Senior Prize Giving 2018

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Celebrating Success at St Malachy’s!

On Tuesday 18th December 2018, senior students, along with their parents and guardians, gathered in St Malachy's High School, Castlewellan to celebrate Senior Prize Giving.  The evening began with a variety of musical treats courtesy of the very talented school choir and musicians. The Principal and staff were very honoured to be joined by Guest Speaker, Mrs Mary Kitson. Mary Kitson (nee McClean) who hails from Kilcoo, adorned the St. Malachy’s High School Blazer in September 1979 to commence her studies in Castlewellan. Mary is described as a modest and talented student with an ambition and self-motivation for learning, Mary was the delight of many teachers. Mary studied English, Religion and History and was particularly interested in History where she was encouraged to express her opinions about what she had learnt – those who know Mary deeply can confirm that she is a true diplomat, but is very able to get her point across. Mary continued her university studies in Manchester, which led her to her place of work now. Mary is employed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland as a Senior Legal Officer. 

Principal, Mrs Orla O’Neill, began by congratulating each and every prize winner present and assured each and every student of how deserving they were to be recognised for their admirable achievements throughout the past year. Mrs O’Neill went on to say to the students, “St Malachy’s High School is all about fulfilling potential. We balance the academic and pastoral needs and wants of the students so they can achieve successful outcomes. Tonight affords us the opportunity to focus our attention on those many achievements of our students, our staff and our community. I am very privileged and honoured as Principal to be a part of this wonderful school that has produced such high calibre students, who have all moved on from success to success and who represent all that is great about inclusive Catholic education. The curriculum that we offer our students is the same as all post primary schools however we provide this in a school community where all young people can learn and achieve together.”

Parents, staff and students alike were delighted to hear about the record breaking examination statistics from the previous academic year. Mrs O’Neill stated with pride that St Malachy’s students continue to excel on the academic front with GCSE students once again producing record breaking results! The results from those students in attendance at Senior Prize Giving were outstanding again and it’s great to be able to say they are the best ever again with 88% of students achieving A*-C grades in five or more subjects and an amazing 80 students achieving 7 or more A*-C grades and many achieving 9 ,10 and 11 GCSE’s. Once again the quality of results has increased with many students securing several A* and A grades across the board in a wide range of subjects. Not to be out done, the A Level results attained by our Year 14 students continue to be up there with the best. 52% of the cohort achieving 3 A levels at grades A*-C an amazing increase of 12% over the last two years. With 91% leaving St Malachy’s with three good A levels passes. Twenty-three of the twenty-five departments having achieved 100% A* - E grades. The percentage of our students leaving us to follow courses at many of the top universities is again, well above the Northern Ireland average, many of which travelled from far and wide to return to St Malachy’s for this prestigious annual event.

Guest Speaker, Mrs Mary Kitson, captivated the audience and, in particular, the students found her words inspirational. She was good humored, providing anecdotes as well as words of wisdom. She recalled her days fondly at St Malachy’s and spoke highly of her teachers there. Her nostalgic tone showed the audience just how much pride she took in being a pupil at St Malachy’s. In fact, she spoke of her many reunions with past pupils and friends to chat about their days at the school. The students were interested to hear all about her job with the Equality Commission. She gave some real life examples of her inspirational work there. She spoke to the Senior Students about her admiration for those who stand up for what they believe in and work hard for their own personal goals. She wished them all the best of luck for the future but reiterated to them to stand up for what they believe in, to work hard and they too can achieve their own individual successes in life.

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.