6th Form Celebration of Achievement 2019

Andrew Sleator, Head Boy three times, now Guest of Honour congratulates school on best ever A level results at our 6th Form Celebration of Achievement.

Mr Poots Chairman of Board of Governors welcomed all guests to the occasion and congratulated the pupils on their excellent success in examinations, thanking the staff of the school on behalf of the Governors for their hard work for the pupils of the school and for their critical part in the success of the school.

Welcoming everyone to the event, Mr McConaghy had a special welcome for retired VP Mrs Winifred Herron, who retired in August after 38 years of dedicated service and loyalty to Dromore High. A committed Geographer Mr McConaghy commented that scores of young people had enjoyed the privilege of being taught by her and many more had benefitted from her compassionate pastoral care. Wishing her well for her retirement Mr McConaghy hoped for ‘a long, healthy and fulfilling retirement’. Mr McConaghy proceeded to welcome Mrs Herron’s replacement to the position of VP Mrs Ruth Ravey.

Mr McConaghy expressed his thanks to the Board of Governors for their untiring commitment in this onerous, voluntary role.

Reflecting on the past year Mr McConaghy commented that it had felt like a vintage year with numerous successes and achievements finished off fittingly with the school’s best ever set of A level results.

Mr McConaghy addressed the class of 2019.
“To our leavers and year 14 pupils, today we congratulate you on your successes, which although different for each of you is fully deserved in all cases and equally valued by all our staff.”
Reflecting on the examination results Mr McConaghy continued “The class of 2019 had 90 pupils completing A levels. A superb 80% of all pupils achieved 3A*-C grades. This betters our previous best of 72% in 2017 and is a credit to the school and all its stakeholders. 92% of all entries resulted in an A*-C grade. This occurred in a year when budgetary pressures have been hitting schools hard and when more difficult new specification A levels have been taken for the first time; all of which makes this achievement even more commendable. Almost 80% of our pupils are moving to third level education with a small number progressing to employment and some to Higher level apprenticeships.

Christopher Murray, Senior Prefect was the school’s top boy and top pupil with 4 A* grades in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics, a tremendous achievement. Emma Harmon Deputy Head Girl was the top achieving girl with 3 A grades. Mr McConaghy complimented all the pupils “…as well Christopher and Emma there are so many outstanding performances in this cohort.”

Commenting on the success of the sixth form, Mr McConaghy indicated that the demand for places had driven the number of pupils in school overall to over 1000 for the first time.

Mr McConaghy paid tribute to all the staff for their commitment to their pupils, which alongside strong parental support and the pupils’ own hard work had yielded such pleasing results. “Going the extra mile for the pupils was the norm in Dromore High” he said.

Reflecting on the current uncertainty in society, politics etc. Mr McConaghy suggested that schools could provide some stability in the lives of young people which was lacking in other aspects of life. The freedom that so many young people seek today could only be liberating if it is discovered and explored within a framework. Rules were needed in school and society and in Dromore they sought to provide an enriching experience for the pupils which required a disciplined environment.

Quoting previous principal Mr John Wilkinson from 2013, there had been a plea for progress on a new build for the school. That plea was reissued by Mr McConaghy who indicated there had been extensive meetings over recent months with a variety of officials to move the project forward and requesting the support of the local community and politicians in the coming months as the case would continue to be made.
Mr McConaghy offered closing comments to the leavers of 2019. “I hope you will always remember that we encouraged you to believe that success did not lie in an inherited trait or a gene but in hard work and unyielding commitment; always getting up and having another go when you fail or fall.

Finally remember you will always remain a member of the Dromore High family and we are here to support you if needed. My sincerest best wishes to you all.”

Guest speaker Mr Andrew Sleator
“Hard work and determination the key ingredients”
Andrew reflected on his happy time in school at Dromore Central Primary School, achieving an A grade in the transfer test but having no desire to attend a grammar school, knowing from the experience of his brothers that he could achieve as well or better in the environment of Dromore High. Andrew enjoyed his time at Dromore High immensely playing rugby, participating in the school orchestra and flourishing in his studies. He had always given his best to his work and encouraged the class of 2019 to have persistence in their studies, going back to their teachers or lecturers if they need to, until they have progressed.

Andrew advised the pupils that gaining experience as they progressed through their education was of critical importance whether that be work experience or part time jobs. The skills acquired during such spells will always be beneficial even if at the time it didn’t feel quite that way. “Importantly pursue careers that make you happy thereby making work a delight. Doing something your love means it doesn’t feel like work”.
Andrew continued “Without commitment you will never start and without consistency and hard work, you will never finish. So keep chipping away, keep learning, keep going forward. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. Be proud of your achievements and hard work, while remaining humble, and remember where you came from, and never forget your school days here at Dromore High”.

Andrew concluded by thanking the staff of Dromore High for all their help over his years there which he deeply appreciated and wished the class of 2019 “every success in their future endeavours”.

Chairman Mr Poots thanked Andrew for his honest and inspiring speech and for presenting the certificates, prizes and cups to the recipients.

Mr Poots brought proceedings to a close by thanking everyone for an enjoyable afternoon and encouraging pupils and alumni to join the schools soon to be set up Past Pupils Association for their own and the school’s benefit commenting that “Giving something back can be as fulfilling as receiving.”