10,000 hours of work, skills and learning turned into gold
More than 10,000 hours of learning, volunteering and work has been turned into gold by a group of 47 students.
The group of talented second and third-level students are the latest recipients of the Gold Gaisce Award, the highest of the initiative's three categories.
They were presented the medal by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at a ceremony in Dublin Castle yesterday.
The Gaisce initiative is also known as the President's Award and this year it is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
The young people, aged between 15 and 25, participated in a number of different personal challenges and dedicated their spare time to developing new skills and volunteering in their local communities. Running was the most common physical activity and one recipient trained and competed in more than 20 marathons in one year.
Some completed physical challenges close to home, while others travelled oversees to volunteer in South Africa building houses and or at a Raptor Camp in Malta protecting endangered birds.
Yvonne McKenna, the chief executive of Gaisce, hailed the ceremony as a "celebration". "The challenge is not an easy one, it demands motivation, determination and focus over the course of weeks, months and in many cases, years," she said.
The recipients completed the five challenge areas across a period of 52 weeks or more, which included a five-day outdoor journey and week-long residential project.