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Meet Our Head Boy

Anton Quinn


My name is Anton Quinn and I have been given the honour of being Head Boy at St. Joseph’s Grammar School, Donaghmore for the 2021-22 academic year. Before starting my journey at Scoil Iósaef, I attended Bunscoil na mBraithre Críostaí in Armagh. Deciding which post primary school to attend was a difficult decision.  However, words of encouragement from friends and family who attended St Joseph’s, along with the sense of welcome I received from both pupils and teachers at Open Night, confirmed for me that St Joseph’s was where I wanted to continue my education.  A key deciding factor was that St Joseph’s offers the option to be educated through the medium of Irish. Choosing Scoil Iósaef has certainly been a great decision and my time here has helped to mould me into the person I am today.

I can still remember my first day in St Joseph’s and making my way through the main doors of the school. Like all new Year 8 students, I was very nervous but I settled in almost instantly with the help of my peers and the staff who created a very welcoming atmosphere. 

Without a doubt the academic aspect of St Joseph’s is second to none and the school regularly records top exam results.  However, as important as this is, our school focuses on the wider aspects of education and offers students the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. St Joseph’s has nurtured me as a whole person and has never over focussed on exams or academic achievement at the expense of my wider interests.  At St Joseph’s we are taught that education is about the whole person and I have been offered the chance to not only achieve academically but to also develop a wide range of skills and qualities that have prepared me for life after school.

The extra-curricular offering at St Joseph’s is broad and varied and caters for the interests of everyone, whether it is sport, music, art, or any other interests you may have. I have always been invested in the sporting aspect of St Joseph’s and I have a passion for Gaelic football.  However, the sporting opportunities in St Joseph’s are not limited to football with other sports such as hurling, camogie, handball, netball and athletics being available. St Joseph’s has encouraged me to think globally and has offered me a large number of opportunities to travel and experience other countries and cultures.  I have travelled locally in Ireland to attend the Gaeltacht which was a great experience and enriched my understanding of Irish language and culture. I look forward to travelling to Berlin and Krakow with school in February along with my friends- what a great way to end my seven years in St Joseph’s!  

The subjects that I have chosen for A-level are Biology, Irish and Health and Social Care. The teaching staff in St Joseph’s do an amazing job tailoring their teaching to suit every student in the classroom.  What makes St Joseph’s so special is the relationships between students and staff; there it is a friendly, relaxed, and supportive atmosphere in school, which I love.  This approach and culture has helped me to improve as a student and reach my potential because you are never afraid to ask for help and it is readily given. 

In June, when my time at St Joseph’s comes to an end, I hope to study Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast.  I know that when I look back on the time I spent here at Scoil Iósaef I will remember it with fondness and truly believe these have been the best days of my life.  I have great memories and I have certainly made friends for life. The rich culture in the school has made my time nothing but enjoyable and I will miss my time here when it comes to an end.

As you begin this new chapter in your lives I wish you the best of luck and if I were to offer any advice, it would be to greatly consider coming to start this new chapter at St. Josephs. Choosing to spend the last seven years here has been the best decision I could possibly have made and assure you that if you decide to do likewise, you will feel the same way that I do now.

Meet Our Head Girl

Ciara Ní Ghadhra

Is mise Ciara Ní Ghadhra agus is mise príomhchinnire na scoile. My name is Ciara O’Gara, and I am honoured to be Head Girl here at St. Joseph’s Grammar School, Donaghmore.  Before coming to St. Joseph’s, I attended Bunscoil Naomh Colmcille in Carrickmore. Attending St. Joseph’s Open Night showed me just how warm and welcoming this school and its student body were. Listening to the senior pupils at Open Night, I could tell that they were passionate about their school and held it in great esteem. This encouraged me to continue my Irish-medium education here at St. Joseph’s. I only wish you had the opportunity to attend a physical open evening here at St Joseph’s because I know you too would feel instantly that there is something really special about the school.  

Coming from a small, Irish-medium stream, the thought of moving to a bigger post-primary school was daunting, however upon arrival at St. Joseph’s, I discovered just how wrong I was. The atmosphere in St. Joseph’s on my first day, and every day since, has been nothing but welcoming and reassuring. I was supported and guided, every step of the way, from my first day at St Joseph’s, by my form teacher and the prefects. I remember being worried about making friends, but I had no need to be. I made friends readily and easily with students from other schools and my form class was a tight-knit class from that day forward. I found my transition from primary to post-primary school easy because of the support offered at St Joseph’s.


I have enjoyed my time immensely here and I have learned invaluable lessons that I will carry with me throughout my entire life. St Joseph’s encourages us not only to reach our potential and excel academically, but it also puts equal importance on character growth and development. The Daughters of the Cross left us a legacy that has impacted and will continue to impact all students who pass through the doors of St. Joseph’s. Their important mantra to “be kind, be kind, be kind” is something I will never forget. 

I will be forever grateful for all the opportunities St. Joseph’s gave me throughout the years. My experience as an Anti-bullying Ambassador and Class Prefect have helped me develop my leadership skills and my ability to take initiative. I have found being a member of the school choir an excellent way to give back to the school and gave me the opportunity to make friends easily with people from other year groups. The opportunities at St Joseph’s for public speaking, such as our Irish public speaking competition, Tuairímí, have enabled me to grow in confidence. In junior school, my favourite extra-curricular activity was the Cumann Gaelach, the Irish club run by senior students. I am overjoyed to be the chairperson of the Cumann Gaelach this year and the skills I have developed through helping to organise activities through the medium of Irish, will benefit me in my years to come.

I currently study Biology, Irish and Chemistry with a view to studying microbiology at Queens University Belfast. The support I received while preparing for university applications was incredible and eased any concerns I had in the process.

I look back fondly and with gratitude on my time here at St. Joseph’s and I know that when the time comes, I will be sad to go. I have made memories and friends for life here and have no regrets at all about coming to St. Joseph’s. I wish every success to the P7 pupils transitioning from primary to secondary school and I can assure you that your time here at St. Joseph’s will be wonderful if you choose to come. Beir bua agus beannacht!