Student Quotations

Debora Mosso, St. Patrick’s PS, Dungannon
“One of my favourite things in the Academy is that I can go home and say that I’ve had lots of fun at school today – from the Halloween Fancy Dress, to just a regular day.  The teachers’ also put you at ease, and if you are worried about something, you can speak to them or your cara.  All in all – the Academy is great!”

Caitlin Doyle, Lissan PS, Cookstown
“What I like best about St. Patrick’s Academy is the people. Nearly every day you meet new friends.  I also like the activities you can participate in during school as well as after school.  During the school day, you can choose from activities such as the chess club and girls’ movie club and boys’ table tennis club, all held over lunchtime.  After school activities include; netball, camogie, gaelic football, golf and basketball.”

Donal Sheeran, Primate Dixon PS, Coalisland
“I like the Academy because all the teachers are very pleasant and nice and greet you in a friendly manner – they are very easy to talk to.  I like the football as it is very competitive. I also like the table tennis at lunch time (where I go every day!). Also the food in the canteen is very good and with the sQuid account, it is so handy!  I am enjoying my time at the Academy so far and I’m sure this will continue.”

Emilija Bertasiute, St. Patrick’s PS, Dungannon
“I like this school because there are a lot of activities to get involved in – like netball, science club, choir and lots more.  I also like the library because it’s easy to borrow books – and it means I don’t need to travel to the local library.  I also enjoy the food in the canteen.”

Patrick Herron, Primate Dixon PS, Coalisland
“The best thing by far about this school is the Irish Department.  The teachers are nice and I think Irish is an easy language to learn. You may think it’s hard at first but when you start to learn, it becomes more of a hobby than a class!  It will really help me as a Gaelic footballer as we have been taught the National Anthem and different instructions and announcements that are made throughout the matches at Croke Park.”

Wiktoria Kania, Ballyoran PS, Portadown
“I am really enjoying school now. In primary school you were always in the same class, doing the same two subjects with the same teacher! It’s fun moving around classes and it’s great to have a library open at break and lunch times (just in case you have a test to revise for, or if you forgot to do your homework!) The canteen is also very nice; you can sit at your own table with your friends.  The food is DELICIOUS (and healthy at the same time).  I really look forward going to school every day.”

Niamh McNally, Crievagh PS, Lissan
“I enjoy reading in the library at lunch time.  Once a week we have library class, where you read your book or take a quiz on the book you are reading.  For each quiz you complete you earn reading points – which is great!”

Lorcan Hughes, St. Patrick’s PS, Armagh
“I really enjoy the Academy because I have met lots of new friends and I like my teachers.  At lunch time the food in the canteen is very healthy and tasty.  I usually get a sandwich or a panini, and then I play football.  After school I participate in Gaelic football with Mr Carragher.”

Clare Mulgrew, St. Mary’s PS, Stewartstown
“My first day at the Academy was really simple and fun.  We didn’t do any work and played lots of fun games and ice breakers.  My favourite subject so far is Art.  The Seal Scléipe is a great idea as it introduces you to your classmates before school starts. I think everyone is afraid they will get lost – but in the time I’ve been here, I haven’t got lost once!”

Beth Hackett, St. Mary’s PS, Ballygawley
“If you don’t know anyone in your class, you will soon make friends.  Your student timetable has a lot of subjects on it but you will get used to it quickly.  Don’t forget to bring in the correct books for the different classes each day!  I like the way, on the first day you make friends very quickly.”

Sandra Saji, St. Patrick’s PS, Dungannon
“I like the Academy because on my first day I was standing in the reception area, not knowing where to go when a student came up to me and brought me to where I was supposed to go.  That proves to me that there are lots of helpful students and teachers in the Academy.”

Molly Cassidy, St. Mary’s PS, Ballygawley
“I really enjoy the Academy because the teachers are helpful.  I have joined lots of groups and clubs, such as junior choir, orchestra, cookery club and traditional group. I also like the buzz and excitement of walking along the corridor with my class.”

