Deputy First minister, and Former Education Minister, Mr Martin McGuinness was the Guest
Speaker at this year’s Prize Giving Ceremony at St Mary’s College, Clady.
A school hall full of proud parents and talented pupils heard Mr Donnelly (Principal)
provide detail of the school’s record breaking year in terms of academic and
sporting successes. 89% of all Year 12 students (including those with
Statements of Special Educational Needs normally excluded from published school
league tables) achieved at least five good GCSE passes at grades A*-C. For the
fourth year in a row every Sixth Form student passed every one of the courses
with approximately one third of all A Level grades being at A* or A in 2015.
The highlight of the school’s sporting achievements in 2015 was undoubtedly
becoming the Ulster U16 Post Primary Football Champions (Arthurs Cup) for the
first time in the school’s history. Individual accolades also followed with six
of the team being awarded Derry All Star Awards. Other sporting achievements in
2015 also included the school’s U14 football team winning the Brian Og Memorial
Tournament for the second consecutive year so there is certainly strength in
depth on the football pitch.
2015 also marked a new high for the school in terms of extra-curricular and enrichment activities.
For example, the school was placed joint 1st in the prestigious GO4SET Young Engineers
Competition. In a highly competitive competition for schools from all sectors
from all across Ulster, the Year 10 students from St Mary’s impressed the judges with their project to transform Portglenone with a
Community Centre to be powered by sustainable energy provided by the River Bann.
Mr McGuinness also opened a new modular building for the school before giving an
inspiring talk on the quality of teaching and learning in St Mary’s, wider
social issues such as the current crisis involving Syrian refugees and the
importance of all young people making wise choices with regard to road safety.
At the end of the evening, the former Education Minister was presented with a
replica Greenlough Penal Cross, lovingly crafted within the school’s Technology
and Design department both in gratitude for his excellent address to the
school’s wider community on this occasion but also in recognition of his
support for the school over a long number of years and in particular, his decision
when Education Minister, to approve construction of a state of the art
Technology and Design suite in St Mary’s.
Mr McGuinness was on Twitter early the next morning to tweet that St Mary’s
College is ‘a wonderful school with excellent academic and sporting