Speaking to assembled guests at the St Fancheas prize giving, guest speaker, Rosemary Nolan who is a former teacher in the school, urged people to “count their blessings” when it comes to the educational opportunities that are present today:

“I really want to us all to count our blessings and appreciate the gift that education is; the opportunities it provides us with, the dignity it embraces us with, the social mobility and freedom it allows us,” she said before adding:

“Education is not merely the acquirement of skills and the passing of exams; it is the drawing out of what lies within each one of us and the transformative power of taking a little person and watching them grow in knowledge and understanding, grow in self -awareness and self- confidence, until they are not a little person any longer, but a young beautiful person reaching their own potential. Just like you.”

Mrs Nolan also spoke about the special type of student that goes to St Fancheas and remarked that this was do to the girls being themselves:

“Every visitor to the school talks about the unique atmosphere here, the way pupils are so articulate and helpful, the way people are encouraged to find their own voice and develop who they are. By being yourself of course, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before and something is added to the school that was not there before you came to it,” she stated.

Acting Principal, Maurice Collins, paid special tribute to the parents of the

“To our parents, you are all very welcome and I pass on our congratulations to you. Your support and encouragement has played a vital role in the journey your daughter has taken throughout her years in Saint Fanchea’s College. Thank you for entrusting your daughters to our care and for your support and co-operation over the years,” Mr Collins said before turning his attention to the pupils who attend the school:

“When we see all of you girls here tonight, we see confident young ladies who can hold your heads high with pride on everything that you have worked hard for and achieved. And we are so proud.”

The Principal went on to speak about the academic success achieved by the school with 85% of pupils achieving between A*-C with 100% of A-level pupils attaining at least two grades between A-E.

Mr Collins did say however that performance league tables were a “blunt instrument” and not am entirely accurate when painting a full picture of achievement and instead commented:

“Like every year before in Saint Fanchea’s College, each of our girls have achieved grades far above what could reasonably have been expected of them on entry to the college. This is the true value-added dimension of pupil performance in external tests is the real true indicator of our girls’ successes.”

Bringing his speech to a close the principal asked that his students keep in mind the school ethos:

“The motto of this school, ‘We believe We Strive We achieve’ reflects the importance which the school attributes to faith, to commitment and achievement. I ask you pupils here tonight to remember this motto and use it to guide whatever you do in your future lives.”