Today was highly emotional as ASM officially said goodbye to the Class of 2020, whilst also ensuring to wish them the best of success in their futures away from our caring eye. This was most definitely not the send-off our Leaving Certificate students had envisioned only three short months ago, though it certainly was the loveliest one possible given the circumstances.
The service opened with prayers delivered by students representing each of the four Leaving Certificate classes. Here they paid a touching tribute to their classmates, families, teachers, and wider school community. This was reiterated by our Deputy-Head Girl, Olivia O’Donoghue, as she reflected on the role of all of these in supporting and enabling the personal growth of all in the Class of 2020.
We were then treated to a beautiful hymn sung by Alex and Rebecca Kiely – wisely recorded in advance! This allowed a precious few moments to soak in the occasion and appreciate each other’s virtual company.
Our principal, Ms Herbert, reminded the Class of 2020 that they are always in our thoughts, especially over the last three months. She praised their resilience and proudly noted their obvious capacities that will surely see them become future leaders. Today’s ceremony marked a significant milestone in their lives, though it is sincerely hoped that it is a milestone that will be marked in person sometime in the future. To that end, today was not a final goodbye.
The leadership capacity so obvious in the Class of 2020 was again extolled by Ms Nolan and Ms Hughes, their Year Heads. Acknowledging them as a great group who have left an indelible mark on ASM’s school community, they were particularly struck by the group’s amazing ability to adapt to learning’s changing landscape this year. Our Leaving Certificate students grasped the opportunity and are surely poised to make a mark on the world.
Our virtual graduation was of course highlighted by our Head Girl’s speech. Ciara Marnell acknowledged the disappointments we all sorely felt, but pointed out that the Class of 2020’s memories, made as part of our unique school community, will undoubtedly outlive any disappointment. Ciara listed the features of life in ASM that we often take for granted, stating that these have been critical in moulding the dynamic young people that they have become. Always the responsible Head Girl, Ciara also ensured that social distancing was a key message in her speech!
A poignant moment marked the end of the virtual graduation, a naming ceremony. This list of all students in the Class of 2020 demonstrated that their contributions to the physical, social, and spiritual spaces of ASM is deeply appreciated and unlikely to ever be forgotten.
While we are sad to see them leave, we are delighted that their time in ASM has supplied them all with the tools needed to progress to the next stage of their lives. We look forward to the day when we can safely meet and celebrate the wonderful young people that they have become. Our entire school community wishes the Class of 2020 the very best of luck in their futures and hope that all of their dreams come true!