Farewell to the Class of 2023

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<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

● Wilson’s Hospital School<br />

● St Finian’s College<br />

● St Mary’s Secondary School<br />

● Lore<strong>to</strong> College<br />

● St Joseph’s, Rochfortbridge<br />

● Castlepollard Community College<br />

● Oaklands Community College<br />

● Mullingar Community College<br />

“The Best<br />

way <strong>to</strong> predict<br />

your Future<br />

is <strong>to</strong> create it”

2 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />


As <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong> finish <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

time as students in Wilson’s Hospital<br />

School, <strong>the</strong>y have been reminiscing<br />

about <strong>the</strong>ir years in <strong>the</strong><br />

school and looking forward <strong>to</strong><br />

what is <strong>to</strong> come. While it has been<br />

a year working steadily <strong>to</strong>wards<br />

<strong>the</strong> Leaving Certificate exams in<br />

June, it has been <strong>the</strong> various highlights<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> year that <strong>the</strong> students<br />

have been remembering.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> first important announcements<br />

for <strong>the</strong>m was <strong>the</strong><br />

naming <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Senior Prefects for<br />

<strong>the</strong> academic year 2022-<strong>2023</strong>. This<br />

year, Isobel Clerk and Izaak Bannister<br />

have been great role models<br />

as Head Girl and Head Boy<br />

throughout <strong>the</strong> year.<br />

Sports Day is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last<br />

chances in <strong>the</strong> academic year for<br />

students <strong>to</strong> take a break from<br />

studying for <strong>the</strong> exams and make<br />

some lasting memories with <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

friends. Several members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong> have been committed<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir sport throughout <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

years in Wilson’s representing <strong>the</strong><br />

school on many teams. We particularly<br />

wish continued success <strong>to</strong><br />

Isobel Clerk who has already represented<br />

Ireland in rugby and Divine<br />

Izekor who is playing<br />

Premier Division football regularly<br />

with UCD. Sports Day in<br />

WHS is full <strong>of</strong> fun events for<br />

everyone <strong>to</strong> try and <strong>the</strong> Leaving<br />

Cert class always participate fully!<br />

Recently, in one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir last Life<br />

Skills classes with Ms Sweeney,<br />

<strong>the</strong> class were asked <strong>to</strong> write a few<br />

sentences reflecting <strong>the</strong>ir memories<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir days in <strong>the</strong> school.<br />

Here are some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir answers:<br />

"My favourite Wilson’s memory<br />

has <strong>to</strong> be this entire final year and<br />

I also loved our 6th year Christmas<br />

Dinner and our TY festival."<br />

"Being scared <strong>to</strong> start First Year<br />

turned in<strong>to</strong> never wanting <strong>to</strong><br />

leave.”<br />

"The dorms were full <strong>of</strong> fun<br />

memories, late night talks and<br />

silly s<strong>to</strong>ries. We also had a baking<br />

club making cookies, buns and<br />

brownies with love."<br />

“WHS treats us as if we are family<br />

- our teachers are very caring<br />

and understanding. I remember a<br />

surprise trip <strong>to</strong> Tay<strong>to</strong> Park. These<br />

activities help us see our men<strong>to</strong>rs<br />

in a different light ra<strong>the</strong>r than just<br />

in an authoritative role."<br />

"Cherished memories - forever<br />

friendships"<br />

"When six years ahead turned<br />

in<strong>to</strong> six days left and summer<br />

tests turned in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Leaving<br />

Cert!"<br />

A big congratulations <strong>to</strong> Pádraig, Daniel, Jack, Aaron, Izaak, Tom, Temi, Nathan, Molly, Aimee, Roisín, Brianna, Sarah Jane, Elle Anna, Isobel and Naoise who were elected<br />

Senior Prefects for <strong>the</strong> academic year 2022-<strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Malcolm and Scott O’Boyle and Tom<br />

Wheeler in <strong>the</strong> Form 1 boys’ dorm<br />

when <strong>the</strong>y started in Wilson’s.<br />

Róisín Molloy and Samantha Felce enjoying <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

graduation dinner.<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Form 6 students who ga<strong>the</strong>red with <strong>the</strong>ir friends and families for a<br />

lovely meal in WHS <strong>to</strong> mark <strong>the</strong>ir graduation from school included friends Matt,<br />

Eddie, Malcolm, Mat<strong>the</strong>w, Stephen, Tom, Scott and Pádraig.<br />

Isobel Clerk in her first Irish<br />

rugby jersey.<br />

Mat<strong>the</strong>w Conlon was awarded <strong>the</strong> Cup for Senior<br />

Boys Rugby Player <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year at Sports Day by<br />

school principal Mr Milling with coach, Mr Dunne.<br />

Samantha Felce, Isobel Clerk, Molly Kane and Cara Martin<br />

taking an ice cream break during Sports Day at WHS.<br />

Divine Izekor plays Premier<br />

Division football with UCD.

TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

3<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Care and respect is at <strong>the</strong> heart <strong>of</strong> everything we do<br />

At <strong>the</strong>ir recent school graduation Principal<br />

Mr Milling spoke <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> students and<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir families at <strong>the</strong> start <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> service in<br />

<strong>the</strong> school Chapel. He urged <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> be <strong>the</strong><br />

very best version <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>mselves and said<br />

that it has been a pleasure getting <strong>to</strong> know<br />

<strong>the</strong>m during his first year as Principal in<br />

<strong>the</strong> school. Later at a special dinner in <strong>the</strong><br />

school dining room, <strong>the</strong>ir Year Head Mr<br />

Mahony had some advice and memories <strong>to</strong><br />

share with <strong>the</strong> students. It was<br />

a lovely event with<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir parents,<br />

guardians and<br />

teachers. Mr Mahony said “I would like <strong>to</strong><br />

wish <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong> every success in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir Leaving Certificate exams, and continued<br />

prosperity in <strong>the</strong>ir subsequent chosen<br />

paths. In a busy school environment, it<br />

can be a challenge <strong>to</strong> let students know<br />

how much <strong>the</strong>y are appreciated. When <strong>the</strong><br />

end comes near, and you have time <strong>to</strong> reflect,<br />

it is important <strong>to</strong> let students know<br />

how well <strong>the</strong>y have done, and how it’s been<br />

a pleasure <strong>to</strong> work with<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, from a<br />

teacher’s<br />

perspective.<br />

This year group, as a collective,” he<br />

commented, “have been wonderful <strong>to</strong> work<br />

with, and it is a sentiment shared by my<br />

teacher colleagues. The collective, <strong>of</strong><br />

course, is made <strong>of</strong> dynamic, unique individuals.”<br />

He concluded by thanking <strong>the</strong><br />

students, reminding <strong>the</strong>m that <strong>the</strong>y are <strong>the</strong><br />

Wilsonians <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>, for what <strong>the</strong>y have contributed<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> school during <strong>the</strong>ir time<br />

<strong>the</strong>re.<br />

As <strong>the</strong>ir time as students in Wilson’s Hospital<br />

School ends and we wish <strong>the</strong>m every<br />

good wish for <strong>the</strong> future, <strong>the</strong> Principal, Mr<br />

Milling has a very special message for <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>:<br />

“As we approach <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> school<br />

year,” he said, “I send my encouragement,<br />

thanks and good wishes <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong>. You have wea<strong>the</strong>red <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>rm and<br />

are now bringing <strong>the</strong> ship in<strong>to</strong> harbour.<br />

Your fortitude, good grace and determined<br />

outlook will stand <strong>to</strong> you as you face in<strong>to</strong><br />

your future. You are Wilsonians. That<br />

means something. Be proud <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fact that<br />

we were as grateful <strong>to</strong> have you here as you<br />

were as gracious <strong>to</strong> work with us in your<br />

time here. Res Non Verba.”<br />

There were<br />

plenty <strong>of</strong><br />

opportunities for<br />

lovely pho<strong>to</strong>s in<br />

front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

school <strong>to</strong> start <strong>the</strong><br />

school graduation<br />

celebrations.<br />

Naoise, Tyana,<br />

ElleAnna, Caoimhe,<br />

Sophie, Ameera,<br />

Leila, Aoibhín and<br />

Robyn were enjoying<br />

<strong>the</strong> moment.<br />

Thank you <strong>to</strong> Head Girl, Isobel Clerk and Head Boy,<br />

Izaak Bannister for all <strong>the</strong>ir work all year in<br />

representing <strong>the</strong> school.<br />

Every good wish <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>. You will always be Wilsonians!

