School gets special praise for raising €346,000 for Concern

By William O'Connor

TEENAGERS from Holy Family Community School in Rathcoole picked up the School of the Year award after their school received special praise for raising over €346,000 for the international aid agency Concern.

Transition-year students Joanna Saheed (15) from Tallaght and Luca Crone (16) from Saggart represented Holy Family Community School, Rathcoole, at Concern’s 2018 Volunteer Awards to receive the School of the Year Award.

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Transition year students Luca Crone from Saggart (left) and Joanna Saheed from Tallaght (right) with Concern co-founder John O'Loughlin Kennedy

Their teacher Noel McConnell was also presented with the School Fundraising Teacher Award for all the work he has done organising annual Fast and other fundraising campaigns for Concern.

Concern’s co-founder John O’Loughlin Kennedy and its Chief Executive Dominic MacSorley praised the efforts of the school and its teachers and students at the award ceremony in Dublin city on May 26.

“The Holy Family School have been dedicated supporters of Concern for the last 30 years,” said Mr MacSorley.

“They have donated to Concern every year without fail since 1998 and raised a phenomenal €346,065.

“The school gets the whole community involved by securing prizes for raffles and donations from local businesses.

Spreading awareness

“Not only are they making the students know about the work of Concern, but they are spreading awareness through their entire community.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Tallaght student Joanna said: “We are very happy to receive this award. We go to businesses and ask them for donations and prizes for fundraisers.”

Student Luca added: “This award is great recognition for the work that is done by the school.”

Teacher Noel McConnell said the vast bulk of their fundraising efforts is in November and December each year – and includes carol singing, raffles, cake sales and church-gate collections.

He said they also raise money for other local charities and that development education is an important subject in the school.

“We want to teach our students be more responsible members of society and for students to pay a more positive role in the community locally and globally,” he said.

Concern’s Volunteer Awards was created five years ago to celebrate the vital contribution made by the aid agency’s 1,200 volunteers in Ireland.

Concern was formed by volunteers 50 years ago in 1968 as part of a major humanitarian response to famine in Nigeria caused by the Biafran civil war – a milestone that is being marked this year by the organisation at a number of events around the country.

More information about Concern, its history, work (it reached 27 million people in 27 countries in 2017) and how to donate can be found on its website www.concern.net.

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