The President’s Award at Riversdale Community College
Congratulations to the thirty-five 4th year students who were awarded Gaisce, President’s Award medals at the 4th Year Graduation in May 2012. The recipients were very involved volunteering both within and outside the school during the year and were a credit to the school and to their families. The group celebrated their awards by going to Cavan Adventure Centre. Congratulations too to the eight 5th years who were awarded Silver medals.
In September 2012, two past students from Riversdale Community College received Gold medals from President Michael D Higgins in Dublin Castle. Naomi Marie Rose, (Ongar), and Gavin Smullen, (Ladyswell), were the first Riversdale students to accomplish Gold.
Gaisce participants give of their time to the school and community volunteering in homework clubs, Order of Malta and Red Cross groups, Green school projects, breakfast clubs etc. Participants also work on developing new skills, e.g. computers, playing an instrument or learning a new language. They also challenge themselves to increase their level of fitness and undertake a one, two or three day adventure challenge, depending on what medal they are aiming to achieve.
2011 is the fifth year that Riversdale Community College has offered the Gaisce programme to its senior cycle students. The Gaisce programme was set up by the President to reward exceptional achievement by young people between 15 and 25 years of age. The Gaisce programme in Riversdale can accommodate up to 40 students between Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.
Gaisce is divided into three levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold. The difference between each level is the duration: Bronze takes about 6 months to complete, Silver – 12 months and Gold – about 3 years. On completion of their Gaisce, candidates receive a Certificate from the President and a Medal. Bronze and Silver Gaisce graduations are in the school. Gold awards are presented by the President of Ireland.
There are 4 challenges within each level. The first is committing to do voluntary work for the school or community. The second is taking on or developing a skill, for example playing an instrument, learning a language – or whatever area the candidate is interested in. The third challenge is committing to improve physical fitness, and candidates can choose any team or individual sports, as well as dance or a specific exercise regime. The final challenge comprises of an overnight trip where candidates participate in walking and hiking as a group.
Riversdale Community College organises many activities after school and at lunchtimes to help candidates complete their Gaisce, including boxercise, yoga, Chi Gong exercise, Dance classes and football. Many candidates volunteer in the school Gardening/Green School project, as well as volunteering in the school Library, Canteen, Big Brother/Sister programme, Student Council and other clubs. Many students choose Computers as their chosen skill.
All Transition Year students can take Computers as an optional subject and this course is taught by Mr Egan, Ms J Murphy, Mr Murphy and Mr White. Riversdale Community College also offer girls and boys football training opportunities and teams are run by Ms Campbell, Mr Maddock, Mr McDaniel, Mr O’Brien and Mr Prior.
Riversdale Community College is extremely grateful to members of the wider community in Corduff, Tyrrelstown and Mulhuddart who offer volunteering opportunities to Gaisce candidates, including Corduff Resource Centre, Corduff Community Creche, Corduff Sports Centre, Corduff Football Club, Mulhuddart Community Centre, Red Cross (Blanchardstown Village), Order of Malta (Huntstown). We are also very appreciative of the support of the Community Gardai and provision of the Garda Bus.
In April 2011 the Gaisce group will visit Europapark in Rust, SW Germany for a 4 day trip.