4 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />


Leaving Certificate Graduation <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>. The 221st Graduating class from St Finian's.<br />

Taking your leave<br />

As you go from us we hope we have given you <strong>the</strong> vital<br />

skills and most importantly <strong>the</strong> values that will<br />

sustain you throughout life.<br />

Take on <strong>the</strong> opportunities and challenges that life will bring.<br />

Embrace <strong>the</strong> unknown. We hope that St Finian’s will remain<br />

a special place for you. We hope you will feel welcome in <strong>the</strong><br />

future <strong>to</strong> visit us and let us know how things are going for you.<br />

We want <strong>to</strong> wish you every success in your future lives and<br />

careers. We are very proud <strong>of</strong> your achievements. Of who you<br />

are now, and who you will become.<br />

Mr J. McHale & <strong>the</strong> staff <strong>of</strong> St Finian’s College<br />

#SFC<strong>2023</strong><br />

Bishop elect <strong>the</strong> Very Reverend Paul<br />

Connell and Tara Dal<strong>to</strong>n (Head Girl).<br />

Student <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year<br />

Tara Dal<strong>to</strong>n and Ms Emma Carey (Deputy Principal).<br />

Head Boy, Conor Garvey and Head Girl Tara Dal<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

Mr McHale, Principal pictured with Mr Kevin<br />

Hickey, Year Head.<br />

Each year <strong>the</strong> Leaving Certificate<br />

class chooses a student<br />

who <strong>the</strong>y believe has<br />

made <strong>the</strong> greatest contribution<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir year group.<br />

Very much a positive influence<br />

on this year group, <strong>the</strong><br />

Leaving Certificate class <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> have voted Tara Dal<strong>to</strong>n<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir Student <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year.<br />

She has been a formidable<br />

representative <strong>of</strong> St. Finian’s<br />

College throughout<br />

her six years and made a<br />

valuable contribution <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

life <strong>of</strong> St Finian’s through<br />

her work as a men<strong>to</strong>r and<br />

Head Girl.<br />

Since joining our school in<br />

August 2017 Tara has developed<br />

strong relationships<br />

with her teachers and o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

students by her respectful<br />

and friendly approach <strong>to</strong><br />

life. Calm and mannered,<br />

quiet and unassuming,<br />

hardworking, solid and dependable,<br />

Tara is most deserving<br />

<strong>of</strong> this prize.

TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

5<br />


Conor Garvey (Head Boy) and<br />

Mr McHale (principal).<br />

From left <strong>to</strong> right: Holly Dowdall, Emma Dagg, Tara Dal<strong>to</strong>n,<br />

Hazel Loughrey.<br />

Left <strong>to</strong> right: Ella Burke, Leah Sherlock, Honey Carroll.<br />

Left <strong>to</strong> right: Lily Gary, Eva Farrell, Aleisha Byrne, Mr McHale<br />

(Principal), Carolann Downes, Lucy Finnerty.<br />

Mr McHale and Cormac Murphy.<br />

Above: Left <strong>to</strong> right: Killian Ruisinger, Owen Meisonnave, Martin<br />

Wieczorek, Tim O'Sullivan, Sean Nulty, Daniel Raducan, Arnas<br />

Mikuzas, Mohammad Al Bashir.<br />

Back row from left <strong>to</strong> right: Ryan Bitu, Ciaran Kiernan, Peter Murphy, Conor<br />

Kelly, Nathan McLoughlin Purcell<br />

Front row left <strong>to</strong> right: Shane Egan and Luke Heduvan.<br />

Left <strong>to</strong> right: Rachel Tully, Aoife Buckley, Charlotte Byrne, Katrina Mitjajeva, Rachel<br />

Hatchett, Emily Bote, Natalia Kowolik.

6 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

ST JOSEPH'S, ROCHFORTBRIDGE, CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong><br />

St Joseph’s Leaving Certificate Graduation <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

To <strong>the</strong> Leaving Cert class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

As you take your leave <strong>of</strong> us and prepare <strong>to</strong> move on in <strong>the</strong> next stage <strong>of</strong> your life<br />

journey, we want <strong>to</strong> sincerely thank you for <strong>the</strong> outstanding contribution you have<br />

made <strong>to</strong> St Joseph’s. Reflecting on your time here, we recall moments <strong>of</strong> laughter,<br />

friendship and academic challenges. While we celebrate <strong>the</strong> work you did in <strong>the</strong><br />

classroom, <strong>the</strong> great efforts you made, your co-operation with your teachers, we<br />

will also think <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> great sense <strong>of</strong> fun you had, your willingness <strong>to</strong> get involved in<br />

everything <strong>of</strong>fered. You are a group that <strong>to</strong>ok every opportunity presented <strong>to</strong> you<br />

and went with it. You were exemplary role models for all our students and created<br />

an atmosphere <strong>of</strong> inclusion and enjoyment. For that, we thank you most sincerely.<br />

As a group, you have much <strong>to</strong> look forward <strong>to</strong>, you have numerous possibilities and<br />

opportunities before you, make <strong>the</strong> most <strong>of</strong> each one. We know that whatever you<br />

go on <strong>to</strong> do in life you will be people <strong>of</strong> integrity, successful in your chosen career<br />

but also some <strong>of</strong> life’s good people.<br />

I hope you have many good and positive memories <strong>of</strong> your school days and that<br />

you will not be a stranger <strong>to</strong> us in St Joseph’s. Remember our door is always open;<br />

get in <strong>to</strong>uch if you have something <strong>to</strong> celebrate or if we can help in any way. You<br />

are part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bridge family and though you are flying <strong>the</strong> nest, we will always be<br />

interested in how you are doing.<br />

We know that you are a group about who on many occasions we will be proud <strong>to</strong><br />

say “we knew <strong>the</strong>m when <strong>the</strong>y were young”. Remember us, we will certainly remember<br />

you.<br />

The very best <strong>of</strong> luck from <strong>the</strong> entire school community in St Joseph’s.<br />

Margaret Cole<br />

STUDENTS OF THE YEAR <strong>2023</strong><br />

Congratulations <strong>to</strong> our Students <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year,<br />

Sadhbh Gorman and Abdel Abourezk.<br />

The Student <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year award represents <strong>the</strong><br />

leadership qualities, outstanding character and<br />

dedicated service <strong>to</strong> our school community here<br />

in St Joseph’s. The award is also about embodying<br />

qualities that make a well-rounded individual.<br />

This prestigious honour has been bes<strong>to</strong>wed<br />

upon two students who have consistently displayed<br />

a commitment <strong>to</strong> excellence in all aspects<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir educational journey.<br />

