Kerry’s youth commended at the Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Awards

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Over two hundred people from across the county attended the Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards 2019 in the Ballyroe Heights Hotel in Tralee on Friday, January 24th. The evening commenced with dinner and was followed by a presentation of twenty five awards, accompanied with an inspiring citation of each winner’s achievements. Twenty Merit Awards, two Group Awards, a Special Achievement Award, a Community Safety Award and the Overall Winner Award were presented on the night. The awards scheme, which first commenced in 1998 are held for youths between the ages of thirteen and twenty one years and recognise the great contribution young people have made and continue to make to their communities in Kerry.

Sixteen year old Sophie Daly Wilson from Caherciveen was announced as the Overall Winner. She was described as a young lady with enormous enthusiasm and energy to devote to all things positive. Sophie is a talented musician/song writer and has been involved in numerous events including the KDYS Song Writing Evening, plays music for the residents at St. Anne’s Hospital Cahersiveen and sang as part of a Fundraiser for Skellig Stars. She also sang the National Anthem at the South Kerry Football Championship Final, regularly performs in school musicals and plays in her local Church. Sophie has received awards for her accomplishments in music and song such as Scór, Irish Youth Music Awards and the Colaiste na Sceilge Award for Junior Music Student of the Year for the past two years. Sophie is extremely proactive in her local community and is involved in the KDYS Social Action Group, KDYS Band Project, Wellness Ambassador in the KDYS and is also a Junior Leader in Cahersiveen KDYS Youth Club. Sophie hopes to volunteer in the Irish Pilgrimage Trust to Lourdes and she is proactive in relation to climate change. Sophie is also a keen public speaker and has represented her school in UCC. Sophie loves her Nana and manages to find time to take her to bingo, mass, football matches and they play an odd game of cards together. She also represented her school Colaiste na Sceilge as captain with the girls rugby team in reaching the Munster Final.

Two Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Group Awards were presented on the night to The Fairtraders, Castleisland Community College and Be Dementia Aware, Killarney Community College. The Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Special Achievement Award was presented to Shauna Foley, Listowel. The Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Community Safety Award was presented to Michael Carroll, Padraig Crean, Michael Kirby students of CBS The Green.

Twenty Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Merit Award Certificates were presented to individuals who have made a positive contribution to their community and make it a better place to live. The recipients were Lyanu Alausa, Duagh; Clodagh Begley, Tralee; Kacper Bogalecki, Killarney; Patrick Brosnan, Listowel; Daniel Cremin, Killarney; Saoirse Fitzgerald, Killorglin; Dylan Fitzgerald, Castlegrgory; Caoimhe Fitzgerald O’Dowd, Dingle; Danny Finch, Asdee; Sinead Gleeson, Killarney; Michael Horgan, Killarney; Serena Leahy Breen, Glenbeigh; Dáire McGovern, Ballymacelligott; Jack Nagle, Castlemaine; Shannon Oba Elumelu, Tralee; Clodagh O’Connor, Killarney;Kacper Podraza, Castleisland; Martin Quilligan, Tralee; Aishling Rochford, Kenmare and Harry White, Killarney.

Donal Pierse, Chairperson, Lee Strand commented “Lee Strand is delighted to support the Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards since 1998. Over the past 22 years Lee Strand in association with An Garda Siochana have always been proactive in acknowledging and identifying the positive work by young people and voluntary groups to enhance community life in Kerry. The awards are a fantastic celebration of their outstanding achievements.”

Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster stated “In times where our young people are facing significant challenges, it is inspiring to see them giving back to their own communities through voluntary work, sport or educational achievements. The Youth Achievement Awards, gives An Garda Síochána an opportunity to engage with young people in a positive fashion and recognise these positive interactions for the betterment of the community as a whole. It would not be possible to acknowledge this achievement and have an occasion whereby the families of nominees can join in the celebrations without the support from Lee Strand, the local Co-Op highly respected in the community.”

Pictured: Overall winner Sophie Daly Wilson, Caherciveen receives her award from Kerry Garda Division Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster. Also pictured were other winners and Lee Strand board members. Photo By Domnick Walsh – Eye Focus LTD – 087 2672033