By BRIAN MOORE
A CLONAKILTY student has been named one of just four finalists for the Richard Burke TY Personified Award in recognition of her work and dedication during Transition Year (TY) at the Scared Heart Secondary School.
Laura Walsh (16) from Ardfield has been chosen to represent Munster at the awards ceremony at the TY expo in Dublin next week.
‘Transition Year was really amazing,’ Laura told The Southern Star. ‘I took part in every activity I could from the very beginning and with my classmates we had some absolutely incredible experiences during the year.’
The TY programme at the Scared Heart Secondary School encourages the students to experience a range of activities from drama, to setting up their own small companies, to community volunteering and debating.
It was in debating where Laura, with her classmates, Maedh McCarthy, Natasha Sutton and Caoimhe Ní Shúilleabháin, plus 100 supporters from Clonakilty, took the all-Ireland prize at the Concern Debates 2017 in Dublin.
‘The topic of the debate was “The Trump presidency will be a blessing in disguise for Africa” and thankfully we were against the motion,’ Laura said.
‘It was an incredible experience and the trip to Malawi afterwards was a real eye-opener. We were overwhelmed to see how little the people there had and yet how happy they were at the same time.’
Laura is now looking forward to her trip to Dublin for the TY Expo, where her dedication and hard work will be celebrated at the Richard Burke TY Personified Awards.
The awards are named in honour of Mr Burke who was the Minister for Education when Transition Year was introduced in 1974.
‘It is wonderful to see our pupils being acknowledged,’ Scared Heart principal Ann Marie Brosnan said.
‘Laura and her classmates really embraced their TY experience and her attitude of “try everything” is what the year is all about.
‘We wish Laura all the best for at the awards ceremony, she is a credit to her school and her community here in Clonakilty,’ she added.