The selection process was incredibly challenging<br />

because we have an outstanding group <strong>of</strong><br />

students. Each one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m have contributed <strong>to</strong><br />

our school in <strong>the</strong>ir own unique way.<br />

STUDENTS OF THE YEAR: Abdel Abourezk and<br />

Sadhbh Gorman with Principal Margaret Cole.<br />

Sadhbh exemplifies everything we would look for in a student. Honest, hardworking, genuine, always<br />

giving her best effort in <strong>the</strong> classroom and an all-round kind-hearted person. Since starting her<br />

journey in our school, her involvement in extracurricular activities has made a lasting impact on <strong>the</strong><br />

lives <strong>of</strong> both her teammates and teachers. Sadhbh has consistently demonstrated resilience in <strong>the</strong><br />

face <strong>of</strong> challenges and in recent years returned from a serious injury <strong>to</strong> come back stronger than ever,<br />

displaying a remarkable level <strong>of</strong> perseverance and determination that is truly commendable.<br />

Abdel displays all <strong>the</strong> characteristics that we love <strong>to</strong> see in a student here in St Joseph’s. He is a<br />

Sixth Year Prefect who has displayed a genuine concern for <strong>the</strong> well-being <strong>of</strong> his fellow students and<br />

has readily <strong>of</strong>fered support and kindness <strong>to</strong> those in need. His positive attitude and ability <strong>to</strong> bring<br />

people <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r have created a nurturing and inclusive environment within our school community.<br />

Always smiling, always respectful; a true gentleman.<br />

May both Sadhbh and Abdel continue <strong>to</strong> achieve great heights and make a difference in all <strong>the</strong>ir future<br />

endeavours. Their accomplishments are a testament <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir hard work, dedication and unwavering<br />

spirit. May <strong>the</strong>ir success inspire o<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>to</strong> follow in <strong>the</strong>ir footsteps.<br />

To all students, we want <strong>to</strong> remind you that greatness lies within each one <strong>of</strong> you. Embrace every<br />

opportunity, pursue your dreams and make a difference in this world. Remember that success is not<br />

measured solely by <strong>the</strong> accolades you receive but by <strong>the</strong> lives you <strong>to</strong>uch and <strong>the</strong> positive impact you<br />

leave behind.

TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

7<br />

ST JOSEPH'S, ROCHFORTBRIDGE, CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong><br />

<br />

OUR OUTSTANDING GROUP OF SIXTH YEAR PREFECTS - Left <strong>to</strong> right: Abdel Abourezk, Colin Kiernan, Jack Tone, Sarah<br />

Dunne, Meadbh Monaghan, Brianna Daly, Aoife Mc Donnell, Nina Yung O’Connor, Katie Smullen, Hannah Borthwick,<br />

Eoghan Kelly, Paige De Khors, Aaron Hanley, Ciara Doyle, Colin Burke, Sinead Cannon, Darragh Hall, Marie Cooney,<br />

Sorcha Forde, Ben Holbrook, Molly Swanson, Jack Donoghue, Aoife O’Donnell, Niall Whelehan.<br />

Darragh Claffey with teacher Chris Cole.<br />

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Grainne Cannon, Shauna Nugent, Ellen Geoghegan and Sadhbh Murtagh.<br />

• Replacement chargers, screen replacements<br />

• Repair <strong>to</strong> all makes & models <strong>of</strong> lap<strong>to</strong>ps<br />

Helena Heduan, Sixth Year Head and Damien Rushe, Deputy Principal <strong>to</strong><br />

Sixth Years.<br />


ACCESSORIES, Stephen McNevin, Liam Daly, Jack NETWORKING, Larkin McHugh, Finan PC GAMING,<br />

Reilly, Callum Kelly, Stephen Powell, Abdel Abourezk,<br />

Tiernan Jessop Mc Cormack, Ali Abourezk, Liam Matear,<br />

DATA Eimhinn Whelan RECOVERY, and Finnian Carroll. WEBSITES AND MORE...<br />

Ms Killian's Maths class enjoying <strong>the</strong> sun at our Leaving Cert BBQ Day.

8 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Students invited <strong>to</strong><br />

apply for <strong>2023</strong>/24 <br />

Gerard Byrne Bursary<br />

From 1 June, <strong>2023</strong>,<br />

<strong>the</strong> National Council<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Blind in Ireland<br />

(NCBI) is<br />

accepting applications<br />

from students<br />

who are blind or<br />

vision impaired for<br />

our annual Gerard<br />

Byrne Bursary.<br />

The NCBI Gerard<br />

Byrne Bursary honours<br />

<strong>the</strong> contribution<br />

<strong>of</strong> Gerard Byrne, who<br />

was a lifelong advocate<br />

for education.<br />

The bursary consists<br />

<strong>of</strong> annual grants for<br />

undergraduate students<br />

who are blind or<br />

vision impaired<br />

studying on a fulltime<br />

basis at a recognised<br />

educational<br />

institution in <strong>the</strong><br />

Republic <strong>of</strong> Ireland.<br />

The value <strong>of</strong> each<br />

scholarship is set at<br />

€2,000 per year and<br />

continues for <strong>the</strong><br />

duration <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> undergraduate<br />

programme<br />

chosen by <strong>the</strong> Bursary<br />

winners.<br />

Toni O’Dwyer,<br />

National Services<br />

Manager for NCBI’s<br />

Children and Young<br />

Persons (CYP) team,<br />

said: “The Gerard<br />

Byrne Bursary is one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most important<br />

<strong>to</strong>ols that NCBI has in<br />

supporting young people<br />

<strong>to</strong> progress in<strong>to</strong><br />

and complete third<br />

level studies. It provides<br />

support <strong>to</strong> students<br />

who are blind or<br />

vision impaired <strong>to</strong> lift<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> financial<br />

burden <strong>of</strong> post-secondary<br />

study so <strong>the</strong>y<br />

can fully focus on<br />

completing <strong>the</strong>ir studies<br />

within an education<br />

system that can<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten leave <strong>the</strong>m<br />

behind. This, along<br />

with our o<strong>the</strong>r education<br />

resources, like<br />

Bookshare Ireland<br />

and individualised<br />

support from <strong>the</strong> CYP<br />

team, continue <strong>to</strong> help<br />

break down barriers<br />

<strong>to</strong> education for people<br />

who are blind or<br />

vision impaired and<br />

who wish <strong>to</strong> progress<br />

beyond college and<br />

in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> workforce.<br />

“We would encourage<br />

students <strong>to</strong> read<br />

our accessible awarding<br />

criteria document,<br />

which is available on<br />

<strong>the</strong> NCBI website, and<br />

<strong>to</strong> apply if you are eligible.<br />

We can’t wait <strong>to</strong><br />

meet our eventual<br />

<strong>2023</strong>/24 Gerard Byrne<br />

Bursary award winners<br />

and <strong>to</strong> see how<br />

far <strong>the</strong>y have and will<br />

come in <strong>the</strong>ir education<br />

goals.”<br />


The deadline for<br />

receiving completed<br />

applications is 21 July.<br />

Students who wish <strong>to</strong><br />

submit queries about<br />

<strong>the</strong> bursary can do so<br />

by emailing: bursary@ncbi.ie.<br />

‘Desiderata’<br />

‘Things that Are Desired’ – a<br />

contemporary an<strong>the</strong>m for school leavers<br />

Established 1994<br />

1 Austin Friars Street, Mullingar<br />

sales@basecomputers.ie • www.basecomputers.ie • 044 93 49622<br />

• Replacement chargers, screen replacements<br />

• Repair <strong>to</strong> all makes & models <strong>of</strong> lap<strong>to</strong>ps<br />




