Home News Community In Pictures: Laois secondary school hold novel graduation ceremony for 2020 Leaving...

In Pictures: Laois secondary school hold novel graduation ceremony for 2020 Leaving Certs

The staff of St Mary’s CBS came up with a novel way of honouring their Leaving Cert class of 2020 with the age-old tradition of graduating from second level education.

Having worked with these remarkable young men for six years, their teachers were unwilling to see the boys leave the CBS without a proper send off.

There are countless tales nationwide of communities coming together to make the best of a bad situation and the school community in St Mary’s CBS have a unique one of their own to add to the archives.

The graduating Class of 2020 will always be able to say that they graduated in style becoming the first group to graduate in the stadium of MW Hire O’Moore Park on September 24.

In a year filled with uncertainties, the CBS boys can rest assured in the knowledge that their school will go above and beyond to see that their students get the best, because that is what they deserve. The ‘best’ came in the form of Laois GAA’s crowning jewel – O’Moore Park.

Without the cooperation of the officials in O’Moore Park, in particular Mr Niall Handy, it would not have been possible to host the event.

To add to the sense of occasion ‘Midlands Party Supplies’ provided a balloon arch in the CBS colours for the boys to pass through, symbolic of the end of their time in St Mary’s.

The organisation of the event was no mean feat but as they say ‘where’s there’s a will there’s a way’.

Martina Murphy, speaking on behalf of the graduation organising committee, explained: “Finishing secondary school is a developmental milestone in a young person’s life and the Covid-19 pandemic took so many other key moments form the lads, we didn’t want them to be robbed of graduating too.’

Strict social distancing measures were enforced, national public gathering restrictions adhered to and while the face masks can’t be described as a cutting edge fashion, they didn’t stop the gentlemen of the CBS looking dapper in what one can only imagine was the best dressed crowd to grace the stand in O’Moore Park for a while.

It was a very enjoyable evening during which words of wisdom were exchanged and tales of the good times spent in the CBS recounted.

The prestigious awards were bestowed upon deserving recipients; Thomas Dunne, Sean Okoye and Dylan Kerry.

William Oxley amused his peers with an entertaining speech in which he noted it wasn’t a common occurrence for a Timahoe man to be addressing the crowd in MW Hire O’Moore Park. Cian MacGearailt sang the Class of 2020 out to the moving lyrics of ‘High Hopes’ by Kodaline.

The CBS spirit was alive and well that Thursday evening in O’Moore Park and these young men will hopefully carry that forward with them as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

It was regrettable that the parents could not attend the event on the evening, due to Covid restrictions, but if they had been present they would have witnessed a group of resilient, hard-working, good-natured, well-mannered young men gather together for one final laugh.

Miss Murphy said: “Sometimes the real value of education can be obscured by exam results.

“At the CBS we applaud our boys on their exemplary results and we want our students to appreciate that while the school work is important and the homework has to be done, they will learn so much more from their time with us than could ever be written on a test paper.

“It was a privilege to work with the lads and see them grow and develop over the course of their secondary school careers.”

The teachers in the CBS would like to sincerely thank everybody who made the graduation a success and all those who sent well wishes to the lads.

They have the following message for their graduating class of 2020: “Don’t ever forget the days you had in the CBS. Remember the laughs you had, the matches you won, the loses you overcame, the songs you sang and the teachers you challenged!

“Above all remember how lucky you were to have made good friends, and make the effort to stay in touch. It’s true what they say, the school days are the best days of your life, and the CBS will always be there for you!”

Congratulations to St. Mary’s CBS, and the Class of 2020, who are most likely one of the only schools in the country who got to celebrate this momentous occasion this year.

It is a great story the students will be able to tell others for years to come. Against all odds they succeeded. It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good thing down!

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.