Success Rewarded at St Paul’s Senior Prizegiving

StpaulsPrizeGiving

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 Chair of Board of Governors Mr John Campbell, Principal of St Peter’s Primary School, Cloughreagh, Very Rev Father Seán Larkin, PP, Vice-chair of Board of Governors, and Very Rev Father Dermot Maloney, PP, School Chaplain, Head of Year 14, Ms Christine Fearon and representative of First Trust Bank, Ms Colleen Murray.

Mr Mooney thanked the governors of St Paul’s and all the primary school principals for their support and also thanked First Trust Bank and Norbrook Pharmaceuticals for their continued support of St Paul’s.   Mr Mooney expressed a special welcome to the guest speaker, Mr Conor McGinn, a past pupil of St Paul’s, and native of Camlough.

Conor McGinn is currently Political Advisor to Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Vernon Coaker MP. He sits on the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee and is Vice-Chair of the Fabian Society. He is the Chairman of Éire Óg Gaelic football club in north London and is on the the London Irish Centre’s Arts and Culture Advisory Forum. He received a Young Leaders Award from the Royal Society of Arts.

Addressing the large crowd, Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney said, “Tonight is about these magnificent young people who sit before me. I am so proud of them all. It will give me lasting happiness that I have been privileged to share in their lives during the last seven years.”

“It should be the ambition of every person to make a positive difference in the lives of others and these young people have already given that gift to all who have known them. You, their parents, should be especially proud tonight because your sons and daughters have brought St Paul’s to a new level. To use an often overly used phrase, “they are simply the best”.

“In every aspect of school life they have excelled. Their academic results are outstanding and I know that their teachers who worked so hard with them have been rewarded by the quality of the results achieved. Later on many of them will come up on stage to accept a multitude of well earned awards but each student from 2013 should be proud of their individual achievements whether they receive an award tonight or not. They will all go forward from here as St Paul’s graduates and take their place at the top table of education in a whole range of universities and colleges. They are stamped with the St Paul’s quality mark and that will never wash away no matter where they go in life.”

“To reflect back fully on their last two years as post 16 students would take all night. It is however worth remembering Les Misérables, an outstanding success and such a difficult but hugely entertaining show. The quality of performance, direction and production raised school drama in Ireland to a new level.”

“Then there was the little matter of football. The glorious All Ireland Colleges’ final in Cavan, and then the capture of the Mac Cormack Cup in late and frosty 2012 when St Paul’s became Ulster Colleges “A” League champions and sent their own shivers through the province of Ulster. No one will ever forget the march through Ulster as our MacRory team in their first season swept aside the cream of “A” football colleges, defeating all in their path, including our own County Down neighbours, St Colman’s and the Abbey CBS.”

“We had many good days and surely the Mac Rory final will remain long in our thoughts. On that day even in the jaws of the narrowest of unkind defeats St Paul’s came of age. The community support and the pupil support were nothing short of phenomenal. A little rub from Lady Luck was missing but even in defeat we left the Athletic Grounds a different and better school than 12 months before. Despite leaving in defeat rather than victory St Paul’s had broken new ground and this year more of the non-academically selective, non grammar schools have followed the path our pupils have prepared. This would not have happened without St Paul’s acting as the pathfinder.”

“St Paul’s now finds itself in a new and better place. It has broken all the barriers that once existed, musical, sporting and academic and the students that these graduands leave behind are heirs to a glowing legacy that they must protect, nourish and grow.”

“Tonight belongs to these young people and I know they will continue to even greater success which will in itself further illuminate this school they have helped to create.”

“I would like to thank them, you their parents and my dedicated staff for all they have done to bring us to this stage of development. I will miss them but I look forward to meeting them again in the future and to hearing and reading about their successes. They were and are role models not just for St Paul’s but for society.”

“I hold this group of young people in the very highest esteem. They are the finest group of students I have ever been fortunate enough to work with over the last 35 years.”

“The future in every sense is their responsibility and I am confident they will rise successfully to every challenge that life will inevitably provide.”

“To paraphrase our school prayer to St Paul, “They should always hold in their hearts what they were taught so well, that there are only three things that last; faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.” To me that is “The St Paul’s Way”.

In his address to the students, Guest Speaker, Mr Conor McGinn said, “Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. How many times have you said that prayer in the last seven years? Too often we say the words not understanding that they apply to us and the people around us, our lives and the lives of those we encounter.”

