For the first time in its history a student from Selskar College has won the Wexford Rotary Club Youth Leadership Development competition.
Anna Zwierzchowska was chosen ahead of almost 50 other entrants from schools across the county for the award which recognises local students' leadership skills and personal achievements across academic, community, work experience and sport.
Anna moved to Wexford from Poland when she was four years old and has made quite an impact since her arrival. Admitting she struggled with the language at first, she says those difficulties taught her the importance of helping others.
'I always found the lonely looking kids in the yard to play with, I always helped the girl with the disability, and I was always ready to help anyone who struggled with the class work,' Anna recalls.
She subsequently joined the local Polish Scouts and, despite being one of its youngest members, was named Patrol Leader after just a few meetings.
'Through my years in scouts I've encountered various things that helped me feel comfortable with the position of a leader. I always liked leading, but these things have helped me understand what it is to lead on a long-term basis. I have been promoted from a patrol leader, to an assistant leader, to now, the leader. I have my own scouts' troop right here in Wexford,' she said.
In the summer just gone, Anna spent a week volunteering in Woodlarks, a camp for disabled boys based just outside of London. There she was assigned a boy to look after, which involved cleaning, feeding, entertaining and putting him to bed. 'He was amazing, he was so sharp and witty and he had an insane sense of humour.'
Part of four school committees and host of her own weekly radio show Anna is described by Year Head, Seamus O'Leary, as 'a great inspiration and guiding figure to all other students'. And her teacher, Ms Annabel Devereux, hopes Anna's achievement will encourage more students to participate in such competitions.