SECAD takes part in STAR Awards Ceremony

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SECAD takes part in STAR Awards Ceremony at the Burlington

‘Inspiring Communities – Time to Change’ Youghal

It was with great pride when SECAD learned that its flagship pathway programme ‘Inspiring Communities – Time to Change’ was shortlisted for the prestigious STAR Awards 2013 (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition). The STAR Awards are an awards initiative coordinated by AONTAS as part of the annual Adult Learners’ Festival to acknowledge the fantastic work undertaken by adult learning projects throughout Ireland. The awards celebrate the positive contribution that these projects make to our society, our economy and our local communities.

All Munster Shortlisted Projects at the STAR Awards Ceremony: Front row (seated) fourth from left: Mary McCarthy (Time to Change Youghal participant 2011), Mary Sisk (Time to Change Youghal participant 2012), John Horgan, Chairman SECAD, Toni McCaul (SECAD programme coordinator), Catherine Ann O’Connell (Trainer LIT) Evelyn McGrath (Cumann na Daoine Community partner).

All Munster Shortlisted Projects at the STAR Awards Ceremony: Front row (seated) fourth from left: Mary McCarthy (Time to Change Youghal participant 2011), Mary Sisk (Time to Change Youghal participant 2012), John Horgan, Chairman SECAD, Toni McCaul (SECAD programme coordinator), Catherine Ann O’Connell (Trainer LIT) Evelyn McGrath (Cumann na Daoine Community partner).

After a month of hard deliberation the independent STAR Awards Judging Panel drew up a shortlist of projects from 115 fantastic nominations. A total of 35 projects were shortlisted from the five categories; Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connaught & Nationwide. The winners of each category were subsequently announced by John Lonergon (former Mountjoy governor) at the Awards Ceremony on 25th February last in Dublin. The ceremony was officially opened by Minister for Education & Skills, Ciarán Cannon.

SECAD attended the ceremony at the Burlington Hotel, represented by SECAD chairman, John Horgan & Programmes Manager, Toni MCaul. We were delighted to be accompanied on the day by two adult learners from the programme, Mary Sisk and Mary McCarthy, both of whom completed the Youghal programme. The delegation also comprised Evelyn McGrath from Cumann na Daoine, our local community partner in Youghal and our principle tutor on the programme, Catherine Ann O’Connell.

The ceremony itself was likened to the Academy Awards, which coincidentally had been held the previous evening, complete with drum-roll, spotlight cast on the winners, and full festive ambience in the packed conference centre. While SECAD’s nomination did not make the final cut and was outclassed in the end by Ballybeg Horticultural project in the Munster category, it was generally agreed that all shortlisted projects were winners on the day and a credit to furthering the cause of adult education and addressing inequalities in access to education and employment.

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