Post 16 success celebrated at St Paul’s

Principal of St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, Mr Oliver Mooney, welcomed a large crowd of parents, friends and recent past pupils of the school to the Annual Senior Prizegiving, which was held recently.  Mr Mooney introduced the platform party, and welcomed Guest Speaker, Mr John Campbell, Principal of St Peter’s Primary School, Cloughreagh and Chair of Board of Governors, Very Rev Father Seán Larkin, PP, Vice-chair of Board of Governors, and Very Rev Father Dermot Maloney, PP, School Chaplain.

Mr Mooney addressed the recent past pupils and their parents:

“Given the economy as it is at present, the dark, dreary days of December and the constant gloom and doom that dominates our newspapers and the daily news on television and radio it would be easy to despair.”

“We need nights like tonight to remind ourselves that it isn’t all gloom and doom but that there is a bright, rewarding future ahead and that all bad things pass. Tonight is a night of great celebration and I am so proud of these outstanding young people who have made such great efforts in their studies at St Paul’s. They are all our futures and by the time they have graduated the economy will be on the way up again. Never has there been a more important time for everyone to enhance their education and training so that they are ready to positively contribute to our society.”

“Northern Ireland has made huge leaps forward as a society and St Paul’s with its partner schools are part of this rebuilding for the future. The students present have been part of the many initiatives that happen on a daily basis in St Paul’s and we can now look back together on our highly successful Specialist Schools programme that built so many bridges over the past few years between neighbouring schools both primary and post primary and cross sector. I am indebted to all the staff and pupils who were involved in this great work.”

“We now are in the second year of our Sharing Education Programme which is facilitated by QUB and funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies Organisation. This programme sees our students working with a wide range of schools, including our good neighbours, Newtownhamilton High School. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Garnet Mullan, the Principal of Newtownhamilton High School for his personal support and enthusiastic commitment for our PEACE programme. PEACE stands for Partnership for Education and Community Enrichment in South Armagh and only last Monday we had the launch of a new DVD supporting the Southern Area Hospice here in St Paul’s. This involved pupils from Bessbrook Primary School and St Joseph’s, Meigh coming together with pupils from Dromintee and other schools to produce a wonderful DVD in Spanish and English. St Paul’s hosted this initiative and our recording and editing equipment and our sound and film expertise were invaluable in bringing this hugely worthwhile venture to a successful conclusion. Copies are available locally at £5 each and all proceeds go to the Southern Area Hospice.”

“St Paul’s also has a very close relationship with Rathore Special School and again teachers and pupils from St Paul’s are regular visitors to Rathore. I would also like to acknowledge the Principal of Rathore, Mr Raymond Cassidy and his staff and Mr Alan Black, their Chair of Governors, for their great support in building this mutually beneficial relationship. I have been so impressed by the brilliant work being done with those wonderful children and young adults and I must thank our own Mr Peter Slane and Ms Pauline Lynch for their dedication and expertise in this school link.”

“Many of our students are fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to visit Romania, Kenya or Brazil through our International Projects. Others have visited France, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain or England and Scotland over recent years. These visits help our students to look beyond themselves and their local area and to adopt an international and Christian perspective on people and places outside Ireland. They have also fund raised for scores of good causes and charities.”

“St Paul’s is truly an international school and none of this would have been possible without the support of you the parents and our dedicated and enthusiastic staff.”

“This just gives you a flavour of life in St Paul’s but the best advertisements we have for St Paul’s are the young people here tonight to collect their certificates and awards. They are now following the next part of their lives and most of them are at university following a wide range of courses. We are all very proud of what they have achieved and it is only right that we gather here tonight to mark their achievements. All of them will receive their certificates tonight and many of them will be presented with special awards. Each student here is a winner, they have all succeeded.”

“They are the product of a non selective, co-educational school that seeks to educate the whole person. They didn’t need a top grade in an academic assessment when they were 10 or 11 to get in to St Paul’s yet here they are tonight, highly successful and on a par with or better than those who were creamed off for a grammar school education. Schools should serve their own community and in the case of St Paul’s that is rural South Armagh, from Jonesboro to Whitecross and from Bessbrook to Mullaghbawn and Forkhill. We would love to take all children that apply to us but that isn’t possible as we must obey the numbers set by the Department of Education and anyway we wouldn’t have the space to hold them unless we expand again. I have learned many things as I have got older and I am totally convinced that there is no need for academic assessment at 11. If we truly want to build a new better society then we need to educate children to respect and value each other and to respect and value everyone who contributes to our communities no matter what job they do.”

“Jesus didn’t just pick professionals to be his disciples, he picked ordinary people who were prepared to follow him and spread his gospel of love, equality and social justice.”

“Please keep supporting St Paul’s, it’s your school in your community. Thank you again for being with us tonight and I hope everyone here has a happy, holy and healthy Christmas and a wonderful 2012.”

Pictured are students who received individual awards for Best Examination Results at GCE Advanced Level.  The students are pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell and Vice-chairman of Governors, V Rev Father Sean Larkin, PP, and representative from Norbrook Laboratories, Mr Paul Stokes.

Pictured are students who received individual awards for Best Examination Results at GCE Advanced Level.  The students are pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell and Vice-chairman of Governors, V Rev Father Sean Larkin, PP, and representative from Norbrook Laboratories, Mr Paul Stokes.

Students who received individual awards for Endeavour and Contribution at GCE Advanced Level, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell and Vice-chairman of Governors, V Rev Father Sean Larkin, PP, and representative from Norbrook Laboratories, Mr Paul Stokes.

Students who received individual awards for Endeavour and Contribution at GCE Advanced Level, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell and Vice-chairman of Governors, V Rev Father Sean Larkin, PP, and representative from Norbrook Laboratories, Mr Paul Stokes.

Students who received Medals for Class Endeavour, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell and Vice-chairman of Governors, V Rev Father Sean Larkin, PP.

Recipient of the Marion Reavey Trophy for Commitment to Music at GCE, Nicola Hughes, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell.

Recipients of Awards for Vocational Excellence at A Level, Diarmuid McConville and Noelín Bradley pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell.

Recipients of Awards for Academic Excellence at A Level, Johnny Feenan, Tanya Fitzpatrick, Sarah Harper, Mairéad Lonergan, Emer McDonnell and Michelle Murphy, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell.

Recipient of the Father Henry Devlin Cup in Recognition of Outstanding Academic Excellence at A Level, Connor Fegan, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell.

Recipient of the Hope Award for Contribution to School Life, Ronan Sharkey, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Chairman of Governors, Mr John Campbell.

 

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