Go placidly amid <strong>the</strong> noise and <strong>the</strong> haste,<br />

and remember what peace <strong>the</strong>re may be in<br />

silence. As far as possible, without<br />

surrender, be on good terms with all<br />

persons.<br />

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and<br />

listen <strong>to</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs, even <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> dull and <strong>the</strong><br />

ignorant; <strong>the</strong>y <strong>to</strong>o have <strong>the</strong>ir s<strong>to</strong>ry.<br />

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are vexatious <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> spirit. If you compare<br />

yourself with o<strong>the</strong>rs, you may become vain<br />

or bitter, for always <strong>the</strong>re will be greater<br />

and lesser persons than yourself.<br />

Enjoy your achievements as well as your<br />

plans. Keep interested in your own career,<br />

however humble; it is a real possession in<br />

<strong>the</strong> changing fortunes <strong>of</strong> time.<br />

Exercise caution in your business affairs,<br />

for <strong>the</strong> world is full <strong>of</strong> trickery. But let this<br />

not blind you <strong>to</strong> what virtue <strong>the</strong>re is; many<br />

persons strive for high ideals, and<br />

everywhere life is full <strong>of</strong> heroism.<br />

Go Your Own Way<br />

If college or apprenticeships is not for you but you have a burning desire <strong>to</strong><br />

change <strong>the</strong> world or at least see <strong>the</strong> world, here are a few alternatives <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

world <strong>of</strong> study and work:<br />

1. TRAVEL<br />

It certainly does broaden<br />

<strong>the</strong> mind and <strong>the</strong> taste<br />

buds and whets your<br />

appetite for something<br />

‘more’. So, get your globe<br />

out and start planning<br />

your travel route - perhaps<br />

working and volunteering<br />

as you go, picking<br />

up some invaluable lifetime<br />

skills!<br />


Are you <strong>the</strong> arty types<br />

who loves <strong>to</strong> visit museums<br />

and spends hours<br />

reading and re-reading<br />

books? Then perhaps you<br />

have it in you <strong>to</strong> make<br />

your fortune by giving<br />

art or writing a try. You<br />

need nothing more than a<br />

pen and paper, and a reasonable<br />

vocabulary if<br />

you plan <strong>to</strong> write.<br />

3. GO ON A RETREAT<br />

Taking a few weeks,<br />

months or even a year out<br />

rejuvenates <strong>the</strong> body,<br />

mind and spirit, so a<br />

retreat may be just <strong>the</strong><br />

thing you need at this<br />

point in time. Consider<br />

doing <strong>the</strong> “Ireland Way”<br />

Be yourself. Especially do not feign<br />

affection. Nei<strong>the</strong>r be cynical about love; for<br />

in <strong>the</strong> face <strong>of</strong> all aridity and<br />

disenchantment, it is as perennial as <strong>the</strong><br />

grass.<br />

Take kindly <strong>the</strong> counsel <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> years,<br />

gracefully surrendering <strong>the</strong> things <strong>of</strong><br />

youth.<br />

Nurture strength <strong>of</strong> spirit <strong>to</strong> shield you in<br />

sudden misfortune. But do not distress<br />

yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears<br />

are born <strong>of</strong> fatigue and loneliness.<br />

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle<br />

with yourself. You are a child <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

universe no less than <strong>the</strong> trees and <strong>the</strong><br />

stars; you have a right <strong>to</strong> be here.<br />

And whe<strong>the</strong>r or not it is clear <strong>to</strong> you, no<br />

doubt <strong>the</strong> universe is unfolding as it<br />

should. Therefore be at peace with God,<br />

whatever you conceive Him <strong>to</strong> be.<br />

And whatever your labors and aspirations,<br />

in <strong>the</strong> noisy confusion <strong>of</strong> life, keep peace in<br />

your soul.<br />

With all its sham, drudgery and broken<br />

dreams, it is still a beautiful world.<br />

Be cheerful. Strive <strong>to</strong> be happy.<br />

walk, or <strong>the</strong> “Camino de<br />

Santiago” walk. Go on a<br />

yoga or wellness retreat.<br />

Escape <strong>of</strong>f in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> hills<br />

and mountains for <strong>the</strong><br />

last reasonable month or<br />

two <strong>of</strong> good wea<strong>the</strong>r this<br />

year and camp out for<br />

some time. Basically consider<br />

spending time with<br />

yourself and see if<br />

enlightenment in<strong>to</strong> what<br />

your future plans are<br />

emerges. No worries if<br />

you’re none <strong>the</strong> wiser<br />

when you’re finished<br />

your retreat; your body<br />

and mind will at least be<br />

at peace by <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

– Max Ehrmann, 1952<br />

D<br />


Now is <strong>the</strong> time <strong>to</strong> chalk<br />

out your burning ambition<br />

<strong>to</strong> be <strong>the</strong> leading<br />

entrepreneur in an undiscovered<br />

field that awaits<br />

you. So no matter how<br />

ridiculous you think your<br />

idea is, <strong>the</strong>re is scope for<br />

just about anything in<br />

<strong>to</strong>days world - so give<br />

your idea some life and<br />

see where it goes from<br />

<strong>the</strong>re. Speak with your<br />

local LEO <strong>of</strong>fice for<br />

advice. We wish you all<br />

<strong>the</strong> best!

TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

9<br />

Useful ways <strong>to</strong> <br />

spend <strong>the</strong> summer<br />

Castlepollard Community<br />

College Awards<br />

So that’s it - you’re finished with secondary school and college days are just<br />

around <strong>the</strong> corner. You probably won’t realise it yet but you’ll miss school, you’ll<br />

miss your friends, your teachers, you’ll miss <strong>the</strong> proximity <strong>of</strong> how close school was<br />

<strong>to</strong> home but no doubt, you’ll quickly make friends at college and you’ll build up a<br />

rapport with college teachers in no time and you’ll have travel <strong>to</strong> and from college<br />

aced in a few days so college is just one big adventure you have <strong>to</strong> look forward <strong>to</strong><br />

