An evening of celebration!

On a beautiful sunny evening, May 24th, parents and family, staff members, past teachers and friends celebrated the graduation of our sixth year students from Donabate Community College. We began, as is tradition, with a parade of our graduands led by their tutors, Ms. Lowry (Behan), Ms. Dwyer (Boland), Ms. Clery (Heaney), Mr. Nagle (Kavanagh), Ms.King (Ní Dhomhnaill) and Mr. Clarke (O’Riordain). We were delighted to be joined by some familiar faces who came back to celebrate the graduation of this wonderful group of students. Thank you to Ms. Keogh, Mr. Redmond, Ms. Butler, Mr. Brehony and Ms. O’Donnell who travelled to Donabate for the evening. We were all delighted and very grateful to them for coming along. It bears testament to the esteem that this group of young women and men are held in.

The evening’s proceedings kicked off with a welcome from Ms. Ní Bhrolcháin (year head) followed by an address from Councillor Adrian Henchy, chairperson of the board of management. Mr. Henchy emphasised the importance of the school in our local community and the role of parents, staff members and the community in the education of the young people in our school. Following this our Principal, Mr. Creevey spoke to the audience and regaled us with anecdotes and memories of the year group. He also paid particular thanks to Ms. Ní Bhrolcháin and the team of tutors who looked after the year group. Ms. Lynda Drysdale spoke on behalf of the Parents Council and gave a very strong message to students about the importance of their mental well being and looking out for each other and also reminded the students that no matter what happens their parents are there to look out for them.

Our first performance of the evening was provided by a group of students who sang ‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles. Well done to Greg Bauer, Manus Doorley, Colm Dowling, Darragh Maguire, Matthew Mulcahy, Scott Brooks and Mark Dockrell. Special mention for Ben Morris, Fionn McGillicuddy and Conor Grant who accompanied the group on guitar. This was a rousing performance that had the audience swaying in their seats and singing along!

Mrs. Flynn’s warm words to the assembled crowd were very well-received and she concluded by reminding the students that our doors are always open for them and indeed, we look forward to them coming back to us to speak to younger students and to keep us up to date on how they are getting on. More importantly, Mrs. Flynn advised the students to always be themselves.

We had two solo performances on the night which were both greeted with standing ovations. The first by Aoibheann Kelly who sang ‘I can’t help falling in love ‘ by Elvis Presley. It was a mesmeric rendition, accompanied beautifully by Dominik Lata on piano. These are two students with immense musical talent. Adam Farrelly also sang a song by his hero Roger Daltrey entitled ‘Without your Love’. You could hear a pin drop while Adam performed, only broken by thunderous applause at the end.

We then moved on to the main event of the evening which is the presentation of medals and certificates. Each student received their graduation certificate and an engraved medal. Following this, Ms. NíBhrolcháin spoke to the assembled audience. She spoke fondly to the students, reminding them that they are all unique and destined for greatness in their individual ways. She urged them to work hard and thanked them for their advice to incoming first years. In reflecting she talked about how the school community had been strengthened and united through tragedy and how this bond is an important and unique bond within the group. There was a distinct hush as the assembled gathering listened as she recalled the loss two years ago of Shetemi Ayetigbo.

During the evening we also had speeches by our two valedictorians, Hazel Preston and Adam Colgan. This is always a highlight of the graduation ceremony and this year was no different. Their speeches were warm, personal and reflective. There was a hint of nostalgia and humour as they recalled their memories of school life. They also spoke fondly about all those staff who had taught them and, more importantly, who had spent time getting to know them, taking care of and looking out for their year group. The sense of pride in these two representatives from family, friends, fellow students and staff was almost palpable.

 

The much looked forward to video of memories was next. TY Journalism students had spent weeks trawling through folders of photos to include memories from first to sixth year for this group and putting the requested music choices with the songs. There was much laughter and smiles as the collection of images reminded them of their five or six years in DCC.

The formal proceedings ended with the now traditional final song. Although much debated in the weeks before, the final choice was ‘All Star’ and it was an appropriate end to a wonderful evening of celebration. Although they couldn’t be seen on stage huge credit is due to Dominik Lata, Joey Farrell and James Kirwan for the fantastic musical accompaniment.

Thanks go to the Parents Council for all their work in preparing the hall and providing refreshments, to Mr. Collins for the hours of preparation on setting up the sound system and giving up his free time to prepare the students for the final song, to Ms. O’Brien for her advice and for the lovely floral arrangements and to Ms. Chaloner for all her assistance in presenting the photographs which lined the entrance hallway.

We also had lots of students who helped with preparations, from printing out certificates to folding the booklets and setting out the hall, preparing medals and so on. Special thanks to Andrew, Elaine and Sophie for their work on the video, to James Byrne for his work on the sound desk and to Julian Nolan, David Flanagan and Nathan Matthews for taking photos. It is truly a team effort and one which the younger year groups enjoy getting involved with.

We wish all our graduates the very best of luck in their exams and in life and we thank them for the wonderful contribution they have made to our school community.

“All that glitters is gold, only shooting stars break the mould.” You are our all stars!

Photos from the evening can be viewed here and here with more to follow!