A LIMERICK youngster has won a prestigious â‚¬100,000 scholarship to Clongowes Wood college.
Nathan Lyons, 12, from Moyross, and with family in Newcastle West, travelled up to the prestigious Co Kildare school this week to start his secondary boarding school education.
He was one of just ten boys nationwide to win the scholarship , which is named after Chilean Jesuit Priest Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga.
One of over 100 applicants from across Ireland, Nathan had to go through three tough interviews with the school principal Fr Leonard Moloney, himself a Limerick man.
The Jesuit school can count former Education Minister, the late Donogh Oâ€™Malley, as well as ex-Taoiseach John Bruton, writer James Joyce, and chief justice Thomas Finlay among its alumni.
Mathematics is Nathanâ€™s strong point.
But the principal of Corpus Christi NS Tiernan Oâ€™Neill, and local parish priest, Fr Tony Oâ€™Riordan pointed to his all-round ability.
Earlier this year, he took one of the lead roles of â€˜Napoleonâ€™ in the schoolâ€™s play, Postcards from Abroad, in LITâ€™s Millennium Theatre, while he is also a keen soccer player.
But it is the oval ball he is most looking forward to getting to grips with in Clongowes.
â€œI am most looking forward to the sport, in particular rugby. I am hoping to play scrum-half there,â€ he confirmed.
Nathan was the only student to raise his hand when asked about the possibility of receiving a scholarship to attend the fee-paying school.
The shy youngster would only say he was â€œdelightedâ€ when he got the acceptance letter.
But his mother Frances Behan said: â€œIt is a great start in life for him. I think his academic level made him stand out, as well as his attitude and politeness,â€ she said.
Her son is very inquisitive, she added.
â€œHe has a need to know, and until he is satisfied with the answer, he keeps asking the questions.â€
Nathan will come back to Limerick every three weeks, while Frances will visit him in Clongowes each Sunday.
Fr Oâ€™Riordan said he will be able to take a lot from his experience at the school.
Nathan will also be inspired by the people who have attended the school, he added.
â€œWhen you walk the corridors, you see the likes of James Joyce and Thomas Finlay hanging in pictures. That just says people from his school can do anything. Hopefully this will show Nathan he can do anything he likes,â€ Fr Oâ€™Riordan added.
His former principal Mr Oâ€™Neill added: â€œThis is a magnificent opportunity for him, and it could not happen to a nicer boy. He is a boy with a lot of talent, and hopefully he will shine in Clongowes. Very few children are chosen for this scholarship. It is fantastic to see it happening to a local boy from Moyross.â€
Nathan enjoyed a low-key send off this week, with friends and family turning up to wish him the best of luck.