Dec 17 2015 Posted: 11:39 GMT

An NUI Galway graduate, Caoimhe Joyce Hearne was among a special group of inspirational young people presented with the Gaisce Gold Award by President Michael D. Higgins for her outstanding community work and significant personal achievement at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle recently.

Originally from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Caoimhe graduated from NUI Galway with an Honours Bachelor of Science (Podiatry) degree in November 2015. Caoimhe volunteered with a Barretstown Summer Camp and also carried out an 85km walk along the East Munster Way which ran through Tipperary and Waterford. She was a member of the NUI Galway Boat Club and rowed competitively with the club, and was also a member of the NUI Galway Gaisce committee where she went on to become a Bronze PAL, providing bronze participants with advice and guidance as they complete their Bronze Gaisce challenge. As well as her primary degree, Caoimhe also completed a Dioploma sa Ghaeilge in NUI Galway.

Gaisce – the President’s Award is a programme that aims to foster and develop young people's potential. It is a guided and supported framework that is provided for young people to explore their natural skills and gain confidence in their abilities, while contributing to their community. This year 47 Gaisce Gold Awards were presented to young people who excelled and achieved their goals.

The Gaisce Gold Awardees successfully completed five challenge areas for 52 weeks or more – developing a personal skill, volunteering in their community and participating in physical activity. The Awardees also embarked on a five-day outdoor adventure journey and a week-long residential project as part of their Gaisce Award challenge. 

Speaking about her Gold Award, Caoimhe said: “I would definitely advise people to try out the Gaisce challenge, whether it be bronze, silver or gold. It is great to set goals and to challenge yourself to achieve each goal to the best of your ability. Doing Gaisce in college really provided me with a memorable college experience. I got the chance to join various clubs and societies and meet great groups of people outside my course.”

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