Young people from 23 schools across Northern Ireland were celebrated today (15 December 2017) at the Education Authority’s (EA) third annual ‘Celebration of Full Attendance’ event hosted by St Louise’s Comprehensive College, Belfast. Forty-five young people were honoured at the event for their completion of either 12 or 14 years at school in June 2017.
Chair of the Education Authority Sharon O’Connor, presented certificates to recognise completion of a perfect attendance record from primary through to secondary school.
"It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the accomplishments of the young people here today who have achieved full attendance at school. They have never missed a day off school in 12 or 14 years. That is remarkable and should be celebrated.” said Ms O’Connor.
Speaking about the importance of good attendance; she said:
“It is important not just to support those pupils who need it, but to acknowledge those pupils who have, through their own efforts and the support of their families, have never missed a day off school.”
“Establishing good attendance habits from primary school will help build good habits for later life. Good attendance shows potential employers that you are reliable. So be assured that the commitment and dedication you have shown will pay off, she added.”
EA Board Member and Chair of the CYPS Committee, Mrs Pat Carville OBE, commended the young people and acknowledged the contribution of parents and carers in supporting strong school attendance.
“While the personal motivation and positive endeavour of every young person here has to be recognised, I have no doubt that the parents, carers and extended family have had a momentous role to play in realising their hopes and dreams. May I congratulate them also.”
In her closing remarks, Mrs Carville emphasised the benefits associated with pupils who attend school regularly;
“One of the most powerful ways we can prepare our children for success, both in school and in life is by encouraging regular school attendance. When we make school attendance a priority, we help young people achieve better grades, develop healthy life and social habits, maintain friendships and relationships in later life, and have a better chance of progressing from school to college and university.”
Guests were treated to soloist performances from talented pupils Emma Kirkwood Year 14 who played ‘Forcing the Pace’ on the piano and Courtney Sloan Year 10 who sang ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. Music Teacher and Harpist Miss Donna McLaughlin performed a number of Christmas airs, a perfect way to spread the Christmas joy.