Donegal student recognised for work with autism group

Pramerica announces its 20 finalists for the 2018 Spirit of Community Awards

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter

Donegal student recognised for work with autism group

Royal and Prior Raphoe student Elaine Magee from Lifford with school principal Dr Howard Welch and her mother Doris Magee. Photo: Clive Wasson.

Elaine Magee from Lifford has been recognised for the exemplary volunteer work carried out in her local community as Pramerica announced its 20 finalists for the 2018 Spirit of Community Awards, the only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind.

A fourth-year student at The Royal and Prior School, Elaine was motivated to volunteer with the 'something special' group which is based in Raphoe when her younger brother was diagnosed with autism.

Over the past number of years, Elaine gave her time throughout July and August to assist the parents in the group to take the children on outings and trips.

Many of the children with autism or ADHD needed one to one attention and Elaine worked with the children to make sure all of their needs were met.

Some of the children didn’t like to be touched by people and Elaine was mindful to deal with these children in a certain manner so that they weren’t distressed in any way.

The programme which is run in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI), rewards post-primary students for outstanding acts of volunteerism and the positive contribution they make in their local communities and further afield.

“Each year I continue to be humbled by the incredible volunteer work carried out by teenagers and young people in towns and villages across Ireland,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland. “From caring for disabled relatives to helping people with learning disabilities, brain injuries and dementia, so much of the volunteering activities that young people are involved in is going under the radar. Our awards programme aims to shine a light on these dedicated students, by applauding their achievements and encouraging others to give back to their hometown.”

The post-primary students will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the awards ceremony on 22nd March at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. This year the top two Junior Honourees will also receive an additional €500 for their chosen charity for the first time. At the event, two of the 20 students will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year, receiving €1,000, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their school and an all-expense paid trip to the United States in May to participate in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony.

For more information about the 2018 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, which is supported by Volunteer Now, Volunteer Ireland, Scouting Ireland and Foróige, follow the Pramerica Spirit of Community Snapchat (Pramerica.soc) Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter feed @Pramerica_SOC, or visit

The 20 finalists are:  Áine Sweeney, from Letterkenny, a Fifth-year student at Loreto Secondary School; Aimee Melaugh, a Fourth-year student at St. Mary’s College Derry;  Anna Phelan, from Kilkenny, a Sixth-year at Loreto Secondary School;
Ariadna Gómez-Kelly, from Westport, a Fourth-year student at Sacred Heart School; Caoimhe Bennett, from Omagh, a Sixth-year student at Loreto Grammar School;  Ciana Roberts, from Bangor, a Sixth-year student at Our Lady And St Patrick's College; Ciaran McGinley, from Derry, a Fifth-Year student at St Joseph's Boys' School; Ciaran O'Kane, from Limavady is a Sixth-year student at Loreto College; Diolain Ward, from Derry, a Sixth-Year student from St Joseph's Boys' School; Daniella Timperley, from Randalstown, a Sixth-year student at St Louis Grammar School;  Éabha McMahon, from Cork, a Sixth-year student at St Angela's College Cork; Eimear Byrne, from Dublin, a Sixth-year student from St Pauls Secondary School
Elaine Magee, from Lifford, a fourth-year student at The Royal and Prior School; Grace Mawhinney from Belfast, a Sixth-year student at St. Louise’s Comprehensive College; Jessica McMahon, from Kildare, Sixth year student at St Wolstan’s Community School, Celbridge; Michael Carroll, from Tipperary, a Sixth-year student at Borrisokane Community College Borrisokane; Niall Gosson, from Rush, a Sixth year student from St Joseph's Secondary School;; Orlagh Wilson, from Derry, a Sixth-year student at St Cecilia's College; Rebecca McKersie from Belfast; a Sixth-year student at Ashfield Girls’ High School; Shane Lawless from Galway, a Fifth-year student at Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Carmore.