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Community College students recognised by AIB’s national life skills programme

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By Michelle Crean 

Killarney Community College is one of 16 schools in Ireland to be recognised by the AIB Future Sparks Programme which focuses on themes including sustainability, financial wellness, health and well-being, globalisation and civic literacy.

The local school was selected out of 585 schools registered with the programme and will now take part in a tree planting ceremony with their local AIB branch manager. 

The AIB Future Sparks Programme is a new skills-based interdisciplinary programme for secondary school students, aimed at supporting 12-18-year-olds in the development and learning of key life skills. It also supports the development of core skills including communications, critical thinking and digital innovation.

Guidance counsellor in Killarney Community College, Niamh Mulligan, saw the challenges that students faced when moving from primary school into secondary school, so she set out to support their First Year students, helping them learn the skills they would need to adapt to the change.

The school prioritised time and space the young students need to focus on well-being topics such as self-esteem, self-confidence, decision-making, family challenges, stress and mental health. They set up workshops and found resources, such as the AIB Future Sparks Programme First Year Transition Workbook, which helped their students learn the necessary skills.

Killarney Community College has received a plaque to commemorate its participation, as well as a native Irish tree which will be planted on the grounds of their school.

These trees will contribute to the bank’s commitment to plant 90,000 native Irish trees over the next three years on behalf of new AIB second-level student account holders. Students were also awarded with individual digital certs to recognise their hard work while supporting biodiversity.

“The AIB Future Sparks programme is giving our students valuable life skills," Niamh said. "When students are happy, they learn.”

AIB’s Chief People Officer, Geraldine Casey, added that she'd like to "congratulate Killarney Community College on their fantastic achievement and indeed all of the students and schools who have participated in the AIB Future Sparks Programme".

"At AIB, we are delighted to play our part in supporting students and teachers with educational resources under this programme to guide skills development and preparedness for life beyond school and the world of work.”

Through the programme, students and teachers have access to over 55 educational videos from more than 45 different business, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. They also have access to 190 educational resources including case studies, worksheets, lesson plans and exam questions with content tailored to the various age groups throughout second level.

The AIB Future Sparks Programme is free for all teachers and schools to join, and they can register for the programme on AIB’s website.

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Roger and Brendan really into the SWING of things

A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves […]

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A Killarney man who has been living in the US for over 30 years has maintained a very strong connection with his hometown through a novel golfing tournament which involves a regular challenge against local players.

Roger O’Sullivan, originally from Loreto Road and a member of the Rainier Golf and Country Club in Seattle, has linked up with another Killarney man, Brendan Keogh of SWING Golf, on several occasions to bring a group of golfers from the Seattle club to play a number of Kerry and Irish courses.

They compete for the Cider Cup which is their own unique take on the Ryder Cup.

In 2010 Roger led a group of 18 golfers from the US to play in Ireland and they repeated the journey and the adventure again in 2012, 2014 and 2017.

They had another trip planned in 2020 but that was cancelled due to Covid but they returned again in 2022 and a group of 44 golfers were back in Killarney in recent weeks to test their skills on the Kerry courses and against local players.

“Since we first started doing this in 2010 we have had 102 different golfers travel from Seattle,” Roger explained.
“I met Brendan Keogh on one of my visits home and he travelled to Seattle, at my request, and organised sponsorship at my golf club.

“Since then our trips have been expertly organised by SWING Golf who book us preferential tee-times, set up the schedule and coordinate our bus drivers. We have never had an issue or anything to worry about. Being friendly with Maurice O’Donoghue, we have always stayed at Scott’s Hotel,” he added.

The US visitors take on local players when in Killarney and this year there was 100 golfers playing on the Killeen course on the first day of their visit.

“The support of the locals has been incredible and I wouldn’t do this without them,” said Roger.
“There have been numerous friendships made over the last 14 years. We have supported a local charity on every trip and for the last two it has been the palliative care unit at University Hospital Kerry. This year we raised €5,100,” he said.

A former student at St Brendan’s College, Roger’s parents were Tony and Juliette O’Sullivan and his father was the head chef in the Gleneagle Hotel for over 20 years before the family purchased Danesfort Lodge at Woodlawn Cross on the Muckross Road.

Roger has been married for 20 years to Amy from Tampa, Florida and they have one daughter, Gracie.
Brendan Keogh joined SWING in the early days of its operation as financial operations manager, working alongside the late Paddy O’Looney.

A member of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club for 40 years, he is the current CEO and he will have served 33 years next September.

SWING, the brainchild of former Kerry Group chief, Denis Brosnan, markets and promotes the premier golf clubs in the south west and also runs an incoming golf agency.

Records show that the company has booked over 350,000 rounds of golf in the south west alone but it also facilitates golfers wanting to play elsewhere in the country.

The company’s senior team of Brendan, Eileen O’Sullivan and Tommy Pierce have 60 years of experience bringing golfers to these shores.

Killarney has been a huge beneficiary as it is a base for most visiting golfers while on the Kerry part of their trip. The locals like seeing the high spending golfers arrive in April for a season than runs until mid October.
2024 is busy and it is also looking positive for 2025.

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Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

Killarney Toastmasters Celebrates 20 Years

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Over 30 members, past and present, gathered last Tuesday in The Dromhall Hotel to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Killarney Toastmasters club.

Several founder members were present including Frank O’Sullivan and Bernadette Noonan, who are still current members of the club.
Members embrace the core values of Toastmasters International which are “respect, integrity, service and excellence”.
This year Killarney Toastmasters welcomed eight new members of various nationalities, who have brought many talents with them to this international club.
Outgoing president Anthony Walsh said: “I am heartened by the progress of new members and, following the success of the current year, I am looking forward to a bright future for the club.”
Anthony passed the chain of office on to incoming President Ann Hannan, who is very excited about leading the club in the year that Toastmasters International celebrates its 100th Anniversary.

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