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The Annual Beginning of Year Mass for staff and students of F.C.J. Secondary School, Bunclody, was held on Thursday, September 17th, in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Bunclody.   The Eucharist was celebrated by the parish priest, V. Rev. Laurence O’Connor.   Following the Mass, the principal, Ms. Frances Threadgold, spoke to the congregation and later presented badges to the new Senior Prefects and Meitheal Leaders.   She also presented the Academic Awards and the Leaving & Junior Certificate Awards.

At the beginning of her speech, she said, “The FCJ values of Companionship, Respect and Justice are at the heart of our school life and are central to how we address bullying in our school.   Our Anti-Bullying Policy clearly states that every student has a right to be happy in school and to be treated as a unique individual valued for who they are. Everyone in our school community is expected to fully embrace our policy and knows that bullying is defined as behaviour that is DELIBERATE, HURTFUL AND REPEATED.

To show just how seriously we take this topic we – the entire school – will now pledge to abide by the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy.

I pledge to:

  • RESPECT one another and accept our differences
  • REJECT all verbal, physical, relational and cyber bullying
  • REPORT all bullying incidents in our school

The principal welcomed in a special way all those joining the school for the first time – beginning  with our 6 first year classes for whom this is the first of many school masses…. “ you are at the beginning of a very important part of your life and I know that during your time with us in FCJ Bunclody you will blossom and grow in courage and in confidence as you develop academically but equally importantly spiritually, physically and creatively. Today marks a significant development in the growth of FCJ Bunclody as it is the first time in the history of the school that we have over 800 students – 819 – to be exact.”

She also welcomed new members of staff  and thanked all who had worked so hard in preparation for the Mass.

“The theme, the Gift of Life, takes on a whole new meaning for me when we look across Europe to the current horrendous situation in Greece, Turkey, Austria, Germany and especially Hungary. In the coming months, and as the weather worsens, around 160,000 people will attempt to get to Europe. Why? Surely for the opportunity of a safer and better life. whether they are refugees fleeing persecution or migrants leaving by choice to improve their lives does not change the fact that they are fleeing from countries that are no longer safe. These countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq and Libya are now referred to as failed states because law and order has broken down. People are being attacked and killed.

Most are coming through Greece and Turkey in an attempt to get to Europe, especially Northern Europe, and most especially Germany which is seen as kind of a promised land. Hungary, as we know from the Media is putting up a strong resistance and it all makes for very uncomfortable viewing. I can understand why countries, like Ireland, are not rushing to take in people that we cannot then provide for but the Gift of Life for those people is very different that bit is for us.

Do we really have ANY idea of the difference between the gift of life we have been given and the one they are fighting for with every breath of their body and even ounce of their being??

One of the values of  FCJ is Justice and that includes Social Justice. So it is important that as part of our education to reflect on that and I know you do – through your various subjects but it is NEVER ok to be complacent.

How can we ever forget the image a few weeks ago of that little 3 year old boy washed up on the beach like a piece of rubbish. It was very disturbing to see for sure and for a while we are moved …….. but human nature is such that we move on, we forget, …. unless, that is, we keep reminding ourselves.

That little boy had a name – but can we remember it?

His name was Alan Kurdi. Imagine if we could have said to Alan what we sang for the Psalm…….    Do not be afraid I am with you, I have called you by name, come and follow me, I will take you home…… But we can’t can we??? And that’s not our fault

That guilt cannot be ours. Instead we need to focus on what we can do. And in FCJ Bunclody we have done just that by raising €763.70 in just over 24 hours for the people who are suffering. I am truly impressed but not really surprised at your generosity and I thank you all and Ms. McIvor who organised it most sincerely for responding so positively to this worthy cause.

If and when Ireland does take in its share of refugees I look forward to the richness and diversity that will bring to our country.   Sitting here among us today are many different religions and nationalities. In our school alone we have at least 10 religions to include Hindu, Muslim, Anglican, Church of England, Church of Ireland, Seventh Day Adventist, Quaker alongside Roman Catholic and among the nations in which our body of students were born we have Australia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sweden, USA and the United Kingdom and still thanks to our FCJ uniform we are still ONE BODY IN THIS ONE WORLD!!!

And so it should be. Many nationalities united under one crest, equal under one motto – the FCJ motto. It is the responsibility of each of us to ensure everybody in our school no matter where they were born are allowed feel safe and happy in our school. and how can we ensure that is the case – through our anti bullying policy of course.

That is why today, as we begin a new school year, we have publically pledged as a whole school community to

  • RESPECT one another and accept our differences
  • REJECT all verbal, physical, relational and cyber bullying
  • REPORT all bullying incidents in our school

Remember too that you have a responsibility if you are a bystander. It is not ok to stand by and watch/hear/witness another student being bullied and then walk away without reporting it. And I include the behaviour on the buses here too. All our bus drivers have been fully briefed on our Anti-Bullying policy and will be keeping a watchful eye to ensure every student feels safe and happy travelling to and from school.

So today as part of our ceremony we acknowledge three major events in the life of our school which epitomise all I have been speaking about and our theme for today’s Mass.

The 1st event is the presentation of badges to the Meitheal Leaders. As you all know the Meitheal Leaders specifically take responsibility for the integration of our 1st years. From day 1 they are true companions to our new students, helping them to settle in and making our school a happier and safer place for all. This they do with the help and support of Mr. Quilter whom we also thank today. Their care and kindness shown to our 1st years will live on in the hearts and minds of our new students for the rest of their school days and beyond.

I now call on the Meitheal leaders to come forward to formally accept their badges:

Tomasz Bialko,   Sholah Cowman,   Annie Doyle

Aoife Doyle,   Rian English-Adams,   Eva Kavanagh

Elizabeth Kavanagh,   Roisin Kelly,    Anna Kinsella

Bernadette Lambert,   James Manning,    Bill Milne

Clodagh Murphy,   Chloe Moulds,   Hugh McInerney

Aisling Power,   Peter O’Toole,   Dylan Raleigh   &   Shay Wakerly

The 2nd event honours our Senior Prefects. These are students who have accepted a leadership role in our school and they fully accept the privilege of being elected by their peers coupled with the responsibility to uphold and promote the good name of the school at all times and to contribute to the successful running of the school in any way they can.

I now call on the Senior Prefects for 2015/2016 to come forward for their Dedication of Service and presentation of badges:

Edel Crean,   Diarmuid Crean,   Roisin Kelly,   George Leech

Leah Maher (Head Girl),   Clodagh Murphy,   Hugh McInerney

Dylan Raleigh (Head Boy),   Caoimhe Redmond,   Aaron Rooney

Together they now recite their Dedication of Service.”


At this stage the Presentation of Academic Awards took place.  Please see details in AWARDS / ACADEMIC AWARDS under ABOUT OUR SCHOOL


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