PICTURES: Offaly students receive academic awards from LOETB

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Students from eight Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) schools had their academic attainment in the State Examinations celebrated at an Awards Evening held in Tullamore College.

On Friday last, October 12, 41 students, their families and friends, gathered for what has now become an annual celebration.
Indeed, the venue itself, Tullamore College is a fitting testament to the progressive and forward-thinking dynamism associated with teaching and learning in LOETB.

The highest achievers in the Leaving Certificate 2018, the Leaving Certificate Applied 2018 and the Junior Certificate 2018 were acknowledged, celebrated and honoured for their applications and dedication to their studies, culminating in significant attainment in their relevant examinations.

The eight LOETB schools each nominated their two outstanding students based on their academic attainment in each of the categories. This resulted in 41 students being honoured on the night.

Speaking on the evening, Mr. Joe Cunningham, Chief Executive of Laois and Offaly ETB, congratulated all of the students who achieved such high grades. “It is a privilege to be here tonight, celebrating the outstanding academic achievement of our students. We are justifiably proud of the results obtained, with many of our students achieving top grades in their chosen subject areas, and many surpassing the national average."

"Such results are not easily attained, and it is a testament to the students, their families, and the professional teaching
staff of our schools that our students have become consistently high achievers in the State Examinations”.

Mr. Cunningham stated it was also worthy of comment that so many of these Leaving Certificate students had now progressed to third-level institutions, taking their places in Universities, Institutes of Technology and other institutions. "These students have become academic ambassadors of Laois and Offaly ETB and we have no doubt the solid foundation achieved this year, will stand as a legacy towards the future potential of these young adults”.

Mr. Cunningham also made a particular point to congratulate the high achievers in the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA). “It would be remiss of me not to mention your excellent achievement in the State Examinations. The LCA Programme provides a much-valued progression pathway for those students who do not wish to attend third-level."

"Your needs, aspirations and attitudes must also be catered for, and it is only correct that all achievements are celebrated here tonight. Our world has become a complex place for learning, working and living. This complexity makes each and every student an individual that brings their own unique skill-set to a modern world."

"There are many routes to take a journey, our job and our focus, is to get you prepared for that journey, whatever the destination”. He then continued by saying, “judging by the results obtained by this year’s Leaving Certificate Applied cohort, it is obvious that you are now well prepared for the highways and byways of modern life. We are delighted to celebrate your achievements tonight”

Mr. Paul Fields, Director of Schools for Laois and Offaly ETB was equally ebullient in his words of praise for the highest achievers in the Junior Certificate exam results this year. “We have been delighted, once again, with the results obtained in the Junior Certificate examinations. ETB schools are consistently achieving high grades and we are delighted that we match the national results, and in some cases exceed them.”

He continued by acknowledging that the educational journey for our students is a partnership between students, parents,
teachers. “Results such as those attained by our students in the Junior Certificate examinations this year, are a demonstrable outcome of what happens when partnerships work together for a positive and worthwhile outcome. Your son or daughter’s achievement is also a celebration of this team effort. Based on their achievement to date, we very much look forward to their continued success in their senior cycle examinations”.

It was also acknowledged that while the focus of the night was on academic achievement, there are also a large number of success stories that occur outside of the formal state examinations. These are stories of personal and group attainment in the wider context from the arts to programmes of community involvement.

“It is important that their work, involvement and outcomes are also acknowledged tonight. Such commitment, dedication and
achievements also play a huge aspect in developing a wider education and make significant contributions to school life”.

Special Guest for the evening, former Rose of Tralee Dr. Jennifer Byrne, commented on the significance that education has played in her life to date. “It has become vitally important that students are well-prepared for an ever-changing world. Exam
results play a predominant role in developing a career path and climbing the ladder of success."

"Changes facing society demand that we have school leavers that have a set of adaptable, fluid and dynamic skills that will allow them morph into situations that we do not yet know exist. Achieving such outstanding results in your state examinations provides a solid base from which to move forward."

Dr. Byrne then concluded by congratulating the students, their parents, and teachers on their results. She thanked Laois and Offaly ETB for their invite to speak at the event and acknowledged the huge role played by the ETB in the support of education across the midlands.

Concluding, Mr Fields also paid tribute to all schools in Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board. “Our schools have excellent teachers and the results of their work can be seen here tonight. It is important that such work is affirmed, for there are many educational changes underfoot and our teachers in LOETB continue to respond to those changes and challenges as true professionals."

"The work of these teachers is supported by management teams and Principals in each school. Working cohesively, these schools lead learning and push educational boundaries. Laois and Offaly ETB are justifiably proud of our wonderful commitment to education in the midlands”.

Each of the students present received a framed certificate and a small bursary. The event was supported by AIB who continue their strong commitment to both local education and LOETB.