Gloucester Catholic sophomore reigns as Colleen Queen in NYC

Gloucester Catholic sophomore reigns as Colleen Queen in NYC

smcgirl-webA Gloucester Catholic high school sophomore, with strong ties to both New York and her Irish roots, was the Colleen Queen of New York City’s Great Irish Fair, held last weekend in Coney Island.

Siobhan McGirl, age 15, was chosen as the spokesperson for the event, due to her high academic achievements and strong commitment to service.

Although her father’s job had the family moving from New York to Pennsylvania, then to Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, and now here in New Jersey, McGirl’s family always found time to visit the Great Irish Fair, held every September, as her grandfather, Al O’Hagan, served as the chairman for 24 years of the event in Brooklyn, where Siobhan’s mother, Sheila, grew up. The fair has been with Siobhan even before she was born, as Sheila sang the National Anthems of America and Ireland at the fair in 1995, days before Siobhan’s birth.

A resident of Washington Township, Siobhan is a member of the youth group at her parish, Church of the Holy Family in Sewell, receiving the Grand Award twice for outstanding service and commitment to the youth group.

Mary Boyle, superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Camden, was a guest at the fair and said, “I was moved to tears hearing Siobhan speak. Her deep faith, her commitment to her church and her family were so genuine.

“She graciously attributed her gifts to her family and to her Catholic education at Gloucester Catholic High School,” Boyle said. “She is a shining example of the best of Catholic education.”

An aspiring educator, Siobhan teaches religious education for first-fourth grades at her parish. She is involved with the church choir, altar serving and lecturing.

She also is the recipient of the Knights of Columbus High School Scholarship, given to a student entering high school who is an example of high academic achievement, outstanding leadership and community service.

“Catholic schools offer high academic challenges, but also emphasize the life skills and components necessary to carry out the “how” of making the world a better place,” she said in addressing the crowd at the Irish Fair.

“Catholic schools focus on paying it forward. With high academic standards, emphasis on community service and prayer, Catholic schools make the world a better place.”

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