THE principal of St Patrick’s Academy, Lisburn has spoken of his pupils’ “commitment and dedication” to their studies, despite criticism of the GCSE system from the government in recent weeks.
He also told guests the school has enjoyed the best results in their history, when they held their annual Prize Night last week.
Dr Seamus Quinn said that “politicians appear to have deliberately tried to undermine and devalue the public examination system.”
Dr Quinn commented: “This has made me very angry because all this political posturing has lost sight of you, the young people who actually take the exams.
“Because of your efforts St Patrick’s Academy is enjoying the best set of results in our history: 83% of our pupils achieved 5 GCSE grades C or higher and 100% of our Sixth Form gained 3 A levels, 70% at A grade; I want to tell you how very proud I am of each one of you.
“Your success is a result of expectations instilled into you by your teachers and parents, the high quality teaching offered here, and the support and challenge provided by the school.
“I want you to remember this lesson that you have learned, hard work never goes unrewarded.”
Dr Quinn cited the school’s Catholic ethos as the reason behind their success, but said that whilst St Patrick’s is proud to be a Catholic school, they are not a school just for Catholics, with 25% of students from other faiths.
“As a growing, successful school, we of course read the area plans recently published with great interest. I want to take this opportunity to say that St Patrick’s Academy is prepared for any challenge reorganization of the school estate presents. We look forward to the publication of the final area plan, and the establishment of our new school,” he added.
The Prize Night also saw the presentation of the Principal’s Award, which is presented each year to a pupil who by their efforts brings honour not only to themselves and their family but to the school. The Principal’s Award for 2012 was presented to Ciara McMenamhen.
Dr Quinn stated: “Ciara is one of those young people at our school who works quietly and diligently without making a fuss. Ciara is and has always been a ‘young lady’ offering an excellent role model for those around her. Her diligent quiet work has been rewarded by excellent A level results - straight As. The Principal’s award is a public demonstration of the pride we have in Ciara and her achievements, and I know that as she matures she will take her rightful place as a successful member of society.”
Dr Quinn concluded by saying: “We are proud of all our successful pupils and wish them the very best for the future.”