DAVID O’Driscoll from Ballard, Millcove, Castletownbere, has been awarded the Bantry Credit Union Third-Level Education Scholarship for 2016.
The scholarship is worth up to €6,000 over four years. David is the 14th winner of the scholarship and the first from Beara since the scheme was extended with the opening of the credit union’s sub-office in Castletownbere in 2014.
The son of Brian and Caroline O’Driscoll, David sat the Leaving Cert in June at Scoil Phobail Bhéara. He is now studying at the National Maritime College of Ireland (CIT), doing a BSc in Nautical Science.
Given his background, there was never much doubt that David would pursue a maritime career: ‘My ideal career would be to become a master mariner and captain of a world-class Holland America cruise liner.’
He explained: ‘From a very young age, this career path has always been my dream. I come from a nautical background and have spent many a happy day on the sea, from fishing to sailing to volunteering as a crewmember on the Castletownbere Lifeboat of which my father is coxswain.’
The scholarship was presented to David at a ceremony in the credit union office recently.
Chairperson of Bantry Credit Union, Anna Fitzgerald, congratulated David on his achievement in winning the scholarship.
Ms Fitzgerald explained that the scholarship is not awarded solely on the basis of academic results.
Rather, there is a rigorous process, involving a detailed application form, a written submission and an interview – all of which is in the hands of an independent panel of expert adjudicators.
The scholarship scheme takes a holistic view, recognising the applicants’ community involvement and career choices as well as their academic results and extra-curricular activities.
This was very evident this year, since David was also the Bantry District winner of the West Cork Garda Youth Award in 2015.
Anna Fitzgerald thanked all the students who submitted applications and thanked the principals and teachers at the second level schools in Bantry and Castletownbere for their continued co-operation in the running of the scheme.
She also paid tribute to the ongoing contribution of the panel of independent adjudicators: James Kilduff (Cork Institute of Technology), Olive McCarthy (University College Cork) and Denis O’Sullivan (Maria Immaculata Community College, Dunmanway). All three adjudicators have given incredible service to the scholarship scheme during the past 14 years.
Bantry Credit Union also sponsors the Student of the Year award at Scoil Phobail Bhéara’s annual Gradam Na Scoláirí. The 2016 winner was Jayden Murphy, daughter of Eric and Amanda Murphy, from Dunboy, Castletownbere. Jayden also was presented with her award at the ceremony in the credit union office.
Mary O’Sullivan, principal of Scoil Phobail Bhéara, congratulated both students on their awards, saying they were a credit to their family, their school and their community.
The principal also thanked Bantry Credit Union for its commitment to youth and education, and paid tribute to the vital role that the credit unions play in their communities.