St. Brigid’s Primary School in Ballymoney held their Annual Prize Day last Friday and Acting Principal, Mrs Louise McNally, highlighted that Prize Day was not solely about celebrating sporting success but also to recognise and celebrate the children’s academic, spiritual, artistic and cultural achievements, which are all strong features of the ethos of the school.
This year St. Brigid’s gave their Prize Day an extra twist by beginning with a triumphal entrance by pupils in Y1, Y2 and Class A [KS1 Learning Support Centre], who all received medals, for their enthusiastic participation in team games, as well as in the individual sprint event.
Mrs McNally stressed the importance of developing a positive attitude to sport and games at this very young age. She encouraged parents to allow their children to play outdoors, with some element of freedom, to develop, not only their physical skills, but also to develop their confidence, self-esteem and resilience, leading to active and healthy lifestyles in the future.
To a fanfare of music and applause from family, staff and pupils, the winners of Sport Day races in Y3 - Y7 were presented with medals. Prizes were awarded to soccer, hurling/camogie and netball teams, who won their inter-school competitions. Individual excellence was also recognised with Sports Day Champion shields presented for both Key Stages.
The netball, hockey, hurling, camogie, swimming and soccer teams were all recognised for their achievements. In netball the girls won their regional competitions and then progressed to the NI Primary Schools’ Championships (final 10 teams in NI). In the Cumann na mBunscol outdoor camogie and hurling competitions the girls came 3rd , while the boys reached the final.
Mrs McNally praised the school swimming team which came 3rd in the local interschool swimming gala and the athletics team which came 4 th in the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Athletics Competition. The girls’ hockey team earned a place in the NI Primary Schools Hockey Finals.
These impressive sporting achievements were recognised by Liam Beckett, former Irish League professional footballer, former mentor and mechanic and confidante to the late Robert Dunlop and current BBC Sports Commentator. Liam presented awards to the teams and to individual sports persons of the year in football, netball and Gaelic games. Liam was particularly impressed with the football successes of the pupils.
The girls won the Harry Gregg tournament and the boys also reached the final. He urged children to continue to play sport for enjoyment but also to develop their skills, fitness and overall health. Mrs McNally thanked Liam for taking the time from his busy schedule to help to celebrate the children’s achievements.
During her presentation, Mrs McNally praised the strong academic performance throughout the year and reflected on the school’s end of Key Stage Assessments, which were ahead of CEA averages in literacy, numeracy and ICT.
Individual pupils were given recognition for their aptitude, attitude and achievement in a range of Areas of Learning and were consequently awarded individual prizes for Endeavour, PD & MU, Music, Creative & Expressive Achievement, Handwriting, Science and ICT. Pupils in the Learning Support Centres were also awarded prizes for their achievements.
Mrs McNally welcomed back Mr Conlon, former Principal of St. Brigid’s, on this special occasion to present a Reading trophy.
As Principal, Mr Conlon made significant investment in the Accelerated Reading Programme, which tracks not only the books read by each child but also their level of comprehension. Mrs McNally stated that teachers and parents alike, have witnessed the value of this programme, as it has provided an incentive for children to read more frequently, to focus more on the understanding of text and perhaps most importantly of all, to begin to appreciate and enjoy literature. Mrs McNally added, that such improvements in reading had a direct impact on progress in other areas of the curriculum.