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The People Of The Year Awards

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Awards ceremony was held in City West Hotel, Saturday 13th and broadcast live on RTE 1.

. The People of the Year Awards are in their 34th year!
. Organised by REHAB and sponsored by Quinn Healthcare.
. Televised by RTE.
. The awards offer an opportunity for the Irish public to honour outstanding contributions to society and recognise extraordinary achievements; i.e. the unsung hero who lives next door or even someone who is a household name but who makes a positive difference to someone's life.
. The winners are chosen members of the public through nominations and then finalised by a panel of judges made up of leading members of the media, business, community sectors and public service sectors.
. The Awards include the International Person of the Year and the Young Person of the Year (under 25 years of age).
. Other People of the Year Awards presented for a range of achievements in the areas of community service, sports, older persons and public sector achievement, among others.
. Last year, sporting hero, Padraig Harrington, received the Irish Person of the Year, whilst Gerald Killeen (then 10 years old) was named Young Person of the Year. Other winners over the last 33 years include: Bob Geldof, Christy Moore, Mo Mowlam, John Hume, Brian Keenan, Veronica Guerin, Seamus Heaney, Niall Quinn and Maeve Binchy.

This year, a Special Award to a Teacher of the Year was made in recognition of the very important role that teachers play in all of our lives, nurturing the talents of our young people, expanding their horizons and introducing them to the world of learning.

Rose Uí Shuilleabháin
the teacher who teaches Irish and PE at Maria Immaculata Community College (MICC) in Cork and Daniel Ross, the boy whose life she saved.

Rose Uí Shúilleabháin
Special Award Winner - Teacher of the Year

. The mother-of-four is a PE teacher and year head at Maria Immaculata Community College in Dunmanway, County Cork.
. Rose is recognised by her colleagues, pupils and parents alike as an inspirational teacher whose hard work and ability to instill confidence gives every student in her care the chance to shine.
. She is more than a teacher; she's also a mentor and a friend to all her pupils - both during and after school hours.
. Rose doesn't really do lunch. At break times she's usually either running the group she set up to promote the Irish language in the school, or she can be found outside in all weathers supervising cross-country and other athletics training. She also devotes her time to coaching her students and bringing them to sporting events after hours.
. Due to Rose's enthusiasm, a powerful athletics club has developed that has brought glory to the school and to many of its pupils.
. Rose says she doesn't gauge success by the number of medals won.
. Far more important for her is the role that the club has played in building the self-esteem and confidence of her charges and in instilling in them a sense of dedication and a "can do" attitude that will help them with all of life's challenges.

Why Rose Received the Award:
Her biggest challenge came on January 25th this year when she took the school team to Middleton for the Munster Cross-Country Championships.

As 14-year-old Daniel Ross, one of the Dunmanway athletes, crossed the finishing line at the end of his race, he suddenly collapsed.

Daniel had suffered a cardiac arrest and Rose was by his side in seconds.

Fortunately there was a defibrillator at the scene and she knew exactly how to use it thanks to her foresight in completing a lifesaving course in Bantry shortly beforehand.

Rose performed CPR on the stricken boy and after some further manual resuscitation, he began to show signs of life before an ambulance arrived and rushed him to Cork University Hospital.

The entire drama lasted about 20 minutes and, but for Rose's intervention, Daniel would not have survived. However, if she was in shock after the dramatic events, Rose did not show it. Putting others first, she set her own emotions to one side as she broke the news gently to the teenager's parents.

Happily, as a result of Rose's heroics, Daniel did not only recover; he was out of hospital and back to school within two weeks of the incident.

For her extraordinary courage and coolness in saving Daniel's life, for her ability to inspire her students to maximise their individual talents and for her dedication to giving them the best possible start in life, Rose Uí Shúilleabháin received a Special Award as Ireland's Teacher of the Year.