There was great excitement in St Mary’s College when the world’s top female inline skating champion, Jenna Downing, visited.
Jenna met first year students and the 16 students who were randomly selected to participate in the ‘Sky Living for Sports’ programme.
Jenna is an Athlete Mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sports, a secondary schools initiative that uses sport stars and sport skills to boost confidence, change behaviours, increase attainment and improve life skills.
Throughout the programme students will engage in a number of activities developing a range of skills that can be applied to their personal and school life.
Jenna highlighted the importance of sport to the Marist students ‘Sport has impacted on my life massively and I know that without sport I wouldn’t be the person that I am today,’ she said.
‘I’ve been lucky enough to make amazing friends and receive some fantastic opportunities. Sport has given me the motivation, drive and courage to push myself and be the best person that I can be.’
A natural competitor, Jenna has competed in rollerblading events since she was eight years of age and has amassed a lifetime of awards competing across the globe in televised and major international events.
After turning pro at the age 12, Jenna has gone on to become an institution in British rollerblading, along with her international and world success she has been ten times British Champion. Her visit was inspirational and memorable for the students.
Fr Kevin Medilo s.m. and Fr Chris Ganzon s.m. visited St Mary’s College, Dundalk in January 2015 from the Marist Missions in Ranong, Thailand and the Philippines, respectively. They shared experiences of their work with students on the Marist Mission Team in the college. The students enjoyed hearing about and seeing photos of the children in the Marist school in Ranong where Fr Kevin works, and also photos shared by Fr. Chris of the Mission in the Philippines.
Fr Jimmy McElroy s.m., school chaplain and leader of the student Mission team travels to Ranong every year with students and teachers to work at the school there. The college mission team fundraise throughout the year in a variety of ways including selling Christmas cards, organising bake sales and serving refreshments at meetings. Eight sixth year students are chosen to travel and are always in awe of the gratitude and respect shown to them by the children of Burmese refugees attending the school there. It was special that the director of the mission, Fr Kevin, could visit Dundalk and meet the students on the Mission Team. Fr Chris Ganzon works as a prison chaplain in Davao city in the Philippines and also in a home for street children.
Building has commenced on a new school for St. Mary’s College. The new school building is due to open in September 2016, in what is an exciting time for all those connected to the school.
Pictured at the launch of the construction of the new school are students Shane Cheshire and Grace Donnelly with Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, alongside representatives from the contractors BAM. Also included is an artist’s impression of the new school.
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Last Tuesday night’s international friendly game between the Republic of Ireland Women’s U16 team and their Northern Ireland counterparts at Oriel Park proved to be a very special occasion for two students from the school.
Jade Reddy and Lynn Craven, Transition Year students at St. Mary’s both made their debut for the girls in green in the 1-0 win. Jade started the game at right-back before she was replaced, quite fittingly, by Lynn after 48 minutes.
It was probably inevitable that the duo would make their international debut together. Close friends from the age of four, the 15-year-olds have been almost inseparable since.
Quay Celtic was the club that provided the girls with their first taste of football. Lynn was part of the Point Road side that won the Dundalk Schoolboys League U10 and U11 league and cup double in successive years.
Jade then joined up with her friend as part of the Quay Celtic Girls side that also went on to win the double at U14 level.
Both girls currently ply their trade with Shelbourne in Dublin and were part of the Reds team that enjoyed a successful 2014, picking up the U16 National Cup, the U16 League Cup and also the Dublin Womens Summer League double.
Tuesday’s international was a warm up game for the upcoming international quadrangular tournament in Dublin in mid-February which will see the Republic of Ireland take on Denmark, Austria and the Czech Republic and the pair will be hoping to make the final squad which is due to be announced at the end of this week.