James McGovern- ASTI Achievement Awards
Religion and History teacher James McGovern has been awarded a 2015 ASTI Achievement award because of his exceptional contributions both in his school and his local community. His accomplishments are in areas as diverse as Gaelic games, public speaking and debating, labour relations and authorship. In his 33 years of teaching in St. Mary’s CBS, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford James has had a significant positive impact on the physical, sporting, mental, religious and academic development of his students.
James is greatly respected by his students due to his GAA achievements. As a player, he represented Wexford on the Senior county football team from 1983 to 1988, during which time he was part of the first Wexford team to beat Dublin in Croke Park since 1917. He also has numerous achievements at club level, winning a Wexford County Senior Football title for Starlights in 1983 and reaching three county finals with Glynn-Barntown between 1989 and 1991. As a trainer, James has worked with many teams including the Wexford Minor, Under-21 and Ladies’ teams as well as various club teams.
As a passionate advocate for GAA, he has been organising tours to European GAA teams since 1998 with a view to strengthening fledgling clubs on the continent. James has also trained the school Gaelic football team in St. Mary’s for many years, during which time they won their first Leinster Senior Football Colleges title and the Wexford Colleges Football Championship. Such is his commitment to GAA that James divided the €22,000 profits from his first book ‘Coming of age in Wexford GAA, 1983-2004’ between the St. Mary’s CBS astro-turf project and his local GAA club’s development. He is also the current Gaelic football correspondent for ‘The Chronicle’ as well as writing on GAA for a variety of other publications.
James is a long-time supporter of teaching students about mental health, and spearheaded his schools’ involvement in the Mental Health Ireland public speaking competition. With thanks to his role as coach, 14 teams from St. Mary’s CBS have won the Co. Wexford finals of the competition in 28 years. With James as coach, his teams have also reached several All-Ireland finals in the competition, including a win in 1989.
As James saw the positive effects of public speaking on students’ self-confidence he also coached teams in many other public speaking and debating competitions. He has always tried to give opportunities to those with mental health difficulties, thereby helping to raise their self-esteem. He has coached students to success in competitions run by a variety of organisations including Young Fine Gael, the Knights of St. Columbanus, UCD L&H/ TCD ‘Hist’ socities, Trinity College Philosophical Society, Maynooth University, Enniscorthy Tidy Towns and Carlow IT. At a Civic Reception given in his honour by Enniscorthy Urban Council in 2014, James was described as being one of the most successful and longest-serving public speaking and debating tutors in the country.
A dedicated ASTI member James has served as school steward many times. He has been extremely involved in the ASTI at branch level, serving as Chairman or Honorary Secretary for Enniscorthy branch for much of the last 33 years as well as attending Convention almost every year since the early 1980s.
James is highly regarded by all staff in St. Mary’s CBS and his contributions have without doubt enriched both his school and local community in Enniscorthy.