ST Benedict’s College in Randalstown celebrated its first prize-giving ceremony under the leadership of new head, Mrs Catriona McAteer.
More than 150 guests were welcomed to the Annual Celebration of Achievement where the Year 12 class of 2018 was presented with certificates and awards highlighting their individual GCSE successes.
In addition, current students were awarded prizes marking significant achievement in subjects, attendance and across a whole range of extra-curricular areas including sporting and artistic achievements.
The guests were entertained on arrival by the school’s Traditional Irish Folk Group who played uplifting jigs and reels in reception and the School Choir who performed a wonderful rendition of ‘A Million Dreams’ from ‘The Greatest Showman’.
This was a very important event not only for the newly appointed principal, but for the entire school community as it saw them coming together to celebrate the individual and collective achievements of the students of St Benedict’s in the last academic year.
Mrs McAteer said: “As a school, St Benedict’s is committed to ensuring that all students pray and learn in a school where they are happy, safe and successful.
“As such, we advocate the importance of holistic education and we are committed to developing all our students academically, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.”
The proof of this ethos was evident through the celebration of the academic and extra curricular achievements of last year’s Year 12 students, as highlighted by the principal in her address to their proud parents and friends in the audience.
The top performing female student was Ellen McQuillan, who achieved a superb three As, seven Bs and one C.
Liam Matthews was the highest achieving boy, with five As, three Bs and two Cs. Both have moved on to St Benedict’s partner school, St Louis Grammar School, to complete their A levels with a view to progressing from there to university.
Also recognised were Johnathon Adams, Aidan Gormley, Caitlin McCann, Katie McCann, Dean Millar and Joel Taylor as top achievers.
“It was such an honour that this year our special guest was Bishop Donal McKeown who gave an inspirational and engaging address recounting his own educational progress which commenced in one of our key feeder primary schools, Mount St Michael’s Primary School,” Mrs McAteer continued.
“Mr Diarmuid Shivers, Mrs Belinda Kelly and Ms Michelle McElhone expertly oversaw the night’s proceedings and introduced the numerous other prize-winners who are expertly challenged and supported to develop their individual skills and talents in our school.
“The evening was concluded by the Very Rev John Forsythe, Chairperson of the Board of Governors who regaled the audience with humorous and poignant stories of his own educational journey.
“Finally, our Head Boy, Rory Loughran and Head Girl, Carla O’Neill, having delivered a vote of thanks and made a presentation to Bishop McKeown, invited all guests to join staff and our community partners for refreshments after the formalities and photographs had been taken.
“St Benedict’s wishes all of our leavers happiness and success for the future and we look forward to many more evenings of shared celebration in the years ahead.”