The annual Prize Giving ceremony took place at Wilson's Hospital School on 29th September. The events started with a service in the school’s Chapel led Chaplain Ms Rothwell with the School Choir, directed by Ms Heslin, leading the music. There are lots more photos on the school's Facebook page. The Prize Giving award ceremony took place in the Weafer Hall. It was lovely to see so many parents, friends and past pupils in the hall to celebrate with the school community. Dr. Finnegan was Master of Ceremonies introducing the various speakers, including the guest speaker, Lisa Jacob.
The Prize Giving itself started with the school Choir singing “Wonder”. This was the first of several musical pieces displaying the range of musical talent throughout the school. Alex (Form 5) performed a song she wrote herself called The Only One. A group of Form 5 girls including Alicia, Soky, Coco, Doyin, Evelyn, Eunice, Aramide and Favour sang This Is Me and Jane (Form 1) played a piece of music from the film Amelie. Laurence, Evan and Alex accompanied some of the pieces on guitars and keyboard.
Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson, Chairman of the Board welcome everyone to the event. He commented on the various changes that there have been n the school over the past year saying the change is not to be feared. He explained that the school Board had commissioned an audit last year and that the report from this has been received and will now be used to develop a future vision for the school and to tease out the means to develop that vision. He thanked all of the staff, academic and non-academic for their work in the school allowing pupils to reach their full potential.
The Warden, Mrs McShane started her speech by referring to storm Ophelia and the winter snow and then the fabulous summer that we had and pointed out that scientists tell us that how society lives is definitely leaving a legacy which is affecting climate change. She is aware of how different the world our students are facing is from the world she faced at their age. The Digital Revolution of today has been compared to the huge social shift that the Industrial Revolution triggered. She expressed the joy that she feels working with young people as they embrace these huge changes. She pointed out that they are constantly having to adapt and mostly do this very well. She explained that the school motto Res Non Verba retains its relevance these days to prepare your students. “We look for kindness in our students” she said, “and we celebrate with the students who have worked hard.” She outlined the success of the Leaving Cert Class of 2018 at Wilson’s pointing out that from a class of 59, the average number of points was 396 with 18% getting more than 500 points and 45.7% over 450 points. She pointed out that recent Junior Cert Results also demonstrated the increased amount of students taking all higher level subjects saying that last year over 60% of the third year cohort did so and expressing her happiness with this progress.
“What was most rewarding for us here in School was to see that every one of our students achieved their potential. We feel it was a job well done”, she said.
Last year saw the pupils from the school participate in the science competition, Sci-fest. The feedback from the external judges was very positive. A large group of pupils took part in a weekend workshop with The Young Americans and another group were involved with a large Music Generation event in Athlone. The Warden explained the initiative that the school has launched to provide instrument lessons in school and she linked music and well being. She appealed to the parents and friends to support the various music events and concerts that will be held throughout the coming year including a musical drama in the last term.
She outlined the major sporting success of rugby, hockey and basketball teams from Wilson’s. She told the packed Weafer Hall that last Wednesday the range of extra curricular activities included rugby, hockey, badminton, basketball, kayaking, horse riding, debating, dragons and dungeons club and athletics! She encouraged pupils to get involved!
The Principal then went on to outline some of the recent changes in Wilson’s. The new Technology Suite was a €200,000 investment and will provide another practical subject on the timetable allowing pupils to develop skills working with modern materials and devices. There have been developments in Modern Foreign Languages allowing pupils to take part in immersive programmes in schools in both Spain and France. WHS will be welcoming students from France soon. In May, three of our longest serving teachers retired Mr Finnegan, Mr and Mrs Scally were thanked and wished many happy years in retirement. In the Boarding House Mr Tony Maguire also retired and was thanked for his contributions to school life at Wilson’s. Mrs McShane officially welcomed Mr Sweeney in the Boarding House and Miss Dennigan and Mr Burke to the teaching staff. She then thanked the Board and Directors and the Board of Management who tirelessly work for the school in so many ways. She thanked the Parents’ Association and the Past Pupils’ Association for the work and help. The Chaplain, Matrons, Groundsmen, Cleaners, Maintenance Men and Catering Staff were all sincerely thanked for their really important roles in the running of Wilson’s Hospital School. She thanked the staff who provide such a range of extra curricular activities pointing out how important life outside the classroom is for young people and how participation in activities like these is vital for a balanced life. She thanked the Year Heads and the post holders for their work. She particularly thanks the Deputy Principal, Dr Kathy Finnegan and the Bursar, Mr Liam Coyle for their work and the way they always go the extra mile for pupils and staff alike.
She concluded by congratulating the pupils and saying what a fabulous opportunity Prize Giving is to celebrate achievements of all types and especially on this day, the importance of celebrating academic achievements.
The academic prizes winners were then announced by Dr Finnegan and presented their awards by Lisa Jacobs. Following this guest speaker, Lisa Jacobs made a challenging and interesting speech. She outlined her various achievements to date and said that while academic achievements are important, that they are only one type of achievements that people should strive towards. She started by asking everyone in the Hall to tell the person next to them what they personally would get 100% in. She then explained that when she was in second year in school, she had a teacher who had played hockey for Ireland and there and then Lisa decided she would like to do that. So she had a dream for her life. Next, everyone participated in a short survey! She asked everyone to stand up if they would like to attend a class in Dreaming. (Most people stood up.) Next was a class in Planning. (Not so many stood up!) Third class would be a class in Hard Work. (This also saw a reduction in the numbers standing up.) Finally Lisa asked everyone to stand up if they would take part in a subject called Failure. (A few stood up!)
She explained that these four things have taught her a lot. She had her Dream and decided to go for it. Then she started the Planning towards achieving this goal. The way she does this is to break everything down into manageable sections towards the Dream that she can achieve now, and not to worry about what comes next in the journey to the Dream. She advised everyone to do just a little more every single day and gradually build up to the Dream. Next, she explained, is the Hard Work that is vital to success. She said that lots of people have talent but Hard Work makes the difference. Part of this is always to ask “Did I do my best?” Finally, to achieve the Dream, it is important to realise that there will be failures. We need to reflect on what is needed after failures. We should be friends to someone who has failed and support each other’s dreams. Lisa’s talk was interesting and so relevant to life today.
Past pupils, Andrew and Matthew Coade played rugby league for Ireland at Senior Level this summer. They made a presentation of a Jersey from the competition to the school. They also made a special presentation to teacher Mr Thomas Parke who had suggested as their Rugby Coach, that they might get involved with first Sevens Rugby and then Rugby League when they left school.
The Senior Prefect Team were presented with their badges and ties by Mrs McShane and then she announced the names of the Head Girl and Head Boy, explaining that the decision was difficult because the Team are a very tight unit. She expressed her delight to invite Raimey and Edward to take on the roles and was delighted to congratulate them when they accepted. The afternoon concluded with tea in the school dining room.