A Laois secondary school has celebrated their awards ceremony for graduating students, tinged with sadness for a beloved teacher who died tragically a month before.
St Mary's CBS in Portlaoise like all other schools has had a difficult two years due to the pandemic, and like others restrictions affected their awards ceremony.
"Traditionally our awards ceremony is celebrated at night and is a whole school affair. Unfortunately due to covid restrictions and lockdowns over the past 12 months many of the accolades-mostly sporting were not applicable this year. We had to scale back our awards and celebrated the mostly 6th year academic and prestigious awards.
"Congratulations and well done to the class of 2021 who received their academic and prestigious awards last Friday.
"We began proceedings with a moments silence as a mark of respect for our late colleague and teacher, John Duggan. John in the past organised the awards night and always enjoyed celebrating our students successes," the school said.
The following were their academic award winners:
Ann Prendergast Literary Award-John Davis,
Business Studies-Cian Territ,
Biology-Jack Reddy and James Carroll,
Chemistry-Aaron Thornton, DCG-Gary Keane,
Construction Studies-Eddie Critchley and Adam Forrestal,
Engineering-Marc Ramsbottom and Noah Fingleton,
Home Economics-Murdo Anton,
Agricultural Science-Patrick Corcoran,
The Meitheal team were presented with a Cross-pen and certificate, sponsored by the Parents Council. Meitheal Leaders were commended for the hard work they have put in over the past year working with the first year class groups.
There were also special awards.
"Each year we have a ‘special recognition’ award. This year Ms Williams presented Ciaran Leonard with accolade for his artist talent and contribution to the world of art. Ciaran has been the winner of the national Texaco art competition, a first for our school. He has also been taking commissions for artwork for the past number of years.
"Ms D Carroll presented her senior debating team with trophies to celebrate the group winning out the Laois schools debating contest. Two current students, Jack Delaney and John Davis, as well as two past students Thomas Dunne and Cian MacGearailt made up the team."
Finally, the afternoon was rounded off with the presentation of prestigious perpetual trophies.
"This year the ‘Overall sports player of the year’ went to Paddy Hosey. Paddy is considered by his peers and coaches as a quiet leader who does most of his talking on the pitch. A dual player who plays both football and hurling for his club and school is well respected and looked up to in both circles. An all round sportsman with exceptional and a super attitude.
"The ‘Martin Conroy Award’ is given to a student who has been most helpful and giving of himself to the school community during his time in the CBS. This year Christian Kenny Oman stood out as being a young man who personifies what it means to be a gentleman.
"Our ‘From Each his Best’ award is aptly name after our school motto. This award is for the student who has consistently applied himself throughout his time in the CBS. This year’s award went to Afeeze Ganyu for his work ethic and application.
"Lastly, our most anticipated award of ‘Student of the Year’ was presented to Richard Okpala. This young man is a gleaming example of hard work and dedication. Richard is a courteous, diligent young man who has been an excellent role model to not only his peers but also the entire student body here in St. Mary’s.
The school add that all covid guidelines were adhered to with students sitting in their base classes enjoying a pizza as they watched the proceedings via Microsoft Teams.
"We would like to take this opportunity to express how proud we are of all our students here in St Marys CBS. Well done to all our award winners!" the school ended.
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