Gold Gaisce award for Blackrock student

Blackrock’s Sarah Ryan Purcell has been awarded the Gold Gaisce medal by President Michael D Higgins at a special event at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Sarah, who is a Bachelor of Education in Education & Psychology student at Mary Immaculate College, was presented with the prestigious award by the President in recognition of their commitment to volunteering and personal development.

To achieve the award, Sarah completed 52 weeks of piano, 52 weeks of the role of cantor in her local church, 78 weeks of tennis, a four-day hike along the Ballyhoura Way and a summer internship at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she participated in research in child psychology.

Sarah had previously been awarded the Gaisce Bronze Award during her Transition Year at Scoil Mhuire in Cork and jumped straight to Gold medal, which meant completing an additional 26 hours of a challenge area.

Reflecting on her time completing the award, Sarah said:

“It was a life-changing experience, affording innumerable opportunities for personal development. I would encourage all young adults to give it a go! The Gaisce programme, which encompasses physical recreation, community involvement, development of a personal skill, and the residential project and adventure challenge, promotes active citizenship and healthy lifestyles. By partaking in the programme, in the words of Brendan Kennelly, we are ‘creating ourselves’.”


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