Rathmore Grammar School is celebrating one of its pupils coming first in the All-Ireland Knights of St Columbanus essay writing competition. The school also feted two other pupils who came second and third in the school-wide competition organised by the order.

The Knights of St Columbanus, a fraternal Catholic lay order, organised the Ireland-wide competition to familiarise young people with social justice issues which affect the world today. Previously there was an All-Ireland Public Speaking Competition but this was changed to an essay writing competition due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Aleena Rahman, a Year 12 pupil, took top prize with a brilliant essay based on Pope Francis’ third encyclical, ‘Fratelli Tutti’ (All Brothers) and on the dignity of migrants and refugees. Her treatise was based on the story of her own parents who immigrated from Bangladesh, gave birth to Aleena in Japan and eventually settled in Ireland.

This is the second year in a row Rathmore have taken the All-Ireland prize, with pupil Roisin Gormely winning in 2021.

Conor McCann, a Year 14 pupil came second within Rathmore Grammar and spoke on the issue of having respect for every person. Leah Dunn, a Year 13 pupil won third place with an essay on how humanity needs to protect the environment.

Ciara Boyle, the Coordinator of Debating and Public Speaking at Rathmore, who guided the students through their work, said “The Knights of St. Columbanus is an excellent opportunity for our students to put faith into action.”

Seamus McDonald of the Knights of St Columbanus said “Sometimes society can underestimate and criticise young people, but our young people are wonderful, they have confidence. Their quality of education shines through and we appreciate all of them and wish them well.”