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Developing the Whole Child

Meet our 2024 Dominican Award Students

It is in giving that we receive” Saint Francis of Assisi

This week at assembly our new L6 Dominican Award pupils received their badges as they commence work over the next year with the aim of completing the award. Thirty -nine of our new Lower Sixth students will follow in the footsteps of the twenty-four pupils who took the award last year.

The Dominican Award is a Social Justice award which was established in our school this year. It is a voluntary award which encourages the participates to take part in charity work, social justice events and faith -based activities both in school and in our local communities.

The award is open to all year 13 pupils, it runs over 16 months, in which time pupils must complete 20 activities at part of school life, 10 activities within their own individual communities plus a reflective concluding presentation which then will be looked over by the board of governors and senior staff in order to be presented with their gold medal at the end of the process in recognition of their achievements.

At assembly Mr Lynch, Dominican Principal, spoke of his great pride and pleasure in being able to introduce our Dominican Award students to the school. He told members of both the junior and senior school that these pupils embody all that is best about Dominican College Portstewart and how they show the importance for pupils to develop all of their potential. In every way they represent our school ethos in action. Mr Lynch presented the pupils with their Dominican Award badges and urged younger pupils to aspire to follow in their example when they reached the senior school.

Michael Boorman, one of the pupils currently involved in The Dominican Award explained – “Our mission as Dominican award participants is to search for truth and justice as this is the core of our ethos. Our award encourages us to strive for a more just and peaceful society. We want to enhance our spiritual, physical, emotional and social development through participation is school and community activities. We want to give back to society within and beyond our school community. We hope to feel a personal sense of achievement from taking part in the award and show commitment to a task or goal.’

Speaking at assembly Mollie Kettyle explained her motivation for seeking to be involved in working towards the Dominican Award: “One reason we joined the Dominican Award is because we want to give back to society, we want to be involved in helping both inside and outside of school and the Dominican Award gives us the platform and opportunity to do this. It allows us as sixth formers to set an example and be role models to younger year groups by showing that we are willing to give up our own time and volunteer to help others who need extra support. We want to do our part for social justice issues such as poverty, inequality and discrimination. We strive to be our generations advocates for social justice and put our thoughts and words into action by doing something about it.”


Since starting their Dominican Award journey pupils have already been able to get involved in a multitude of social justice activities. As a group, they have introduced and continue to run our in-school period poverty scheme. Furthermore, each member of the award helped to co-ordinate and run the annual Dominican Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day. Brianna Shaw, one of this year’s cohort explained that the group have continued to support our local SVP conference and members took a lead role in overseeing the SVP Christmas and Trocaire Appeal in the lead up to Christmas. The money that was raised from each of these social justice events helped families and specifically children living in poverty. Our 2024 Dominican Award students have also planned to support further social justice initiatives in the upcoming months such as participating in the Darkness into Light Walk.


As part of the school’s core ethos is the principle of service, and as Dominican Award ambassadors, participating pupils acknowledge the key role that they can play in serving their school community. Furthermore, as part of the award, some participants have approached a range of subject teachers to offer their assistance in class and after school settings. There are currently members of the Dominican Award team assisting with Year 8 Maths classes or helping our students at our bi- weekly after school homework club and it is hoped that we will develop and extend this over the coming months.


Recently, the Dominican Award has just introduced a whole school recycling initiative which they hope to introduce more fully to the whole school community during an assembly in the very near future.


Maebh Hickey, another of this year’s inaugural participants explained, “When committing to become members of the Dominican Award, we were also made aware of the importance of reaching out to our local community. Just before Christmas, some of our members took part in fundraising activities for St Column’s local primary school. In addition to this, we also donated food hampers and essential toiletries to our local care home, Madelayne Court. Many of our award participants also help with the local Flame club, which is a weekly youth club for the local children. We are also in the process of planning links with the National Trust and we also have participants signing up to complete some essential summer voluntary work at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Ballymena. A Dominican award pupil, Caitlin Bell-Porter also plans to take a junior assembly with Mr Ramsay later in February on the theme of random acts of kindness”.


Concluding a presentation to staff and pupils at this week’s assembly Aodhan Douglas also explained the faith-based activities that the group of Dominican Award students will be involved in, “In signing up to the award, we as participants acknowledge the importance of getting involved in all aspects of school life, and a key aspect of our school life is our practice of faith. To date, we have been able to volunteer our time and skills at our school services by offering to participate in readings, or by leading church collections and also through our involvement as members of our school choir. As Dominican Award participants, we feel that it is important to set an example for our younger student population of the importance of gathering together as a school community to mark key liturgical events in reverence.”


Best wishes to all our Dominican Award pupils- you are our school ethos in action!