Prize Day 2015

Dunluce School had plenty to cheer about on Thursday as they recognised success on several levels at their annual prize day.

The guest speaker was Gary McNeill, the golf professional from Royal Portrush, and there was a buzz of excitement following the confirmation that the famous course would be hosting the Open in 2019.

Mr McNeill reflected on the success of the bid to bring the tournament to North Antrim and his own background as a young man, seeking to make his way in the world of golf.

“I was introduced to the game when I was ten years old.   I reached the stage that many of the young people here have reached, when I had to think about what to do after school.”

He encouraged the young people to think carefully about their options and had three pieces of advice: “Do groundwork; research careers in fields that interest you; and work really hard to achieve your goals.”

The success and hard work of the Dunluce pupils was also a key theme of the Dunluce Principal, Philip Smyth’s message,

“During the school year 2014/2015 we in Dunluce school celebrated our fortieth birthday, and what more appropriate gift could the students have given us than the truly impressive set of results in June 2015 with 69% of students gaining at least five GCSEs, or equivalent, at grades C or above.

“I am comfortable in stating openly today that Dunluce School, based on these results, are more than holding their own; providing a strong, supportive and pastorally rich education for all who pass through our doors.”

Mr Smyth told

the assembled parents and friends about many of the courses that had achieved a 100% success rate – including several of the new BTEC and occupational courses such as construction and hairdressing.

He suggested that it was, therefore, little wonder that “by the end of the summer, over 91% of pupils have been placed in employment, training or further education.

But Mr Smyth did not reserve all his praise for the pupils who had moved on.   He also applauded the current pupils and staff.  He described Dunluce as a school that was “happy, productive, vital to its community; and in which relationships amongst staff and pupils are positive, friendly and fruitful.” 

The Chair of the Boa

rd of Governors, Mrs Frances McCollum, thanked Mr Smyth for the work he had done in moving the school forward.  She celebrated the “output and achievements” of the young people of Dunluce, whilst applauding “the input of our hard working and dedicated staff.”

Mrs McCollum spoke of education as being “a journey, fraught with many hurdles – where the bar is never lowered.”  She spoke with pride about a staff who deliver “many packages so that each young person is given the opportunity to achieve their

maximum potential.”

“To help us achieve the best for each young person requires input from teaching staff, but also an element of ownership by parents and guardians, so that all can buy into what the school endeavours to provide.”

“We want to provide the very best for the young people in our care, and I was gratified to hear a primary school Principal comment that the Dunluce staff make a monumental effort to do the very best for each pupil.”

Each of the speakers were keen to bring the focus back on the pupils of the school.  Mr Smyth spoke with great pride of the students in his care,

“I pay tribute to all the young people of the school who continue to be the heart, the soul and the very pulse for why we exist.  Today we celebrate their achievements and wish them every blessing as they progress into adulthood.  I would ask them all to 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.”

But it was Gary McNeill who had the final word when he encouraged the pupils in the hall to look to the future with the mind of a golfer, “Whatever you do in the future, give it your best shot.”