JP McManus, Arianna Mezzapelle, Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor and Phil Bowe, Principal, Heywood
Two Laois students Arianna Mezzapelle from Heywood Community School and Oisin Campion from St. Fergal's College Rathdowney were among the 125 students from across the island of Ireland awarded a 2019 All Ireland Scholarship last weekend at University of Limerick, granting them full academic financial support for the duration of their third level studies by sponsor, JP McManus.
The students from two schools St. Fergal’s College and Heywood Community School were among the winners acknowledged for their achievements by outgoing Ireland rugby union Head Coach, Joe Schmidt, awards sponsor, JP McManus, and Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.
Sponsored by JP McManus, the 3rd level educational scholarship is awarded to a minimum of two highest-achieving students from each of the 32 counties. They must meet a further set of criteria, including attending a non-fee-paying school and being exempt from the Leaving Certificate fee. This year, seven All Ireland Scholarship recipients scored the maximum 625 Leaving Cert points. The most popular area of study is Medicine, closely followed by Engineering and Science.
Mr. McManus said, "Today we celebrate the success of the young men and women who are being recognised for their outstanding academic achievements. To the scholarship recipients of 2019 I offer my sincere congratulations; your hard work and commitment is a testimony to your ability and ambition, and I know you will build on your success and continue to strive for excellence in your ongoing studies and future careers."
Established in 2008, the scholarships are valued at €6,750 per annum in the Republic of Ireland and £5,500 in Northern Ireland and continue for the duration of the undergraduate programme chosen by each scholarship winner.
Guest of Honour, Joe Schmidt, commended the 125 students. "Education is a hugely important part of every young person’s development in life, and it’s fantastic to be able to be here today to recognise first-hand the outstanding achievements of each and every student present. I encourage them all to keep working hard and to make the most of their opportunities," he said.
Congratulating this year’s recipients, Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said, "These young women and men deserve our warmest congratulations. Their schools, teachers and families can take great pride in their achievements. They have worked exceptionally hard to get this far. They have already shown the stamina and drive that I expect will be rewarded as they move forward through their studies and on into careers."
The programme is administered by the Department of Education & Skills and the Department for the Economy with support from the Department of Education, Northern Ireland. To date, 1,496 students have been awarded an All Ireland Scholarship and 905 have graduated from university. Previous Guests of Honour have included Irish Presidents Michael D. Higgins and Mary McAleese, 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and sporting heroes AP McCoy, Paul O’Connell, John Kiely and Martin O’Neill.