There will be a new award for the students to compete for at Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí next year as the Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes announced the foundation of the Vincent Forbes Award for History at the Bantry secondary school.
BY BRIAN MOORE
THERE will be a new award for the students to compete for at Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí next year as the Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes announced the foundation of the Vincent Forbes Award for History at the Bantry secondary school.
The hall was packed with proud parents and students last week as they waited to collect their school awards recognising their hard work and achievements.
Ms Forbes, whose late father, Vincent, spent his teaching career in Bantry, at Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, or as it was known, the Boys’ School, and then at Árd Scoil Bheanntraí before he retired back in 2008, told the pupils that she was delighted to accept the invitation to the awards night.
The evening celebrated the talent, hard work, dedication and commitment of the students who had gathered with their parents and teachers.
‘This evening is a celebration; it’s a celebration during which we, in the school community, gather together and reiterate the vital and highly relevant objective of showing our young people, all the students gathered here tonight, that your achievements and your efforts deserve recognition,’ principal, Dr Kevin Healy, said.
‘Tonight we celebrate our students who have worked hard; they have excelled in a variety of areas from the academic, to the sporting, business, Green Schools and creative writing to mention just a few. I and everyone here in the school community that is Cloáiste Pobail Bheanntraí are very proud that all of our students are given every possible opportunity to be challenged, to explore, to participate and to achieve success.’
Awards for full attendance, academic as well as extra-circular activities, music, Green Schools, Gaisce, sports and scholarships were presented to students from all year groups and recognised their overall participation and willingness to succeed.
‘Our guest of honour here this evening, is Dee Forbes, Director General of RTÉ, and I think Dee personifies the aforementioned qualities required for success,’ Dr Healy said. ‘And, I am sure Dee will agree, that there are no shortcuts to success. We are delighted and fully appreciate, given the absolutly hectic schedule that Dee Forbes has, that she has made time to attend the ceremony here this evening in Bantry.’
There was also a display of musical talent with the excellent Nino Benjamin, Richard Vanyai, Caroline Downey, Becky Phillips and Ms Paula O’Donovan thrilling the students, parents and staff with renditions ranging from Adele, Ed Sheeran, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones.
Cáit and Eoghan Minehane closed the event with a reel accompanied by Imelda Cronin on accordion. However, it was an incredibly moving and powerful tribute to Nina Simone by the very talented Niamh Crowley that left the audience in no doubt of the extraordinary abilities present at Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí.
‘It is wonderful to be recognised by your school, and I want to thank Kevin Healy and the staff here for the invitation to what I know as the “new school” in Bantry,’ Dee Forbes said. “I grew up just down the road so to speak, and of course, my late father, Vincent Forbes, spent 43 years of his life travelling up and down the road from Drimoleague. Bantry has always been a big part of my life, and I feel as if I have lived through the exploits of the students for many years.’Ms Forbes advised the students never to stop asking questions and to find themselves a mentor, no matter what career they choose.
‘Seek out help; you are not alone as you go into the world of work and it is important that you do interact,’ Ms Forbes said. Don’t just rely on Google. Go out there and ask people; that’s where you will get the best advice.’
Before Ms Forbes finished up her speech, she announced the creation of a very special award for the pupils at Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí.
‘As a family, we would love to recognise my father and his connection with education in Bantry and tonight we are delighted to announce that, from next year on, there will be the Vincent Forbes Memorial Award for History,’ Ms Forbes said.
‘History was one of Dad’s great loves, and we thought it would be a great way to honour his memory.’