“Reverend Fathers, Board of Governors, our distinguished guest, Mr. Ben Glover, parents, pupils past and present and colleagues. It is fantastic to see you all here tonight in order to celebrate all the achievements that the pupils of St Killian’s College have attained in the last year. May I begin, by congratulating each and every prize winner present here this evening and can I assure you that you are a representative body for many others in our school community who also deserve recognition for their admirable achievements throughout the last year.
Across the two campuses 82% of our pupils who sat GCSE achieved 5 or more grades at A* – C, in fact 70% of our students who sat GCSE achieved 7 grades or better at A* – C and this is significantly higher than the NI Average. Indeed one of the very pleasing factors this year has been the success of our students and teachers in achieving great success in both Maths and English with the majority of our students achieving grades in both subjects at A*-C. This is a great credit to our strategies in Literacy and Numeracy which we aim to improve upon in the years to come. This augurs well for the future of all our young people at a time when the levels of literacy and numeracy are slipping. At AS our pupils did fantastically well with 79% achieving grades at A – C which gives them all a superb foundation for the completion of the A Level courses. In addition our post 16 courses enjoyed success with 12 students achieving a Level 2 certificate or Award (which is equivalent up to 4 GCSEs). These courses are a valuable addition to our young people and reinforce our very successful collaboration with the Larne Learning Community. This year this provision was expanded with a Level 2 ICT Award – where no student failed and it is hoped that in the next academic year we will add to the existing suite of subjects on offer to all our young people in East Antrim and the Glens.
Finally our A Level students not to be out done did exceedingly well. 86% of our students achieved A* – C grades while 100% achieved at least 2 grades A* – C. Last year saw the introduction of the A* grade at A Level and we are very proud to say that 11% of our students achieved that grade which is significantly higher than the National Average. Not surprisingly as consequence of these fantastic results 90% of our A Level students have achieved their ambition to go to university with an incredible 68% achieving their first preference and 22% achieving their insurance offer. In essence this means that 90% of our students are in either Higher or Further Education. This is no mean feat given the present high level of competition for university places. These results are a credit to the young people and certainly more than comparable to other schools both selective and non selective.
A special mention is required for two of our students who achieved outstanding achievements among a group of students who did so well. Emily Campbell who achieved 7 A* and 3 As at GCSE and Kathyrn McIlroy who achieved 5 As at AS. Both of theses students achieved remarkable results and yet at the same time are able to develop their interests across a wide variety of other life areas. (eg) Emily is a keen pianist recently having achieved grade 4 distinction, enjoys going to the theatre and is hoping to go to be a helper on the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage this summer. Kathyrn alongside her very busy academic studies achieved Grade 8 in Speech and Drama as well as spending time during the summer in Spain teaching English to Spanish children. In their totality these achievements are superb academic results which underscore the commitment that this college has to ensuring that all of our young people are given the very best and highest quality of teaching and learning on offer.
Well done to all concerned!
This year has been in many ways a unique year. Last year saw St Killian’s operating on a split campus 19 miles apart which could have distracted staff and students alike; however as you can see from the results alone that was not the case. Indeed I would like to pay tribute to all of the staff who ensured that the students were put first in all that we achieved last year.
I am very privileged and honoured to be a part of this wonderful college that has produced such high calibre students, who have all moved on from success to success and who represent all that is great about inclusive Catholic education. However holistic education is more than the sum of academic success, important though it is. The true measure of our educational provision is the young women and men that result from the values and ethos which will make them true contributors to our society. The values and ethos that you their parents and St Killian’s have instilled and nurtured in our young people is patently obvious here tonight, not only in the academic field but also in the other arenas that make for a truly rounded education.
As I have said, not only have we have watched our young people develop in the academic field but they have excelled in other areas such as in sporting and theatrical fields, but also in areas where young people are not often associated, (e.g.) in the fields of charity, caring for others and in the development of their faith.”
Mr Brady then expanded upon the range of extra curricular activities that saw the college feature highly in a range of areas including, sport, charity, drama, music, Technology, Art, languages, history, geography and science. He congratulated both students and staff on their considerable commitment and dedication while highlighting the impact that this had on the experience that the young people involved received.
“We continue to develop links and build on the sound and strong relationships that we have with our feeder primary schools. Last year the college continued its involvement with Sentinus which saw St John’s Primary School, Carnlough P 7 students design, produce and successfully ignite rockets as part of their STEM initiative. The highly successful Faith Friends Programme continues to grow and creates a great bond between our students and the P7 students who take part in this Faith Programme. While three local primary schools, St Mary’s Cargan, Seaview in Glenarm and Carnlough Integrated Primary School, were able to use the college facilities, in order to promote cross community relationships.
I am delighted this evening to welcome to the college one of the top Alternative Country singer and song writers, our guest this evening Mr Ben Glover. Ben and I went to school together – honestly except he was a first year and I was a first year teacher!
Ben was always a talented musician but perhaps the best accolade that I discovered when I was preparing for this evening is found on his website where it says ‘Ben Glover is not just a good looking chap with a guitar in hand, no, no, no, he is a good looking chap with a guitar in hand, great songs and a hell of an album to sell at his gigs!’
Ben left the college in 1997 – he went on to QUB to study Law where he achieved his degree. However, Ben always harboured the ambition and drive to be a musician and he has succeeded. In many ways this personal trait of Ben’s is best summed up in line from one of his own songs, ‘there is no path to follow, we make our own road’ and I am quite sure this message will be reinforced in his words tonight.