This day last week our TYs were preparing to graduate and recall and celebrate the cornucopia of stuff they had experienced in the previous nine months. It’s appropriate to record these things in the social media clouds as our memories are moody creatures and over time can be imperfect.
The evening kicked off at 6.45 sharp with M.C. Mr Coleman punctual and commanding as ever. His side kick Mr Whelan was happy to surrender the limelight. The lads busied themselves cooking up a feast of carbonised meats. ‘Well done’ is a sure antidote to salmonella. The food was surprisingly palatable, the service more than affable and the al fresco setting in the late afternoon sunlight a soothing invitation to parents to mingle and swop stories.
Their giddy sons eventually made their way to the stone benches in the yard behind a temporary podium erected for the evening. Mr Coleman called on the students individually to summarise in a brief speech a chosen element of the TY course. The speeches were fine affairs in which the lads showed no sign ‘glossophobia’ – a fear of public speaking, or of being intimidated by what might have been construed as a very demanding audience. Among the topics were trips to Killary and Germany, Camping craft in Kerry, Pure Skill in Galway, The Ploughing Championships in God knows where, Bounce Life Skills, YSI, Mini Company, MOG Car Safety, School Bank, Poetry Slam, The Musical Grease, Painting the Changing Rooms, Fitness.
I realise now like all who embark on a list that I have inevitably omitted some worthy members. We were entertained and informed. Mr Kelly ambushed the boys by reading their poetry aloud in the warm sunshine, poems which they had written when the country was wet and cold and which they now nervously tried to remember wondering whether it was suitable for parental ears.
The pace was leisurely. Nobody was frowning at their watches. The awards section was greeted with a warm positivity. There would be no begrudgery and no sniping.
Garry, Jake and Shane were singled out as particularly deserving for their contribution to TY while Paddy was recognised for his editorial role with The Torch (forgot to mention that in the list). Aaron got the coveted wooden spoon award for the year’s best chef (forgot to mention cooking in ArdScoil Mhuire) and Cian picked up a deserved gong for his management of the School Bank.
And finally it was time for Student of the Year as voted by his peers. My journalistic scavenging of waste paper baskets revealed that it was a close run contest with a mere seven votes separating first from second. But no one will argue with the top prize going to Mark Long. Congratulations.
A fine evening to end a fine year. Well done to Paul and Alan and all the staff and lads concerned as always.