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Presentation of certificates at St David’s CBS


Thank you for your warm welcome to St David’s CBS.

I am delighted to be here for this important occasion which provides a unique opportunity for me to meet with the students and teachers who contribute so much to the ongoing development of this school. 

St. David's has a proud tradition of excellence in teaching and learning and also in ensuring that the very best is brought out in all its students. 

Each of us is gifted in different ways.  Some are excellent academically, some excel in sport and some have the courage to rise above obstacles in their lives and pursue their own personal goals.  And that is what we are here to celebrate today.  This morning we reward those who have the strength and the conviction to explore their own talents and to put them to good use both for themselves and for the wider school community.

What I like most about the awards being presented this morning is that they cover such a wide range of achievements.  In fact, they reflect the diversity of school life – be it success in the classroom, on the sports’ pitch or indeed in contributing to the wider school community. 

The awards demonstrate that school is not just about books and exams.  It is also about the enjoyment and challenge of learning.  It is about developing important life skills – the importance of teamwork, of fair play and of extending a helping hand to others.  These are the skills that will stand to each and every one of you once you leave this school and pursue your own ambitions in life.

I would like to congratulate each of the boys from second, third, fifth and sixth year who are receiving awards.   This an important occasion for you and a very proud moment for your teachers and your families.  You are role models not only for the other boys in your year but also for those who follow on behind you. 

I am delighted to hear that some of you will also receive certificates of achievement in Dublin City University later today and I am pleased that President Ferdinand von Prondzynski has joined us this morning.  Only last week, I was in DCU to launch their new strategic plan for the years ahead.  DCU is making great strides in ensuring that a huge variety of third-level courses are developed for young students such as you.  I have no doubt that in years to come you will take up the challenge of completing degrees and pursuing further education opportunities in universities such as DCU.

This ceremony also gives me the opportunity to pay tribute to your teachers and support staff who are so committed to your ongoing development.  Under the stewardship of your principal, Pádraic Kavanagh, staff here at St. David's staff devote considerable time and energy not only to teaching but also to a wide range of extra curricular and development opportunities for students.   I want to thank you for that dedication.

Equally, I know that the vitality of a school also depends on the engagement of the wider community.  In this I include the Dublin Airport Authority who provide funding towards the awards.  Also, I want to pay particular tribute to the parents and guardians of the pupils here.  By supporting these young students in their formative years, you are setting them on the right path for the future. 

I would say to all students here this morning – these awards represent just one of many golden opportunities out there for you.  Twenty years ago, Ireland was a country where people left in their droves to pursue careers abroad.  Today however, Irish people stand tall at home, knowing with confidence how much has been achieved in this country in recent years.

And that confidence has been built primarily on the quality of education offered in our schools and universities.  Education opens the door to opportunity in life.  With good academic qualifications and with key life skills, the world is your oyster. 

Education will give you the courage to pursue your personal goals in life, it will give you the strength to stand up and be counted and it will open your eyes to the huge range of opportunities there are out there today for young people.

The challenge for you is to grasp those opportunities and make them work for you in achieving what you want from life.

I congratulate you all once again on your success. Keep up the good work.

And in conclusion, I wish you, your families and all the staff here at St. David's a very peaceful and happy Christmas.

Thank you.