Students honoured for volunteer work

Three West Cork students have been honoured for their outstanding voluntary work at an All-Ireland youth awards event.

One of the students, Autumn O’Donnell from Clonakilty, helped to raise more than €252,000 for 50 life-saving operations at Chernobyl Children International and for critical technology at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

The sixth-year student raised the funds by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with 116 others from Clonakilty Community College, the largest group ever to achieve this feat.

She said: “I was thrilled to be part of The Kilimanjaro Achievers Challenge. The funds raised had a significant impact on the lives of children who need it most.”

Meanwhile, following the death of a friend, Aisling O’Sullivan founded Visu-L, a school mini-company that aims to improve road safety with reflective L plates.

A fifth-year student at Mount St Michael’s in Rosscarbery, she had already received the Seán Lemass trophy for innovation at the All-Ireland Mini-Company of the Year awards.

And the third recipient at The Spirit of Community Youth Awards, hosted by Pramerica in Kilkenny at the weekend, was Timothy White from Bandon.

The fourth-year student at Hamilton High School carried out humanitarian projects in Gaberone, Botswana, as part of a 21-member Bandon Scout group.

The trio, along with 17 other finalists, each received €500 and a silver medal.

David Coleman, clinical psychologist, broadcaster, and author, said that he was overwhelmed by the students’ “selflessness and maturity”.

Pramerica Systems Ireland sponsored the programme along with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.

The initiative encourages youth volunteerism and identifies and rewards young role models.

Caroline Faulkner, senior managing director and chief information officer at Pramerica, said the students’ leadership skills know no bounds.

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