SEPTEMBER 2012 marks a milestone date in the history of Lismore school, a date referred to by Principal Joe Corrigan during his prize day speech.
Mr Corrigan: “Our school opened in September 1972, so during the course of this year we will be celebrating 40 years of service as a school to our local community.
“There are a number of special events planned for the school year ahead to mark this special occasion, including a Variety Concert featuring the school’s musical talent, past and present, a Down Memory Lane photographic archive display and a commemorative magazine.
“Our celebrations begin with a Mass in St Anthony’s Church in Craigavon on Sunday, October 14, at 2pm with refreshments afterwards.”
In terms of academic achievements he said: “The year under review saw a number of excellent performances in pupil examinations. At GCSE level, 161 students undertook 1,388 examinations in 25 different subjects. 18 of these subjects enjoyed a 100% pass rate, while over 98% of the students gained five or more GCSE passes. 61% of these grades were in the higher A* to C category, an increase of two per cent on last year’s figure, while 56% of the students achieved five or more GCSEs in the higher A* to C category.
“Among the very pleasing individual performances at GCSE were those of Ciaran Rooney who gained nine A grades with two of them starred, and Aoibhin McManus who scored four A*s, four As and one C grades. Niall Kerr achieved two A*s, six As and one B grades, while Sarah McGuinness delivered three A*s, four As and two Bs.”
He continued: “At A-Level, our students recorded another excellent set of results with 94% of all grades in the A* to E category, and with 99% of the students gaining two or more A-Level passes.
“Sandra Fontes gained three A* and one A grades in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics, while Head Boy, Cillian McDowell, achieved four A grades in the same subjects. Head Girl, Charlotte Boyd, scored three A and one B grades in the Science subjects and Music, while Eimear O’Neill gained three As in Drama, English and Music.
“One interesting and pleasing aspect of this year’s results for us here in our all-ability school is the fact that as well as our native students, four other nationalities were represented in our top achievers’ list at A-Levels – Sandra Fontes (Portugal), Jagoda Baran (Poland), Sergey Kravtsov (Russia) and Martin Lauiowai (Hong Kong).”
Mr Corrigan continued: “Our Drama and Music departments were very active in 2011-2012, with the highlight being the production of the musical ‘Hairspray’ on three memorable nights at the end of November and beginning of January.
“Eimear O’Neill also won first prize in a major talent show in Armagh City, played support to Jedward in front of 1,200 people, and won £1,000 for our school. Eimear has just gained a place in the prestigious Italia Conti School in London, so watch out for Eimear down the road.
“Year 9 students Holly McConville and Courtney Morgan took to the stage for a week in February and March in the Grand Opera House in Belfast, to perform in ‘Annie’. Barry McCrory of Year 13 was runner-up in the Daily Mirror ‘Pride of Northern Ireland’ awards which acknowledge young achievers.”
In terms of sports Mr Corrigan mentioned some of the top achievers: “Once again Lismore had a successful year on the sporting field,” he said.
“During the school year from September 2011 to June 2012 our students were given the opportunity to take part in, or compete, in 13 different sports - soccer, Gaelic, hurling, netball, volleyball, equestrian, swimming, table tennis, tug of war, fitness, athletics, cross-country and golf. It is this breadth of choice, in line with our comprehensive ethos, which best characterises the physical education offer in our school.
“Conor Prunty, a Year 12 student, was selected to play on the Ireland U25 Long-Mat Bowling team and flew to Nottingham to represent his country, while Martin Lauiowai continues to excel in international Badminton, winning the English Open Championships in Durham in May.
“Martine Hamilton of Year 10 was Ulster Boxing Champion in 2012, while Dairmuid O’Hagan and Christopher Fitzsimmons of Year 11 have competed in the Irish Championships in downhill mountain biking and quad-biking respectively.”
The Principal’s Choice award went to Patrice Murray and Tirnagh Doherty.
Mr Corrigan concluded his speech by expressing concern about plans to get rid of GCSEs.
He said: “While I acknowledge that elements of GCSE, for example coursework, Controlled Assessment Tasks, and Moderation and Standardisation procedures are difficult to govern and require revision and simplification, the key principles underlying the GCSE examination should remain – these include 1) showing what pupils can do, rather than proving what they cannot do, 2) providing an inclusive examination which tests all students, rather than reverting to a divisive two-tier system, and 3) allowing for an element of continuous assessment to accompany and en of course examination.
“Above all, I hope that adequate consultation with all key stakeholders in education, including, and especially, the students will take place before such key decisions are made, and changes are introduced.”