Five NUI Galway students and graduates were among a group of inspirational young people presented with the Gaisce Gold Award by President Michael D Higgins.
The quintet received The President’s Award for their outstanding community work and significant personal achievements at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle recently.
The NUI Galway awardees were Sarah Kilduff from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, Christina Quinn from Galway city, Lorraine Farrell from Dromard, Co Sligo, David McGurrin from Hazelwood, Co Sligo, and Oisin O’Carroll from Birr, Co Offaly.
A Bachelor of Nursing graduate, Sarah Kilduff volunteered with the Civil Defence to expand her first aid knowledge and assist her community in times of floods. Having completed the 133km pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago in Spain with fellow members of the Gaisce Society in NUI Galway, she also embarked on a journey to Talamarang, Nepal, to volunteer in the orphanage Little Angels Children’s Home, while also teaching the children English, helping local children with their homework, assisting on the farms, and general housekeeping.
Christina Quinn, a Bachelor of Science in marine science graduate, still holds the position of development officer for the NUI Galway Sub-Aqua Club. She has organised fundraising events for charities Helping Hands and Temple Street Hospital, and as part of the physical recreation section, she took part in her first marathon in Dingle, Co Kerry and continued with the Galway Bay 10km, Run-a-Muck Challenge, Kinvara 10km and the Craughwell 10 Miler. A member of the University’s Art Society, she helped organise various exhibitions around campus, including the university’s annual arts festival, Múscailt. Christina has also volunteered in an orphanage in Nepal.
Bachelor of Education graduate from St Angela’s College in Sligo, Lorraine Farrell achieved her bronze and silver Awards while attending St Mary’s College in Ballisodare, Co Sligo. She has trained both the u-12 girls’ basketball and football teams and played Gaelic football for St Farnan’s, winning the Junior Shield Cup in the Connaught Club Blitz in Castlebar. Lorraine travelled to Solio in Keyna to volunteer on a development project with the Moving Mountains Organisation, helping some of the 20,000 families of internally displaced people who were relocated to the region in 2008.
NUI Galway Higher Diploma in Applied Science student David McGurrin joined the Reserve Defence Forces, learning valuable skills including first aid, map reading, public speaking and marching. Originally from Hazelwood, Co Sligo, David became involved in Tidy Towns in Sligo and has marched in the St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York. He learned the guitar as part of the personal skills section of the Gaisce Award and also completed the Warriors Run and the Sligo Half Marathon. David embarked on the El Camino de Santiago in Spain and completed a potential non commissioned officers course to complete his Gold Gaisce Award.
Medical student Oisin O’Carroll received his bronze and silver Gaisce awards while attending St Brendan’s Community School in Birr, Co Offaly. During his time at NUI Galway, Oisin has held the positions of secretary and captain of the athletics committee, while also taking part in the 24-hour Challenge, the Inter-College Games, an NUI Galway Participation Award and the President’s Award for Volunteering. To complete the goals of the Gold Gaisce Award, Oisin learnt French, took up circuit training with the Irish Defence Forces, and embarked on an expedition to the Alps. Oisin also spent 10 days as an activity instructor in Lilliput Adventure Centre.
The president of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “I am delighted to congratulate these five inspirational young people on their Gaisce Gold Awards. At NUI Galway we encourage all students to prioritise civic engagement and volunteerism, so it is especially heartening to see our students and graduates receive their Gaisce Gold Awards in recognition of their personal achievements and community and civic contributions.”