WITH the anticipated opening of Skibbereen’s amalgamated secondary school within the next two years, there was a sense of nostalgia during the penultimate Mercy Heights Secondary School Awards night held on Friday January 16, 2015, in the West Cork Hotel.
Guest of honour, Lord David Puttnam, was introduced by school principal, Mr Anton O’Mahony. Also on stage were Mr Michael Lucitt, Chairperson of the Board of Management and Caoimhe Davis, of the student council.
Mr O’Mahony warmly welcomed everyone to the celebrations, commended and congratulated all the award winners and said it gave him a great sense of pride to be associated with such fine students and staff. He encouraged each of the students to continue to strive for excellence saying, ‘the world is your oyster and your potential infinite.’
In an inspirational speech, Lord Puttnam spoke of his privilege having lived in West Cork for the past 26 years in ‘a coherent, cohesive community where there is nothing we cannot solve ourselves.’
He advised the students to take great care to choose the right friends, not only at school, but when they started work. He said these friends could be a fundamental and essential part of their lives so they should choose friends who offer protection and support and share their values and dreams.
He spoke of the importance of learning to become part of a team and that students would find themselves increasingly sharing skills and information as part of a team.
‘I suspect the next 10 to 25 years are going to be tough for you young people. My generation has not done a great job of looking after the treasure and passing on security to you.
‘We have created a financially unstable Europe that will affect all our lives. For a large part of the world there are desperate threats, which are going to become very real within the next five to fifteen years. I am sure you are going to be some of the people helping solve these problems in the future.
‘I think we are massively privileged to live in a physical environment where we have clean air, clean water and an environment where things grow, an environment which has a future.
‘How do you make sure we protect what we have in this country and particularly in this area? How do we protect it, nurture it and most importantly hand it on to your children? These are big challenges which may seem remote at the moment, years away, but they are real and they are going to happen.
‘They will require real understanding of what we have here as a community. I feel massively privileged to be part of a community that has a future and I am certain of that! I am certainly determined, for however many years I have left, that I will promote it, support it and become part of the cheering group of what you will be part of in the future.’
Ms Terri Lieber ensured proceedings were light and entertaining throughout. The school’s traditional music group, Mary Therese Coughlan, Aisling Fitzgerald, Maria Carey, Hannah Collins and Siadbh Redmond entertained the capacity audience on arrival. Lorraine Crowley sang during a break in proceedings.
Students Jagoda Bocianska and Louise Gallagher presented Lord Puttnam with their beautiful painting in appreciation of his input to the evening and the most enjoyable awards ceremony concluded with refreshments.
Best contribution to Football: Niamh O’Sullivan, Fionnula O’Driscoll, Cliodhna Ni Chonghaile, Sharon Stoutt, Ellen Hayes, Aisling Cahalane, Michelle Collins, Marie O’Driscoll and Kate McCarthy.
Best contribution to Basketball: Clare Coombes.
Best contribution to a Sporting Activity: for Golf: Leah O’Regan and Clodagh Byrne; for Table Tennis to Aoibhinn Keating, Amy Dorrington, Demelza Knight, Enya Breen, Caoimhe Harnedy, Orlaith Keating, Emma Sweetnam and Siobhan Wilson.
Best contribution to a Sporting Activity outside of school: Mairead O’Driscoll.
Excellent Attendance Awards: 1st Year, Davina Connolly, Martha Mulcahy, Brigid O’Sullivan, Amy Dorrington, Kelly O’Donovan, Deirdre O’Sullivan, Siadbh Redmond, Emma Sweetnam and Rachel O’Donovan. 2nd Year, Alice Baudains, Caimhe Crowley, Alicia O’Neill, Eimear Connolly, Roisin O’Brien, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Rachel Whelton and Siobhan Wilson. 3rd Year, Mary Finn, Catherine Collins, Aileen Logan, Amie O’Donovan, Ledah O’Regan, Ellie O’Sullivan, Kelly Sharpe and Maria Carey. 4th Year, Sarah Collins, Deirdre Connolly, Sasha Murphy. 5th Year, Eimear O’Regan. 6th Year, Niamh O’Sullivan and Niamh Houlihan.
Best Contribution to the Arts: Mary Beth O’Mahony and Cliodhna Ni Chonghaile.
Best Contribution to Debating and Public Speaking: Ellen Somers, Lorraine Crowley, Alison Dillane and Sophie Perry.
Best Contribution to the Community: ‘Age Action’ group comprising Alison O’Donovan, Ellen McCarthy, Aine O’Donovan, Ciara Hawkins, Aisling O’Driscoll, Alanna Browne, Mairead O’Driscoll, Hannah Collins, Aoife O’Brien, Lily Connell Bass, Sarah Collins, Stephanie Medlar, Grace O’Mahony, Niamh Hawkins and Florrie O’Toole .
The Mercy Ethos Award: Donna O’Hea, Rachel Nolan and Chloe Kelleher.
The Transition Year Activity of the Year award: ‘Fairfield Nursing’ group comprising Leadh Roberts, Orlaith Keating, Sarah O’Donovan, Annabella Fahy, Ciara O’Donovan, Julie O’Mahony, Karen O’Connell, Danielle Hourihane, Eimear Whooley, Laura O’Donovan, Eilish Keohane and Maisey Clarke.
The Principal’s award: ‘Paint it Perfect’ Group comprising, Sarah Collins, Stephanie Medlar, Mairead Calnan, Florrie O’Toole, Saoirse Doolan, Alison O’Donovan, Lily Connell Bass, Rachel Barrett, Hannah Collins and Niamh Hawkins.
The Educational Endeavour award: Laoise Newman.
The Gaisce Awards: Mairead O’Driscoll, Sinead McKennedy, Rachel Barrett, Caoimhe O’Sullivan, Moira McCarthy, Hannah Collins, Annamarie O’Driscoll, Ciara O’Donovan, Aoife O’Brien, Lorraine Barry, Niamh Kingston, Cliodhna Minihane, Lisa Hickey, Diana O’Driscoll, Deirdre Connolly, Maisey Clarke, Laura O’Donovan, Alison O’Donovan, Orlaith Keating, Aine O’Donovan, Sarah Collins, Lauren Coakley, Sarah O’Donovan, Florrie O’Toole, Grace O’Mahony, Eimear Whooley, Aoife Hegarty, Margaret O’Regan, Aoife O’Donovan, Kathleen O’Sullivan, Eilish Keohane, Sinead Keohane, Ciara Hawkins, Niamh Hawkins, Evelyn Rochford, Karen O’Connell, Danielle Hourihane, Aisling O’Driscoll, Alanna Browne, Alison Dillane, Caoimhe Davis, Aisling O’Callaghan, Helen O’Farrell, Julie O’Mahony and Leadh Roberts.
Junior Certificate Awards: Marie Therese Coughlan, Maria Carey, Aisling Fitzgerald, Ellie O’Sullivan, Emily Hegarty, Enya Breen and Aileen Logan.
Leaving Certificate awards: Marcella McCarthy, Sharon Stoutt, Cliodhna Ni Chonghaile, Michelle Collins, Jessica Tidmarsh, Aisling Hunt, Vivienne McCarthy, Grace McCarthy, Aileen Connolly, Claire O’Neill and Aine O’Driscoll.
Extra-Curricular Achievement of the Year: Caomihe Davis for her contribution to Sister Act.
The Niamh Cadogan Award: Deirdre Connolly.
Overall Achievement of the Year: Aine O’Driscoll.
The Junior Student of the Year Award, the Frank Galvin Award: Aisling Fitzgerald.
The Senior Student of the Year award: Kate McCarthy.