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Excellence in Education Award

To mark the new Millennium, the Union initiated the Excellence in Education Award to recognise the great achievement and hard work of the student who attains the highest grades in the Leaving Certificate Examinations in Dominican College, Griffith Avenue. This Excellence in Education Award was first presented in 2000, and the Union continues to make this Award bursary of €150 at the Annual Summer Lunch.

Leaving Cert Year
Award Winners
 
Leaving Cert Year
Award Winners
1999
Síobhán McNamara
 
2006
Ailish Beakey
2000
Sarah Picardo
 
2007
Claire Murphy
2001
Yvonne Tuohy
 
2008
Áine Chawke
2002
Jane Bryant
 
2009
Niamh Kearney
2003
Jane Horgan Jones
 
2010
Eimear Ellis
2004
Catherine Doyle
Ann Herlihy
Michelle Picardo

 
2011

2012
Clare Taylor

Eimear Duff
2005
Norah Fogarty
 
2013
Aoife Horan

Our congratulations to all our winners who have worked so hard for the Leaving Certificate, and we wish them well in their chosen career.


Where are they now?
 
Some of our Award winners have written in to tell us what they have been doing since leaving school.

 

SÍOBHÁN McNAMARA
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 1999

I studied for my degree in European Studies in Trinity College, Dublin. The major component of this degree was Russian language, and as part of my studies, I spent two years in the Gorky Literary Institute, Moscow. After graduating, I did an M Phil in Literary Translation in TCD, and a Graduate Certificate in Community Interpreting in DCU. I then spent a couple of years working as a freelance Russian-English translator and interpreter, while also teaching Russian in the Applied Language Centre, UCD, and working part-time in the libraries of the National College of Art and Design and the Marino Institute of Education. I began taking Polish classes during this time also, and completed three summer schools of Polish language and culture in Poland. Since 2007, I have been employed as school librarian in Gonzaga College SJ Ranelagh. I enjoy this work very much because it gives me the chance to work with young people outside of the classroom, and because I have always loved reading. There is a very strong sense of community in the school, which reminds me of Dominicans, and which I value very much. Since beginning my job in Gonzaga, I have maintained my connection to Russian and Polish by marking Leaving Certificate Russian every year and by completing occasional translation projects. I recently completed a Masters in Education in Trinity College. The topic of my thesis was the experiences of multilingual students in the Irish education system.  I plan to develop this research and begin a doctorate later this year. I remember my time in Dominican College very fondly, and if I am lucky enough to have any daughters I will certainly try to send them there. The encouragement we were given to respect and challenge ourselves, to value others, and to be independent and curious, has stood to me in everything I’ve done since.  The school is also where I met some of my best friends. I have attached a couple of photos.  The snowy one was taken on my most recent trip to Moscow in March 2012. My Mam was particularly pleased when I told her you had been in touch, and she asked me especially to pass on her best regards.  She was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis a few years ago, so she hasn’t had an easy time of it, but she is learning to adapt, and Dad gives her wonderful support.  Their determination, patience and courage are an inspiration and an example to the rest of us. I hope the centenary celebrations go well, and if there is anything else I can help with, I’d be delighted.

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Sarah Picardo
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2000

 

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JANE BRYANT
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2002

I hope all the preparations for the Centenary are going well. I graduated from Dominican College in 2002 and started that year at Trinity, doing General Science. I specialised in Biochemistry with Immunology, graduating in 2006. I worked for a year in the research laboratories in Trinity before starting my PhD at Imperial College, London, in 2007, doing research into new therapies for rheumatoid arthritis. I finished there in 2011 and moved to Chicago to do a post doctoral research fellowship at Northwestern University, this time concentrating on tolerance strategies in solid organ transplantation. I worked there for two years, and in October of last year, moved back home.  I am now doing a second post doc at DIT Kevin Street, where I am developing assays to predict what  patients will respond  to different radiotherapy dosage and treatments, in an effort to minimise side effects. I am really enjoying it! I am not sure what the future holds, but at the moment I’m happy doing research. I may try to move more towards a consultancy-based role in the pharmaceutical industry in a few years, but I’ll see what comes up. I’ve always looked back on my great memories at school and I was definitely inspired to become a scientist by the great science teachers I had there - especially Ms Laffoy and Ms McCool. I hope all is well with the school - I’d love to pop in some morning if I have a half day at work, and say hello!

