ONE of the Province's most successful musical acts has paid tribute to St MacNissi's College, describing it as "the place where they first fell in love with music".
The Priests, a classical music group made up of Fr Eugene O'Hagan, Fr Martin O'Hagan and Fr David Delargy, attended the college's recent annual prizegiving.
In a speech to pupils, staff and other guests, the trio recounted the time they spent as boarding students at the college in the 1970s.
Fr Eugene said St MacNissi's was where he and his brother Martin had first met David, and also where their love of music was cultivated. It was also where their thoughts of entering the priesthood were nurtured.
He thanked the teachers who had encouraged them during their time at the college and helped them reach their "fullest potential".
After signing a record deal with Sony BMG in April 2008, The Priests recorded their debut album in Northern Ireland and Rome, with the unusual honour of being allowed to record in St. Peter's Basilica, The Vatican.
The record went on to sell almost 2 million copies and became the fastest selling classical debut album of all time. The group's second album, Harmony, is due for release later this year.
Fr Eugene said recording the album was an opportunity that challenged them, but had also enriched them. He added that it was a chance for them to "give something back through music in return for the wonderful way we had been encouraged to pursue their love of music as young students in St MacNissi's College".
And he related their opportunities to the changes that are currently taking place at St MacNissi's, which he said should be embraced as opportunities that would "challenge and bring out the best in people".
Fr Eugene encouraged students in the college, and especially those who had just left, to take the opportunities that would come their way, confident that the values acquired at St MacNissi's and the support of family and friends would "help them find their path in life".
He concluded his speech by assuring the staff and students of their continued support for the St MacNissi's in the future. The Priests then took centre stage and sang the hymn Panis Angelicus. They finished the evening by leading the audience in singing the school song.
The prize list was as follows:
Monsignor Tumelty Awards (Achievement at A level)
Liam Agnew Cup (Best Overall Performance at A Level)
FG Wilson Cup
FG Wilson Bursaries
Top Achievers at AS level
Class Achievement Awards
11G Kathy Darragh
11K Declan Kerr
11S Catriona McCarry
11T Emma O’Connell
12G Ryan McKinstry
12K Ashling Ward
12S Christy O’Toole
12T Martin McAfee
13A Gillian McIlgorm
13B James McAuley
13C Philip McAuley
13D Patrick McLaughlin
Outstanding Attendance Award
Bank of Ireland Trophy (Best Performance on Sports Day)
GCSE Cup (Best Results at GCSE)
Thomas Hughes Shield (GCSE Geography) - Stacy Waide
Anderson Cup (GCSE Science) - Chris Hamill
Clerkin Cup (AS Chemistry) - Laura Mckay
Dunn Cup (GCSE Technology) - Aodhan McKeena
CEM Trophy (ICT) - Orla McSparron
Warner Cup (GCSE PE) - Maeve Connolly
Praeger Cup (AS Biology) - Tessa McDonnell
PJ Magee Cup (GCSE French) - Alicia Robbin
O’Donaghue Cup (GCSE History) - Sophie Hassan
Dr Fitzpatrick Cup (GCSE Spanish) - Ciaran Mulvenna
Fr McGarry Cup (AS History) - Maeve Keenan
Leahy Award (AS English) - Niamh Horscroft
MGR Bartley Cup (GCSE Irish) - Eimhear McAleenan
Sixth Form Cup - Lauren Robinson
Fr McKavanagh Cup (Irish & Music) - Padhraic Mulholland
MGR Tumelty Cup (AS Level Geography) - Christopehr McCarthy
Close Trophy (Writing & Drama) - Megan Magill
Fr Agnew Cup (RE) - Bernadette Convery
Duffin Shield (Junior Irish) - Emma Mulholland & Marianne O’Toole
McAuley Trophy (Art) - Orlagh McLaughlin
Burns Award (Business Studies) - Claire McErlain
McCool Trophy (Girls Sport) - Alexandra McLaughlin & Mairi Mulvenna
Fr McCartan Memorial Cup - Conor O’Boyle & Erin McAleese
Fr MacSorley Trophy (Boys Sport) - Eamonn Kerr
Fr McCartan Cup (Outstanding Pupil in first Year) - Niamh McKendry
Kathleen Maguire Memorial Trophy (Netball) - Katherine McGoran
Castlewood Award (GCSE Home Economic) - Nicola Fergie
Bishop Walsh/Fr McHugh Shield (GCSE Maths) - Karl Delargy
Carnanee Trophy (AS Maths) - Michelle McKeever
Deirdre Regan Memorial Trophy (Key Stage 3 English) - Paul McKay
Lee Dobbin Trophy (AS Languages) - Roisin McSparron
Isobel Gilliland Cup (Healthy & Social Care) - Carol Getty
Glenariffe Cup - Eoghan Patterson
Jubilee Trophy - Divya Sebastian
Northern Bank Cup - John McIlwaine
President’s Shield - Ruth Haughey