‘Never limit your ambitions’ was the advice for pupils at the prizegiving ceremony at Saint Catherine’s College, Armagh.
Guest speaker Deirdre Heenan, professor of social policy and director for the Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Ulster University, also passed on some other nuggets of advice for the pupils as they leave the school to embark on further study and work.
She spoke about the many new job opportunities due to digital technology such as robotics, gaming, app development, data mining and iOS development.
She advised students to focus on the big picture as new jobs openings are being created daily; to listen carefully and be forthright but not overbearing, and to choose kindness over cleverness.
Prof Heenan also urged the young people not be afraid of failure. “Trust yourself and your instinct and for every negative find a positive,” she said. Principal Noeleen Tiffney said Prof Heenan was not only a political commentator - but had excelled in every field she has been involved in, whether education, research, writing or broadcasting.
“She is a perfect example of how you, our students, male and female, should use your skill set.
A highly successful, driven individual who embraced education and availed of the opportunities presented to her to become the successful woman she is today, one of the seven personal nominees of President Michael D Higgins to the Irish Council of State,” said Mrs Tiffney.
She said the evening was about celebrating the achievements of pupils, the role of parents and the support of the community as well as the professionalism and dedication of staff.
The vote of thanks was delivered by head girls Christy Benny and Gabija Kaciulyte.
Portadown pupils were among the major prizewinners.
Jane McCann won The Miriam Mone Award for Outstanding Creativity while Eve Heaney and Padraig de Bléine won The Patrick Haughey Memorial Cup for Art/Moving Image Arts.
Niamh McGrane was the recipient of The Minne Cup for Music and Eilis Fox was awarded The McCann Cup for Drama.