Fr. Michael Toomey
Speaking in these last few weeks to many students, parents and teachers, I know there has been much anxiety and upset of what will happen in relation to this years Leaving Certificate. Perhaps Friday’s announcement may relieve or add to these concerns, with other important decisions to be made.
To the students themselves, you may be feeling vulnerable, confused, upset, relieved, and fearful with the uncertainty of how your results of what would have been your leaving certificate examination, will now be made.
We know educational and political leaders are being well paid to work out a solution for this huge dilemma at this very difficult time. Let them do the worrying to come up with a solution which is fair for everyone! You have enough to deal with!
However, I want to reassure ch and everyone of you, that there are so many people here for you- even if we can’t meet face to face!
Your school counsellors, teachers and staff including your own family and friends are there to listen and be there for you.
Your parents and those who look after you are also your listening ears, as well as your friends and team-mates. Don’t hesitate to reach out- to talk- and get through this. As we are all in this- together! We all know these are unprecedented times. This is a new experience- for everyone in all walks of life.
Even though the vast majority of the population are not due to sit a leaving cert and don’t really understand what you are personally going through, we know from what we have experienced since we have all been impacted with these restrictions, that together we will work this out.
This year, our Leaving Certificate students are missing out on significant milestones in their journey of transitioning from one major life stage to another. This includes the traditional graduation ceremonies, and the saying goodbye to friends and teachers who have journeyed with you in the last 5 or 6 years, or longer! While many schools are working to do something to mark graduation, it won’t be the same, but it will certainly be unique!
I know there is no easy solution, but I know in moments of greatest challenge, we can be at our best! We have witnessed how we as a country have adapted and risen to the challenges we have all faced in the last few months.
I want to give special praise to all school principals and teachers who have also had to radically adapt to reaching out and teaching remotely, learning new technical skills, and keeping their passion and vocation in teaching. They have a new challenge in these days in assessing and making decisions, and my sincere thanks to each one of them, in the challenges they face.
There will be more challenges and demands ahead and a lot of work to be done. I hope everyone will support and work with the schools as they now have the task of assessing every students fairly and adequately. I know from the teachers I work with, that they will do nothing but their very best!
So, to you all affected, especially those who were to take the Leaving Certificate, my message is simple!
Take it easy! Try not to get too upset or to panic or fret!
So many people are there for you! Keep talking and engaging with anyone you can.
Your are ironically, making history! The class of 2020 are truly historic! Legends! Unique!
And I and so many people admire and look up to each and everyone of you, at how you are handling this unprecedented situation. Generations in the future will be inspired by your stories!
As I prepare in my own schools for your “virtual “ graduations I just want to finish by saying: “Thank you for all your gifts and talents in your school, for all you are and will be, and for everything you do.
God bless, keep safe, and keep in touch!
Well done class of 2020!
Legends one and all!