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Academic Awards Night

2nd March 2023

We were delighted to host our Annual Academic Awards on Friday last in the school. It was a lovely occasion, and an opportunity to recognise the outstanding work of both our current pupils following their Junior Cycle exams, and to catch up with past pupils who completed their Leaving Cert last June.

The following is the text from the night, outlining the various recipients.

A very special thank you to our past pupil, Jessica Handy, who was our guest speaker on the night.

A dhaoine uaisle, fearaim fíorchaoin failte romhaibh uilig anseo anocht chuig ócáid speisialta i saol na scoile i Meánscoil na Toirbhirte, Cill an Átha - oíche na nduaiseanna acadúla. Tréaslaím go speisialta ár  scoláirí - idir iar-scoláirí agus scoláirí reatha as a n-éachtaí agus as a  ngaiscí sna scrúdaithe stáit i 2022. 


On behalf of the Awards Committee I extend a warm welcome to you all this evening. To our invited guests, parents/guardians, colleagues, friends, and, of course, MOST importantly our awards recipients. Thank you for joining with us to celebrate and recognise the wonderful achievements of our current and former students in the 2022 state exams. A special “Céad Míle Fáilte” to our past pupil Jessica Handy who has joined us as guest speaker to celebrate this special occasion in the life of our school. It is wonderful to be able to gather in-person this evening for our first Academic Awards ceremony since 2019.


Our Awards process was set up back  in 2010 with a vision to:


Promote learning

Motivate and encourage students to achieve their potential

Recognise and acknowledge excellence in our students


The school’s mission statement is “Killina Presentation Secondary School is an inclusive Christian community aimed at the holistic development of each individual”. At the end of each academic year, in May, we recognise students’ achievements in many facets of school life - areas including sport, music, attendance, effort, contribution to school life and involvement in extracurricular activities. 


The focus of tonight’s ceremony is on academic achievement and, as I have already mentioned, to acknowledge the success of our students in the most recent state exams. Those of you who sit in our classrooms daily, and who have done so in the recent past will be familiar with the Triple A posters which hang in every room - Attendance, Attitude, Achievement , and the 4th invisible A which is implicit alongside all of those - the A for Ambition. Our current and former students who are here tonight embody those 4 As - you attended school regularly with a positive and open attitude, you achieved your potential and were ambitious with the goals and targets you set for yourselves. As I look around me  tonight, it is especially gratifying to see that amongst our highest achievers in academic areas we also have a large number of athletes and musicians who have represented their schools, their clubs, their families, their county and their country at a high level. This is testament to their diligence, dedication, resilience, their attitude and their ambition. Proof that it IS possible to find a balance between extracurricular activities and learning. Maith sibh. 


At Leaving Certificate level recipients are awarded based on the results achieved in the State Exams, as calculated by the CAO system. At Junior Cycle to reflect recent changes in the exam system we have devised a points system as follows:  Distinction 10 points,  Higher Merit 8, Merit 6 and Achieved 4 points , for subjects studied at Higher and Common Level. Students will be awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals based on their attainment. A number of students achieved the highest grade possible in a subject area, outside of the medal categories. They will receive  Certificates of Attainment and book tokens. 





So, we begin the presentation with the Junior Cycle Awards.


I would like to invite Mr. Cotter to present the award for Academic Achievement in Woodwork to Ryan Gleeson


The Bronze Medal Awards, which will be presented by Mr. Lawless go to: Samuel Brickland, Seán Chen, Diarmuid Delaney, Ellen Dolan, (represented by her sister Ava as she is in Spain on international soccer duty)  Rory Heffernan (unable to attend) , Niall Kelly, Cathal Moran, Patrick Noga, Aisling Nunan, Dan O’Brien, Charley Powell


Mr. O’Connor will present the Silver  Medal Awards. Congratulations to - 

Róisin Byrne, Bailey Evans, Ava Grennan, Jessica Smyth is currently studying in France , and is represented by her brother Stephen, Stephen Troy


Finally the Gold Medal and winner of the  Overall Junior Cycle student of the year award, presented by Mr. Cotter , is awarded to Orlaith Garvey. Comhgairdeas leat a Orlaith, in recognition of her dedication,  diligence and hard work during the course of the 3 year Junior Cycle. 


