On Wednesday St. Mary’s College hosted their annual prize-giving ceremony, a night when the students are rewarded for their excellent achievements in various areas of school life. It was a night different to other years – in his welcome, Principal Mr Con McGinley, reminded all present of the historic occasion they were a part of, as they are the last group to receive their awards based on life in the old school building that is the Marist today. Next year a new school marks a new era for the Marist in Dundalk. Kevin Jennings, director of the Marist Education Authority looked forward with enthusiasm to this great new venture which is not only significant for the students of Dundalk and surrounding areas but also to the Marist Community in Ireland and Europe. Mr PJ Ó Náraigh, 6th Year Head wisely reminded all on the night that the people and the memories are the foundations of the stone the new school will be built on.
On this special night, the opening address was by special guest speaker Mr Eddie Downey, a former Marist student, current President of the Irish Farmers Association, director of Teagasc and owner of EMD poultry. Mr Downey spoke of the importance of education, ongoing throughout life and to always remember the people that give it to you. He spoke of the uniform, representing a lot more than a straight tie and neat appearance, it was about being part of a team working together. He encouraged students to consider careers in the agriculture and food sectors that are currently generating thousands of jobs. He also urged them to look after each other and to support local jobs and local business.
There were two new trophies this year. The Fr Ambrose Fay Cup in honour of past pupil Jim Fay from Dundalk. During his time in the college in the 1930s he set records at All-Ireland and Leinster level in the 100 yard sprint. Proud of the Cup throughout his life he expressed the wish that it be returned to the College after he passed away just last year. Fittingly the cup was presented to the most promising Newcomer to Athletics, Evelyn Igharo. Luke Coburn Moran is the worthy first recipient of the Award for the Best 2nd Year student. The Marist Parents’ Council also sponsored a number of new awards in recognition of newly introduced subjects that now in their 2nd year: the Junior Music Award was presented to Robert Mee-Lucey and the Junior Technical Graphics Award was presented to Glen Connolly.
Many students were rewarded for their work ethic and their resultant success, a number of whom received more than one award. Sixth Year student Bill Wells Kamtchou, Ryan Brodigan and Chanelle McCartney received two awards each. Bill received the Hanaway Cup for Best Leaving Certificate Mathematics & the Lyons Perpetual Cup for Leaving Certificate Chemistry, which was sponsored and presented by recently retired Chemistry teacher, Mr Ger Lyons. Chanelle won the Seán MacSuibhne Award for Best Senior Irish student and shared the Senior Art Award with Conor Richardson. Ryan shared the Flanagan Cup for Senior English with Anastasia Metluka and the Senior Science Award with Wiktoria Stazak. Other winners in 6th Year were Beatrice Monciunskaite, Robert Galligan, Adam Martin, Kurt Farrell McKinley, Fergal Sheekey and Aaron Culligan. 5th Year students Jamie Kennedy and Kemi Arahi received two awards as did 3rd Year students Eoghan McGee, Alexis Nwachkwu and Bartek Baran.
A number of students excelled in particular competitions this Year. Eoin Corr, won the Home Cook Hero Award. Jake McArdle was the All Ireland winner of the Irish Youth Music Awards. Jade Reddy, Lynn Craven and Sophie Watters were chosen to play on the Irish Soccer team. Transition Year student Shane Durnin won the Gael Linn Abair competition. Rebecca Gorman is a Black Belt Kickboxer Champion, also a Boxer, she has represented Ireland 5 times in International Championships, one of the matches at a Katie Taylor fight night. Sixth Year student Christopher Lennon won a Bronze Medal in the 2014 World Kick-boxing Competition.
The Oisín Ó Dálaigh Perpetual Trophy, for Senior Sportsperson of the Year, was awarded to Sixth Year student, Fergal Sheekey in recognition of his Gaelic and Soccer ability. The highlight of the night was the Student of the Year Award. The Fr. McGeough Perpetual Cup was awarded to Wiktoria Stazak for her outstanding contribution to the academic, social and sporting life of the school.
Congratulations to all who received awards on the night – their dedication, enthusiasm and talents are an inspiration to all.
View more photos from the night in our photo gallery.