It was a day for taking a leisurely stroll down the lanes of memory and it was also a day for farewells. Kick off for this last formal day in school began in the Assembly Hall just as it had started on that anxious first day half a dozen years ago. Back then I suspect the lads were told how to make the most of their time in St Munchins. Now the speeches had a more immediate concern. An outline for the Graduation evening ahead, an encouragement to plan and schedule the weeks to come and some Dos and Don’ts for the big Leaving Cert from Mr. Kennedy.
So the first ‘Goodbye’ (to the classroom) had been said. Several of the lads returned in the afternoon for an hour of tag rugby. ‘I wouldn’t miss the chance for one more game, sir.’ This time it was ‘Adieu’ to the fields where so many friendships had been forged and so many battles fought, won and lost. Hallowed turf where they had done so much. Their boots would never feel its touch again. Well done to Senior coach David Quinlan for organising, and to all the staff who managed to remain undefeated despite the students’ Trojan efforts to score a victory in their final attempt.
Somewhere up in that cloud in the ether, our first post on our new website was fittingly a collage of photos stretching back over the boys’ time in school. It was a visual record which allowed students and their families to have their own private recollections during the day. At seven o’ clock we reconvened in St Nicholas Church to celebrate the Graduation of the Class of 2016.
Our new Chaplain Ms O Sullivan-Glynn oversaw preparations for the mass which was celebrated by four fine friends of St Munchins – Bishop Brendan Leahy, Fr. Frank O’ Connor, Fr. Tony Mullins and Fr. Derek Leonard. Mass provided the right environment to reflect on the journey, a thread which featured in the prayers, reflections and in Bishop Brendan’s homily. With the final hymn our thoughts turned to more secular matters namely the end of year awards.
There are no Beauty Contests in Munchins. Lads who have received awards do so with a commendable humility aware that they are surrounded by many worthy candidates. But we are a democratic family and the receipt of an award represents the general will of the entire Munchins family. First up was the LCA Student of the Year which went to the universally popular Josh Tully. Then it was the sports category preceded by a witty preamble from the Gamesmaster Eric Nelligan. Sports Achievement’ was an easy one with record breaker Shane Corbett taking the prize. Sportsman of the Year was a more competitive race with SCT Captain Adam Moloney getting in ahead of a chasing pack.
Mr.O Brien who has been a tutor, coach and teacher to many of these lads was then called on to introduce the next award which was of an academic nature. It is the Michael Rynne Medal presented by Michael’s wife, Sile, every year to the student who excels at Irish and English. This year the recipient was Conor Cullen.
Mr. O’ Donoghue spoke about our ‘Veritas in Caritate’ award for the student deemed most caring and helpful. This went to Mark Sheridan who has brought so much to our College since his arrival in Second Year. To prolong the dramatic tension in advance of our most prestigious award, it was time for the students to have their say. And they spoke extremely well through the medium of Luke Kelly who struck the perfect balance between humour, nostalgia and gratitude.
And so we came to the big one – 2016 Student of the Year. Described as a ‘gentleman’, and ‘someone who represented in his behaviour and demeanour all that is good about St Munchins College’, this award went to Michael Hogan. Showing characteristic modesty Michael accepted with a speech of genuine thanks.
Ms O Sullivan-Glynn had decorated the altar with class photos from now and memorabilia (group photos, artwork, and time capsules) preserved by Ms Ni Fhlatharta from her time as first year, Year Head. We don’t forget here, there are so many good things to remember.
Taking tea with parents after the ‘show’ it was an unfortunately brief time to share a conversation with so many supportive friends of what we are trying to achieve in our College. Thank you for your support over the years.
Congratulations to the Class of 2016. From all involved in St Munchins College we wish you the best of luck in the forthcoming exams and in your life after school. Thanks for the memories.