At this point I would like to invite our special guest Jessica Handy to speak. Jessica graduated from KPSS in 2005 . Her journey through 3rd level education began when she initially set out to study a degree in Irish and French Law in UCD. She is now working as Head of Art and Heritage Collections in the RCSI, having completed a masters degree in Archival Management from UCD.  Her pathway up to this point was not a straightforward one, however,  there were twists and turns on the journey she undertook ,   with time also spent along that journey pursuing a degree in History  from TCD. She is here tonight to share with us some of her experiences and the lessons she has learnt as she navigated her journey from leaving Killina to now.  Fáilte romhat Jessica.  



Ms. Mann will now make a presentation to Jessica and I wish to once more express our sincere thanks to her for joining us here tonight. For sharing with us her  wisdom and thoughts.  For showing us that,  no matter how long and twisted the journey to your final destination and pathway may be,  there are valuable lessons and life experiences gathered along the way which are ultimately beneficial and enriching on our life's journey.   



Now to the Leaving Certificate Awards.


Again, Mr. Cotter will present the Certificates of Academic Attainment to : Oliwia Bryja and Tom Doyle (unable to attend) , Lauren Leonard, Zara Lynch, and Hannah McDonald (award will be accepted on her behalf  by Niamh O’Connell


Bronze Medal Awards, again presented by Mr. Lawless go to: Sarah Doherty (unable to attend), Libby English, Cameron Evans, Ellie Hogan  , Saraid McDonald, Neil Minnock who are all unavoidably absent tonight, Colm O’Brien, Niamh O’Connell, Katie O’Rourke,  Rebecca Watkins


Ms. Mann will present the Silver  Medal Awards. Congratulations to - Ava Dolan, Ronan Fulton, Caitlin Minnock , who is not with us tonight, Aleksandra Piet,John Spollen


Finally the Gold Medal and overall Leaving Certificate Student of the Year Award, presented by Mr. Cotter will be awarded to Charlie Mitchell, who is represented tonight by his parents. Charlie is currently studying Accounting in NUI Galway where he has been awarded a scholarship. He is unable to be with us tonight as he is in Kerry preparing for a game tomorrow when he will be a part of the Offaly senior hurling team. We wish him continued success in his studies and his sport into the future. I would now  like to invite his parents to accept his awards on his behalf. 


To finish I would like to say a big “GRMA” to our musicians, under the guidance of Maryann Houlihan, who have so greatly enhanced the evening. Míle buíochas to our guest speaker Jessica for her eloquent and valuable contribution, to all of you for attending - to the parents and guardians for your support and encouragement throughout the years of your child’s education here in Killina. To my colleagues  for their  unwavering professionalism,  care, dedication and support for their students,  overcoming,  along with their pupils the challenges of COVID- era teaching and learning, I would also like to say a big thank you to the other members of the Awards Committee without whom tonight’s ceremony would not have been possible Mr Lawless,  Ms O'Donovan, Ms. Mann, Mr. Concannon for the certificates. Is mór dom bhur dtacaíocht agus bhur gcabhair. A separate word to Ms. Mann who stood at this lectern doing this job for the past number of years , whose shoes I have been filling tonight and who so willingly undertook this role. I look forward to handing her back the microphone soon again!! 


There is a quote from Nelson Mandela on the back of your programme tonight ; “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. 


I urge you to use the opportunities education and life presents to you going forward to change YOUR world. Use your talents and experiences to broaden your OWN world - learn from the challenges and possibilities life and education may pose for you as you navigate life's roads. Some of you MAY go on to become leaders, who, like Nelson Mandela literally change the world for millions of people. Others of you may go on to change the world of a community , a family, by starting a business, by involvement in community activities, by sharing your gifts and talents with the world around you, with your families, neighbours and friends, by being a role model for others - embodying those 4 As I mentioned earlier.


We wish you every success as you continue on your paths through life - whether they be straightforward pathways or meandering roads with potholes and pitfalls on the way to your final destinations. (My LC Irish students from last year may recognise the origin of that metaphor!) To those of you who have already started your 3rd level journey or are hoping to embark on it soon Ádh mór agus Go n-éirí libh. To our Junior Cycle recipients, we hope for your continued success in your studies here in Killina Presentation Secondary School. Go mbeidh gach rath oraibh amach anseo. 


Go raibh míle maith agaibh. Slán agus beannacht. 


Killina Presentation Secondary SchoolRahan, Tullamore, Offaly    Phone: 057 9355706 | E-mail: office@killinaschool.ie
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