The voices of students led the proceedings at the annual prize night of St. Kevin’s College, as two year 14 pupils acknowledged the academic and non-academic achievements of their peers with a poignant opening speech.

Welcoming all in attendance at the celebratory event on Thursday, September 5, Head Girl Claire Teague and Head Boy Kladieuz Kozdroj spoke on behalf of the student body, sharing their views of school life at the college.

“Although the best reward for hard work is the personal sense of achievement, it is rewarding to have successes publicly acknowledged and celebrated,” said Claire. She continued: “Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those who are receiving awards this evening. Your hard work and commitment have truly paid off and you are a testament to our school motto that if you believe, you can achieve and succeed.”

Highlighting the support that she and her fellow students have received throughout the past year to help them “reach their potential,” Claire said: “I would like to firstly thank our parents for their unconditional love, support and belief in us. We would not be in the position we are today without their support.”

Kladieuz added: “We would also like to thank our teachers, classroom assistants and mentors for always being there to support us in both school work and at difficult times in our life, and for believing in us even when we didn’t believe in ourselves.”

“They notice everything- not just who’s chewing gum and who’s late for class, but who needs extra help and who just needs the encouragement and support to reach their potential. The amount of work that our teachers and support staff do for us from helping us complete our coursework, prepare for exams as well as balancing all other responsibilities in this school is remarkable,” he commented.

Speaking personally, Claire shared how one of the biggest moments of her school career was when she made the decision of moving to St. Kevin’s College last year. “I can honestly say it is one of the best decisions I have made, I have never looked back,” she said, adding: “As I entered the gates of St. Kevin’s College little did I know the countless opportunities that would be offered to me let alone that I would even be considered for the role of Head Girl.”

Claire continued: “From the word go I was made to feel very welcome here and I have become a real part of the school community.”

Following Claire’s personal comments, Kladieuz shared his experiences. He said: “Just like Claire, I was quite apprehensive at first having moved from Poland to Ireland. However, I needn’t have worried because I was made feel very welcome here in St. Kevin’s.”

Claire concluded the speech by giving the younger students of the school some “friendly advice.” She said: “All of you sitting here tonight have a choice to make. If you use your talents, apply yourself and work hard, you can become successful. Recognise that you are all gifted individuals and try to be the best that you can be. Be assured that if you take the help and support offered here at St Kevin’s College you can all achieve your goals.”

Kladieuz added: “It is with great sadness that Claire and I have to say that this is our last year at St. Kevin’s College, however I look forward to the year ahead where we will hopefully continue to grow and learn through prayer, work and fun.”