Back: Tony Nolan (chaplain), Dearbhla Ryan (guest speaker), Margaret Moore (deputy principal), John Gallagher (principal), Emily Kirwan (student awards co-ordinator), John Murray (deputy principal). Front: Ellen O’Donnell, Kate O’Donnell (Student of the Year), Rory O’Donnell.
The 21st annual student awards ceremony took place at Cashel Community School last Thursday.
Guest speaker for the evening was past pupil Dearbhla Ryan from Dundrum. Dearbhla was part of Cashel Community School’s class of 2010, before going on to obtain a BDS Honours Degree in Dentistry from University College Cork. She is now working as a dentist in Mallow, having spent two years previously in Galway.
Dearbhla spoke of the many opportunities she received in Cashel Community School and of some of her memories of school life. She paid particular tribute to the care and education she received during her years in Cashel Community School. She acknowledged the role that teachers and staff played in providing a well-rounded education, both inside and outside the classroom.
She regaled stories about the fun she had with her friends during her time in school and spoke of the value of making life-long friends. In conclusion, she congratulated the award winners and wished the students the very best in their upcoming exams.
In total, 142 awards were presented over nine different categories, including class, full attendance, sport, creative writing, cultural, best Leaving and Junior Certificate results, project work, special awards, and the prestigious Student of the Year. In total, 34 class awards were presented to students from first to sixth year by their year heads. 60 students managed to achieve full attendance during the 2017/18 academic year. Sixth year students Kate O’Donnell and Leah Ryan achieved full attendance for their entire six years in Cashel Community School.
Seven students obtained creative writing awards in the areas of poetry, short stories and essays. 17 awards were given out in the sporting areas, including basketball, camogie, hurling, Gaelic football, ladies football, soccer and rugby. This category also included the Friends of Cashel Community School GAA awards, which were presented to two students. 11 students excelled in the cultural area and were presented with awards for art, music, choir and musical. Three students were presented with awards for project work in the areas of agricultural science, woodwork, technology and craftsmanship.
Second year student Saoirse Browne was the winner of the inaugural Gerry Ryan Memorial Award for excellence in art. Gerry taught art in Cashel Community School from the day it opened. His commitment to his students and to the school was boundless. He was an extremely accomplished draughtsman and as a printer and craftsman he was peerless. His talent for sharing his skills with his students was prodigious.
The inaugural Michael Purcell Memorial Award was presented to third year student Leonie Farrell for her Junior Certificate woodwork project. Michael was a woodwork and technical graphics teacher at Cashel Community School from 2003 until his untimely passing in 2016. He had a huge interest in design and loved to see students use and develop their design skills as part of their Junior Certificate woodwork project.
Hannah McSweeney was presented with the award for Best Leaving Certificate results 2017, having obtained top grades in a broad range of subjects. Kate Bourke and Aoife Linehan obtained the Best Junior Certificate results award with 10 A grades on a range of subjects including languages, science, history and geography.
Four Special Awards were presented on the night for achievements in rugby, contribution towards Cycle against Suicide, exceptional commitment and dedication to school work and studies.
The most prestigious award of the night was Student of the Year. By their outstanding display of academic achievements, personal qualities and support for school values, past winners have added to the integrity of this award. In making their selection, teachers were asked to take the following into consideration: academic record, achievements, leadership and initiative qualities, good interpersonal skills, school involvement, moral courage, any positive quality and someone who has credibility with both the staff and student body. After three rounds of voting, Kate O’Donnell was named as Student of the Year 2018. Kate is the daughter of Ellen and the late PJ O’Donnell of Cashel and is a very worthy winner of this accolade. Mr John Gallagher, principal of Cashel Community School, described Kate as “a true silent leader, a real role model to us all, who completes everything in a quiet, non-descript manner and always delivers with a smile on her face.”
Kate is taking six higher-level subjects for her Leaving Certificate. She is no stranger to the school awards system having received class and full attendance awards for each of her six years in Cashel Community School, along with a basketball award. Kate received a Certificate of Excellence in Transition Year and completed a number of courses in first aid, law and GAA coaching. She was involved in the school musical and Build a Bank committee. She took part in the Cycle against Suicide, played both basketball and camogie with Cashel Community School, and was a member of the school choir. Kate is a sixth year Link student, helping first year students settle into life in Cashel Community School. Outside of school she plays soccer and camogie and holds certificates in speech and drama.
Music on the night was provided by the Equal Voice and Senior Boys choirs under the direction of John Murray and accompanist Helen Colbert, who delighted audience members with two varied pieces of music.
Student awards co-ordinator Emily Kirwan was assisted on the night by Student Council members Zak Flanagan, Alexandra Davern, Marjorie de Castro and Mamie Keating. She thanks staff and students who helped make the ceremony such a success. “We acknowledge all the students who did not win awards this year but nonetheless make a very valuable contribution to life in Cashel Community School. We encourage your ongoing participation in school life and look forward to being able to reward your achievements in the future. Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí mar a deir an seanfhocal. We also wish all our award winners the very best in the future exams and especially our third and sixth year students who will be facing into State Examinations in the coming weeks.”