suir Town Hall last Thursday night.
Two Junior Cert students at Comeragh College Conor Murray from Carrickbeg and Brian Connolly from Rathgormack were awarded second and third prizes respectively in the competition that was one of the events organised by the Town Council to mark the 175th anniversary of the local authority’s foundation. They were presented with framed certificates and book vouchers for E50 and E30.
Kerry Cleary told The Nationalist she was delighted to win first prize in the competition. “It’s a total honour. I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said.
Her success in the essay competition follows just six months after she climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa, a considerable feat for one so young.
The competition was open to all secondary school students from Carrick-on-Suir and the challenge was to write an essay on the subject: “Carrick-on-Suir - Place To Know”.
The students of Comeragh College put pen to paper and submitted their entries, which were judged by the Mayor of Carrick-on-Suir and Aileen Hahesy, journalist with The Nationalist.
At the awards ceremony, Cllr Fitzgerald congratulated the winners and all the students who took part in the competition.
“I read them all and they were very inspiring and thought provoking and they show that Carrick-on-Suir has a great future,” he said.
He said “Carrick-on-Suir - A Place To Know” was chosen as the theme for the essay competition because a lot of new people had come to the town in the last few years and they wanted to try and see the town through their thoughts.
The Mayor said he would like, with the authors’ permission, to put the winning essays on show in Carrick-on-Suir Heritage Centre, and revealed that the Council hoped to run the competition again next year.
Town Clerk Michael O’Brien said in celebrating the Town Council’s 175th anniversary, they felt it was important that the people of the town were included as much as possible. Sometimes
Carrick-on-Suir sometimes had a very unfair image and it was fantastic to see the town portrayed in such a positive light in this competition.
“It was inspiring to read those essays. Some of the cycnicism you get on a daily basis was absent. It was great to see. I want to thank Comeragh College Principal Pat Callanan for encouraging students to participate. The quality and calibre of the essays shone through in all the entries and particularly the prize winners,” he added.
Comeragh College English teacher Katherine Cahill said the school was delighted to be involved in the competition and in celebrating the Town Council’s 175th anniversary as it was very important to the school to be a part of the town of Carrick-on-Suir.
She said she found some of the students essays gave her an insight into life growing up in Carrick-on-Suir and they found it to be a welcoming place with a strong sense of community, which was really wonderful to see.
Comeragh College Principal Pat Callanan told the ceremony the essay competition was an “absolutely fantastic” event and hoped it would continue and that all three secondary schools in the town will take part.
Town Council members , who attended the prize giving paid their own personal tributes to the essay competition prize winners.