NUI Galway Students and Graduates Receive Gaisce Gold Award

Pictured are the NUI Galway award reciepients (l-r): David McGurrin, Oisin O'Carroll, Sarah Kilduff, Rion Breslin and Christina Quinn with President Michael D. Higgins.
Feb 17 2014 Posted: 11:57 GMT

Five honoured for outstanding community work and achievements by Patron of Gaisce -The President’s Award, President Michael D. Higgins

Five NUI Galway students and graduates were among a special group of inspirational young people presented with the Gaisce Gold Award by President Michael D. Higgins for their outstanding community work and significant personal achievements at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle recently.

The NUI Galway awardees were Sarah Kilduff from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Christina Quinn from Galway City, Lorraine Farrell from Dromard, Co. Sligo, David McGurrin from Hazelwood, Co. Sligo, and Oisin O’Carroll from Birr, Co. Offaly.

Gaisce – the President’s Award is a programme that aims to foster and develop young people's potential. It is a guided and supported framework that is provided for young people to explore their natural skills and gain confidence in their abilities, while contributing to their community.

This year 50 Gaisce Gold Awards were presented to young people who excelled and achieved their goals. This year’s Gold Award recipients included young people who spent time volunteering with charity organisations, working with the poor, the elderly, people with disabilities, and getting involved in youth groups and clubs. Gaisce Award recipients also work with community groups, sporting organisations and charity shops.

A Bachelor of Nursing graduate, Sarah Kilduff volunteered with the Civil Defence with a view of expanding her first aid knowledge and assisted with her community in times of floods, removing people from danger and helping to treat them. At the beginning of her Gold Gaisce Award, Sarah went on the 133km pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago in Spain with fellow members of the Gaisce Society in NUI Galway and also embarked on a journey to Talamarang, Nepal to volunteer in the orphanage Little Angels Children’s Home. When in Nepal, Sarah volunteered with other Irish people taking part in various activities including teaching the children English, helping them with their homework, assisting on the farms and general housekeeping. A keen photographer, Sarah is/was a member of the NUI Galway photography Society and was involved in a number of exhibitions on campus.

Christina Quinn, a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science graduate, still holds the position of Development Officer for the NUI Galway Sub-Aqua Club. As part of her role she has organised fundraising events for charities such as Helping Hands and Temple Street Hospital. As part of the Physical Recreation section of the Gaisce Gold challenge, Christina took part in her first marathon in Dingle, Co. Kerry in September 2012 and has since participated in many other races including Galway Bay 10km, Run-a-Muck Challenge, Kinvara 10km and the Craughwell 10 Miler. A member of the University’s Art Society, she helped organise various exhibitions around campus, including the University’s annual arts festival, Múscailt. Christina has also volunteered in an orphanage in Nepal and hiked towards the Himalaya’s, reaching Sherpa Village, at a height of 3,600m.

Bachelor of Education graudate from St Angela’s College in Sligo, Lorraine Farrell achieved her Bronze and Silver Awards while attending St Mary’s College in Ballisodare, Co. Sligo. She has trained both the U12’s girls basketball and football team and played Gaelic football for St Farnan’s, winning the Junior Shield Cup in the Connaught Club Blitz in Castlebar. She has also partaken in jazz, tap and ballet classes. Lorraine travelled to Solio in Keyna to volunteer on a development project with the Moving Mountains Organisation, helping some of the 20,000 families of Internally Displaced People who were relocated to the region in 2008.

NUI Galway Higher Diploma in Applied Science student David McGurrin joined the Reserve Defence Forces learning valuable skills including first aid, map reading, public speaking and marching. Originally from Hazelwood, Co. Sligo, David became involved in Tidy Towns in Sligo and has marched in the St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York. He learnt to play the guitar as part of the Personal Skills section of the Gaisce Award and running for the Personal Recreation which saw him complete the Warriors Run and the Sligo Half Marathon. David embarked on the El Camino de Santiago in Spain and did a Potential Non Commissioned Officers course to complete his Gold Gaisce Award.

Medical student, Oisin O’Carroll, received his Bronze and Silver Gaisce Awards while attending St Brendan’s Community School in Birr, Co. Offally. During his time at NUI Galway, Oisin has held the positions of Secretary and then Captain of the Athletics Committee and has had many achievements such as the 24-hour Challenge, the Inter-College Games, an NUI Galway Participation Award and the President’s Award for Volunteering. To complete the goals of the Gold Gaisce Award Oisin has learnt French, taken up circuit training with the Irish Defence Forces and embarked on an expedition to the Alps. To prepare himself for the expedition, he undertook an optional course in NUI Galway called High Altitude Medicine as a supplement to his medical degree. Oisin has also spent ten days as an activity instructor in Lilliput Adventure Centre where he participated in various outdoor activities such as rock climbing, orienteering, team building exercises, bog jumping, canoeing and hiking.

President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “I am delighted to congratulate these five inspirational young people on their Gasice Gold Awards. At NUI Galway we encourage all students to prioritise civic engagement and volunteerism, so it is especially heartening to see our students and graduates receive their Gaisce Gold Awards in recognition of their personal achievements and community and civic contributions.”


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