Winner of the Navan Rotary Youth Leadership Competition 2016 heads for Strasbourg European Parliament!

St Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School student Fern Kelly, the overall winner for the Navan Rotary Youth Leadership Competition 2016, joins 24 other All Ireland winners on a trip to the European parliament in Strasbourg after competing successfully in the Regional Final in Lurgan.

Despite the very high standard of her fellow competitors, Fern Kelly a Fifth Year Student at St Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School, won the Youth Leadership Competition 2016 on Tuesday October 18th 2016.

The Youth Leadership Competition is one of the biggest and most rewarding projects undertaken by Navan Rotary Club. This Competition is unique in that it encourages young people to think about who they are, what they are and what they would like to do, thus enabling them to focus on how to plan for their future. It promotes leadership in young secondary school students, encouraging them to demonstrate skills of responsibility, problem solving, interest in helping people and leadership in all aspects of life; in the community and in school. Life is an ongoing learning experience and this certainly applies to being a leader The Youth Leadership Competition affords the opportunity of increasing the awareness of and understanding LEADERSHIP at a young age. An opportunity that our current world leaders most likely have not benefited from and had to learn on the job. The Youth Leadership Competition therefore could be a valuable platform from which young people can develop their knowledge of leadership and progress to being potentially great leaders of our country and indeed the world….having an understanding of what it takes to be a good leader.

The standard every year for this unique and rewarding competition is exceptional, which creates an enormous challenge for the panel of judges in selecting an overall winner. There were 22 students in all who participated in the competition from six secondary schools in the area. In 2016. An increae in numbers of participants and schools from previous years. The other school winners were Eleanor Murchan (St. Michael’s Loreto), Jack Dolan (O’Carolan’s College, Nobber) Thomas John Fitzgerald (St. Patrick’s Classical School), James Bernard Connell (St Ciaran’s Community School Kells) and Conor Powerdly (Dunshaughlin Community School)

Fern demonstrated initiative and leadership within her school and her local community, indicating a remarkable willingness to provide service above self. Fern was presented with the Tony Rowntree Memorial Shield and a cheque generously donated by the Navan Credit Union at the Awards Presentation Ceremony on October 25rd 2016. The other School Winners also received a cheque each from the Credit Union. Each school was presented with a framed certificate of their respective school winner. There was a powerful positive atmosphere at the ceremony. Every student was a winner. An evening full of expectation and the hope of a great future was held by all.

As the Overall Winner, Fern represented Navan Rotary Club and St Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School at the Regional Final which was held on November 15th 2016 in Lurgan Co Armagh. A long anxious wait transposed into elation as Fern’s name was announced as one of the three winners of the Regional Final to join 24 other finalists in the island of Ireland on January 30th 2017, on a week long tour of the Oireachteas in Dublin, Stormont in Belfast and on to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to meet 600 other students from across Europe. On this extraordinary trip, all the winning finalists will get an opportunity to debate in the European Parliament and make new friends. A remarkable achievement. Navan Rotary Club wish Fern a safe and enriching trip.

Story by: Fiona Daly-Perez


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