A 18 year-old boy whose parents were told when he was born that he had ADHD and a low attention span is to become the first member of his family to attend university.
Gerald Doherty from Hazelbank has secured a place on a course in Trinity College in Dublin studying Theological Studies and Modern Irish.
The Hazelbank lad started his academic career in Belmont Special School before progressing to St Brigid’s P.S. and then St Columb’s College.
In school he won the Sean McGonigle memorial prize for the top GCSE in Irish, the James Toland memorial prize for modern languages and was a member of the school student council. He is also a recipient of the Pope John Paul II award for community development
As well as all this Gerald is also a young carer registered to care for both his parents.
But for Gerald, it was his involvement in youth work and volunteering that really helped with his development.
“When I joined youth clubs I found people like me, who liked things that I liked,” said Gerald.
“I like sci fi and I am a huge Batman fan.
“In fact if it hadn’t been for youth clubs I wouldn’t have got out of the house much.
“Reach Across came to our school and through that I started on residentials. I then went on to work with the group Headliners, and three years later I am still here.
“I helped contribute to many articles and wrote my own article on young carers which was printed and later discussed at Stormont. I also went on local radio to talk about it. Headliners helped me so much. This year I’ve also been involved in writing articles on Brexit, positive citizenship, lowering the voting age and graphic novels.”
The Derry teen says he is hoping to spend his time in Dublin learning other dialects of Irish and develop his interest in the Catholic faith.
“I really wanted to go to Trinity because it’s one of the best in the world.”