Two Offaly students were recently presented with scholarships towards their college education by former American President Bill Clinton. At the award ceremony Mr Clinton urged former Colaiste Choilm pupil Eoin Carroll and former St Brendan's Community School pupil Margaret Teehan to look to the future in spite of current economic woes.
The All-Ireland Scholarship awards ceremony took place at the University of Limerick, where both Eoin Carroll and Margaret Teehan are students. Mr Clinton was helped with presentations by sponsor JP McManus. Now in its fifth year, scholarships were bestowed on a total of 125 students from all over Ireland. The scheme provides financial assistance to high achieving students who completed their Leaving Cert or A Levels in 2012.
Speaking at the event Mr Clinton urged recipients to look to a brighter future. "I would like to say to the students, today's current economic crisis will pass and your education will endure, and it is very important that just as in making of peace, the Irish threw off the heavy hand of history to grasp for a brighter future, we throw off the burden of the current economic crisis to imagine a different future," he said. "What an education is, is a range of possibilities. It is a gift of personal freedom. It is a chance to make the most of, in spite of all the troubles at the moment."
The All-Ireland Scholarship is administered by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. JP McManus has contributed €32m to fund the provision of the scholarships each year, and it's estimated that over 1,300 students will benefit from the scheme over its duration.