Ronan is leading light
FORMER US President John F Kennedy once famously said "leadership and learning are indispensable to each other".
That sentiment could easily apply to an innovative competition run under the auspices of the Mallow Rotary Club aimed at finding the next generation of new Irish leaders.
Open to people between the ages of 15 to 18 years old, the annual Youth Leadership Development Award is an offshoot of a national initiative run by Rotary Ireland.
This year 45 pupils from seven schools in the greater Mallow area entered the competition, with that number eventually being whittled down to one finalist from each school.
Mallow Rotary president Philip O'Flynn said judges were then handed the unenviable task to selecting an overall winner. After much deliberation and soul searching, the judging panel eventually selected Ronan O'Brien, a 17-year-old fifth year student from Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk as the winner of the 2013 Mallow award.
"What makes a leader stand out perhaps more than anything else is confidence in their own ability to achieve their individual goals and through that inspire those around them. Ronan has that confidence in spades, something that really impressed the judging panel," said Philip.
Ronan will now compete against students from across the country, with the top 24 entrants being taken on trips to seats of power including Dail Eireann, Stormont and the EU Parliaments in Brussels and Strasbourg.