Prize Giving took place on Friday 4th October. The guest speaker was Mr James Shone. Deputy Principal Mr Galligan was MC for the afternoon. He started by welcoming everyone to the school and asking the Choir to start the event with some music. They performed "Stand by Me". This was followed by a speech from the Principal, Mrs McShane. She reflected comprehensively on all of the many learning achievements which have taken place inside and outside the classroom over the past year. These achievements reflect the school's founder, Andrew Wilson's vision for the school. She reminded everyone that the school is always moving forwards and the new astro turf sports pitch is but one example of this. She thanked the school's various Boards for their rolls in these developments.
She welcomed all of the new members of staff and pupils. She wished the Senior Prefects well in their leadership roll in the school and hoped that the class representatives on the Students' Council will represent the students well. She thanked the Parents' Council and the Past Pupils' Association for all of the support and their fundraising for school improvements. Mrs McShane paid a lovely tribute to Dr Kathy Finnegan who retired last year saying that she is a living embodiment of all that makes a Wilsonian. The Principal reminded everyone that Wilson's is a team made up of teaching staff, duty staff, catering staff, matrons and groundspeople.
Mrs McShane concluded by addressing the students saying how tremendously proud of them we all are and they give the school a sense of purpose which sustains us. She urged them to develop into the fullest, most complete version of who they are meant to be.
Alex provided the next musical interlude before the Presentation of Prizes took place starting with the Acadmic Endeavour and Academic Effort awards for each class.There are lots more photos on the school's Facebook page.
There are a number of subject specific awards which were presented next. They were followed by recognition of the Choir Leaders, Student Enterprise, Gaisce Awards, TY Mentors and the scholarship winners. There are more of these pictures on the school's Facebook page.
Jane provided the next musical interlude before the guest speaker Mr James Shone spoke. He explained that in 2012 he thought that he had a great life. He was married with four children, he had been a teacher for twelve years and had applied for a job as a Head Teacher. He was delighted to get this job which he considered to be his dream job. He had to go for a medical and it was at that point that everything changed for him when it was discovered that he had a brain tumour. His life completely changed and one of the biggest changes is that he is now registered as a blind person with no sight in one eye and ten percent in the other eye. This has had a huge effect on his life.
He wanted to address the students, families and staff about how we handle the tough times in our lives when they come. He says he does three things 1. He looks Up and asks God to help him through it; 2. He looks Forward and 3. He looks Out. He calls this UFO as opposed looking Down, Back and In (Dangerously Bleak Individual). He urged all of the young people to believe in who they are and what they can do and to follow their passions.
During the ceremony the Senior Prefects were awarded their special ties and the Head Girl and Head Boy were named. Aramide and Henry's first official duty in their new roles was to make a presentation to Mr James Shone and to thank him for making our Prize Giving such an uplifting afternoon.
The Principal also made some special presentations. One of these was to Mr Martin Hanevy who has been working with the Department of Education in policy development. In 2010 with Adrian Oughton, Liam Coyle and Nigel Foley-Fisher he pioneered a pathway for schools to move from the fee paying sector to becoming a school with no tuition fees. Throughout the years he has been sensitive to our ethos and boarding school situation. He played a huge roll in securing the extension to the Preston classroom block. He is now retiring. Wilson's Hospital School really want to thank him for his influence and support over the years.
She had two presentations to make to staff who have been working in the school for 25 years. The first was to Jane Gibney who works as a commis-chef feeding thousands of Wilsonians over the past 25 years. She has worked with three Principals/Wardens and also lives on site. Mrs McShane thanked Jane for her service, especially being available to feed students out of normal working times when they have early starts or late returns.
The second long term service award was made to the school Bursar, Liam Coyle. When he started in WHS it was in a precarious state with old fashioned conditions and facilities. The Principal said that Lima has worked tirelessly to develop, improve and support the school. He played a pivotal role in the changed over from the private to the public education system. He sensitively and diligently helps parents to access grants through the SEC with huge kindness and sensitivity. She thanked him for his loyalty to the school despite approaches from other schools.
Current Transition Year students moved from the Weafer Hall to the Concert Hall with their parents and teachers. They received their Junior Certificate results with great excitement! They will have a celebration later in the year when their Junior Cycle Profile of Achievements are awarded.
The Prize Giving ceremony is a much loved event in the Wilson's calendar celebrating so many great achievements. As is traditional the event ended with a lovely tea in the school dining room with Mrs Kenny and the catering staff. There are more photos on the school's Facebook page.