Gaelscoil na Daroige teacher Roma Rudd has been named winner of the first Derry Journal ‘Teacher - You’re The Best’ competition.
The 24 year-old munteoir was “humbled” this week when she discovered that she had received the most votes in the inaugural competition. Delighted Roma received a prize of £200 in vouchers to spend at Foyleside Shopping Centre, which sponsored the award.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’, Roma - who has been teaching for just two years - said: “It’s great to win the award both for me and the school. The parents and the pupils have been very good to me here, I couldn’t have dreamed of such thoughtful support.”
Roma teaches a class made up of Primary 1 and 2 pupils as the young Ballymagroarty school - which was founded in 2005 - continues to grow. She has taught eight P2 pupils since they first began their primary education at the school and admits she’s made quite a “connection” with them.
“I love them to bits but I know they’ll only be moving next door when the new school year starts.”
Roma simply loves teaching at “close knit” Gaelscoil Na Daroige, where everyone knows each other. She is quick to point out the close working relationship of staff in the school to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently and in the best interests of the pupils. She said; “The staff are all great here and work very well to make sure the children are given the best education.”
In particular, Roma said she could never accept an award without paying tribute to her classroom assistant Caitlin Ni Dhochartaigh, who started working at the school at the same time she did. “I’d be lost without Caitlin,” she added.
Roma, who doesn’t come from an Irish speaking background, fell in love with Gaeilge when she studied at Lumen Christi College under Mrs Bronach O’Hare, who she rates as “great teacher and influence”. She also spent time studying in the Donegal Gaeltacht area of Loch An Iuir and later completed a Bachelor of Education Degree through the medium of Irish at St Mary’s University College in Belfast. “Surprisingly there is no teaching background in my family or Irish speakers, although some family members have the odd focal,” she explained.
Getting a full-time teaching post has been exciting for Roma and her joy during the first two years as a teacher has been capped by the accolade of being voted the best teacher in the area. However, the excitement won’t stop there for Miss Rudd, who will once again be celebrating next year, although by then she’ll be a Mrs as she’s due to wed fiance Kevin McKenna in 2013.
Competition winner Roma was nominated by Primary 2 pupil Jake Campbell-McLaughlin, who said his teacher “tells the best stories” among many other things.
The six-year old pupil is looking forward to moving on to P3 in September but admits that he’ll miss his teacher of two years. And the youngster didn’t mince his words when voicing his admiration for Miss Rudd: “She’s the best teacher in the world,” he exclaimed..
In his nomination, Jake stated: “Munteoir Roma gives us a reward at the end of the week if we have good behaviour and share and take turns with friends and listen when our munteoir speaks as it helps us learn more. She is the best teacher in our school and she is the best at science, I really love doing science.”
Geraldine Gallagher, Derry Journal Marketing Executive, said there had been a “magnificent response” to the competition. She said; “There has been a fantastic number of entries for the first ever ‘Teacher - You’re The Best’ competition. We’ve been busy sifting through the nominations and it’s great to see that teachers are so well thought of by their pupils for their hard work and dedication to education.”
Congratulating Roma on being named the first winner of the Derry Journal ‘Teacher - You’re The Best’ title, Geraldine said: “Roma Rudd was a clear winner, securing a large number of votes and is a very worthy recipient of the fantastic prize of £200 in vouchers for Foyleside Shopping Centre.”
Geraldine also congratulated the 46 teachers who received the most nominations and competed for the title in the final wave of public voting.
Foyleside Shopping Centre Manager, Fergal Rafferty added: “Foyleside Shopping Centre is delighted to sponsor the Derry Journal’s ‘Teacher - You’re the Best’ award. We all know the importance of the education of our children and the extremely high teaching standards expected from our teachers .
“It is fitting that the dedication and commitment of all of our teachers is recognised and we congratulate the lucky winning teacher Roma Rudd of Gaelscoil na Daroige and wish her lots of enjoyment and some retail therapy spending her Foyleside gift vouchers.”