St Patrick’s College Maghera launches its ‘big 50’ celebrations

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FORMER St Patrick’s College pupils representing the worlds of science, business, sport, the Arts, and hospitality have been unveiled as ambassadors for the school’s special year of celebrations to mark its 50th anniversary which starts this month and continues throughout the school year into 2013.

Over the past 50 years, almost 10,000 pupils have passed through the doors of the Maghera-based bilateral college, many of whom have excelled in their chosen fields. The Board of St Patrick’s College and its Principal, Mrs Anne Scott, decided to select five individuals who embodied the ethos of the school and who would illustrate to pupils and the wider community how, no matter where pupils’ talents lie, great success can be achieved for all pupils.

Ms Anne Scott, Principal of St Patrick’s Bilateral College, explains: “At St Patrick’s, we are very proud of our heritage and success in honing pupils’ talents. Many successful individuals attended S. Patrick’s in their early years and, to mark our milestone 50th year, we felt it apt to appoint five ambassadors who are inspirational individuals and who have each achieved tremendous success in a diverse range of professions. The wide range of subjects in which the College excels is represented in our Ambassadors and they were chosen for that reason.”

The five ambassadors are: Dr Daniel Dundas, Lecturer, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen’s University of Belfast; Noel McMeel, Executive Head Chef, Lough Erne Resort

Anthony Tohill, All-Ireland winning Gaelic Football player and Local Government Officer; Nodlaig Brolly, Circuit Legal Practitioner; Gemma McMeel, Stage performer.

The ambassadors will front a number of the school’s 50th year campaign initiatives including the launch of the St. Patrick’s College Alumni, of which they will be the first five of 50 founding members. Other planned celebrations will include a competition to find the writer of the school’s new motto for the future, a musical project with top music producer Micky Modelle, a special anniversary publication and other exciting initiatives for both pupils and the community to be announced soon.

St Patrick’s College Ambassador and Executive Head Chef at Lough Erne Resort, Mr Noel McMeel, commented:

““I am extremely honoured to be an ambassador for St Patrick’s. I remember my school days fondly, and they truly influenced my career path.

“Your time in school shapes you as a person and the nurturing and learning that I benefitted from at St Patrick’s was exceptional. I’m very proud to be part of this milestone year for the College.”

Mr Anthony Tohill, former Derry and All-Ireland winning Gaelic player, Local Government Officer and St Patrick’s College ambassador, adds: “Sport was always an important part of my life and when I first arrived through the gates at St Patrick’s, I was determined to play my part in the school’s rich sporting tradition.

“The mentoring and encouragement I received from the teachers shaped my development as a player and inspired me to be the best player I could be. “To be chosen as the sporting ambassador for St Patrick’s is a massive honour.  

School Principal, Mrs Scott, explains: “Our ambassadors are excellent role models for the school and the community, and we are hoping that they will highlight how, at St Patrick’s College, we are committed to helping students flourish.”

Mrs Scott also extended a call for past pupils to become part of the new alumni. “We want to bring our past pupils together after 50 years to form the first alumni. The purpose of the alumni will be to network and share experiences and information. We would love pupils from every one of the fifty years to join and we extend a warm welcome to all.”

Pupils can join or be nominated by family or friends by emailing info@stpatricks.maghera.co.uk. Please state ‘Alumni’ in the subject bar, and include the name of the nominee, the year they left St. Patrick’s College and a few notes on their journey from leaving the school to present day.

“St Patrick’s College has developed strong links throughout the community since it opened its doors 50 years ago and we’re hoping that the whole community will get behind our exciting 50th birthday year of celebration and celebrate the real stars of the past 50 years, our pupils,” concludes Mrs Scott.

St Patrick’s College is a bilateral school, situated in Maghera, County Derry, with 1300 pupils. The school was awarded specialist status for Science in 2007, holds an Investors in People Award, Laureate status for computer technology use and the top EFQM NI Quality award. In addition, it has earned a reputation for leading curriculum change and for the strength of its extra-curricular activities including sport, music and drama.

In 2012, the school’s Gaelic football team was a finalist in the MacRory Cup. The school’s teams collectively won a total of seven sporting titles throughout the 2011 / 2012 school year.