“If you’re as lucky as me, you’ll leave St Paul’s enriched by the experience you’ve had here. And the harder you work, the luckier you are. You’ll have been shaped and formed in to the person you are now, and given the tools and skills that will equip you to be the person you can be, by the nourishment of education, friendship and experience, in the togetherness of a community rooted in charity, or love in the sense of how the word is meant to be understood in our school’s motto – In Caritate Radicati.”

“Faith, hope and love is central to the St Paul’s philosophy – and that same faith shown in me and the hope for my future is the faith and hope shown in every pupil here. No child is turned away from the doors of St Paul’s because of how they did – or didn’t do – in a meaningless exam at the age of 11. At St. Paul’s we have faith and we have hope in the uniqueness of each and the unity of all. Not selection, not exclusion but lé chéile – together. The last part of this particular trinity – love, grá – is, in this instance, from me to the school.”

Watch video footage of Conor McGinn’s address to parents and students

 

Highlights from Senior Prizegiving 2013

01Recipients of Awards for Vocational Excellence at A Level:  Back Row (L-R), Mr John Rafferty, Head of PE & Sport, Mr Conor McGinn, Guest Speaker, Orla Magennis, Gregory McCabe, Ciaron O’Hanlon, Mr Oliver Mooney, Principal, Mr John Campbell, Chair of Governors.  Front Row (L-R), Mr Martin O’Rourke, Co-ordinator, BTec Sport, Daniel Lewis, Fionnán Burns and Ryan Cinnamond.

1Mr Kevin Byrne, father of the late Kevin Byrne presents a Perpetual Cup for Best Senior Footballer to Sean McDonnell.  Also pictured are Mr John Rafferty, Head of PE & Sport, Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney, Guest Speaker, Mr Conor McGinn, and Mr John Campbell, Chair of Governors.

2Pictured are students who received individual awards for Best Examination Results at GCE Advanced Level.  The students are pictured with (front row L-R) V Rev Fr Seán Larkin, Vice-Chair of Governors, Ms Colleen Murray, First Trust Bank, Mr Conor McGinn, Guest Speaker, Mr Oliver Mooney, Principal Mr John Campbell, Chair of Governors.

3Pictured are students who received individual awards for Best Examination Results at GCE Advanced Level.  The students are pictured with (front row L-R) V Rev Fr Seán Larkin, Vice-Chair of Governors, Ms Colleen Murray, First Trust Bank, Mr Conor McGinn, Guest Speaker, Mr Oliver Mooney, Principal, Mrs Pauline McGuinness, Acting Head of Year 14, and Mr John Campbell, Chair of Governors.

4Students who received individual awards for Endeavour and Contribution at GCE Advanced Level. The students are pictured with (front row L-R) V Rev Fr Seán Larkin, Vice-Chair of Governors, Ms Colleen Murray, First Trust Bank, Mr Conor McGinn, Guest Speaker, Mr Oliver Mooney, Principal, Mrs Pauline McGuinness, Acting Head of Year 14, and Mr John Campbell, Chair of Governors.

6Students who received individual awards for Endeavour and Contribution at GCE Advanced Level. The students are pictured with (front row L-R) V Rev Fr Seán Larkin, Vice-Chair of Governors, Ms Colleen Murray, First Trust Bank, Mr Conor McGinn, Guest Speaker, Mr Oliver Mooney, Principal, Mrs Pauline McGuinness, Acting Head of Year 14, and Mr John Campbell, Chair of Governors.

8Students who received individual awards for Endeavour and Contribution at GCE Advanced Level. The students are pictured with (front row L-R) V Rev Fr Seán Larkin, Vice-Chair of Governors, Ms Colleen Murray, First Trust Bank, Mr Conor McGinn, Guest Speaker, Mr Oliver Mooney, Principal, Mrs Pauline McGuinness, Acting Head of Year 14, and Mr John Campbell, Chair of Governors.

9Recipients of Awards for Academic Excellence at A Level, Blaine Malone, Ciara McDonnell, and Conor Sloan, pictured with Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney and Guest Speaker, Mr Conor McGinn and Chair of Governors, Mr John Campbell.

10Recipient of the Courage in the Face of Adversity Award, Ryan Cinnamond, pictured with proud parents, Mr John Cinnamond and Mrs Peggy Cinnamond, Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney and Guest Speaker, Mr Conor McGinn

12Recipient of the Hope Award for Contribution to School Life, Afreen Ahmed, pictured with proud grandmother, Mrs Rosemarie McArdle, Guest Speaker, Mr Conor McGinn, and Principal, Mr Oliver Mooney.

 

 

 

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