2013 Volunteer Ireland Awards, Education and Training (2008 - 2015)

Ena Staunton, St Michael’s School, Castlerea

Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon

Ena has volunteered with St. Michael’s School – and has maintained an exceptional level of commitment to children with special needs - in Co Roscommon for over thirty years.  In the 1980s many students in the school had not benefitted from early intervention or pre-school services, and there was little support for families or teachers. At that time, Ena began to do PE with children. She quickly identified that they could retain and repeat movement sequences and she started a gym class with the school. Students performed exhibitions and entered competitions with Special Olympics. Ena has fundraised and advocated for people with special needs – for example, mobilising a team of cyclists to fundraise for the school and travelling with them to provide practical help and motivation. Ena is introduced one particular family to the school fifteen years ago. At that time services were limited and Ena played a unique role in supporting this family because she could see their needs.

St. Michael’s School Principal Geraldine Connolly nominated Ena and said “Ena has had a massive impact on the life of the school because she recognised potential and then established exceptionally high standards of performance for all concerned. She helped youngsters to achieve regional national and international recognition but more than that she flew the flag of awareness in the community before people with special needs were considered or seen.”

St. Michael's School website


Photo courtesy of Michael McCormack Photography