Chernobyl Children International CEO Adi Roche was the guest speaker at Scoil Mhuire Secondary School's annual students awards ceremony.
The Clonmel born founder of the charity that helps children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster gave a passionate and inspiring address in which she encouraged Scoil Mhuire's students to strive to reach their full potential and to appreciate the difference they are capable of making in the world.
Scoil Mhuire's students awards ceremony took place at the school on Thursday, May 24 while the 6th year class graduation and awards ceremony was the following evening.
A total of 90 students were honoured at the student awards night with a further 19 Leaving Cert students honoured after the graduation ceremony.
Leaving Cert student Rhona Butler won the school's Overall Student of the Year award. Scoil Mhuire Principal Brendan O'Dwyer presented her with the Perpetual Shield.
Rosaleen Foley presented her with the Catherine McCauley award while Seán McDonnell, Manager of Carrick-on-Suir Credit Union presented Rhona with the Mossy Casey Memorial Bursary.
Fellow 6th year Annie Laffan received the school's CEIST (Catholic Education An Irish Schools Trust) Award as the student who best reflects the spirit and core values of CEIST.
All-Ireland champion hurdler Miriam Daly, who has represented Ireland in international competitions, received the Sports Star of the Year award.
Principal Brendan O'Dwyer congratulated the students on their fantastic achievements and urged them to continue to strive for excellence in all of their pursuits, academic or otherwise.
See this week’s print edition of The Nationalist for full report on the awards.
Below is an excerpt from the blog sixth year Scoil Mhuire student Haley Starr wrote about her time at the Carrick-on-Suir secondary school. It's called “Love Letter to Scoil Mhuire, Greenhill”.
"This school has been a safe place for me. The first time I walked through the doors in late August of 2012, I was afraid. It took a while to get comfortable. Teachers didn’t know me and the ceilings looked like pot noodles and I was wearing a stupid hairband. It wasn’t an immediate fit. I even took off to America for half of second year in search of something better. Leaving was the best decision I ever made, because then I got to choose to come back. I came back because I missed the school that once never knew me. I had people to come back to.
Sometimes I wonder whether I’ve spent more collective hours at school or at home in the last two years. It’s become such a natural and effortless place for me to be. There are teachers here that I could talk about anything to. I’ve formed friendships here that have defined who I am as a person. The best and worst of times have passed me in this school. In either case, there has always, always been somebody there to share it with. Every morning I walk into this personalised little world of textbooks and squared paper and laughter and tears, and I love it. I keep ‘love’ in the present tense, because I can’t quite face the fact that my days in that particular world are coming to an end. I can only hope that the future holds many bright places to replace the one I’m about to lose. I’d even settle for just one.
Putting aside the people that make this school what it is, I’ll also miss the little things. I’ll miss standing awkwardly in the microwave queue for the entirety of lunch. I’ll miss playing musical chairs in the old computer room to find a computer that actually works. I’ll miss bruises on my thighs from accidentally walking into those lunch tables on a regular basis. I’ll miss "studying in the GPA" after maths instead of actually going to study. I’ll miss taking naps in the oratory. Hey, we may not have a snazzy gym or whatever else twelve year olds think is attractive, but you have to admit this place has character.
In Home Ec one time we learned about the ‘hidden curriculum’. It’s to do with the social skills and life lessons that a child learns just from being in school, regardless of the academic curriculum. I only started to think about the hidden curriculum I’ve been following when I realised it was almost finished. Today Ms Donohue was telling us about how when she started teaching, her mother told her that you never miss a day of school unless you’re seriously sick, and you work as hard as you can. The biggest virtue this school has taught me is the importance of hard work. They say talent is nothing without hard work, and I’m reminded of this when I look at Ms Donohue’s perfect attendance record, or her refill pads containing her own workings for every question ever. I’m inspired by all the people I’ve met here who do what needs to be done and do it well. I’ve been taught by this school that dedication and commitment will get you everywhere.
This school has also taught me compassion. I’ve always respected the fact that if someone’s crying, you can take off basically an entire class to help mitigate the issue. No questions asked. If someone is having a hard time, we do not leave them off to sort themselves out and go about our business. We do what we can to help. We take care of each other. It’s become routine, it happens without a second thought. The culture of love and support that I’ve seen demonstrated time and time again here is, in my opinion, a truly beautiful thing. The real world is rough (or so I’ve heard), but if the vast majority of us manage to carry some of this compassion with us in years to come, I think we will all be ok."