Missionary priest is named Person of the Year at renowned Tipperary college


Missionary priest is named Person of the Year at renowned Tipperary college

Peter Bolger with Fr. Jack Meade, recipient of the past pupils Rockwell College Person of the year award, and Andrew Foley

Record crowds attended the annual Rockwell College dinner in the Minella Hotel, Clonmel, where the Person of the Year award was presented.

This annual event, having moved to Tipperary for the third year in a row, drew a crowd of 300 past pupils ranging from five year out to sixty year out. 

The Rockwell union presented Fr. Jack Meade with the Rockwell ‘Person of the Year’ for his many years of service and dedication to the college and in his missionary field. 

Fr. Jack accepted the award on behalf of the service given by all the Holy Ghost Order to education and in the missionary field. 

Former student, Andrew Foley, gave an inspiring talk on the work he is doing with underprivileged children in Lesbos since 2014.

A handmade sign occupies prime position on the reception desk at the Gekko Kids school in Lesbos. 

"Our Golden Rules" is spelled out in bold capital letters says Andrew, - underlined - just in case anyone misses the point. 

"Be respectful" is the number one rule. At the bottom of the list is less of a rule and more of an inspiration on how to get the most out of life. It simply says "Be the best you can".

 It is a message that at least 800 children have seen since the Gekko Kids school opened its doors in August 2017.

He was watching television at home in Co Waterford in February 2016 when he saw distressing images of boats carrying migrants arriving on the island of Lesbos. 

''I came here initially for just two weeks!" he recalls. 

"I was quite impacted by what I saw on the news and I decided to go and offer some support.''

Three years later Andrew is still on Lesbos, a key member of the 'Better Days Greece', a local group that is setting up educational centres for refugee children. 

Andrew gave up a promising career in IT security to work full-time in the humanitarian sector.