St Malachy’s High School, Junior Prize Giving

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On Thursday 28th September, Year 11 students along with their parents and guardians gathered in St. Malachy's High School, Castlewellan to celebrate Junior Prize Giving.

The evening began with a variety of musical treats courtesy of the music department. Parents, students and staff were treated to musical numbers from the school choir, soloists and instrumentalists. These included a taster of some of the music from the upcoming musical School of Rock which will be performed in January 2018.

Principal, Mrs Orla O’Neill, was delighted to be addressing the family and friends who attended. She praised all Year 11 students for their achievements to date. She recognised this event as a significant occasion in the school calendar. Mrs O’Neill said that the evening was a perfect opportunity to showcase and celebrate the outstanding successes of a special group of young people, for both academic and extra-curricular accomplishments. Mrs O’Neill addressed the audience with pride on the school’s recent examination success, “This year, the results are once again outstanding, with 73% of students achieving A*-C grades in five or more subjects and an amazing 62 students achieving 7 or more A*-C grades. Many students have 10 or 11 GCSEs to their name. Once again the quality of results has increased with many students securing several A* and A grades in a wide range of subjects. Not to be out done the A Level results attained by our Year 14 students were the best in the history of the school. 57% of the cohort achieving 3 A levels at grades A*-C an amazing increase of 20% on last year. A third of all grades were at A* or A with 88% leaving St Malachy’s with three good A levels passes. The percentage of our students leaving us to take up university places in a wide range of degree courses is again, well above the Northern Ireland average.”

The guest speaker for the evening was Dr Fionnuala McCann. She was a student in St. Malachy’s High School between 1999 and 2006. In 2004 she was awarded the “Fr. Mooney Cup” for ‘Best overall GCSE Student’ achieving 6A*s and 2As (at a time when 8 was the maximum number of GCSEs studied in school). She was meticulous in her devotion to her leadership responsibilities in her role as Mentor and was involved in the successful organisation of a number of corporate school events and activities.  As a Prefect on the charity committee she enjoyed considerable financial responsibility, emphasising the staff confidence in her trustworthiness.

Fionnuala was aware of the grades required to study Medicine, but was not deterred by them, instead, she followed advice and guidance from teachers to the letter of the law, whilst studying diligently and daily to ensure she obtained the grades and in June 2006, Fionnuala obtained 4 A grades at A2 in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics – no mean feat, in fact, she scored a maximum of 100% in four of the A2 Maths units and was personally acknowledged by an Inspector from the Department of Education who specialised in  Maths.  Fionnuala has been employed in Craigavon Area Hospital since 2016 in the “Acute Medical Unit”- co-ordinating the patients who are admitted through Accident and Emergency and making decisions regarding the further care of the patients.

Fionnuala spoke of her school-days at St Malachy's, of the teachers who had influenced her, the subjects she enjoyed and the life skills she had acquired as a result. Dr McCann remembered her time at school fondly and in particular, spoke of how St Malachy’s made a lasting impression on her life. The Principal, staff and students wish to express their sincere thanks to Dr McCann for attending the event and for her inspiring words.

The evening concluded with light refreshments in the school canteen where parents, guardians, students and staff, gathered to reflect on a most enjoyable prize giving.

Platform Party with guest speaker Dr Fionnuala McCann




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