from here onwards.<br />

Board <strong>of</strong> Management member Donie Cassidy<br />

presents James Sheehan with <strong>the</strong> Misneach<br />

Resilience Award.<br />

You have a few months<br />

<strong>to</strong> enjoy between<br />

secondary school and<br />

college and this is time you<br />

will be happy <strong>to</strong> have; <strong>to</strong><br />

relax a bit after final<br />

exams or take a well<br />

deserved holiday after <strong>the</strong><br />

hectic study schedule over<br />

<strong>the</strong> past few weeks. Some<br />

<strong>of</strong> you might be a bit bored<br />

wondering how you’ll fill<br />

your time between June<br />

and September. Here are a<br />

few ideas we hope you’ll<br />

find useful in helping you<br />

enjoy your summer before<br />

college <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> maximum.<br />

1. Help out at home<br />

Ask your parents and<br />

grandparents if <strong>the</strong>re is<br />

anything in particular<br />

<strong>the</strong>y might want or<br />

need help with; maybe<br />

paint <strong>the</strong> fence or a wall<br />

/ tidy up <strong>the</strong> garden /<br />

clean out <strong>the</strong> kitchen<br />

and bedroom cupboards<br />

/ organise a family get<strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

etc.<br />

2. Travel / re-connect<br />

with family and<br />

friends<br />

Although travel can be<br />

expensive, it is <strong>the</strong><br />

favourite thing most<br />

students will want <strong>to</strong> do<br />

before college. Use this<br />

time <strong>to</strong> catch up with<br />

family and old friends<br />

before college takes<br />

over your life. Lessen<br />

<strong>the</strong> expense by looking<br />

up long lost relations<br />

and staying with <strong>the</strong>m<br />

for a few nights! Don’t<br />

forget <strong>to</strong> make use <strong>of</strong><br />

any student discount<br />

cards you have <strong>to</strong> avail<br />

<strong>of</strong> special travel deals<br />

both here i Ireland, and<br />

abroad.<br />

3. Check out your new<br />

<strong>to</strong>wn / city<br />

Use a few days <strong>of</strong> your<br />

spare time <strong>to</strong> do a recce<br />

<strong>of</strong> your new <strong>to</strong>wn/city.<br />

Check out where <strong>the</strong><br />

nearest amenities are -<br />

<strong>the</strong> nearest hospital /<br />

medical centre / gym /<br />

shops / swimming pool<br />

/library /etc. Sign up<br />

<strong>to</strong> local newsfeeds on<br />

social media channels<br />

<strong>to</strong> get yourself used <strong>to</strong><br />

what’s happening in<br />

your new area <strong>of</strong><br />

residence so that you<br />

get a feel for life <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

4. Sign up <strong>to</strong> local clubs<br />

Check out clubs and<br />

groups in your new<br />

area and consider<br />

signing up in advance<br />

<strong>to</strong> gyms, book clubs and<br />

<strong>the</strong> like.<br />

This will help you settle<br />

in quickly in<strong>to</strong> your<br />

new area and it will be<br />

a bit <strong>of</strong> escape from<br />

college life when<br />

college starts. It’s good<br />

<strong>to</strong> have a separate set <strong>of</strong><br />

friends and groups <strong>to</strong><br />

associate with, so that<br />

you’re not suffocated<br />

with college people and<br />

college talk all <strong>the</strong> time.<br />

5. Volunteer<br />

There are many local<br />

and national<br />

associations and<br />

organisations that<br />

would welcome an extra<br />

pair <strong>of</strong> hands and an<br />

extra brain or two, <strong>to</strong><br />

help out with all sorts<br />

<strong>of</strong> work. You’ll probably<br />

find yourself<br />

continuing with<br />

volunteer work during<br />

and after college, for<br />

once you start, most<br />

people enjoy <strong>the</strong> joy and<br />

happiness volunteering<br />

brings and <strong>the</strong>y keep at<br />

it for years. It’s always<br />

best <strong>to</strong> volunteer with<br />

local organisations<br />

where possible, as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

know you and your<br />

family and you know<br />

<strong>the</strong>m but volunteering<br />

with any reputable<br />

organisation will<br />

always bring you great<br />

rewards.<br />

6. Intern<br />

Intern work might not<br />

sound like something<br />

you will be interested<br />

in, as much <strong>of</strong> it is<br />

unpaid, but, it is a way<br />

you can gain knowledge<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> working world.<br />

Who knows, once you<br />

have your foot in <strong>the</strong><br />

door, this work could be<br />

a potential career path<br />

for you <strong>to</strong> follow in<br />

years <strong>to</strong> come.<br />

Embassies and<br />

international<br />

organisations in big<br />

cities regularly <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

internships.<br />

Whatever you end up doing<br />

this summer, enjoy it and<br />

make <strong>the</strong> most <strong>of</strong> every<br />

single day before college life<br />

takes over.<br />

Ms K. McDermott hands over <strong>the</strong> Senior Sports<br />

Person <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year Certificate <strong>of</strong> Achievement<br />

<strong>to</strong> Emma Gilchrist.<br />

Ms Anne-Marie Casey hands over <strong>the</strong> Best School<br />

Ethos Award certificate <strong>to</strong> Bradley Haverty.<br />


10 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Lore<strong>to</strong> College Awards <strong>2023</strong><br />

Students and staff <strong>of</strong> Lore<strong>to</strong> College Mullingar celebrated <strong>the</strong>ir achievements on Thursday, 25 May, at a comprehensive awards ceremony that was held in <strong>the</strong> college that afternoon.<br />

Topic was delighted <strong>to</strong> be invited <strong>to</strong> take pho<strong>to</strong>graphs at <strong>the</strong> ceremony and wishes <strong>the</strong> class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong> all <strong>the</strong> very best for <strong>the</strong>ir futures.<br />

Recipients <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Student Council Award Certificates are:<br />

Back row: Ms Bracken (Year Head), Annemarie O’Reilly, Grace McEvoy, Aoibhin McDonald,<br />

Emily Flynn, Kate Fallon, Ms O Kennedy (student council coordina<strong>to</strong>r) and Ms Callaghan<br />

(Acting Principal).<br />

Front row: Fiadh Donlon, Meadhbh Wallace, Clara Lynch and Dina Gallander.<br />

Student <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year Runner Up Medals: (Back row / l-r) Ms Hanlon, Ms Callaghan, Megan<br />

Bates, Cliona Sheerin, Emily Shaw (Student <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year winner), Kate Gaffney, Riona<br />

Cassidy, Cliodhna Murray and Ger Langtry (Parents Advisory Council Representative).<br />

(Middle row / l-r) Ms Bracken, Ava McDonnell, Emma McNamee, Katie Rose Crowley, Aine<br />

Cole and Ms Smyth.<br />

(Front row / l-r) Emily Flynn, Holly Hynes, Laura Witter, Alice McDonnell and Grace Keane.<br />

Warmest wishes <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Leaving Certificate <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

The management and staff <strong>of</strong> Lore<strong>to</strong> College, Mullingar<br />

extend <strong>the</strong>ir warmest well wishes <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Leaving Certificate<br />

class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>. After <strong>the</strong> difficult experiences <strong>of</strong> school<br />

closures, online learning, and <strong>the</strong> slow and unusual<br />

reintegration <strong>to</strong> in-class learning before normality resumed,<br />

we trust that you are all now ready <strong>to</strong> face <strong>the</strong> next<br />

challenges <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Leaving Certificate, fur<strong>the</strong>r study and<br />

ventures, and <strong>the</strong> working world. Regardless <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> path<br />

you choose, we wish you all a lifetime <strong>of</strong> health, success,<br />

and happiness in meeting your true potential as <strong>the</strong><br />

inspirational young people we now say a fond farewell <strong>to</strong>.<br />

Like those who have gone before you, you are now a part<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> his<strong>to</strong>ry and legacy <strong>of</strong> our school. May <strong>the</strong> virtues <strong>of</strong><br />

our foundress Mary Ward be <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> fore <strong>of</strong> all that you<br />

choose <strong>to</strong> do: we encourage you <strong>to</strong> hold justice at <strong>the</strong> heart<br />

<strong>of</strong> all your decision-making, <strong>to</strong> exercise your freedom<br />

wisely, and <strong>to</strong> act sincerely for both yourselves and for<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs in your day <strong>to</strong> day lives. We hope that you look back<br />

fondly on your days as students <strong>of</strong> Lore<strong>to</strong> College, and<br />

wish you <strong>the</strong> very best for all that you do in <strong>the</strong> future.<br />

We have no doubt that each one <strong>of</strong> you will reach for <strong>the</strong><br />

stars and achieve your dreams. You have gained a resilience<br />

<strong>to</strong> face any knock backs that you may encounter, and we<br />

are certain that you will dream ano<strong>the</strong>r dream should <strong>the</strong><br />

need arise.<br />

We will fondly remember your song which you sang so beautifully on your last day, and we ask you <strong>to</strong><br />

hold a part <strong>of</strong> Lore<strong>to</strong> College in your heart. We hope <strong>the</strong> memories never fade and wherever you may<br />

be, that you hold those memories in your heart.<br />

Remember us as we will remember you.<br />

Congratulations <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>.<br />


TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Students reminded <strong>to</strong><br />

enter scholarship<br />

awards worth €20,000<br />

After 16 years awarding third<br />

level student scholarships, The<br />

Naugh<strong>to</strong>n Foundation Scholarship<br />

scheme is once again<br />

reminding students from <strong>the</strong><br />

Midlands that <strong>the</strong> <strong>2023</strong> closing<br />

date is fast approaching and<br />

inviting all applicants <strong>to</strong> submit<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir entries.<br />

