24th October 2013, Tuesday
By TheCork.ie Education Correspondent
Bernard Kirk from Blackrock just outside Cork City will this morning be presented with an honorary Masters of Science from the National University of Ireland in Galway for his outstanding contribution to the education of our young people throughout his career. Bernard Kirk grew up in Blackrock, just outside Cork City along with his brother Peter, who sadly passed away at a young age. Bernard followed his secondary schooling in Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork by primary school training in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, graduating in 1983. His first posting was to a Clane, Co Kildare, and this was followed by a permanent position in Claregalway National School in 1984.
Bernard will be joined today by his wife Treasa, his two daughters Aoife and Cliodhna, his parents Owen and Jane and many of his oldest friends. Bernard Kirk is by training a primary school teacher however, his day job is as Director of the Galway Education Centre. This centre provides on-going professional training to teachers and other educators and assists the government by implementing specific training for curriculum development – for example the T4 programme.
Bernard is also the co-founder and coordinator of a significant number of activities all aimed at increasing the involvement of young people in science and technology, including Robotics Ireland, the Medtronic Scientist of the Future, Aviators of the Future, Entrepreneurs of the Future, Medtronic KNEX, Medtronic healthy Living, EU Robotics week in Ireland, Primary schools Debating, Space Camps Ireland and many others. He has used his passionate advocacy of Philanthropy by local, national, international and multi-national companies to bring these developments to life.
Through Robotics Ireland Bernard has introduced to Ireland the FIRST LEGO league and the Junior FIRST LEGO League and has been described as Mr Lego! The Galway Science & Technology Festival takes place every year over a two week period in November. Bernard Kirk was one of the first people approached by Minister Noel Treacy to assist with the development of this novel idea. For over 12 years from the first event in 1998 to 2009, Bernard’s significant contribution to this Festival ensured its continued growth and development engaging over 250,000 young people and many local and regional industries in activities associated with the Festival.
Bernard is passionate about improving the lives of people and lists one of his specialties as “Getting things done”. Bernard works under this philosophy : “Our Why” is to continue changing the lives of the next generation of primary and second level students for the better. “The How” is through the opportunities we provide which range from Engineering, Science and Maths to The Arts. The “What we do” is that we liaise with Enterprise and other Education partners to build partnerships that will benefit the next generations.”