Holly Fairgrieve, Blessed Patrick O’Loughran PS
“I really like the Academy because it is so lively and the corridors are always full of students.Your form teacher is really nice and he/she will always make sure you are settling in and enjoying Academy life.  The homework isn’t as hard as some people say it is and, at first you only get a small amount while you are settling in.”

Hayley Devlin, St. Mary’s PS, Stewartstown
“I really enjoy the Academy because it is a very good and hard-working school.  There are quite a few extra-curricular activities. I am involved in football and camogie after school and I really enjoy this.  My favourite subject is P.E.”

Kiera Cullen, Windmill Integrated PS, Dungannon
“I really enjoyed my first day at the Academy.  The Seal Scleipe was great because we were organised into our new form class, and I got to find out who (out of my class) would be travelling on my bus.  I came from a small primary school so it was a big change for me – but I have found my way around the school without too much difficulty! I think both the canteen and the food are great.  My favourite subjects are maths and English.”

Sinead Carroll, Sacred Heart PS, Rock
“On my first day I was scared and worried but the older pupils and teachers helped us around. I came from a tiny primary school with only four boys but made new friends straight away! I love to play football so I stay after school on a Wednesday to practise my skills.  The school is quite big but once you get used to it you will find your way around.  The food in the canteen is great.  There are a lot of new subjects on the timetable but you soon get used to them.” 

Ellie McElhone, St. Mary’s PS, Pomeroy
“At the Seal Scléipe in June I was on my own feeling scared and didn’t want to stay! When we were organised into our form class I made a friend and felt a bit better.  We decided to meet up over the summer which made me feel less anxious about starting in September as I would already know someone in my class.  In September I met a lot of new people and made lots of friends and now I don’t feel worried anymore.  I thought the homework would be very hard – but you get used to it very quickly and it isn’t that bad.”

Momhaine McNamee, Primate Dixon PS, Coalisland
“On the first day of school I was really nervous but I knew some people from the Seal Scleipe and that really helped.  I met Ciara, Clare and Tayler-Marie.  On the first day I also knew I would soon get a cara from Year 13, who would be there to help with any problems we would have – and whom we would meet up with every term.  I was worried about finding my way around but I was able to do this without much difficulty.  Our school is very sporty and tries to give everyone a chance on the team.  I love our canteen food – it is lovely!”

Niamh O’Neill, Primate Dixon PS, Coalisland
“At the Seal Scélipe I met new friends and was looking forward to starting in September to see them all again. I was feeling scared about using the buses –  what helped me was to stand beside someone who got the same bus as me, so I didn’t panic so much.  Don’t worry about starting new subjects – they are really fun and the teachers are nice.” 

Aisling Magee,St. John’s PS, Moy
“My first day at the Academy was quite scary – I went from being a big fish in a little pond, to being a small fish in an ocean! When we first arrived in our crisp new uniforms, we were organised into our form groups and taken to our classroom.  I have made lots of new friends, but I am also still with the friends I made at my primary school.  Don’t worry about your new subjects – or the school’s size, you will soon get used to it.”

John Finnegan, Medicine, UCD (Edendork PS)
“Now in my fifth year of studying Medicine at UCD, I look back on my time spent at St Patrick’s Academy with great fondness. The dedicated teaching staff created a nurturing environment, encouraging me always to work to my full potential. I was privileged to have been part of the the senior prefect team, providing me with opportunities to take on responsibility and develop leadership and teamwork skills.”

