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Past Pupil Delivers Annual Catherine McAuley Lecture

THE HEAD of RTÉ’s new digital switchover, Mary Curtis, admitted to suffering “many sleepless nights” before returning to her alma mater, St Leo’s College, Carlow recently.

Mary, the sister of well-known fashionista Elaine Curtis, stepped into the hallowed halls of the local secondary school once again for the recent Catherine McAuley lecture.

Mary gave a motivational speech to all the students who filled the school hall.

A large crowd of staff, family, friends and members of the Mercy community also attended the event, which was a great success.

Speaking particularly to the young women, Mary advised them not to place too much emphasis on the dreaded CAO.

“I wasn’t really clear about what I wanted to do … (and) through a combination of poor CAO choice and indecision, I chose the wrong course and took the scenic route. It is very difficult to fully know what you want to be when you are 18, and even more difficult then to imagine what you’ll be at 40.

“I would say to the students here not to be disheartened if this happens. There are endless possibilities and opportunities if you believe in your capacity to achieve.”

Speaking about Catherine McAuley, Mary described her as “ambitious and kind and a doer”.

“If Catherine McAuley were alive today, she would be a formidable force ... but even in Ireland 2012, there’s no guarantee that her full potential would have been realised and recognised.”

Praising her former school, she added that it has “changed very little”.

“I mean this as a compliment because it has always gotten it right, even in my day. It was progressive and is progressive and I know that there is much time and thought given in volunteerism and the importance of being agents for social change.”

Pictured above guest speaker, Mary Curtis, signing the visitors book in St. Leo's College, Carlow.