Prize Giving at Wilson’s Hospital School.
There are more photos giving a flavour of the occasion that was the annual Prize Giving at Wilson’s Hospital School on Friday 27th September in an album in the Photo Gallery of this website. The special occasion started with a service of Evening Prayer in the school Chapel with the Chaplain, Rev. Hazel Scully. The music was led by the school Choir and its musical director, Sandra Heslin.
Then the whole school community, family and friends collected in the Weafer Hall. Deputy Principal, Rosemary Eager introduced each of the speakers and announced the recipients of the awards and prizes.
First to speak was the Most Revd. Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough. He started by saying how pleased he was to be at the school again and how the school is looking forward to welcoming the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare to the diocese soon. He said that he is always delighted to be associated with the school and to celebrate the contribution that everyone connected with Wilson’s makes during their time at the school. He expressed the Church of Ireland’s pride in the contribution that Wilson’s makes to the Church of Ireland landscape through Ireland and he welcomed every to the school.
Chairman of the Board of Governors, Longford man, Ken Davis also welcomed everyone to celebrate the achievements of Wilson’s Hospital School over the last academic year, both academic and structural. He pointed out that at this time of Thanksgiving in the church calendar, it is fitting to be thankful for all the schools’ achievements. He reminded everyone that the newly opened Preston Extension means that all of the academic functions are now housed in the one building. This extension was delivered on time and to budget which is an excellent achievement in itself. He again thanked the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, and his department for all of their help and support. He thanked and congratulated the Warden, Deputy principal, Bursar (Liam Coyle), the various school Boards (and especially Nigel Foley-Fisher and Joan Bruton), parents, teachers, staff, prefects and pupils on the roles they had in the life of the school, especially while the building was taking place. On behalf of the Board he asked the pupils to look after the fabric of the Wilson’s buildings, old and new and pointed out that they are a foundation stone on which to build.
Mr Davis laid down a challenge to everyone involved in the school life to match and/or improve on achievements to this point, in all aspects of school life to put Wilson’s and its pupils on a larger platform. He announced that the playing pitches, which are being re-developed, should be opened in spring 2014. The link corridor between the Wilson’s and Preston is being extended to join to the dining room. Olive Whyte and everyone involved with the production of the school magazine were thanked. Sympathy was extended to people who had been ill or bereaved through the year. He welcomed all of the new pupils starting their time in Wilson’s and wished the school leavers happiness and success in their futures. Speaking to the parents, he thanked them for choosing Wilson’s for the education of their children.
Mrs. Eager then announced the winners of academic prizes throughout the junior years of the school. Guest speaker, Dr. Anne Lodge presented these prizes.
Next to speak was the Warden of Wilson’s Hospital School, Adrian Oughton. In this his last Prize Giving as Headmaster of Wilson’s, he broke from his tradition and addressed the pupils of the school directly. He said that he wanted to talk of something of great value – something that has never recorded a loss in value, something that even the boys would be interested in at some stage in their lives. This turned out to be diamonds.
He pointed out that diamonds are judged on four “c”s. These are cut, clarity, colour and carat and that pupils would do well to live their lives by these four “c”s. Firstly, “cut”. A phrase he often hears used is “Would you look at the cut of him?” This phrase is usually not a compliment! He said out that people, unfortunately do judge by appearance so he asked the pupils to always bear that in mind. Next he addressed “clarity”. He advised pupils to always be clear in their actions and that their purpose should always be clear for all to see and that their conduct should be beyond reproach. Thirdly, he spoke about “colour”. Wilson’s has pupils from all over the world as well as from all areas of Ireland and he hoped that this kaleidoscope of people would give a good foundation for later life. Finally “carat” or weight. He hoped that all of the pupils of Wilson’s would “pull their weight” in all aspects of their lives, try their best and not be found wanting.
The Warden said that there have been many changes in Wilson’s over the years and the one which takes prime importance for him is the Christian Cross which stands on the driveway up to the school. His final “C” is this cross shows that Wilson’s is a Christian school where learning is important. He stated that this “C” was more important than the other four “c”s he had outlined. He finished by hoping that the hoping that the pupils would remember these “c”s and never be described as “rough diamonds”.
Following this, Mrs. Eager, assisted by home economics teacher Bernadette Mulligan, announced the names of the winners of the academic prizes and awards in the senior classes in the school. Recipients were congratulated by Dr. Lodge as she presented them with their prizes. It was especially nice to see so many of last years’ Leaving Certificate pupils back to receive awards. They were wished great success in their chosen paths.
Guest speaker for the day was Dr. Anne Lodge, Principal of the Church of Ireland College of Education. She started by thanking the Headmaster for the invitation to share in the Prize Giving ceremony. She said that it was her first time in Wilson’s and she found a very warm welcome in a very obvious family and community atmosphere. She said that the prizes and awards being presented reflected a large range of abilities and experiences. She commented that her own education had such an impact on forming how she now thinks as an adult. She pointed out that staff, boards, parents and pupils all have important roles in forming happy surroundings in schools. She expressed how lucky the pupils of Wilson’s are to be involved in a school which has been courageous enough to make the change from a fee paying school to one in the free education scheme and that this is an important time in Irish Education. She feels that Wilson’s current pupils will look back at these years in school as an important moment in educational history. She expressed her pleasure at being able to celebrate the achievements of all of the Wilson’s pupils - not just the prize winners but also everyone who plays a part in the school family.
As the presentation of prizes continued, there were new awards this year celebrating excellent attendance by pupils. A series of special awards feature annually as part of Wilson’s Prize Giving celebrations. These were the next to be presented.
Science and maths teacher, Mr. David Grubb (Multyfarnham) was given a special presentation to mark his recent retirement. There was a standing ovation in the Hall as he was congratulated by the Warden and received his presentation from the Chairman of the Board of Governors. Awards were presented to Paul Moore (Finea) and Sheila Graham (Killucan) to mark their 25 years working in Wilson’s Hospital School.
One of the most anticipated parts of this celebration is the announcement of the Head Boy and Head Girl. Mrs Eager took great pleasure in congratulating Patrick and Jennifer on their election to these two important positions within the Wilson’s Hospital Community.
Archbishop Jackson closed the Prize Giving ceremony by thanking the school Chaplain for her role in keeping the Chapel at the centre of school life. He thanked the Warden for all of his work both in Wilson’s and for Wilson’s further afield. He thanked Ken Davis for his commitment to the school and the parents for being such good and important ambassadors for the school. He ended with a prayer of thanksgiving and dedication for the life and work of the school. Pupils, families and friends ended the day with a celebratory tea in the school dining room provided by Mrs. Mary Kenny and the catering staff.