Loreto student recognised by Prosper Fingal for ‘making a difference’

May 30, 2018 0

A student at Loreto Secondary School in Balbriggan has been recognised by disability organisation Prosper Fingal in its inaugural Making a Difference Awards. The Prosper Fingal Making a Difference Awards, which have been established to mark the organisation’s 40th anniversary and will run annually, recognise students who have promoted inclusion and challenged disadvantage in their school or community.

The winner selected at Loreto Balbriggan was Sarah McKenna.

According to the school: “The Transition Year students along with other year groups in the school recognise her for her friendliness and good humour and many of her peers have their own personal story of how she has personally included them in school life.”

Introducing the winner at the school’s TY graduation evening, fellow student Cliodhna Bowers underlined Sarah’s encouraging and positive attitude.

Reacting to her selection, Sarah commented: “I really didn’t expect it. I try my best to be friendly with everyone. I am so delighted. I don’t really like to see people by themselves – it is nice to know someone is out there thinking of you.”
Students at four other secondary schools in north county Dublin have also been recognised in the inaugural Prosper Fingal Making a Difference Awards.

The winning students at Portmarnock Community School were the members of the Homelessness Committee: Samantha Cole, Aoibheann Crean-Lynch, Aaron Cullen, Ailise Dalton, Sara de Carolis, Adam Doyle, Diana Filip, Ava Fitzpatrick O’Donovan, Jordan Hollywood, Jacqueline Lane, Will Mulligan, Caitlin Murphy, Caoimhe O’Reilly, Zach Whelan, Jade Woods and Lily Yu.

These Transition Year students coordinated with local food providers to have leftover food donated to a soup run in Dublin city centre. Among other activities, they organised two huge collections during the year involving the school community, local businesses and past pupils to support a Halloween and Christmas party for over 1,000 children living in emergency accommodation.

Prosper Fingal service-user in Portmarnock Eoin Hall presented the award at the school’s Transition Year graduation evening. Eoin also spoke to students about his own volunteering activities in the local community.

At Skerries Community College, the winner was fifth year student Liam Byrne. Prosper Fingal service-user Megan Guildea, who is well-known locally for her friendly demeanour, presented the award.

According to the school, Liam was selected based on a number of qualities, including his ability to lift morale and his consideration for the wellbeing of others.

‘Through his willingness to help and encourage, he displays unlimited kindness and respect to all staff and students. His genuine nature and generosity emphasises his ability to strive for and truly make a difference in both the school and local communities,’ stated the school.

At Fingal Community College, Swords, the winners were Transition Year students Barry Laffey, Conor Fox, Alexandra Starbuck, Eve Mongey, Vilte Bivainyte and Karolina Czajkowska, who demonstrated great leadership skills in the school’s Peer Mentoring Programme. Rachel O’Connell, a Prosper Fingal service-user who completed her Junior Cert in the school in 2003, made the award presentation.

The award recipient at St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush, was sixth year student Jack Hussey. Prosper Fingal service-user Martina Kelly, who has collaborated with St Joseph’s TY students in respect of an annual play they stage together, presented the award.

The school described Jack as a born leader who is “unbelievably considerate” of others. “Jack was a core participant in the TY Prosper programme where his generosity, inclusivity and caring personality really came to light. That same year, he became an active member of the school’s St Vincent de Paul committee and has been fundamental in driving this initiative ever since, which ensures in excess of 200 local families receive a Christmas food hamper every December.”

In tandem with the awards event, Prosper Fingal now has four ambassadors in each of the five participating schools who are sharing information with peers on the work of the organisation.

“We have already been contacted by other schools to be part of this initiative because they see the value of it,” said Prosper Group CEO Mr Pat Reen.

The inaugural schools’ project at Prosper Fingal is being coordinated by Lisa Stapleton.  Prosper Fingal provides services and supports to approximately 300 adults with an intellectual disability in north county Dublin

Loreto student recognised by Prosper Fingal for making a difference 30may18

Louise Montgomery, Prosper Fingal Head Office; Maeve Clerkin TY Coordinator, Loreto Balbriggan; Sarah McKenna, winner of the Prosper Fingal Making a Difference Award at Loreto Balbriggan; Pat Reen, CEO, Prosper Group; Ann Marie McDonough, Principal, Loreto Balbriggan; Lisa Stapleton, Schools’ Project Coordinator, Prosper Fingal.