St Killian’s College prize-giving

Tribute has been paid to the students and staff of St Killian’s College by its Principal for their ability to exceed expectations and achieve excellent outcomes despite the past two years of disrupted learning caused by the Covid pandemic.

Addressing this year’s prize-giving audience. governors and special guests including guest speaker Dr Thelma Craig, Respiratory Consultant in the Mater Hospital Belfast, Principal Jonny Brady said: “To see so many of our students achieve and exceed their expectations under such circumstances is a great credit to them, their families and teachers.

“Once again, the St Killian’s community has demonstrated its resilience in achieving excellent outcomes for all, even in these most challenging of circumstances.”

Indeed, this year, the groups who sat their GCSEs or their A levels had such a unique experience in so many ways.

Mr Brady said: “The impact of two disrupted years of learning, the emotional impact on our whole community; all the associated uncertainty of lockdowns and disruption about examinations; the confusion between Centre Determined Grades, Centre Assessed Grades and the live examinations.

“The fact is that for some of our students the first significant exams that they ever sat were their terminal papers at A Level. School became a strange place where they had to endure a one-way system, mask wearing, social distancing, Google classroom and to be sanitised to within an inch of their life.

“They have had to live and cope with something no generation before them had to, a Global pandemic and its significant side effects. Therefore, to see so many of our students achieve and exceed their expectations under such circumstances is a great credit to them, their families and

teachers. Once again, the St Killian’s community has demonstrated its resilience in achieving excellent outcomes for all, even in these most challenging of circumstances.”

Mr Brady reported that “an outstanding” 95% of students gained five GCSE grades at A*-C, which is significantly higher than the NI Average.

Of this year’s GCSE cohort 20% completed 10 GCSEs and of those 100% attained A*-C grades while 30% of students who took up the option of 10 GCSEs were rewarded for their hard work with 10 A*-A grades in all 10 subjects.

He said: “For me, the most significant statistic is the continued success in both Maths and English. Our GCSE outcomes this year once again is a great credit to our college strategies in Literacy and Numeracy and resulted in 79% of our GCSE students obtaining 7+ A*-C grades including English and Maths.”

At GCSE a significant 37% of all students attained A*/A grades. Top achievers, all of whom have achieved at least nine A*/A grades, include, Niall Hynds, David Murray, Kate Clerkin, Abi McNeill, Amy McMullan, Orlaith McCurry, Orlaith McAlister, Caoimhe Morgan and Erin McKeegan.

Mr Brady said: “However, pride of place goes to our top achievers Molly O’Neill and Lena Harvey, who each achieved an impressive 19 A*s between them. The two girls have done themselves proud achieving across a range of STEM and Humanities subjects. Molly and Lena will both study A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Spanish and with this very strong foundation at GCSE the sky is the limit for their ambitions.

“This year our AS students have produced another excellent set of results with over 82% achieving A-C grades. This success is highlighted in the number of AS students receiving awards here tonight.”

A level students did outstandingly well with 82% of St Killian’s students achieving 3 A*-C grades in their examination results, with 49% of students at A level courses achieving at least one A*-A grade, well above the National Average. With the help, advice and guidance of the college’s career department 95% of the students not only have gone onto HE/FE but crucially achieved their first choice offer. There were also

a number of student who this year have taken up higher apprenticeships with companies in fields as diverse as business administration, construction and finance.

Mr Brady said: “The 2022 results are a great credit to all our students, and to the commitment, dedication and hard work of all our staff, as well as the support and partnership that the school continues to develop and enjoy from our parents. I have no doubt that the college will continue to grow in stature and increase the success for our students at all levels and across all abilities and aptitudes.

“Our Hurlers had another successful year. The college reached the Ulster final in both the Leonard and Gallagher Cups and were narrowly defeated in both.”

The audience heard that the Mageean Cup squad were narrowly beaten in the semi-final stage but our Foresters’ Cup team were crowned Ulster Champions. Last year was a purple ribbon year for our Camogie teams right across the College. The success began with the Junior B camogie team who won the Ulster ‘A’ 7-a-side competition and progressed to the All-Ireland stages but were narrowly defeated in that tournament. The U14 team were the beaten finalists in the Corn San Clar competition. The Senior Camogie team won the Ulster title by beating St Patrick’s Keady to win the Fr Davies Cup and were narrowly beaten by a point in the All- Ireland semi-final. However, the pride of place goes to our Junior B camogie team

who won the Liatroim Fontenoys’ Cup and then progressed to become the Tesco All Ireland Junior C Champions.

Mr Brady said: “This is the first time in the College’s history that we have won an All-Ireland title and a huge achievement for the whole team and its mentors, Mrs Cosgrove with Mr and Mrs McAlister.

“Congratulations to both Sine Woodhouse and Orla Donnelly on their ‘All Star Award’ for their outstanding contribution to both club and community. This year we also had a number of our students who were invited to QUB for Future Stars: Abi McNeill, Orlaith McAlister, Orrin O’Connor, Joseph McLaughlin, Cormac McKeown, Phelim Ward, Cailin Devlin and Niall Magee.

“Congratulations to brothers Eamonn and Colla Ward on their success at the All-Ireland School Judo 2022 in Dublin. Eamonn, Year 13, was awarded the Gold Medal and Colla, Year 12 was awarded the Bronze Medal in the All-Ireland Judo Competition.”

Last year saw the introduction of the GAISCE Award which saw 13 Year 14s complete Silver Award expeditions in the Mourne Mountains and in Donegal. All were successful and will be given their awards in December. Another two groups in Year 11 and 13 will take up the challenge this incoming year.

Students have also been engaged in a range of activities across all subject areas which gives them a wider experience of that subject than can sometimes be achieved in the classroom.

Mr Brady said: “So as you can see the school day at St Killian’s is not all about books and classrooms. This vibrancy that is now the established ethos of St Killian’s is underscored by the high level of community support we receive. Recognised not only in the successes highlighted here tonight but in the fact that we are once again oversubscribed in all of the Year Groups within the College.”

He also reported that in May 2022 the College building programme was given a significant boost when their Refurbishment and New Build was granted planning approval. The tendering process will begin at the start of October and the expectation is that a contractor will be appointed by the first half of 2023 which will allow construction to begin before the end of 2023.

Mr Brady said: “What this means is that in the near future there will be a school in East Antrim and the Glens which will be fit for purpose in the 21 st Century and which will be the envy of all along the coast. It will be a school which will not only serve the students of St Killian’s but one which will be a community resource.

“I am very privileged and honoured to be a part of this wonderful college that has produced such high calibre students and who represent all that is great about inclusive Catholic education. Indeed, once again clearly demonstrating that our students can not only produce high quality outcomes but more importantly demonstrate that they are well rounded, resilient and caring young people – of whom are all rightly proud,” said Mr Brady who paid tribute to the parents, Board of Governors and local Clergy for their support of the College community.

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