The Naugh<strong>to</strong>n Scholarships are a<br />

scheme <strong>of</strong> scholarships <strong>to</strong> promote<br />

<strong>the</strong> study <strong>of</strong> engineering, science and<br />

technology at third level by students<br />

in Ireland.<br />

Each year from February <strong>to</strong> May,<br />

Leaving Certificate students can<br />

apply for a scholarship if <strong>the</strong>y intend<br />

on studying science, computer science,<br />

ma<strong>the</strong>matics, engineering or<br />

technology at third level that year.<br />

The closing date for receipt <strong>of</strong><br />

application forms for The Naugh<strong>to</strong>n<br />

Foundation Scholarship <strong>2023</strong> is Friday,<br />

30 June at midnight. There will<br />

be one guaranteed scholarship for<br />

each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> participating counties, 36<br />

allocated in <strong>to</strong>tal.<br />

Students are invited <strong>to</strong> apply if<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are currently attending secondary<br />

schools in <strong>the</strong> Midlands and<br />

if <strong>the</strong>y are studying two or more <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> following subjects: physics,<br />

chemistry, biology, engineering,<br />

ma<strong>the</strong>matics and applied ma<strong>the</strong>matics.<br />

Each Naugh<strong>to</strong>n Scholarship is valued<br />

at €20,000 so it is a contribution<br />

<strong>of</strong> €5,000 for each year <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> student’s<br />

third-level course.<br />

The priority closing<br />

dates for <strong>the</strong> SUSI<br />

grant are Thursday, 8<br />

June for grant<br />

renewal applications<br />

and Thursday, 6 July<br />

for new grant applications.<br />

Many students<br />

from farm families<br />

and in rural<br />

areas qualify for this<br />

grant.<br />

“It is important for<br />

farm families <strong>to</strong> be<br />

aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> upcoming<br />

SUSI grant deadlines<br />

and some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

changes for existing<br />

and new applicants.<br />

This grant is an<br />

excellent opportunity<br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

More farm families <strong>to</strong> qualify for SUSI Grant<br />

The Irish Farming Association (IFA) Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Alice Doyle has said that farm families<br />

should be aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> upcoming closing date and changes <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)<br />

education grants.<br />


O’CONNELL SQUARE, EDENDERRY • 046 973 1475<br />

Open: Monday - Saturday, 9.30am - 5.30pm<br />

<br />

<br />

Uniforms can be ordered in s<strong>to</strong>re,<br />

over <strong>the</strong> phone, email or through<br />

our Facebook page<br />

11<br />

for families <strong>to</strong> send<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir children <strong>to</strong><br />

third-level education<br />

and reduce <strong>the</strong> financial<br />

burden,” Alice<br />

Doyle said.<br />

There are important<br />

changes <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Student Grant<br />

Scheme announced<br />

in Budget <strong>2023</strong> which<br />

include an increase<br />

in <strong>the</strong> income limit<br />

from €55,240 <strong>to</strong><br />

€62,000 for <strong>the</strong> 50%<br />

student contribution<br />

grant and a new student<br />

contribution<br />

grant <strong>of</strong> €500 for<br />

incomes between<br />

€62,000 and €100,000.<br />

The postgraduate<br />

fee contribution<br />

grant is increasing<br />

by €500 from €3,500 <strong>to</strong><br />

€4,000.<br />

“The increase in<br />

<strong>the</strong> income threshold<br />

means more families<br />

can access support<br />

and more students<br />

will qualify this<br />

year,” she added.<br />

The SUSI Support<br />

Desk is open Monday<br />

<strong>to</strong> Friday (9.00am –<br />

5.30pm), excluding<br />

public holidays. They<br />

can be contacted by<br />

phone on 0818 888 777<br />

or by email on support@<br />

susi.ie.<br />

<br />

<br />

Whe<strong>the</strong>r you are looking for<br />

a formal look, smart casual or<br />

a three piece suit, call <strong>to</strong> us!<br />

Matching<br />

shoes,<br />

shirts,<br />

cufflinks<br />

and all debs<br />

accessories<br />

Available<br />

in s<strong>to</strong>re<br />

• Oaklands Community College<br />

• St. Mary’s Secondary School<br />

• Ard Scoil Rath Iomghain<br />

• St. Joseph’s Rochfortbridge<br />

• St. Mary’s Primary School<br />

• Scoil Mhuire<br />

• Scoil Bhríde<br />

• Gaelscoil Éadan Doire<br />

• Ballybryan NS<br />

• Rhode NS<br />

• Castlejordan<br />

• Clocha Rince National School<br />

• Derrinturn National School<br />

• Rathangan Boys School<br />

• Killina National School

12 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />


On, Wednesday, 24 May, we bid farewell <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>, enjoying an action-packed<br />

morning <strong>of</strong> fun and games before ga<strong>the</strong>ring<br />

in our school gym for a very special Graduation<br />

evening with <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>me ‘Our Time <strong>to</strong> Bloom’.<br />

Handcrafted blooms representing every graduate<br />

featured as a fitting backdrop <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> special occasion<br />

which began with a graduation mass led by Fr<br />

Liam Law<strong>to</strong>n and concluded with presentations and<br />

speeches.<br />

Prefect Shauna Comerford welcomed <strong>the</strong> invited guests.<br />

“We ga<strong>the</strong>r here this evening <strong>to</strong> remember, <strong>to</strong> pray, <strong>to</strong><br />

hope, and <strong>to</strong> dream. We want <strong>to</strong> thank our families,<br />

friends, teachers, and staff <strong>of</strong> St. Mary’s for a wonderful 6<br />

years. We are joyful in moving forward but sad <strong>to</strong> leave a<br />

lot behind. We look ahead in hope as we prepare <strong>to</strong><br />

bloom”.<br />

Principal Emmet McDonnell spoke warmly <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> class <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> saying “as Principal, one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> many significant things<br />

I witnessed during your years here was <strong>the</strong> support you<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered for one ano<strong>the</strong>r, friendships, <strong>to</strong>lerance, and understanding.<br />

This is by far <strong>the</strong> most important attribute<br />

– not medals or trophies. It is how you deal with o<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

and show respect <strong>to</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs and <strong>to</strong> yourself. That is <strong>the</strong><br />

character we and your parents love <strong>to</strong> see. That’s what<br />

makes us most proud.”<br />

Chair <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> prefects, Ultan McIntyre gave <strong>the</strong> keynote<br />

speech on <strong>the</strong> evening and made a special presentation <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> 6th year head Ms Hourigan, paying warm tribute <strong>to</strong> her<br />

kindness, dedication, and unending support shown for all<br />

students in her care.<br />

Concluding <strong>the</strong> evening, Mr McDonnell added “We are so<br />

happy for you, excited about all <strong>the</strong> possibilities ahead <strong>of</strong><br />

you. There is so much you can achieve. Choose wisely. Aim<br />

high but act cautiously. This is not <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> your journey<br />

it is merely <strong>the</strong> beginning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> next chapter. You have <strong>the</strong><br />

rest <strong>of</strong> your life before you – go and be <strong>the</strong> best that you<br />

can be.”<br />

Graduation student Jonathan Adedeji<br />

pictured with Principal Emmett<br />

McDonnell.<br />

Ultan McIntyre, Barry Dowling, Kian Dixon, Ben Whelehan, Dylan Byrne,<br />

Don Birmingham, Luke O’Connor, Paidi Farrell and Eoin Smith.<br />

Amy Dal<strong>to</strong>n, Migle Matulionyte, Aaron Kennedy, Ruby Foran and<br />

Mark Forde ready <strong>to</strong> make presentations.<br />

Fr Liam Law<strong>to</strong>n pictured at <strong>the</strong> graduation with St<br />

Mary’s teachers Aoife Cosgrove and John Law<strong>to</strong>n.<br />

Head Prefect Ultan McIntyre addressing<br />

<strong>the</strong> parents and teachers during <strong>the</strong><br />

graduation ceremony. All smiles at <strong>the</strong>ir graduation were Shauna Comerford, Ruby Foran<br />

and Kate Maher.<br />

Olivia Craig pictured at her graduation with her<br />

parents Sandra and Colin Craig.

TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

13<br />

..Be The Best That You Can Be..<br />

Pictured at <strong>the</strong>ir graduation in St<br />

Mary’s Secondary school are Declan<br />

Boyhan, Abi Quinn, Sophie Coghlan<br />

and Conor Bannon.<br />

Natalia Piotrowska and Rewan Eledkawy<br />

pictured with Margaret Hourigan and<br />

Principal Emmet McDonnell.<br />

Conor Boyne was among<br />

<strong>the</strong> students who<br />

graduated and is pictured<br />

with Principal Emmett<br />

McDonnell.<br />

Pictured on <strong>the</strong>ir graduation are Ria Kenny, Emily<br />

McKeon, Zoe Kelly and Anneliese<br />

Von Engelbrechten.<br />

Ciara Howick, Ellen Moore and Elyse Halligan were<br />

among <strong>the</strong> students who graduated from St<br />

Mary’s.<br />

Ríona Loughrey is pictured at St Mary’s graduation<br />

with Roisin McCann.<br />

Pictured at <strong>the</strong> St Mary’s graduation were Liam McGrath,<br />

Roisin McCann, Lorna Heavey and Margaret Hourigan.<br />

Milana Laukaityte was delighted <strong>to</strong> have<br />

her pho<strong>to</strong> taken with School Principal<br />

Emmett McDonnell.<br />

Pictured with teacher Lorna Heavey are<br />

Aislinn McAuliffe and Isabelle Thompson.<br />

Bouncy Castle Fun for <strong>the</strong> 6th Year group on Graduation Day.<br />

6th Year Chloe Sullivan made a presentation<br />

<strong>to</strong> year head Ms Margaret Hourigan.<br />

Bouncy Castles were just some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> activities<br />

on 6th year Fun Day.<br />

6th Year Fun Day.

14 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

<br />

On 17 and 25 May, Castlepollard celebrated <strong>the</strong>ir most successful Awards<br />

evening in <strong>the</strong>ir his<strong>to</strong>ry and also bid farewell <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>. Over <strong>the</strong><br />

past three academic years, <strong>the</strong> school has transformed in<strong>to</strong> an ambitious<br />

and successful environment for children <strong>to</strong> flourish both acadecmically and in a<br />

sporting field. A testament <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> work that has gone on in <strong>the</strong> school was on clear<br />

display for everyone who attended <strong>the</strong> events.<br />

Mr Walsh thanked <strong>the</strong> staff, students, and parents for supporting him during<br />

his time at <strong>the</strong> helm as he bid farewell <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> community in preparation for<br />

taking up a new principal post in <strong>the</strong> west <strong>of</strong> Ireland. He also thanked <strong>the</strong><br />

Longford Westmeath ETB and <strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Management for <strong>the</strong>ir support<br />

with resources <strong>to</strong> support <strong>the</strong> school on <strong>the</strong>ir quest <strong>to</strong> surpass all<br />

previous achievements at <strong>the</strong> school.<br />

Donie Cassidy, chairperson <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Management, sincerely<br />

thanked <strong>the</strong> parents for <strong>the</strong>ir loyalty <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> school and stated that <strong>the</strong> school<br />

was currently at <strong>the</strong> planning permission phase for a <strong>the</strong> new building work<br />

which will create a school building 3 times <strong>the</strong> size <strong>of</strong> its current footprint. He<br />

thanked Mr Walsh for <strong>the</strong> pivotal role he has played in <strong>the</strong> success <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> building<br />

work and stated that <strong>the</strong> facilities will be world class as intended.<br />

Prior <strong>to</strong> <strong>2023</strong>, <strong>the</strong> school hadn’t contested a Leinster final in girls sports. To win<br />

three in one year provides an insight in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> ambition and work that has gone on<br />

in <strong>the</strong> school in such a short space <strong>of</strong> time. A junior camogie title was achieved<br />

under <strong>the</strong> tutelage <strong>of</strong> Aoife Brady and Karen McDermott. Both teachers have significant<br />

county playing experience and this paid dividends during <strong>the</strong> campaign.<br />

Ms McDermott also managed <strong>the</strong> girls Gaelic teams ably assisted by April Kiernan.<br />

The junior title and senior title was achieved in succession, a feat that may go unmatched.<br />

Mr Walsh introduced soccer in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> school this year and thanked <strong>the</strong><br />

LWETB for providing funding for <strong>the</strong> goals and new kit. The goals allowed<br />

<strong>the</strong> team <strong>to</strong> hone <strong>the</strong>ir skills during weekly training sessions.<br />

The 1st year team won <strong>the</strong> LWETB cup and <strong>the</strong> U15 team reached<br />

<strong>the</strong> Leinster final, narrowly losing out <strong>to</strong> eventual All-Ireland champions<br />

Clara.<br />

All award winners received a commemorative trophy and certificate.<br />

It was noted that every child in <strong>the</strong> school had played a key role in <strong>the</strong><br />

school’s trajec<strong>to</strong>ry and <strong>the</strong>y were encouraged <strong>to</strong> maintain <strong>the</strong>se high standards<br />

moving forward.<br />

The sixth-year graduation was a roaring success thanks for <strong>the</strong> work <strong>of</strong> Ms Katie<br />

Johns<strong>to</strong>n (tu<strong>to</strong>r) and Mr Brian Caffrey (Head <strong>of</strong> Year). The students have helped<br />

younger students throughout <strong>the</strong>ir time in <strong>the</strong> school and have developed in<strong>to</strong> active<br />

citizens who will go on <strong>to</strong> make a positive impact in <strong>the</strong> world. Ms Johns<strong>to</strong>n<br />

and Mr Caffrey wished <strong>the</strong>m well in <strong>the</strong>ir exams and whatever lies ahead for each<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Ms Karen McDermott presents<br />

Alisha Harte Bulloch with <strong>the</strong><br />

Junior Sports Person <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year.<br />

Members <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Castlepollard Community College Girls Senior Football team and Senior Camogie team that won <strong>the</strong>ir Leinster<br />

Championships in <strong>2023</strong>, pictured with <strong>the</strong>ir managers Karen McDermott, Aoife Brady and April Kiernan, along with Westmeath Camoige<br />

player Fiona Keating who presented <strong>the</strong> medals.<br />

Ms Aoife Brady presents <strong>the</strong> Senior Sports<br />

Person <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year award <strong>to</strong> Emma Gilchrist.<br />

Jasmine Chen, centre, receiving her award<br />

for ‘Five Years Perfect Attendance’ at<br />

Castlepollard Community College, from Ms<br />

Breege Smith and James McGrath (Vice-<br />

Principal) <strong>of</strong> Castlepollard CC.<br />

Ms Katie Johns<strong>to</strong>n presents<br />

Hannes Dietrich with <strong>the</strong><br />

International Student <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year<br />

award for <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Dorian McDonald,<br />

