Mr Brady opened the evening by welcoming all to St Killian’s College to celebrate the achievements that students have attained in the last year. He congratulated each and every prize winner present and stated that they are a representative body for many others in the college community who also deserve recognition for their admirable achievements throughout the last year. As Principal, he added that he could not:
…. ‘ask for a nicer group of young people to ensure that all that is great about this college will be and is characterised by the achievements of these year groups.’
In his report Mr Brady outlined the college’s success in external examinations:
- ‘81% of students who sat GCSE achieved 7 or more grades at A* – C,in fact 86% of our students who sat GCSE achieved 5 grades or better at A* – C which 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 continuing to achieve a further increased 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 college strategies in Literacy and Numeracy which we will continue 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 students did fantastically well with 75% 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, level 2 courses enjoyed success with all 7 students achieving a level 2 certificate or award (which is equivalent up to 4 GCSEs).’
- ‘Finally our A level students, not to be out done, did exceedingly well. 87% achieved A* – C grades while 100% achieved 2 grades A* – C. We are proud to say that 12% of our students achieved the A* grade at A level and that is significantly higher than the National Average. Not surprisingly as consequence of these fantastic results 83% of our A level students have achieved their ambition to go to university with an incredible 81% achieving their first preference and 9% moving in to Further Education. In essence this means that 91% of our students are in either Higher or Further Education.’
The Principal paid special tribute to several students on their academic success:
‘Jacob Armstrong and Kathy Darragh are our first two students to gain entrance to Oxbridge.
Jacob goes to Oxford to study Mathematics a subject he has thoroughly enjoyed from a very young age. Kathy goes to Cambridge to study Environmental Studies to pursue her love of Biology. St Killian’s wishes them both well in the next chapter of their life’.
‘Our Year 14 student, Emily Campbell achieved 5 As at AS and she represented the college at the European Parliament, Strasbourg last year. She did work experience in a law firm in Dublin and travelled to London to meet with a top Human Rights barrister of Green Court’s Chambers. Her ambition is to study law with languages at Oxbridge and we wish her well in this’.
‘At GCSE ten of our students achieved 9 A and A* grades or better. Roisin O’Kane achieved 11 GCSEs at 6 A* and 5 As and Katie Burns achieved 10 straight A*s. Both girls are undoubtedly talented but also share a passion for sport and extra curricular activities. Katie is involved in the local rowing club and is an enthusiastic golfer while Roisin is involved in athletics having won European bronze in the discus last year as well as having visited the Olympic Village as part of a N I team. Well done girls’.
The Principal stated he was very privileged and honoured to be a part of such a wonderful college that has produced high calibre students, who have all moved on from success to success and who represent all that is great about inclusive Catholic education. However, he emphasised that:
‘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 so patently obvious here tonight, not only in the academic field but also in the other arenas that make for a truly rounded education.’
Mr Brady paid tribute to all of the staff (both teaching and non teaching) who ensured that the students were put first in all that was achieved last year. He commented:
‘This year has been in many ways a unique year, – the first full year of all our students and staff on the one site. There is no doubt that the college being on the one campus has cemented the success, relationships and friendships of our young people and I remain confident that this oneness will continue to grow and result in all of our young people reaching their true potential.
Moreover all who are connected with the college are very positive about it and are moving forward with the determination and passion which I believes will ensure that St Killian’s will be the centre of educational excellence that all of us want.’
Mr Brady 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. These included:
- Thirteen Irish students won a full scholarship to the Gaeltach
- The French department celebrated French day with a team of French chefs
- Forty five Spanish students traveled toMadridand eight senior language students accompanied by their teacher travelled to the European Parliament inStrasbourg.
- The English Department and their students’ participation in the Big Report for the first time. This involved the students reporting live to the Newsline studios inBelfastfor the 6.30 news. It was a fantastic experience for the young people and has created interest in Media studies as a potential career route.
- Learning For Life and Work. Year 10 students were involved in ‘BBC Questions and Answers’ live broadcast, with Mark Sidebottom in May. The students were runners up in the ‘Step ‘n’ Zone’ competition winning £500 for the college and £50 in vouchers for each member of the team.