Sinead McElroy, Derrylatinee PS
“Chemical Engineering is an interesting yet challenging and highly demanding course. Thankfully during my time in St Patrick’s Academy my teachers consistently motivated me to develop new skills, solve problems, think independently and extend my knowledge and understanding.   I learned the value of hard work and study as well as the ability to balance academic life, extra-curricular and social activities, all which have enabled me to cope with university life” 

Aine Swail, St John’s PS, Moy
“As a first year in university I am very glad that I chose to go to the Academy. I studied A’level maths, biology and art and am now studying architecture at the University of Ulster Belfast campus. Meeting the entry requirements for the course required a lot of hard work. However as we were encouraged and trained to work hard to prepare ourselves for exams from year 8 it was no real shock to the system. I am grateful for this as it helped me develop a work ethic that I need now I am at university. I have seen myself and my friends grow up in the Academy with the right amount of guidance from teachers and staff; now I realise how helpful this was as I have quickly adapted to university life.

For me, the system of the art department gave me a real insight into relevant university courses – I am actually surprised at how little difference there is between the school art department and studio life at university – and how much cheaper the art department was!

It has been a real privilege to have studied in the Academy for seven years and in fact I’d love to go back! It really is a great school and my memories will stay with me forever.”

Hannah Lynch, St John’s PS, Moy
“School days are the best days of your life!’ I don’t know if I agree. I believe that the days in school offer the opportunity to learn skills, both inside and outside of the classroom that can be used throughout life to help ensure that the “best days” last long after departing the school gates.

I started St. Patrick’s Academy in 2003, the first year of the amalgamated boys’ and girls’ schools.  Having attended a small primary school, the prospect of joining so many other students in the Academy was daunting. I found, however, that instead of merely starting a new school I became a valued member of a community. Five other students from my primary school joined me at the Academy.  Three of these graduated along with me with an LLB from Queen’s University, Belfast, culminating in seventeen years of schooling together!

The Academy taught me so many skills that I rely upon every day. I was Deputy Head Girl, part of the debating society, on the mock trial team and a member of the school choirs for seven years. Whilst at school I joined the Ulster Youth Choir and subsequently the Pro Bonos Choir, Belfast and am now a member of the New York Lawyers’ Chorus.  I also won 2013 QUBs Got Talent in the weeks before my finals.  School taught me self-discipline, a great advantage during my time at university. I also honed communication skills that have been instrumental in my choice of career.I now live in Manhattan, New York and am studying towards an LLM in International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, Lincoln Center. This all seems a far cry from school days at St. Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon.  However, without the excellent teachers and all of the staff who worked to ensure that students left school prepared for life, rather than just an exam, I would never have made it this far. I would not have had the confidence and the drive to pursue my dreams and know that I have strongest of academic foundations from my school days so that even better days can lie ahead.”

Ryan Pickering, Holy Trinity PS, Cookstown
“The decision of which secondary school to attend can be a difficult one. There may be conflicting opinions between parent and child in which school should be first choice.   As an eleven year old football enthusiast I had my heart set on one school after seeing a club mate, Paul McGurk, lift the MacRory and Hogan Cup with St. Patrick’s Academy a few year later.  In contrast my parents were more interested in academic results rather than sporting achievements, nevertheless,  we unanimously agreed that St. Patrick’s Academy was the ideal school in which to accomplish both.

After passing the eleven plus exam I was accepted into the Academy where I spent seven enriching years. I experienced success academically and on the sporting field during my first five years having passed my GCSE’s and winning; the Dalton cup, Corn na nÓg cup, Brock cup and Rannafast cup. I choose four subjects at A-Level with the intentions of studying Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Ulster. With the hard work and support provided by the enthusiastic staff throughout the Academy I achieved the grades needed to be accepted on this course. These successful academic results coincided with success on the football field, when in my final year I captained the school’s football team to MacRory and Hogan Cup success to follow in the footsteps of Paul McGurk.

Since leaving the Academy I have completed a BSc Hons in Sport and Exercise Science, proceeded by gaining a Secondary PGCE qualification in Physical Education giving me Qualified Teaching Status. Currently I am employed by the Ulster GAA as KS1 Physical Literacy coach, funded by the Department of Education Northern Ireland. However one day I would love to return to the Academy to bring success academically and on the sporting field as a teacher.”