With local national schools finishing up following a year heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, The Democrat asked students - and parents of students - in sixth class to send on pictures and thoughts as they closed the book on their primary school education this week.
And with sixth class students unable to say goodbye in the classroom, we hope to help them do so right here!
Speaking to the Democrat, Michelle Murray, principal of Redeemer Boys School in Dundalk explained how the staff there tried to make the occasion as memorable as they possibly could for their sixth class students, given the restrictions.
“The boys were given a five minute slot to come to the school to pick up a graduation bag. The staff flanked the walk from the gate to the front doors and clapped them in and out of the building (their last time crossing the front doors as pupils). A balloon arch in school colours stood in front of the entrance.
“After visiting the sanitising station the families entered the foyer where they choose props for a fun photo shoot. The class teacher, Mrs Doherty, and principal, Mrs Murray, 'photobombed' some shots from a safe distance. The boys put on their maroon 'Class of 2020 Quarantined' hoodies, received their graduation ceremony bags and some celebratory cupcakes. They walked from the school for the final time to the sound of clapping from the staff.”
Michelle continued: “Later on in the afternoon we all went online for the actual ceremony. Pupils and parents read poems, we watched videos (down memory lane, moving on, staff TikTok dance, special message videos and a pre-recorded song from two of our very talented teachers).
“The boys exchanged pre-written letters with their parents. They opened wrapped gifts at various points in the ceremony, e.g. a desk calaendar for the 20/21 academic year with photo/life motto (written by the boys) for each month, a tie/polo shirt for the secondary school they will attend in September opened before the Deputy Principal read 'Oh, the Places You'll Go!' by Dr Seuss. One of our SNAs, Aidan Moore, made personalised stones for each boy and our HSCL teacher funded engraved wooden photo frames.
“The class teacher read out the boys who were 'Most Likely To...' do various things in life, e.g. become the President of Ireland, as voted on by the boys.
“One pupil unwrapped the Student of the Year plaque and every boy in the class received a personalised trophy for a special contribution to school life, e.g. Principal's Award, Academic Star, Artfully Creative, Excellence in Maths, Super Speller, Student of Integrity, and Leadership and Positivity.
“Two representatives of our Parents' Association were online with us, they had received flowers to their door earlier that day as a thank you for all their hard work during the year.”
Michelle finished: “The ceremony was brought to a close with a very emotive rendition of ‘My Wish’ (pre-recorded video by two teachers) being played.”