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END OF YEAR & GRADUATION MASS and GOOD FELLOWSHIP AWARD

The Annual End of Year & Graduation Mass was held on May 24th in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity Bunclody.  The Celebrant was Very Rev. Fr. Laurence O’Connor, P.P. Bunclody.   Following the Mass the principal, Ms. Frances Threadgold, spoke to the congregation. 

“Today as another academic year comes to an end we gather as a school community to celebrate. The End of Year Mass is an FCJ tradition and has always been central to school life for us. Also a part of today’s ceremony that I am looking forward to is the conferring of a 6th year student with the Good Fellowship Award which is our tribute to that student who has been judged to have been outstanding in the school by their spirited commitment to its life and purpose.

First I want to thank:  Fr. O’Connor who celebrated the Mass for us here today;  The RE teachers who helped prepare the Mass and in particular Ms. O’Neill, Ms. O’Shaughnessy and Ms. Grufferty;  The 6th years and the other students who participated in the Mass and all involved in the Service of Light;  I welcome in a special way the parent representative, Ms. Catherine Kealy, Ms. Emily Doyle who represented the Board of Management and Mr. Niall Murphy who represented the staff;  Thanks to Ms. Nicola Carr and Ms. Eileen Martin who produced the Mass booklets;  Mr. Pat O’Gorman who came down especially today for sound & Mr. Dale Hennessy for all his work with the choir

Especially this afternoon I would like to thank the staff, teaching and non, for all their help today – I really appreciate it.

The term has seen many changes and indeed loss. We remember Ms. Connolly who lost her Dad and Ms. Morris whose brother passed away. We remember too the sudden passing of our cleaner Mary Murphy’s brother, an uncle to students in our school.  We also remember Rachel Dreelan in 6th year whose granny passed away during the night. It’s a bitter sweet day for you today Rachel and we are thinking of you. We also remember all those in our school, students and staff, who are unwell at this time.  In particular I want to mention Mr. Quilter here. I know you all join with me in wishing him well and we look forward to him returning to us very soon.  In a special way we remember our own dear Josh Darlington whom we lost in early March. In my 9 years as principal the news of Josh’s death was one of the hardest to comprehend and will take some time to work through. In light of that I will talk later about the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing.

Thankfully we have lots to be grateful for too. First I want to take this opportunity to publically acknowledge that our school has appointed another deputy principal who joins Mr. Daly and myself in senior management and today I congratulate Ms. Una Osborne who has been appointed as Deputy Principal to FCJ, Bunclody. 

Mr. Mernagh greeted the New Year with the arrival of a beautiful baby daughter Caitlin, a sister for Cillian and Donnacha. Believe me Mr. Mernagh that young lady will have you wrapped around her little finger in no time! Mr. Flynn too has had a new addition to his family, a son Aonghus, a brother for Alva and Manus. Mr. Flynn is thinking of camping in Room 71 soon to ensure a night’s sleep!!

Well done to Kate Power in 5th Yr for winning the great accolade of best actress at the RTE All Ireland Drama Festival in Athlone earlier this month – one of the youngest ever recipients of this award.   Well done too to Laura O’Brien in Aidan II on winning the 2017 Wexford Garda Youth Award.   Laura was chosen from over 70 nominations and was recognised for her outstanding contribution to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and her positive outlook on life.

Our school recently won the Happy Heart at School Catering Award which recognises the commitment and hard work of our caterer, Mrs Patricia Breen, and our school in promoting healthy eating.   Well done to all the students who performed at the “Afternoon at the Movies” concert in Carlow. It was an excellent performance and thank you to Mr. Hennessy, Mr. Pat Gorman and Mr. Bob Leacy.

This week we say farewell to Leoni Bloom from Victoire II. Leonie came to us from Germany for the year and has had a great year. She loved our school system; she has made friends forever and been a real asset to our school.  Olivia Darcy in Bríd II has been Leonie’s host family and I am sure Olivia will miss her terribly when she returns home to Germany this weekend.

The spirit of generosity has been foremost and I always enjoy listing all the money that has been raised for charity through various ways:  Ms. Behan’s LCVP CLASS raised €300 in Numeracy week; Once again the 4th years have raised money for S.V.P, Irish Heart Foundation, AIB Build a Bank (CAS) & Bank of Ireland (Pieta House) – a total of €2428.

