Rotary award for north coast students

Two local students Hannah Kelly and Noah Patterson were among just 14 teenagers from all over the island of Ireland to be conferred with a Rotary Youth Leadership award at the European Parliament’s offices in Dublin recently.

The competition, which is one of Rotary Ireland’s longest running youth projects, rewards young people with clear leadership potential based on their extra-curricular activities.

It is run in conjunction with the EU offices in Dublin and Euroscola in Strasbourg.

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Hannah, who is a student at Cross and Passion College Ballycastle, and Noah, who is a student at Dalriada school in Ballymoney, received the award from Rotary Ireland District Governor David Murray and Patrick O’Riordan, PR Officer with the European Parliament. Hannah was sponsored by Ballycastle Rotary while Noah was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ballymoney.

Hannah Kelly and Noah Patterson receiving their Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Hannah, who is involved in her school debating team and is an anti-bullying ambassador, also plays camogie and netball. She said she really liked the competition because it gave her the opportunity to become friends with so many other like-minded young people who she otherwise would never have met.

Noah is involved in debating and mentoring teams as well as the school’s medical society. He is also a member of the RAF’s Air Cadets, participates in his local judo club and plays the trumpet. He said he really enjoyed taking part in the competition.

“It’s a brilliant experience, both for building a CV and also improving myself as a leader and a person. And you get to meet some pretty awesome people too! I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to take part, you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.”

Usually, the award winners enjoy an exciting, six day, all expenses paid, team building trip to Belfast, Dublin and Strasbourg. This includes visits to The Titanic Centre, a tour of Stormont, a visit to the European Parliament offices in Dublin and a tour of Dail Eireann.

Participants then fly out to Strasbourg for the highlight of the trip, a full day of debating a variety of motions at Euroscola at the European Parliament with about 500 other students from all over Europe. On the final day the winners enjoy a sightseeing trip around Strasbourg. Unfortunately, this year due to covid the Strasbourg element and some of the tours did not proceed.

However, the group did visit The Titanic Centre and City Hall in Belfast and went on tours of Dublin Castle and Trinity College in Dublin. The final part of the trip was a visit to Europe House and a showcase event in The Freemasons Hall in Dublin where the students presented on a range of issues to a panel including Green MEP Ciaran Cuffe.

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