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Posted on 28th March 2019 | AwardsGeneralNews

A Year 13 student from St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt has won the top prize in this year’s Michaela Foundation Wings Award Programme.  

Laura Diamond was announced as the winner of the award at an Awards Ceremony in St. Mary’s University College, Belfast on Wednesday 27 March 2019.  Nominating Laura for the award, Miss Burns (Head of Religion) described her as “a kind, compassionate and inspirational young lady, who has been a true example of living faith in the twenty-first century.”

The Michaela Foundation, the charity set up in memory of the late Michaela McAreavey, launched its search for this year’s ‘Wings Award’ recipients in February 2019. The annual awards are aimed at celebrating young achievers who have played a positive role in their community.  Director of the Michaela Foundation, John McAreavey, said he wanted to “support young people who were either determined to achieve, or already had achieved, great things in whatever passion they have in life.”

Laura, who is an active member of the Liturgy Group in St. Mary’s, has completed the Muiredach Cross Award and the Trōcaire Romero Award with her family. In the summer of 2018, Laura travelled on a pilgrimage to Fatima with her peers. As a member of Bellaghy Parish, Laura also helps to lead the Children’s Liturgy during Mass and is a Minister of the Word. 

“a kind, compassionate and inspirational young lady, who has been a true example of living faith in the twenty-first century.”

Laura has experienced highs and lows in her life journey to date.  Despite losing her mother to cancer two years ago, Laura has kept her mum’s spirit alive and, following  in her mother’s footsteps, Laura is hoping to train this year as a Eucharistic Minister.  As a Public Events Prefect in school, Laura represents St. Mary’s throughout the year at school functions.  Laura is currently taking part in a Disability Inclusion Training Programme as part of a joint initiative between Kilronan School and St. Mary’s which will enable her to facilitate sports coaching in the special school and volunteer in the summer with a camp for young adults with disabilities in Bellaghy Parish. Her charitable nature is evidenced in her involvement in the Road of Hope Shoebox Appeal, the SVP Hamper Appeal and the SVP Family Gift Appeal. Laura is also completing her Gold John Paul II Award and is a keen member of the school’s School Nutrition Action Group which seeks to promote well-being and healthy eating among pupils. Laura has also achieved great success in the European Shotokan Karate-Do Championships.  Having been  selected to represent Northern Ireland in the event, Laura, along with Kevin her brother, travelled to Chalkida in Greece to participate in the competition.

Laura is a true inspiration and a credit to her family. Laura received a beautiful award on the evening presented by Mickey Harte and a bursary of £250. She is  hoping to donate half to the NI Hospice and is using the other half of the money to go on pilgrimage to Lough Derg.


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