Earlier today we applauded the sporting achievements of our school winning a Leinster U14 Ladies Football title and a Leinster Minor B in Camogie. Again I want to thank all the teachers involved, especially Ms. Emily Doyle, Ms. Joanne Kearns for the football success and Mr. Damien Cloney and Ms. Leanne Nolan for the Camogie……. Not to mention the two Kelly girls as Player of the Match and Captain….. well done Lisa and Yvonne!

That team spirit too is being experienced by four of our 5th year students who have travelled to Lourdes to help with the invalids on the Diocesan pilgrimage. Orlaith, Sam, Alexandra & Niamh who, along with Seamus, have I am sure, been enriched by the experience.

The month of May is designated as a time to raise awareness about mental health and in particular positive mental health. There are many initiatives in our school like The Green Ribbon campaign organised by Ms. Eileen Murray which is a very worthwhile endeavour to get people talking about mental health.

This year again saw our school part of the Cycle Against Suicide campaign culminating in the over whelming successful cycle from Wexford to Gorey earlier this month. I want to thank Ms. Emily Doyle who prepared the students and the other teachers for the cycle. I know the students appreciated all that was done by Ms. Anne Carroll, Ms. Doyle and all the teachers involved. To the students who cycled I compliment you on how you behaved on the day. All the teachers involved were very proud and said you were true ambassadors for FCJ Bunclody.

And so today we celebrate you, our Leaving Certs. I will begin with the annual Student – Teacher match last Wednesday…. I think, 6th years you will agree that Mr. Tommy Earls deserves special mention here. He put huge work into ensuring your fun afternoon went well for you all . . . . . . no easy task! So thank you Mr. Earls…

The last week has been full of emotion, high and low. Throughout it all, Sixth Years, I must commend you for the lovely atmosphere and good humour you have shown both to your classmates and to staff. In showing Faithful Companionship you are indeed embedding that ethos for the students who will follow you next year and beyond. You are playing your part to ensure school is a safe and happy place for all.    So I hope today 6th years that among the many emotions you are going through that you feel a sense of pride in being part of FCJ for the last 5 or 6 years. I hope too that each of you feels your individuality and difference has been allowed to blossom while yet being treated as equal in our school.

Life as we know can be very challenging. I am very aware that a number of students sitting here in front of me today are experiencing personal struggles, mental health difficulties, anxiety and depression. I admire the courage you show as you face each new day and the energy it takes to keep moving forward, one step at a time. The hardest part is to be able to bounce back, to overcome adversity, and to remain positive when you are knocked back. What I am referring to here is what we call RESILIENCE. If you were only to take away one lesson from your time in FCJ I hope it would be that you have learned to be yourself, to believe in your own self-worth and know that you are of value. That way your sense of self will have developed which in turn will help build your resilience. That self-belief is what you will draw on throughout your life as you experience all that life throws at you. For some that comes easier than others. For those who find it difficult to remember there is help at hand, in your family, in your friends and through the many support groups that we promote in our school. Finding a way to express how you feel through words, in art, or in music and learning the valuable skill of sharing your anxieties will serve you well in life. Like we say “its ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help”.

The last year and indeed the last 5/6 years have passed in a whirlwind and I hope you enjoyed the fun of looking at your little innocent faces in your 1st year photos which Nicola put up for you. My hope is that through the time you have spent with us in FCJ you have learned to believe in yourself, you have realised that you can do well when you set your mind to it and that we value and support each one of your efforts to succeed. It has, at times, seemed like a long and yet a very short journey that has led you to this great day.

Well done too to Lauren English- Adams, Rachel Kelly, Kimberly O’Connor and Mairead O’Rourke who have attended school every day for their entire secondary school years – 23 years between the four of them!!  What a great achievement. I now call the four girls to the altar to receive a certificate for their outstanding attendance record.  

For Rachel there is another record we need to mention. Firstly Rachel has never missed a day in primary nor in Secondary- that is 14 years without one day missed. What a record. Secondly Rachel was born on the same day as another classmate – Ricky Morris. They were christened the same day, they went to primary school together and all through secondary school together and they graduate today together. Well done R and R!

