Sky Academy Ambassador and three-time European Tour winner, Nick Dougherty, presented 16-year-old Magherafelt pupil Rory Doherty with a Sky Sports Living for Sport Award last week.
The St Pius X College student was surprised in the school assembly with his award and was then thrilled when a video message from world No 1 golfer Rory McIlory added his personal congratulations to the Student of the Year winner for Northern Ireland.
He has a bright future ahead of him and I couldn’t be more thrilled to present Rory with the Student of the Year award
Dougherty will now attend the Sky Sports Living for Sport Awards at Sky Studios in London this weekend to discover whether he will be crowned overall UK & Ireland Student of the Year. He will be up against the winners for England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland and the Awards will be broadcast on Sky Sports 1 on Sunday 29 March at 7.30pm.
The Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of students and teachers in using sport stars and the skills learnt through sport to build life skills in young people as a result of their involvement in the programme.
Sky Sports Living for Sport is part of Sky Academy, a set of initiatives using the power of TV, creativity and sport to help one million young people in the UK and Ireland build practical skills and experience to unlock their potential.
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Dougherty said: “Rory is a fantastic young man who’s shown real courage to overcome many challenges in his life including low confidence and self-esteem. Through Sky Sports Living For Sport and the skills he’s learnt through being part of the initiative, he’s transformed his life.
“He has a bright future ahead of him and I couldn’t be more thrilled to present Rory with the Student of the Year award for Northern Ireland. I’ll have my fingers crossed for him on Sunday at the Sky Sports Living For Sport Awards in London!”
Rory was selected as the Student of the Year winner for Northern Ireland by a panel of judges for using the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme to build the tools and skills to overcome his confidence issues as well as the challenge of severe dyslexia. Athlete Mentor and Irish Paralympian Michael McKillop inspired Rory while working with him on the programme as his life story reflected many similarities to his own.
The Year 12 student struggled with a difficult transition to St Pius X College from a small rural primary school in Kilrea and his teacher invited Rory to take part in the Sky Sports Living for Sport Kickboxing project. Rory’s involvement in the initiative helped him to combat his low self-esteem while developing valuable life skills along the way.
Rory’s teacher Padraig O’Kane said: “Rory has really excelled through our project and has developed into a confident young gentleman. I have no doubt that this will have a major impact on Rory and it is no less than he deserves.”
Sky Sports Living for Sport runs in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and in this academic year alone, over 1500 UK secondary schools and 175 Irish secondary schools will take part.