In a novel new way for their annual prize night those in attendance were treated to a movie, put together that helped depict the school life and the school community in action to go with Principal Helena Palmer’s speech on the night.

In her speech, Mrs. Palmer said the movie showed what “wonderful, creative and powerful work” is going on both within the walls of our school building and out in to the wider community.

“Yes, school is about academic achievements – that is important, but it is also about developing the whole person – to be ready and able to take on what the world has to offer us in the future and I know we do our best to achieve this.”

The principal paid tribute to the fantastic results achieved at both GCSE and A-level in which they maintained their position as the top performing all boys secondary school in Northern Ireland.

83 per cent of our Year 12 pupils achieved at least five GCSE’s with 100 per cent of Year 14 pupils achieving two or more A levels. Over half of our Year 14 A level pupils achieve A*- A grades in three subjects.

Mrs. Palmer gave thanks to all those who contributed to the school community.

“To all the staff of our College both past and present; you are a wonderful team and without your support, friendship and professionalism our school would not be the thriving community it is today. I am aware that you invest much of your own time towards the learning of our pupils. I know I speak on behalf of all our pupils when I express our gratitude and sincere thanks to you for your dedication, inspiration, enthusiasm and hard work.

To our Board of Governors; I thank you all for your commitment and encouragement and I also thank your partners and families who support you in your role as members of the BOG.

Mrs. Palmer quoted the great American biologist Edward Wilson who once said: “You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honourably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.”

She then finished by saying: “Boys, parents and friends – St. Joseph’s is a wonderful school that places our pupils at the heart of everything we do. Be proud of your achievements here tonight. Use your time in education wisely, cherish your time here, use this opportunity – to create a successful pathway into adult life. Nelson Mandela once said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!’ Boys, continue to grow into the great young men and future leaders that you all have the potential to be. I wish you all every success in your future life either here in St. Joseph’s, at University and on into the world of work.”

Guest speaker on the night was former student, Ciaran McManus, who was recently appointed Assistant Chief Executive of South West College.

“In his speech he spoke about his journey from being deemed a failure at 11 as a consequence of the 11 plus, through his time in St. Joseph’s where he was wonderfully supported by the teachers, through to his Degree education in Jordanstown and Queens followed by employment.

Teachers he said have a massive impact on young people’s life. He was lucky to have been taught by many in his time at St. Joseph’s – Joe Peake, Seamus Magee, Dessie Gibson and Bryan Gallagher.

“Teachers unlock potential. They did this 34 years ago for me and still do to this today. I listen to what the community have to say about St. Joseph’s – I’ve heard of the respect for others, that everyday we see Christian behaviour here. I see confidence instilled through academic studies and sport. All of this shapes you. When you go out into employment – find yourself a mentor and learn from them, I did and this helped me to become the man I am today.”