TY Graduation 2014

Phones in the air250 students participated in the Bridge21 TY graduation ceremony on Thursday 8th May in the Old Dining Hall in Trinity College.  Along with teachers, parents and representatives from TCD, they came together to recognise and celebrate their great work and achievements at Bridge21 throughout the past year.

Our keynote speaker was Dr Joseph Roche from the Science Gallery who, through the Mars One project, is a potential Mars astronaut. Joe spoke about the areas of work and study he pursued in the past, from studying art to working with NASA, and told us about the plans to create the first human settlement on Mars. This proposed Mars expedition would, by the way, be a one way journey and Joe is currently progressing through the selection process. Students were queuing up afterwards to meet Joe, take a selfie with him and ask him questions about his intriguing career prospects for the future.  For any students who didn’t get a chance to talk to Joe, he is more than happy to answer questions via his Twitter account: @joeboating.

Dr Joseph Roche

Dr Joseph Roche speaks to the students in the dining hall

Dr Jake Rowan Byrne kindly agreed to present the students with their certificates on the day. Jake has a long association with the Bridge21 team and holds the distinction of being involved with the programme since our very first workshop seven years ago – he is the world record holder for the longest serving Bridge21 mentor! Following the completion of his PhD, here in Trinity, Jake recently joined our team on a full-time basis. It was an honour to have him  present the students with their certificates during the ceremony.

We were also delighted to welcome Catherine O’Connor from the School of Computer Science and Statistics to speak to the students. Catherine is the author of Cracking the College Code, a practical guide to making the most of your first year college experience. She emphasised the importance of planning and preparation both in choosing the right course and when it comes to day-to-day life as a student. She used the analogy of planning to live abroad for a year to illustrate the scale and complexity of the choice that faces students.

Certificate presentation

Dr Jake Byrne presents Emma Cusack with her certificate.

Apart from all the speakers, most importantly there was an award ceremony to honour some of the outstanding students and teams who had participated in the programme. The “Spirit of Bridge21” winners were Mistura Arowolo from Colaiste Bride and Igor Markiewicz from Moyle Park College. The Language Student of the Year was Cormac Watson from Mount Temple Comprehensive.

The “Computer Science Team of the Year” award went to Gravity. Gravity are Alison Conroy from John Scottus Secondary School, Jill Pitcher Farrell from Santa Sabina, Tianyu Zhang from Mount Anville and James Byrne from Blackrock College.

The “Learning Circles Team of the Year” award went to The DRRE’s.  Eoghan Breathnach and Ruth Abbot from Mount Temple Comprehensive, Ryan Harte from Donabate Community College, Donatas Vikarauskas from Moyle Park College and Michelle McSweeney from Colaiste Bride made up the team.

Finally, M4 won the overall “Team of the Year” award. M4 included John Paul and Robert Keogh  from Drimnagh Castle CBS, Nathan Batalla from CBS Westland Row and Shane O’Brien from Mount Temple Comprehensive.

The graduation marked the end of the Bridge21 TY programme for another year and if the enthusiasm of the students present was any indicator then it has been a very successful year! It was great to see so many familiar faces together and it was as opportunity to catch up with friends and reflect on a year that has gone by so quickly.

One student tweeted “The fact that Bridge is over is so horrible but it was literally the best experience” and another said that their time in Bridge21 was “the best part of  TY!”

While there were some sad goodbyes at the end of the ceremony, we certainly hope we’ll see many of these students again. In fact, some of the transition year students will be working as volunteer mentors on the Bridge21 primary school programme, which kicks off on May 19th. For now though, we’d like to say a final thank you and congratulations to all of the Bridge21 TY graduates and award winners!

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