Katie Taylor made a special visit to Ardscoil Mhuire in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway today to meet 14-year-old Stephanie O’Halloran, surprising her in class with a Student of the Year award.
Stephanie was chosen by her school to take part in the Sky Sports Living for Sport to help develop her confidence and self-esteem, as she was a shy, reserved teenager. The programme is aimed at students who have previously found it difficult to get involved in sport at school.
Heartbreakingly, Stephanie’s father passed away shortly before the project started, but she still kept to her commitment to the programme.
Over the course of two months she committed to helping out in different areas, and organisers saw her flourish and grow in confidence over the course of the project.
She undertook to deliver a sports session to a group of disabled teenagers at a neighbouring school - and demonstrated new-found confidence to speak at that event in front of teachers and Athlete Mentor Dermot Gascoyne.
Stephanie’s teacher Karen Usher spoke to Skysports.com about the changes she has seen in her pupil since taking part in the project.
“It is a testament to Stephanie how she took the skills she learned in the club and applied them to her own life,” Ms Usher said. “Her increase in confidence, self-esteem and happiness was not only noticeable within the club, but also in the classroom and school corridors.
“She demonstrated exemplary commitment and enthusiasm to all aspects of the Sky Sports Living for Sport project. Stephanie alone has transformed herself from a quiet, shy and sometimes nervous student into a happy-go-lucky girl with an abundance of self-confidence to back it up.”
— Sky Academy Studios (@SkyAcademy) March 25, 2015
As a result of her hard work and commitment, Stephanie was chosen as Student of the Year in the Republic of Ireland for involvement in the project, and the unsuspecting teenager was in class earlier today when World Champion Katie Taylor turned up to present her with the award.
Stephanie will now attend the Sky Sports Living for Sport Awards at Sky Studios in London this weekend to discover whether she will be crowned the overall UK & Ireland Student of the Year.
Congratulations Stephanie, well deserved!