“Be part of a community. Stay connected with each other.”
That was one of the parting messages from Kieran Golden, principal of Mayfield Community School to sixth-year pupils at the school as they celebrated their graduation last week.
In a departure from previous years, the pandemic meant that parents and loved ones were not able to attend the school to mark the occasion, but instead, pupils in their final year were invited to a socially distanced ceremony in the school canteen.
Speaking to the Echo, Mr Golden said that while cognisant of public health advice, they were “determined” to mark the important occasion as students moved to the next stage of their life.
“The central message in the whole ceremony was celebration- it was very much a message of recovery and resilience and the idea that this pandemic is going to pass,” said Mr Golden.
Music was recorded by students at the school for the graduation ceremony which was presented virtually on the day, with the students also receiving a virtual address from Rev David Lane.
To mark the occasion, graduating students were also given individually wrapped gift bags which included personalised candles.
During his address to students, Mr Golden said that people will come out of the pandemic stronger.
“We will be better because young people like the class of 2021 will start asking the right questions wondering is there a better way of doing things. Is there a better way of doing a Leaving Certificate? And you will have the answers,” he said.
"Be part of a community. Stay connected with each other and surround yourself with people who are respectful and do the right thing.
There is someone there for everyone… All of us in Mayfield Community School are very proud of you. You are a fine group of young people with great lives ahead of you.
"Take care of yourself. Take care of each other."