For another 2 students it has been an extra special journey in that they have been together since they arrived in Ballon from Dublin. They moved into the same estate and joined Ballon National school, which is not one of our catchment schools and therefore makes it extra special that they have been placed in the same class in primary and then with us in secondary. Take a bow Caoimhe O Brien for putting up all those years with Jack Ryan.

And as for the twins – well Aoife and Rebecca suffice to say you have been together forever and there’s no beating that !

I was delighted to see you cost Mrs Kelly a fortune again in Evening Study with prizes for full attendance being awarded to 6 students – the record last year was 8 so well done.  

I wish each of you the very best as you leave us. I hope you will always know what it is to be a faithful companion to others on that journey and that with courage and with confidence you will always walk tall and aspire to be the very best.

Next I want to thank on your behalf all the staff and in particular your Form Teachers and Dean of Year, Mr. Gabriel Wade, for all they have done for you and for the school. Their hard work, commitment and concern are what make the difference to your school experience.   I now call on the Form Teacher from each class group to assist me as we call forward the students from each class group to be presented with your Graduation Certificate:  A6 – Ms. Joanne Kearns, B6 – Ms. Aisling Keane, C6 – Ms. Monica Dunne, P6 – Ms. Anne Carroll & V6 – Mr. Niall Murphy.

I would like to thank the Senior Prefects, and in particular the Head Girl and Head Boy and the Meitheal Leaders for their leadership shown in the school.     I would like to invite the Meitheal Leaders to come forward to the altar to be presented with a token of our gratitude for being kind and faithful companions to our first years:   Rebecca Bailey, Helen Doran, Maja Dumana, Tom Dillane, Rachel Dreelan, Lauren English-Adams, Cora Finn, Oran Fitzpatrick, Glen Jacob, Robbie Kavanagh, Megan Maher, Aoife Murphy, Katelyn Murphy, Harry McCafferty, Caoimhe O’Brien, Sean Redmond, Michael Rossiter & Niamh Treacy. I now call on the Senior Council to come forward for a presentation in gratitude for your service to our school:  Helen Doran, Anna Flood, Robbie Kavanagh, Rachel Kelly, Michaela McDonald, Paul McDonald, Martin O’Connor, Sean Redmond & Niamh Treacy, and finally the Head Boy, Michael Rossiter and Head Girl, Alice O’Dowd

I now call on the Head Girl and Head Boy to address you. . . . . . . . . . . .

The Head Boy and Head Girl now want to make a number of presentations to staff, especially to Mr. Brendan Daly who has been with us for 25 years, as a teacher and Deputy Principal.

GOOD FELLOWSHIP AWARD

We now come to a very significant part of the ceremony when we bestow what is the most prestigious award and greatest honour on one of our 6th year students.   The Good Fellowship Award is our tribute to the 6th year student who has been judged by fellow students and staff to have been outstanding in the schoolboy their spirited commitment to its life and purpose.   The qualities of Showing leadership and initiative;  Good interpersonal skills;  School involvement and Moral courage are sought in the winner.

As before the winner will also receive the Companionship Award presented to us by the FCJ Sisters. This beautiful piece is sculpted out of centuries old bog oak and symbolises the true companionship and friendship shown by this student towards his or her fellow students.   Once again the winner will join a select group of past pupils who have been worthy recipients of this award over the years.

FIRST ROUND   IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER –    Helen Doran, Cora Finn, Caoimhe Fitzharris, Kieran Kenny, Paul McDonald, Alice O’Dowd & Brian O’Neill

FINAL ROUND:  Cora  Finn, Kieran Kenny & Brian O’Neill.      

And so to today’s winner –  The comments that were repeatedly used for this student were:  Sound,  Approachable,  Genuinely nice to every student,  Always has time for you so matter how busy they are, Always there,  Kind,  Generous,  Very helpful,  Very friendly,  Always says hello to you,  Always smiling,  Good Person,  Helps others,  Proud to say they’re my friend, Will cheer you up on the worst day.

This year’s Good Fellowship Award goes to Kieran Kenny of Knockanure 

We now stand for the Graduation Song for the Class of 2017.

 

 

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FCJ Secondary School,
Bunclody,
Enniscorthy,
Co. Wexford
Tel: (+353)53-9377308
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