- Year 9 students participated in a STEM competition, organised by Sentinus, to design and model a sports stadium. The students were highly commended and invited to a STEM celebration event at Stormont where they presented their project to Mr Mervyn Storey, Education Committee Chairperson, a number of MLA’s and local business leaders.
- BT Young Scientist Award Final inDublin. Four AS students: Paddy Burns, Maol Connolly, Soracha Cosgrove and Kiera Kerr designed and manufactured a Collar Bone Cast made from memory foam and were featured on RTE and BBC Newsline. On behalf of the college Mr Brady thanked Michelin, FG Wilson, Pattons, Gilbert Ash and the North Eastern Education and Library Board for their continued support and generous sponsorship of the college.
- Music. The college choir was awarded a worthy second place at the Ballymena Music Festival. In April, the BBC Outside Broadcast Team filmed and recorded two programmes for Songs of Praise in the chapel with the college choir playing a lead role in the singing.
St Killian’s has established a wide range of inter school activities and projects which have nutured strong links between the college and local primary schools. Over the past year these have included:
- Cross community primary school project. Three local primary schools (St Mary’s Cargan, Seaview in Glenarm and Carnlough Integrated) participated in special projects in the college’s Home Economics andArtDepartments.
- Video conference link established between the P7 pupils in St MacNissi’s P S, Larne and our Year 8 students who were able to tell their story of transition to post primary and allay any concerns the P7s may have had.
- Titanic ‘Voyage from Drumshee’ book promotion. In May, Glenaan, St Ciaran’s andGlengormleyPrimary Schoolsattended a special promotion of the book in the college library with the he authoress, Cora Harrison present.
- St John’sPrimary School, Carnlough P 7 students designed, produced and successfully ignited 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.
The Principal stated the college will actively continue to promote the links between the college’s partner primary schools to ensure that the transition between primary and post primary becomes a very natural progression. One of Mr Brady’s firm beliefs for St Killian’s:
…’ is to ensure that all associated with the school will be happy, happy to come to school, happy to be in school and happy when they leave school. School days ought to be the best days of your life and we should all enjoy them. Ahappy student is a student whoachieves – and this is very clear from tonight, but also very clear when you visit St Killian’s’.
Over the last year the college has seen significant investment by the DE in a range of new modern accommodation. The college acquired four new classrooms which all have Interactive Whiteboards as well as securing an additional Technology and Design suite which is equipped with state of the art machinery. This now means that all departments have interactive whiteboards available to them. Newly approved schemes include, the upgrading of the college boiler system, a phased approach to window replacement and refurbishing a range of departmental areas including PE, Drama and Music. Work is scheduled before the end of the first term to create a new bus turning circle and car park at the front of the college. The college will also be continuing to expand upon the current building programme, by developing other opportunities and looks forward to providing the best educational resource possible for all in our community for the 21st century.
Before concluding the Principal thanked all the staff who have helped to make this night the culmination of a highly successful year – with a special mention for the Vice Principals – Mrs McKay and Mr McIlwaine, and Senior Leaders – Mrs Haughey, Mr Logue and Mr Mulvenna who co-ordinated the whole event. He reiterated:
‘The whole staff, both teaching and non teaching, have demonstrated to me that the standards that are set in the college are and remain high, but always with the young person at the centre of all that they do.’
He paid tribute to the Board of Governors, college chaplains: Very Rev Fr Peter Forde, Very Rev Aidan Kerr, Canon McMullan and all our local clergy who give unstintingly of their time for the good of the college. Mr Brady paid special thanks to all the parents, who have entrusted the education of their children to the college. He promised them that:
‘The community of St Killian’s would do their best to shape and form their children into adults who will be the creators of a fair and just society.’
At the end of his report the Principal extended a warm welcome to the guest speaker, Mr Paddy Clerkin, who had attended Garron Tower from 1981- 1988. Mr Clerkin graduated with a BSc 1st class honours in Actuarial Maths and Statistics at Heriot Watt and followed with an MSc in Mathematical Finance fromOxfordUniversity. He has worked for several global financial institutions including, J P Morgan, HBOS Treasury and Moodys. At present he is the Deputy Head of Emirates Bank International.