A sixth class farewell with a difference has been celebrated by Greenmount National School.
Staff at the school said their farewells to their 30 sixth class students yesterday ahead of their virtual graduation ceremony which is due to take place today.
Students of the school, affectionately known as The College on the Hill, moved from classroom learning to being taught remotely in their homes during Covid-19 using Google Classroom and Google Meets.
Teacher Elaine Linehan said that the class of 2020 have “persevered and persisted” through Covid-19 and have “shown themselves to be a wonderful bunch of young people who have adapted amazingly well to the new normal”.
The red carpet was rolled out for the face-to-face goodbye yesterday where students were met on an individual basis for a final photo and were given a farewell gift.
Today, the students’ photos from down through the years will be shown via video with background music supplied by the sixth class brass players during a virtual graduation ceremony.
Special awards were also given to five students in recognition of their contribution to the school.
Aoife Delaney was presented with a Special Achievement Award for her outstanding musical ability. Katelyn Harrington received a Special Achievement Award for her exceptional kindness and the amazing empathy she has displayed all through her school years. Ellie Power and Seán McCarthy were voted by their classmates as Greenmount’s boy and girl. Iftekhar Hossain received an award for his wonderful achievement in Irish.
“We wish our wonderful students and their hugely supportive families the very best and thank them for sharing a wonderful eight years with us,” Ms Linehan said.
Greenmount student Fazla Ullah has been at the school for nine years and said that “everything turned a bit strange” when Covid-19 hit the school closed suddenly.
“Since then we have been learning online with Google Classroom and a maths programme called Zearn which was really easy to use and very enjoyable. We also had Google Meets with our class with fun quizzes based on the work we did for that week which I really enjoyed.”
Student Ella Sheehan said that although she feels sad that she will miss the experience of ending primary school with her friends, that she has “found some silver linings”.
“We get to be known as the sixth class that have saved people’s lives by staying at home. My teachers have been nice to us and have found new innovative ways to celebrate our graduation. One of these ways is by creating a yearbook virtually.
"We were asked to write a page about ourselves and some of our former teachers and school staff volunteered to write about their favourite memories of the class also. I am really looking forward to seeing what everyone has written.”
Ella said she is looking forward to starting secondary school and that she will cherish all that Greenmount NS has given her.
Award recipient Iftekhar Hossain said that he misses his fellow classmates since lockdown and that he really wanted to finish his last year in primary school with them.
“As the key is yet to be turned on those restrictions, I will finish my final year virtually.
“The restrictions have not been all that bad as I got to spend more time with my family. I have also learned so many things like self-educating myself because I am learning through the internet. I have even picked up a new hobby of building miniature planes and houses to make the time go by,” he said.
He wished the best for his classmates and teachers and hoped that they have “many great years ahead of them”.