Dunluce Prize Day 2017

See the photos in our gallery here

This year we welcomed Mr David Loughery back to the stage of the Chancellor Guy Assembly Hall.  It was a familiar feeling for him, as Vice Principal and Acting Principal he had stood behand that lectern hundreds of times.  The main difference this time was that he was standing on the stage as an invited guest of honour at our annual prize day.

Mr Smyth opened by welcoming “colleagues from the local primary and post primary schools, Education Authority officers and other special visitors who have joined with us to celebrate the achievements of the young people of Dunluce School.

“The 2016/2017 year for Dunluce School witnessed some truly impressive external examination results with 66% of students achieving at least five GCSEs, or equivalent, at grades C or above.  This superb performance reinforces not only the efforts of all those students with us today but also the efforts of a hard-working and committed staff – both teaching and non-teaching.  To them at this point in the proceedings I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation for a job well done.

“It gives me immense pleasure in stating that not only were our results good, they are more than comparable with results in local Grammar Schools.  Little wonder then, ladies and gentlemen, by the end of the summer that over 91% of pupils have been placed in employment, training or further education.  Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls if all our leavers had made it back to recognise their achievement then the school could generously boast that 46% of the complete school from 2016/17 would be walking across this stage today.”

My Smyth went on to relate some of the highlights of the year, and staffing changes, “It was with sadness that we said goodbye to four of our staff during the year -  Mrs Caroline Lewis our Head of Maths, Mrs Nicola McMullan, Miss Caroline Getty and Mrs Sharon Henry – both Classroom Assistants.  Their services to Dunluce, in their respective roles within the school, was greatly appreciated and we ask that they never lose contact with us as we continue on our journey. To boost our compliment of support assistants we welcomed during the year: Colin McLernon as our TD and science technician, Jayne McCurdy as our home/school liaison officer and Rachael McMichael, Sarah-Ann Smyth-Walker, Cheryl Neill, Emma McCormick, Elliott Turner and David Williams all as new classroom assistants.”

He also talked about the flood which hit the school in the summer, “As many of you are aware, on the evening of Tuesday 24th August a devastating storm flooded the complete ground floor of the school.  The scene of destruction that met the staff the next morning was horrendous.  However, in the true Dunluce spirit a team of cleaning staff under the command of Ian Parke and with the help of the Education Authority – Property Services, Needs and Ground Maintenance teams, the school was fit to open for our new year 8 intake on the 31st of August.  Ian to you and all your team, and to all the Education Authority personnel involved in the clean-up and repairs, I know I speak on behalf of all the Governors when I say well done, thank you, you are credit to Dunluce.” 

Before handing over to the guest of honour, Mr Smyth paid tribute to all the young people of the school, “today you see how working hard at school, attending school and being fully part of the life of Dunluce School pays off.  Today we celebrate your achievements and wish you every blessing as you take the next steps in your educational adventure.    Each year I ask those assembled that they never forget their days at Dunluce, sell the good news of Dunluce, stay loyal to Dunluce and use it fruitfully as your springboard into life.  What you have earned today and the prizes and cups you will collect on stage this morning are the result of honest hard work.” 


Having thanked the school for the “honour and privilege” of being invited back to the school he has been connected with since 1979, David Loughery recalled some advice he had been given by the Principal of Lurgan Boys’ Junior High School, Joe Loney, “he told me to stay at my next school a bit longer than the one year I did at Craigavon.  As you can see I took his advice – still here after 36 years.”

Mr Loughrey told the audience  that he had grown up in Dunluce, and of the many memories – happy and sad – he had of the place.  He went on to describe a few of these colourful memories for the audience, and one personal one about his son Matthew, who had come close to death while working in Dubai.  His doctor had suggested they pray, as there was no more anyone could do.  “The next morning Dr Fazad explained that four doctors were working throughout the night on Matthew with no success, and his exact words were ‘Then suddenly the prays worked’” Matthew went on to pull through successfully, without lasting damage.  “Why am I telling you this? About a year, we were talking about the previous summer.  He explained to me that when he was in his medical induced coma he thought that he was in Carrick – Fin in Donegal.  This is a place that we have had many family holidays.  He told me that he felt that he was in a hospital there – now there is no hospital there, but it is a beautiful, safe place where he and all our family have great memories of.  Matthew  - in his mind was in this safe place at this point of crisis – this was a real eye opener for us.  We give our children experiences growing up that we hope will help them to be good citizens but I never realized that these innocent experiences or simple holidays would be so crucial at an important time in my son’s life.”

“We need to revalue the simple non-technological experiences – the walks, the games , simply the  free time shared in your family whatever the family structure.”

Mr Loughrey had advice for all present: “Present Pupils – enjoy your time at home and in school with healthy activities, in the right company.  Activities that you want to be able to look back on without regret.

“Leavers – enjoy your time studying in a new environment at college and maybe later at work or university.  Build up memories that you can look back on without guilt or embarrassment and get involved with others in a positive way.

“Parents - Never underestimate the time spent with your children and the healthy mental legacy that you are building up within them.”

He finished by wishing Dunluce School every blessing for the future and thanking “Dunluce and the Community for the happy memories of my life at the school and the many lessons that I learnt on the journey.”