Everyone in and associated with Our Lady’s Grammar School Newry was absolutely delighted to read in “The Irish News” on Tuesday 8th March that, according to the official statistics just issued by the Department of Education, the school was the top performing Grammar School in Northern Ireland at both GCSE and A Level last year.
As the article started, Our Lady’s is one of the most consistently outstanding schools in Northern Ireland in terms of the academic achievements of its pupils. Our Lady’s shared 1st place at A Level last year with St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt, and was second overall in the Northern Ireland Grammar School rankings. First place this year for both of the examination groups of 2010 is a splendid achievement by the girls and their teachers and Principal Ms Geraldine Pettigrew congratulated students and staff and thanked the families of the girls for their support.
Ms Pettigrew noted:
“I am very proud of the academic success achieved by the girls in Our Lady’s; they are dedicated students and the quality of the teaching they receive is superb as is the support offered by other staff in the school, their own families and the wider community of Newry, South Down and South Armagh. Education is really valued and appreciated in this area and all of the schools, primary and post-primary, selective and non-selective, are excellent.
I think that all really good schools offer a rich range of opportunities and experiences to their pupils, outside as well as inside the classroom, and nurture gifts and strengths of all kinds, and this is, I know, very true of Our Lady’s. We have, for example, a wonderful tradition in relation to music of all kinds, choral, orchestral and traditional, and many of the girls who were so successful in their public examinations in 2010 were also in our terrific School Show “My Fair Lady” last year. Drama, public speaking and debating are also very strong ~ our Bar National Mock Trial Team were Northern Ireland Finalists earlier this year. Sport, too, is central to school life and, this year to date, Our Lady’s holds: an SELB Netball title; two Newry and Mourne Tennis titles; an Ulster Cross Country Title; two Ulster Camogie Titles and four Ulster Gymnastics Titles. In addition, our U20 Gaelic Football Team reached an Ulster Semi-Final and the U16 team will shortly contest the Ulster Final in their competition.
School life is busy, busy, busy, but there is always time for helping others. As a Mercy School, faith is central to school life and service to others is a key part of our ethos; girls in all year groups are actively involved in a wide range of fundraising activities and senior pupils give very generously of their time to volunteer and community work. Girls have travelled to Zambia with our own staff and the Habitat for Humanity Organisation to build houses for local people and we are developing links with Women’s Projects run by the Mercy Sisters in Africa.
It is all of this potential and generosity and energy and commitment which make working with young people such a privilege and such a joy.”