Senior Student <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Year in<br />

Castlepollard<br />

Community College<br />

for <strong>2023</strong>, receives his<br />

award from Mr.<br />

Wayne Walsh,<br />

Principal <strong>of</strong><br />

Castlepollard<br />

Community College<br />

and Donie Cassidy<br />

Chairperson <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Board <strong>of</strong><br />

Management <strong>of</strong><br />

Castlepollard CC.<br />

Chairperson <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Management<br />

Mr Donie Cassidy presents <strong>the</strong> ‘Most<br />

Improved Student <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Year’ Award <strong>to</strong><br />

Cole Murray.<br />

Chairperson <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Management<br />

Mr Donie Cassidy presents <strong>the</strong> Student<br />

Leadership Award <strong>to</strong> Martin Boyhan.<br />

Ms Anne-Marie Casey presents<br />

Vanessa Doras with <strong>the</strong> Senior<br />

award for Best School Ethos.<br />

Chairperson <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Board <strong>of</strong><br />

Management Mr Donie Cassidy<br />

presents James Sheehan with <strong>the</strong><br />

Misneach Resilience Award.

TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

Celebrating <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>: A Walk Down<br />

Memory Lane in Oaklands Community College<br />

An evening <strong>of</strong> warm words, memories, and best wishes for a bright future<br />

The <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

<strong>Farewell</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

It was a day filled with pride, nostalgia,<br />

and anticipation as staff<br />

at Oaklands Community College<br />

bid farewell <strong>to</strong> its graduating class <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong>. On 29 May, students, parents,<br />

guardians, and teachers ga<strong>the</strong>red in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Edenderry school’s audi<strong>to</strong>rium<br />

for <strong>the</strong> highly anticipated graduation<br />

ceremony. The event served as a<br />

walk down memory lane, reflecting<br />

on <strong>the</strong> academic and social experiences<br />

that have shaped <strong>the</strong> lives <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se remarkable young individuals.<br />

The ceremony began with a heartfelt<br />

welcome from <strong>the</strong> Head Boy and<br />

Head Girl, Niall Walsh and Megan<br />

Murrin who praised <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong> for <strong>the</strong>ir resilience, dedication,<br />

and remarkable achievements over<br />

<strong>the</strong> years. They spoke <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir fellow<br />

classmates, and addressed <strong>the</strong> ga<strong>the</strong>red<br />

parents, guardians and teachers,<br />

not only welcoming <strong>the</strong>m, but<br />

thanking <strong>the</strong>m for sharing this most<br />

special evening for <strong>the</strong> class group,<br />

and acknowledging <strong>the</strong>ir pivotal role<br />

in supporting <strong>the</strong>m along <strong>the</strong>ir educational<br />

journey <strong>to</strong> this day.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> graduates reminisced about<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir time at Oaklands Community<br />

College, <strong>the</strong> atmosphere was filled<br />

with laughter and sentimental moments.<br />

Warm words from teachers,<br />

both past and present, brought back<br />

cherished memories and highlighted<br />

<strong>the</strong> impact <strong>the</strong>y had on <strong>the</strong> students’<br />

lives. The school Principal, Mr<br />

Kehoe, addressed <strong>the</strong> graduates with<br />

an inspiring speech. He praised<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir achievements and reminded<br />

<strong>the</strong>m <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> valuable life lessons<br />

<strong>the</strong>y had learned during <strong>the</strong>ir time<br />

at Oaklands. Mr Kehoe emphasised<br />

<strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> embracing challenges,<br />

pursuing passions, and<br />

maintaining a strong sense <strong>of</strong> integrity<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y embarked on <strong>the</strong> next<br />

chapter <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir lives.<br />

The graduation ceremony also<br />

served as a time <strong>to</strong> celebrate <strong>the</strong><br />

friendships and bonds that had been<br />

15<br />

forged throughout <strong>the</strong> years. The<br />

<strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong> <strong>to</strong>ok a moment <strong>to</strong> reminisce<br />

about <strong>the</strong>ir shared experiences,<br />

from <strong>the</strong> excitement <strong>of</strong><br />

starting second level school <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>to</strong> navigating <strong>the</strong> ups and downs <strong>of</strong><br />

adolescence. These cherished memories<br />

will forever hold a special place<br />

in <strong>the</strong>ir hearts, serving as a reminder<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> transformative power<br />

<strong>of</strong> friendship.<br />

As <strong>the</strong> students prepare <strong>to</strong> take <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

Leaving Certificate in June, <strong>the</strong><br />

management and staff <strong>of</strong> Oaklands<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered <strong>the</strong>ir best wishes for success<br />

in whatever path <strong>the</strong> graduates<br />

choose <strong>to</strong> pursue. Whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>ir future<br />

endeavours lead <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> higher<br />

education, vocational training, or directly<br />

in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> workforce, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong> has been equipped with <strong>the</strong><br />

necessary skills, knowledge, and resilience<br />

<strong>to</strong> make a positive impact on<br />

<strong>the</strong> world.<br />

Mr Courtney, reflecting on <strong>the</strong> graduating<br />

class, said, “I have witnessed<br />

<strong>the</strong>se students grow and evolve in<strong>to</strong><br />

remarkable individuals. They have<br />

not only excelled academically but<br />

have also developed a strong sense <strong>of</strong><br />

compassion and leadership. I have<br />

no doubt that <strong>the</strong>y will go on <strong>to</strong><br />

achieve great things.”<br />

As <strong>the</strong> ceremony drew <strong>to</strong> a close, <strong>the</strong><br />

room was filled with a mix <strong>of</strong> emotions<br />

- joy, pride, and a <strong>to</strong>uch <strong>of</strong> bittersweet<br />

nostalgia. The <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong>, armed with <strong>the</strong>ir accomplishments<br />

and <strong>the</strong> memories <strong>the</strong>y have<br />

created, now embarks on a new and<br />

exciting journey.<br />

School pho<strong>to</strong> in hand and dreams in<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir hearts, <strong>the</strong> graduates <strong>of</strong> Oaklands<br />

Community College are ready<br />

<strong>to</strong> face <strong>the</strong> world, leaving an indelible<br />

mark wherever <strong>the</strong>ir paths may<br />

lead. Congratulations <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Class</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>2023</strong>, and may your future be filled<br />

with boundless opportunities and<br />

immeasurable success.<br />

Enjoying <strong>the</strong> graduation ceremony at<br />

Oaklands Community College is Leah<br />

O'Toole from <strong>the</strong> class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Sophie Moore, 6th year graduate,<br />

Oaklands Community College.<br />

Fionn Brere<strong>to</strong>n, Oaklands<br />

Community College class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Head Boy Niall Walsh<br />

addressing <strong>the</strong> crowd.<br />

Stephen Kenny presents a lantern<br />

at <strong>the</strong> graduation ceremony.<br />

Megan Murrin, Head Girl Oaklands Community<br />

College addressing <strong>the</strong> guests at<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir Graduation ceremony.<br />

Jannes Bayer, Oaklands Community<br />

College, at <strong>the</strong> recent school<br />

graduation.<br />

Clodagh Davy, Oaklands<br />

Community College class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Shauna Phelan, Keelyn Glennon, Megan Murrin and Tori Lynch,<br />

Oaklands Community College class <strong>of</strong> <strong>2023</strong>.

16 TOPIC • 8 June, <strong>2023</strong><br />

CLASS OF <strong>2023</strong> FEATURE<br />

“The last day <strong>of</strong> school is also about looking forward <strong>to</strong> your future<br />

and making it happen”

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