Wednesday, October 02, 2019

A FORMER Heywood Community School student has won a scholarship worth €20,000, together with a €1,000 prize for the school.

Brilliant student Ruth Helen Bergin, who scored the maximum 625 points in her leaving certificate this year, received a Naughton Foundation scholarship at a ceremony in Trinity Business School, Dublin on 21 September.

The award was presented by founding patrons Dr Martin Naughton and his wife Carmel, who were joined at the ceremony by finance minister Paschal Donohue.

Ruth accepted a place in data science and analytics at University College Cork. She is one of only 36 exceptional Irish students awarded third-level Naughton scholarships, which support academic and innovative excellence in the areas of engineering, science and technology.

Teacher Joyce Byrne, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD, County Laois winning scholar Ruth Helen Bergin from Heywood Community School, Ballinakill, Martin and Carmel Naughton at the 2019 Naughton Foundation Scholarship awards held at Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin. Photo: Kieran Harnett
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As a result of Ruth’s achievement, Heywood CS was presented with a prize of €1,000 to go towards the school’s science facilities.

Speaking about the growth of the programme over the past 11 years, Dr Naughton said: “We never imagined what a wonderful community of connected young people the Naughton Scholarship programme would become.  It is heart-warming for us to read of students’ successes and how they are in turn giving back to society.”

Since they were established in 2008, Naughton scholarships worth over €4 million have been awarded to nearly 300 students. The scheme started in three counties and expanded annually to become a nationwide scheme in 2016.

There is one guaranteed scholarship (€20,000) for each participating county, with the exception of Cork and Dublin, where two and four bursaries are awarded respectively. Five additional scholarships worth €5,000 for each year of a student’s three- or four-year undergraduate degree are also awarded.

This year sees the Naughton Foundation invest further in ‘Science in a Box’. The programme runs for sixth-class pupils for 25 weeks of the primary school year, with PhD students spending one hour each week co-teaching with the class teacher, a specific aspect of the science curriculum.

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By Carmel Hayes
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