Olga Cosgrave, a teacher at Loreto College, Mullingar, won the ‘The Spirit Award’, which was established in memory of SNA, Barbara Keena, RIP. At the school’s awards event, Ms Cosgrave received her award from members of Ms Keena’s family – Joe Dolan, Siobhan Keena and Gerard Keena.

Teacher's kindness earns 'Spirit Award' at Loreto College

Sarah Slevin

A local teacher’s kindness has earned her ‘The Spirit Award’ at Loreto College, Mullingar, an award in memory of SNA, Barbara Keena who died in 2021.

English and Religion teacher, Olga Cosgrave, received an award which was created this year by the school to honour those who go above and beyond.

Teacher at the school and local councillor, Aoife Davitt said that the award is dedicated to those who mirror Barbara Keena’s spirit.

“This award is in memory of Barbara’s generosity and ethos. She was the most amazing person, she was always helping students and would instinctively know if someone was wrong,” said Aoife Davitt, a teacher at Loreto College.

Olga Cosgrave was given the award, and Aoife said that her and Barbara were good friends and had a lot in common.

“The way they go about their work, they never make a fuss and they’re not doing it for acknowledgement, they do it out of the goodness of their hearts,” Aoife said.

“Their mannerism and personality, they just want to be helpful and it’s always under the radar and not for gratification.”

Olga has worked at Loreto College for around 18 years, and is heavily involved in the special education side of the school.

Aoife said The Spirit Award is open to staff and students, who can be nominated by anyone in the school.

“Some of the secretaries were nominated, the caretakers, cleaners, a huge number of teachers, so many students,” Aoife said.

“Each person who was nominated got a certificate and they were named in a presentation in front of the group.”

While Aoife said a lot of people were nominated throughout the school, she said one person stood out in particular.

“Olga’s name just kept coming up, and it was lovely to see that so many people felt she had a huge impact on them. And she was so taken aback by the whole thing.”