“We have always told our students the first year is all about being happy and making friends,” said Coláiste Éamann Rís school principal Aaron Wolfe, as the secondary school reopened for their first year students yesterday.
A total of 140 first-year students started the new academic term in the Cork city secondary school which was amongst the first post-primary schools to reopen after the summer holidays.
They held entrance exams for the incoming pupils in the morning. Following a barbecue, the students then participated in activities in the afternoon that were designed to allow them to get to know each other.
The school principal said the first day was a "fantastic" success.
“It was a fantastic day for the students, teachers, and the parents. They really enjoyed themselves. It was a great start to the new academic year. There was great excitement, noise, and chatter,” he said.
Mr Wolfe said it was lovely to see the new first-year students being applauded as they made their way through the gates on their first day by their proud parents.
“The students came in very anxious but they left smiling and happy. What was really lovely to see was when the students entered the school in the morning the parents gave them a round of applause. We held an entrance exam in the morning as we couldn’t hold it in May due to Covid. It is an important exam as it helps us to place them in the correct class.
“We followed that with a barbecue at 1pm. It was so pleasing to see total strangers sitting down next to one another, chatting away and swapping phone numbers. They all made great friends on their first day. At 1.30pm they went out to the pitch where they participated in a range of fun activities.
"It was nice to ease them into it. It gives them a bit of confidence and it gets them off to a good start for the year ahead. There was a great buzz and atmosphere,” he added.
The 140 first-year pupils received their primary school education in 30 different primary schools throughout Cork. The principal said their huge numbers are a testament to the staff and the strong reputation the school has developed. “We had four sets of twins who started.
"The students are coming from 30 primary schools around Cork. 140 pupils is a great number. It is a testament to the staff and the good results we are getting. The school has a strong reputation and people wanted to come to this school.”
Mr Wolfe is hoping for a safe and successful school year ahead for all. “We have always told our students the first year is all about being happy and making friends. Hopefully, it is the start of a safe and successful year for both the staff and the students.”