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CATHERINE DOYLE
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2004

I hope all the sisters in Griffith Avenue are well. After leaving Dominican College in 2004, I studied for a degree in Applied Physics in Dublin City University, and I graduated top of my class in 2008 with a BSc. I then won a PhD scholarship from the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, and stayed in DCU to work on my PhD in physics, which I finished last September (2013), and graduated in November with a PhD.  Since October 2013 I have been working as a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Trinity College Dublin, in the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices(CRANN).

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Michelle Picardo
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2004

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Ann Herlihy
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2004

 

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Ailish Beakey
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2006

I am currently working as a community pharmacist with the Allcare pharmacy network.  When I left Dominican College, I studied Human Nutrition and Dietetics for a year in DIT but left after my  first year  to pursue pharmacy in Trinity College.  I spent four years there attaining my undergraduate degree.  During that time, I had the chance to get involved in some of the societies in college and I also did quite a bit  of travelling including  a  ski season in Queenstown, New Zealand. However, to fully register as a pharmacist, I had to complete a masters degree in pharmacy with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland alongside one  year’s practical training.  Having spent some time in both community and hospital settings, I decided to do my practical training in a community environment.  Following on from a sumer placement with Boots, I was offered a place on their Intern Pharmacist Programme which I accepted.  I worked full-time as an intern pharmacist in one of their flagship  branches as I completed my masters degree before finally qualifying in December 2012. Since then I have worked as a locum pharmacist for many different pharmacies and chains across Ireland.  Having worked part-time for the Allcare company for a year or so, I was offered a full-time position last November as the support pharmacist in a newly relocated pharmacy just outside of Dublin.  I am really enjoying it and I hope to be there for some time. Best of luck with the lunch, and all the centenary celebrations.

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CLAIRE MURPHY
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2007

I graduated from Dominican College in 2007 and went straight into Trinity College Dublin that September to study Medicine. This meant I was also the first past student to obtain the Ann Kernan Bursary for Science. I studied a 5 year course, graduating in July 2012, with a second class honours degree for a Bachelor in Medicine, a Bachelor in Surgery and a Bachelor in Obstetrics, giving me the title Dr Claire Murphy MB BCh. BAO. I then completed the compulsory year of internship, necessary for full registration with the Medical Council of Ireland, in St James’s Hospital. I specialised in fields of General Medicine, Endocrinology, Plastic Surgery and Burns and General Surgery. I completed the Intern year in July 2013, and am now a Senior House Officer registered on a 2 year basic Specialist training programme in General Internal Medicine to obtain my Membership of the Royal College of Physicians. I am currently working in the Emergency Department in James’ Hospital before finishing this year with Oncology. I had an unfortunate 3 month break from my work undergoing a double hip replacement in September 2013. This was the endpoint of a very long and painful journey having had several joint sparing surgeries in my time in Dominican College, and I very much hope for it to be the last. Medicine has always been a huge part of my life, and I can only reflect on my personal experiences, and hope they contribute to a better sense of understanding, empathy and sensitivity to the patients I treat on a daily basis. I thank you and all the staff in Dominican College for all the wonderful educational and personal support during my time there, and look very much forward to keeping in contact with you.

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ÁINE CHAWKE
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2008

I left school in 2008 and have married since, so I am now Áine Walsh. Since finishing school, I went to Trinity College Dublin, and studied Social Work. I graduated with a first honours degree. After college, I worked as a mental health Support Worker with HAIL Housing Association for one year, before marrying last August and moving to Ballina, Co Mayo. I now work as a Children and Families Social Worker in Co Sligo.

