Leaving Cert students at a Cork secondary school have been asked to keep their uniforms for a “celebration to remember” when Covid-19 has passed.
Year head of the Class of 2020 at St Vincent’s Secondary School in Colette McCarthy asked students to “please hold on to your school uniforms to wear one last time” for their class photo and graduation mass which the school will celebrate when deemed safe to do so.
On what was to be the sixth year’s graduation mass, Ms McCarthy marked the occasion for her 19 Leaving Cert students in an address posted online.
In the address to her students she said that the final assembly with sixth year students is always one that she treasures most.
“It is also the one where I cry no matter how many times I promise myself not to. The reason it is so emotional for me is that on behalf of St Vincent’s, I am sending you out onto the next part of your journey. When I look at the faces in front of me that day, I know you will all have many highs and lows in your lies and none of us can foresee the future,” she said.
She said that although students have gone through a tough time over the last two months that there is a choice to focus on the negative or to be grateful for the positive and told the students to be grateful for their families, loved ones and circle of friends.
She encouraged her “giving, caring” students to “go out into the next phase” of their journeys and to be positive, happy and to believe in themselves.
“I have seen you support each other in the most difficult times over the past five and six years. I have seen many of you work hard in and out of school, face pressures of life and exams with huge strength and make a wonderful life for yourself.
“My wish for you all is that you set the bar very high for your life. Ensure that you only allow people who love, respect and empower you to have influence in your life,
“I want you all to stove to be the best version of yourself. Decide what career you want and work to achieve it.
“Contribute to the community that you are part of. Know the joy of giving. Use your gifts and talents to help others. St Vinent’s girls always stand out for their kindness and generosity. Keep that trait and take it with you through life and I promise you it will give you enormous joy and fulfillment.
“Please always be proud of being a St Vincent’s girl. We are honoured that you chose us and we hope we lived up to your expectations,” she said.
Speaking about plans after Covid-19, Ms McCarthy told The Echo: “We do plan to have a special celebration with the girls when it is safe to do so. We did not get the class photo taken, so I have asked the girls to hold onto their uniforms and we will play dress-up and have some fun with that and take the class photo.
“Then we will have their graduation mass which would have happened yesterday. Traditionally it is a highlight for the girls and their families. We then hope to have a little celebration afterwards with lots of chat and memories,” she said.
St Vincent’s Secondary School has been shut since March 12th.