St Patrick’s Grammar School Annual Prizegiving took place this week with students, parents, guests and staff enjoying a memorable evening.
The platform party included past pupil Mr Ciaran McKenna, Guest Speaker for the evening, Mr Desmond Oliver, Chair of St Patrick’s Board of Governors, Mr Dominic Clarke, School Principal, invited guest, Professor Roddy Paisley from the University of Aberdeen, Mr Damien McAlary and Mrs RoseAnne Slane, School Deputy Heads, Mr Philip Coyle, Head of Senior School, Mr Connor Devlin, representative of the PE Department and Mr Brian McLaughlin, School Governor.
Mr Clarke began proceedings at Prizegiving acknowledging the many and varied ways in which the students and staff of St Patrick’s Grammar School have responded to the challenges and opportunities presented to them in 2018/189. He spoke of the hard work and commitment required for success. Addressing the most recent past pupils in attendance he congratulated them on their achievements but remembered all the students in the St. Patrick’s community and mentioned how so many of them had worked hard and realised their full potential.
Mrs Julianne Denvir then introduced Guest Speaker, Mr Ciaran McKenna, a past pupil of St Patrick’s, a teacher in St. Jarlath’s Primary School, Blackwatertown who has recently taken a career break and completed a Masters in Science in Queen’s University Belfast in Software Development. Mr McKenna is currently working for Citibank, as part of a development team working on enhancing their e-trading platform. “Mr McKenna,” said Mrs Denvir, “is indeed an enthusiastic advocate for continuous learning, a value at the heart of our St. Patrick’s ethos.”
Mr McKenna began by recalling his time at St. Patrick’s Grammar School, his own university days and citing his successful career highlights to date. He explained the positive impact that teachers at St Patrick’s had on him and how his time at school, both curricula and extra-curricular, had equipped him with skills and qualities for life. He concluded by focusing on the importance of gratitude for our opportunities, making connections with others, always being the hardest worker in any room and being a “perpetual learner”.
The first awards to be presented were the music awards; Conor Dillon received the award for Musician of the Year, Patrick Harvey the Senior Traditional Musician of the Year, Brendan Donnelly received the award for Senior Cantor of the Year, John O’Neill received the Special Achievement Award in Music and Conor Reilly the Senior Steel Band Musician of the Year.
The highest-scoring St Patrick’s students in 2019 GCSE public examinations were presented with prizes to mark their success. Mr Clarke presented awards to the top achieving GCSE student for 2019 – Aidan Hegarty who achieved outstanding results in his recent GCSE examinations. This was followed by the presentation of awards, by Mr McKenna, to the top St Patrick’s student in each AS subject in 2018/19.
After the presentation of A Level Certificates to the Class of 2019, Mr Philip Coyle, Senior Teacher and Head of Senior School, presented perpetual trophies and plaques to those students who had obtained the top marks in each A Level subject at St Patrick’s.
Mr McKenna presented awards for outstanding achievement in last year’s A Level examinations; the 7 students who had achieved three straight A grades or more also received Special Achievement awards. Staff at St Patrick’s were delighted to welcome Professor Roddy Paisley, Chair of Scots Law at the University of Aberdeen to Senior Prizegiving. Professor Paisley sponsors an annual bursary for our top English and Mathematics GCSE students, and it was our great pleasure to have him here in person to award the bursaries to Aidan Hegarty for English GCSE and Brendan Fields (a Year 11 student) for Mathematics GCSE.
The Ciarán Donnelly Memorial Cup, presented to a student who encapsulates the spirit of the St Patrick’s community, was given this year to a very worthy recipient, Lorcan Kieran. The Henry Murray and Company Cup for services to local voluntary work was awarded to Jack McAfee by Mr Damien McAlary, Deputy Head. PJ Donnelly received a glowing citation from Mrs RoseAnne Slane, Deputy Head, and was presented with the Donal Garvey Award for special effort and determination.
Mr Philip Coyle, Head of Senior School, introduced Oran McGilly as Student of the Year and cited his many academic and extra-curricular accomplishments. Having been presented with the Brendan Vallely Memorial Cup, Oran responded eloquently on behalf of the Class of 2019.
This was followed by the Presentation of the Sports Awards for the best sportsmen on school teams. Following these presentations Oisin Hughes received the accolade of Sportsman of the Year and Oran McGilly the Cormac McAnallen Memorial Cup for Sports Endeavour. Both students were highly commended for the determination and commitment to sports in St. Patrick’s Grammar School.
Before the final address by Mr Desmond Oliver, Chair of St Patrick’s Board of Governors, tokens of the school’s gratitude and appreciation were made to the evening’s guest speaker and the Head Boy and Deputy Head Boys. This brought to an end a most enjoyable celebration of academic, cultural and sporting success by the students of St Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh, during 2018/19.