Ballymahon Vocational School PE teacher, Ben McCormack, has been named as the recipient of the Longford Volunteer in Sport Award.

Ben is winner of Longford Volunteer in Sport award

A PE teacher whose dedication to sport “goes beyond” the grounds of Ballymahon Vocational School and into the wider community has been named as the recipient of the Longford Volunteer in Sport award for 2023.

Ben McCormack was named as the worthy recipient of the Longford county award by the Federation of Irish Sport and he will join volunteers from around the country at a national awards ceremony in Dublin on Thursday, February 29, which will be addressed by special guest speaker, Minister Thomas Byrne, Minster of State with responsibility for Sport and Physical Education.

The renowned PE teacher was singled out for the Longford volunteer award, not for his professional excellence, but for his “ drive to make participation in sport and physical activity a community wide affair” which the adjudication panel described as “commendable.”

“Ben is on a mission to have every one of the school’s 430 students participate in some level of sport. During early mornings, breaktime and evenings after school, Ben serves as an inspiration for sporting opportunities within the school as he adopts ‘The Growth’ mindset and ensures there is no ceiling on achievement for his students” said the judges.

The judging panel said Ben McCormack's dedication to sport, particularly outside of his job as a PE teacher in Ballymahon Vocational School, which is a DEIS school, “has a wider social impact across the entire rural South Longford area.

In a touching tribute on the Facebook page of Ballymahon Vocational School, the staff and students at the school congratulated their “very dedicated and loyal” PE teacher on his “well-deserved recognition of his outstanding contributions to sports and community enrichment.”

The tribute said his commitment to “fostering inclusivity and a growth mindset “sets him apart as a true champion of community sports” and their annual Sports Day Festival, which is going from strength to strength, “is testimony to this spirit of endeavour.” They added that, beyond the classroom, Mr. McCormack’s “tireless efforts have ensured that all 430 students at the school have the opportunity to participate in sports activities.”

The 2023 Volunteers in Sport Awards is supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships, and aims to recognise the depth and breadth of volunteering in sporting communities nationwide and the vital role of volunteers in advancing sports participation and community development.