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NIAMH KEARNEY
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2009

I will hopefully be finishing my last year of medical school in April 2014 and will be travelling around the US for a couple of weeks before I start my Internship in July. Everything has gone very well for me since leaving school and fingers crossed I will start working in July, hopefully in a Dublin hospital.  I am looking forward to being a functioning member of a hospital team.  It is both very daunting and very exciting to think that I will be making decisions about patient care and finally putting all this knowledge I’ve acquired over the last five years into practice. I have still managed to keep up my main hobby in ballet dancing and hope that I can still go to classes when I am working (which all depends on whether or not the recent agreements about working hours are actually put into place). I am very grateful for everything that Dominican College did for me. I don’t think that I would be in medical school now had it not been for the great teaching that I received, not just in 5th and 6th year, but all the way through from my 1st year in the school. My younger sister, now in 4th year, has told me that the great experience I had there is still going strong.

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Eimear Ellis
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2010

 

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EIMEAR DUFF
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2012

I am happy to inform you that I am now in second year Medicine in Trinity College Dublin. I love my course and the experience of being in Trinity. I am Vice President of the TCD French Society and also organise  “TCD Friends of MSF(involved with the charity Doctors without Borders). I also row for Trinity, and last year we won the University Rowing Championship and ‘Colours’ a race forming part of the St Patrick’s Day Festival.

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AOIFE HORAN
DCPPU Excellence in Education Award 2014

I left Dominican College last June (2013) and have just started my course BESS in Trinity College Dublin. As I have only been doing the course for 3 months, I don’t have much to offer about what I have done since leaving school. The course I picked was a quite general business course and I have not yet decided what career path I will take.

Note: Aoife, and  fellow past pupils Eleanor O'Brien, Neasa Candon, Megan Oliver, and Orna Hennessy, were honoured with Trinity College Dublin Entrance Examination Award as a result of their high performance in the 2013 Leaving Certificate Examination.

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MARGARET BURKE SHERIDAN CUP - FEIS CEOIL

Margaret Burke Sheridan  born in Mayo in 1889, was sent as a boarder to be educated in Dominican College Eccles Street from the age of 11 following the death of her father.  Her mother had died when she was 4. While in Eccles Street, she had her first singing lessons with Mother Clement OP, a renowned singing teacher, who recognised that Margaret had indeed a wonderful voice and encouraged her on her singing career.  In 1908 she won the gold medal at the Feis Ceoil.  Margaret, who became one of the outstanding Sopranos of her day, never forgot Mother Clement and kept in touch regularly. Among her friends were Puccini, and  Toscanini.  She performed in all the great opera houses of Europe - Covent Garden, La Scala Milan, Rome, Naples, Genova, Bologna, Trieste and more, and always her audiences were captured by her magnificent voice, artistic excellence, and interpretation of her performance. She became known as La Sheridan, or La Diva.  Sadly, Margaret became ill, and returned to live in Dublin, where she died from cancer in 1958. In her memory, The Margaret Burke Sheridan Cup is presented to the winner of the Feis Ceoil Prizewinners Competition for singers who have already won either first or second place in another competition for female voice - Soprano, Mezzosoprano or Contralto.  The very elegant cup was donated by Prince Ferdinando d’Ardia Caracciola.   Each year our Past Pupils’ Union is honoured  when our President is invited by Feis Ceoil to present the cup to the winner, in recognition of the great love and affection Margaret had for her school in Eccles Street. This is a wonderful competition with entrants of a very high standard, and members of the public are always welcome to attend. Click here for current details.

Pauline Coakley, president of DCPPU,  and Sarah Brady, Soprano, 
Winner of Margaret Burke Sheridan Cup at the ESB Feis Ceoil 2014

 

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