Sue Anne O'Donnell presenting the Adam O'Donnell Transition Year Enterprise Award to members of the winning project 'Aslan Keyrings'.
Fethard Patrician Presentation Secondary School held their annual awards ceremony recently, recognising students immense talents and lauding their efforts to reach their potential academically, socially and personally.
Sixth year student and chairperson of the Student Council Jack Spillane welcomed everyone and to the opening mass. The chief celebrant was Fr. Liam Everard P.P, assisted by the school’s great friend and supporter Fr. Tom Breen.
Fr. Liam thanked everyone and highlighted the importance of such a ceremony in the lives of the pupils. Taking inspiration from the effects of Hurricane Ophelia, Fr. Liam spoke about the importance of being connected in life and of the electronic disconnection which most of us felt during the power cuts recently. He went on to emphasise the need for all of us to connect with each other in every aspect of our life and mentioned a number of connections which he has with the school.
The school choir, under Megan Raggett, sang beautifully and enhanced the celebration of the mass.
Newly appointed principal Pat Coffey was the master of ceremonies for the day. On a personal level, he thanked the staff, pupils and parents for the warmth of their welcome to him and said that he enjoyed getting to know the staff and the Fethard community. He then outlined the extent of the awards being presented on the day and thanked sincerely the sponsors of the various awards. Mr. Coffey said the school is proud of all the pupils and not just those who received prizes on the day. He congratulated students on their work and efforts, and exhorted them to continue to work hard to realise their expectations and goals.
Mr. Coffey also thanked teachers and ancillary staff for bringing the ceremony to fruition. Congratulating teacher Justin McGree, who was recently appointed vice-president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, Mr. Coffey said it was an honour for the school to have a staff member on a national association.
Mr. Coffey welcomed guest speaker Suzanne Gorey and said she epitomises all that is good in the school. Past-pupil Suzanne was accompanied by her mother Maura. Suzanne’s other two siblings, Dr. David Gorey (Mater Hospital) and Mary (science teacher in Borrisoleigh), are also past-pupils of the school. Suzanne now works as a barrister, dealing mainly in criminal law on the South-Eastern Circuit.
Suzanne embraced wholeheartedly the opportunities offered in the school and recalled anecdotally how she herself had never received a ‘Pupil of the Year’ award during her time in the school, but this fact never prevented her from achieving in life. She spoke fondly of her time in school and credited transition year for pointing her in the legal direction. In transition year, on the advice of Deirdre Mulhall, Suzanne completed her work experience with barrister Johnny Walsh and from then she was determined to pursue a career in law. Indeed, Johnny Walsh continues to be a great inspiration and mentor to her.
The ceremony continued with the presentation of the following awards:
Students of the Year Awards: Sadhbh Morrissey (1st-2nd Year), Michelle Cronin (2nd-3rd Year), Dylan Lyons (5th-6th Year). Bishop Delany Award to Ciara Hayes for Best Leaving Cert results 2017).
Attendance and Punctuality Certificates: Ella-Mai Hackett (1st Year), Patrick Shine (2nd Year), Carrie Davey (3rd Year), Lucy Whyte and Shannon Thompson (4th Year), and Emma Cronin (5th Year).
5th Year Mentors: Amy Byrne, Amy Kenny, Lucy Whyte, Aran Larkin, Noelle O’Meara, Dillon Costin, Shannon Thompson and Katerina Vicenova.
Padráig Pearse Award was presented to Laura Kiely for best Junior Cert results in Irish and History).
The Timmy O’Connor ‘Spirit of the School’ Award was presented by Ms Rita (O’Connor) Kenny to Dylan Lyons. The Adam O’Donnell Enterprise Award for TY students, presented by Mrs Sue Anne O’Donnell, to the ‘Aslan Keyrings’ project members: Amy Byrne, Lucy Whyte, Shannon Thompson and Noelle O’Meara.
The Paddy Broderick Award for best results in Junior Cert Geography was presented to Keith Morrissey. The Marian Gilpin LAM Award for literature, arts and music was presented by Ms Marian Gilpin to Corey Carroll.
Fethard Quill Writer’s Awards were presented by Ms Majella Whelan to Michelle Cronin (Junior Cycle) and Mark Hayde (Senior Cycle). The Sports’ Awards, sponsored by AIB Fethard, were presented by Mr John Palmer (Area Manager) to Lucy Spillane and Darragh Hurley.
Student Council Certificates were presented by Ms Marie Maher to Ella-Mai Hackett and Keenan Aherne (2nd Year); Rachel O’Loughnan and Nevan Healy (3rd Year); Caoimhe O’Meara and Darragh Hurley (4th Year); Shannon Thompson and Damien Cahill (5th Year); Jack Spillane and Laura Butler (6th Year).
Achievements in Art Awards were presented by Ms Pat Looby to Hollie Broomfield, Leah Coen, Carrie Davey, Liam Hickey, Eve Judge, Laura O’Donnell, Ashley Bradshaw, Daragh Fenlon, Maggie Fitzgerald and Emma Geoghegan.
The ‘Great Fethard Bake-Off’ prize was presented by Ms Maher to Emma Lyons.
Mr. Billy Walsh presented the All-Ireland Maths Eye competition winners to Jack Doolan who accepted the award on behalf of the winners. The Materials Technology Award was presented by Mr. John Cummins to Hollie Broomfield.
The ceremony concluded with a presentation to special guest Suzanne Gorey by principal Mr. Coffey, who thanked her for attending and wished her all the best in the future.