Presentation Castleisland Awards Night – An Occasion of Inclusivity

Ceist award recipient Hanna Herlihy with Principal Pierce Dargan and key note speaker Elma Walsh. Photograph: Katie O’Reilly
Leaving Certificate Gold Medal Award recipient Laura Walsh with Principal Pierce Dargan and event keynote speaker, Elma Walsh at the Presentation Castleisland awards on Thursday night. Photograph: Katie O’Reilly

Presentation Castleisland hosted its annual awards night for the 2021/22 school year in St. John’s Hall recently.

This celebration was held in-person at Presentation Secondary School for the first time since 2019.

Choir soloists and the school orchestra opened the celebration with a heart-warming performance of ‘One Moment in Time’ led by music teacher Ailish O’Connor.

During his opening remarks, Principal, Pierce Dargan, welcomed all in attendance including members of the 2022 leaving certificate class and special guests and cousins: Cáit and Eilís Lynch of the Kerry Ladies Senior All-Ireland finalists and past pupils of Presentation Castleisland and Ciara Griffin, former Ireland Women’s Rugby captain, star of RTÉ’s Ultimate Hell Week and the evening’s keynote speaker Elma Walsh from the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation.

Wide Spectrum of Talents

Mr. Dargan remarked that the night was a celebration of the wide spectrum of talents and achievements of students in Presentation Castleisland.

Batt O’Donnell was the MC for the evening, and along with event organiser, Dayna Hurley they ensured the evening ran smoothly.

Mr. O’Donnell outlined that the theme for the evening was ‘Celebrating Achievement and Living Life to the Full.’

This was poignant for the first in-person awards since Covid. With restrictions now lifted, the school community was able to celebrate together and once again live life to the full.

A Host of Awards

Student achievement was recognised through a host of awards on the night: In memory of the late Seamus Falvey, School Principal from 2000 to 2012. This award was presented to Hillary O’Connor, for her commitment to school life and the unwavering positivity she brought to the classroom and it was presented by Mrs. Maria Falvey, wife of the late Seamus.

The Sister Clement Award is presented each year to the student who works consistently and diligently in her studies, and this year, it was awarded to Caroline Blanchfield. This award was presented by former principal Sr. Mary Buckley of the Presentation Order, Castleisland.

Respect and Inclusivity

The CEIST Award was presented to Hanna Herlihy, a student who models the school’s ethos every day and who actively promotes the school’s core values of respect and inclusivity. The award was presented by Elma Walsh.

The Sister Rita Donegan, Art Award is presented to a senior cycle student who consistently proves themselves in art. The winner of this award was April O’Connor and it was presented by art teacher, Katie O’Reilly and Sr. Margaret O’Brien of the of the Presentation Order.

The Junior sports person was awarded to Maireád Walsh and was presented by Kerry footballers Cáit and Eilis Lynch.

Outstanding Leaving Certs

The senior sports person of the year was presented to Hillary O’Connor by Ciara Griffin.

Awards were also presented to students in the areas of: music, business enterprise, STEM, literature, Gaelige and many more.

Winners of the student of the year awards were also announced as follows: Annabell Killeen, first year; Amelie Kerin, second year; Emily Walsh, third year; Sarah Glennon Barreto, fifth year and Laura Walsh, sixth year.

Gold Medals were presented to Siobhán Brosnan and Laura Walsh for their most outstanding results in the Leaving Certificate in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

A touching video was played for the audience about keynote speaker, Elma Walsh’s son Donal during which the audience got a glimpse into Donal’s childhood and the battle he fought with cancer.

Donal’s Message and Legacy

Mrs. Walsh spoke about the message and the legacy her son Donal left behind. Elma spoke about Donal’s anti-suicide campaigns and further emphasised the theme of the night that everyone ‘should live life to the full’.

On his closing remarks, Mr. Dargan thanked all in attendance and he thanked the choir for always adding to and making each school event that little bit more special.

The ceremony ended with a choir performance of ‘Fix You’ led by music teacher, Deirdre O’Brien. Choir members also performed the song in sign language.

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