'It is a huge honour' Laois student accepts valuable Naughton Scholarship

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Laois winner of valuable Naughton Scholarship announced

Teacher Joyce Byrne, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD, Laois winning scholar Ruth Helen Bergin from Heywood CS, Ballinakill and Martin and Carmel Naughton.

A clever Laois student has been awarded for her Leaving Cert results with a €20,000 scholarship.

Heywood Community School graduate Ruth Helen Bergin is the county winner of the Naughton Scholarship award.

She was awarded her scholarship at a ceremony in Trinity Business School in Dublin on Saturday, September 21.

The award was presented by founding patrons of The Naughton Foundation, Dr Martin Naughton and his wife Carmel who were joined by Mr. Paschal Donohue TD, Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.

“It is a huge honour. There were such impressive people getting awards in the room. To be part of it is just very humbling,” she said.

Ruth has accepted a place at University College Cork studying Data Science and Analytics. 

“I am two weeks in, it is quite challenging but it’s amazing,” she said.

She is one of  36 exceptional Irish students  awarded the third level scholarships towards their studies in the areas of engineering, science and technology. The scholarships give €5,000 per year of an undergraduate degree.

“It doesn’t cover the entire expense of college but it does help a lot. My sister is studying in Cork too and we have two little brothers who will hopefully follow to college so it will take a bit of pressure off my parents,” said Ruth. 

Her parents are Riona and Paul Bergin, and her grandparents are Canice and Helen Bergin all from Abbeyleix.

“I partly entered it for them, to make them proud,” she said.

Heywood CS was also presented with a prize of €1,000 on the day towards their  science facilities. 

Ruth got the maximum 625 points in her Leaving Cert exams. She was a 2017 winner of the Laois Student Enterprise Award. With school business colleagues Ellen McWey, Arianna Mezzapelle and Megan Walsh, their business SenseAbility manufactured and marketed a sensory blanket for Alzheimer's patients. 

Last year’s Naughton Scholar in Laois was Luan Fletcher from St Mary’s CBS in Portlaoise.

The Naughton Scholarship is in its 11th year. Since its establishment scholarships worth over €4 million have been awarded to nearly 300 students nationwide. There is one guaranteed Scholarship of €20,000 for each participating county, with two to Cork and four to Dublin. Five extra scholarships are  awarded.

“We never imagined what a wonderful community of connected young people the Naughton Scholarship program would become.  It is heart-warming for us to read of their successes and how they are in turn giving back to society,” Dr Naughton said at the ceremony.

Pictured with Ruth are Heywood teacher Joyce Byrne, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD and Martin and Carmel Naughton at the 2019 Naughton Foundation Scholarship awards held at Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin. Photo Kieran Harnett.