The annual Senior Prizegiving took place at Loreto College Coleraine before the end of the summer term.
The evening rewards students in the Senior School for excellence in their academic, personal, inter-personal and extra-curricular activities and was an opportunity for the College to celebrate excellence in all aspects of school life in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Guests present included members of the College’s Board of Governors and representatives of the Loreto Community in Coleraine.
The guest speaker at the Prizegiving was Mr Brendan Mooney, CEO of Kainos, Belfast. A native of Dunloy, Mr Mooney attended Loreto College from 1978- 1985. On leaving the College, having achieved A Levels in Computer Science, Economics and Geography, he continued his study of Computer Science at The University of
Ulster. Mr Mooney then joined Kainos in 1989 as a graduate software engineer, before moving into a number of technical and commercial roles in Dublin, London and USA. He was appointed CEO of Kainos in 2001.
In addition to his role at Kainos, Mr Mooney has been a Non-Executive Director at Meridio, Property News, the Probation Service for Northern Ireland and, until recently, was a serving Lay Magistrate. In 2013 Mr Mooney was the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) from the University of Ulster in recognition of his services to business development and later this year will receive an Honorary Doctorate (DSc Econ) for services to business and commerce from Queens University Belfast.
Mr Mooney spoke fondly of his seven years as a student at Loreto College, commenting that his association with the Loreto Coleraine was a much lengthier one as his mother and aunts had attended the school, with his Aunt Anna having become a Loreto Sister. Memories of enjoyable times combined with an enormous appreciation for the studies, in particular at A Level, which had shaped his career. Paying tribute to all his teachers at Loreto and in particular those who had taught him at A Level, Mrs Margaret McDonnell for Computing, Mr Gerry McGouran for Economics and Miss Loretta Diamond for Geography, Mr Mooney urged the students present to grasp the opportunities offered by school life as a preparation for every aspect of life in the adult world, both in terms of their future careers and their personal lives.
Urging the importance of forging a great career, as a great employee for an inspiring employer, Mr Mooney also urged students to make the most of the opportunities on offer beyond school life by taking care of their health through regular exercise and enrichment. Mr Mooney paid particular tribute to the caring ethos of Loreto College and its exceptional pastoral care, educating the whole child and ensuring that they are well looked after when challenging circumstances occur.
In an inspiring speech, Mr Mooney showed the students of 2016 how an educational experience just like theirs can lead to a career and a lifetime of tremendous success and satisfaction.
Welcoming students, parents and members of staff to the Prizegiving, Mr Michael James, Loreto College Principal, said: “As you will no doubt be aware in February of this year the Minister for Education accepted the trustees Development Proposal, which means that in September 2017 Loreto College will begin to expand, St Joseph’s College will begin a phased closure and Dominican College will begin to move away from academic selection.
“These changes are part of a greater drive to rationalise education and to reduce the burden on the public purse. And this year, once again, we face a year of further financial challenges, with a much reduced budget that restricts our curriculum options and limits our ability to deliver the optimum range of subjects for our students.
“That we are not the only school facing these budget challenges does nothing to off-set our genuine concerns. However, as always, in Loreto we are willing and ready to rise to these challenges and to find ways that will allow us to continue as the leading school in the area.
“As we stand on the threshold of this new era, it is right to stop and ponder what we want our school to achieve and deliver for our students. Certainly today we gather to celebrate academic success and there is no doubt that this is important to our students and their parents. However, I believe that what most of us want as parents is to bring up our children in safety and to keep them healthy and happy.
“We want them to know the value of the world and the people they encounter and we educate them to care for themselves and for others, whilst allowing them to develop in their own unique way.
“As W B Yeats put it ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’.
“We hope that here in Loreto we light a flame that our students will nourish and develop as they continue through life.”
For the full text of the principal’s speech, log onto www.colerainetimes.co.uk