The Student of the Year awards were announced at the Open Training College Conferring of Awards Ceremony held at the RDS Dublin, on 16 November 2013. Awards are based on the best academic record achieved by a graduate upon successful completion of their course of study with the Open Training College.
This year’s recipient of the award in the Social Care category is Michelle Coe. Michelle was presented with the ‘Social Care Ireland Award for Academic Excellence’. Michelle is Head of Unit with St Christopher’s Service, Longford. ‘I am speechless. To graduate with a Social Studies degree is so important, and now to win the award for academic achievement is just the icing on the cake. It has been such a worthwhile and rewarding journey for me both professionally and personally. The course has certainly helped me to make a bigger difference in the lives of people with disabilities. I am over the moon,’ remarked Michelle upon receiving the award.
This year’s recipient of the award in the Management category is Aoife Moran. Aoife is a Senior Clinical Psychologist at St Michael’s House, Ballymun, Dublin. She was presented with ‘The Wheel Management Award for Academic Excellence’. Aoife stated, ‘I am so delighted to have received the award. I certainly didn’t expect it. Everyone on the course operates to a very high standard. To be able to put into practice each day the valuable theory we learned on the management course, that has been the immediate reward for me so far. Now I have another fabulous reason to look back on my management degree achievement with such joy. My thanks also to The Wheel for sponsoring it.’
A special category award was also delivered at this year’s ceremony. Hannah Devine, a Social Care Worker with the Brothers of Charity, Co. Limerick, was the recipient of The Gerry Clarke Award. This inaugural award, for best Reflective Practitionership by a final year student, was presented in honour of the Open Training College tutor, Gerry Clarke, who passed away in June of this year. Hannah explained: ‘To be the first recipient is very special indeed. Gerry was my tutor during Year 2 of the Social Studies (Disability) degree course and he had a huge influence on my studies and on my practice in the workplace. He will be sadly missed. I am very proud to hold this award.’
Congratulations to all this year’s very worthy winners, and to all the graduates of the Open Training College, who continue to make a difference in the lives of people accessing human services in Ireland.