Graduation Speech by Head Girl, Ciara White.

Good afternoon everyone, my name is Ciara White and I’m head girl here at Loreto College Crumlin. On behalf of myself and my classmates I would like to welcome and thank you all for coming to celebrate with us, the Graduating Class of 2019. 

The theme of graduation today, which was picked by us as a year group is ‘Behind you all your memories, before you all your dreams, Around you all who love you, Within you all you need.’ I suppose this will have a different meaning and effect on each of us graduating today. Some of us may have glided through 6th year with very few road bumps here and there. Yet for others, the past 6 years in school may not have been so easy, many of us have concealed our problems behind the green uniform as we walked through the doors of school every morning. But graduation is a time of unity, for each and everyone of us to come together and give ourselves the pat on the back we deserve, whilst also cherishing the good memories and lessons we have been part of and enjoyed over the last six years.

I’m sure everyone behind me remembers walking through the enormous steel gates on the first day of first year in 2013? Haversacks on our backs, palms all sweaty, praying that you wouldn’t bump into a 6th year because for 1st years, 6th years seem scarier than Ms Nolan when you forget your Irish homework!! Back then, I never would have believed my six years at school would go by so quickly, underneath all the hatred for getting up at 7:30 each morning, moaning about sitting in 8/9 40 minute classes a day or forgetting my lunch maybe once a week I never truly saw the time going by. I suppose there is truth in the saying that ‘’time flies when you’re having fun.’

In some way we may feel or think that we are immortal, but we’re young, we’re supposed to feel that way, we’re graduating! The future is, will be and should be bright, but, like our brief six years at Loreto Crumlin, what makes life valuable is that it doesn’t last forever. What makes it precious is that it ends. I know that now today, more than ever. I urge to remind you that time is luck. So don’t waste the precious time you’ve been given living someone else’s life, make yours

count! Fight for what you believe in, no matter what! Even if you fall short, what better way could you have fulfilled your time here on this earth? It’s easy to feel hopeful on a day like today, but unfortunately there will be dark days ahead of us too, days when you feel alone or days when you’re pleading for hope. But no matter how burdened you are or lost you feel, we must promise to ourselves that we will hold on to hope. Keep our light strong and keep our light alive. We must be greater than what we suffer, whether it be work, relationships, life or loss, we must keep our hope and resilience afloat. As we look around the room, to all the people who helped us to become who we are today and to all the people we feel as though we are saying goodbye to. I assure you we will carry a piece of each other into every single thing we do next, to remind us of who we are and how we got here. And how great we’re going to be!

We would never have reached our potential to this date without an enormous support system behind us all, from school staff to friends but most importantly our parents. Where would we be without our parents? The ones who scream only because they have to (as they say), the ones who ensured we would never be late by waking us up 2 hours before we planned to, the ones who taught us what was right or wrong, how to ride a bike or to tie our shoelaces. But most importantly the ones who always showered us with love not because they had to but because they wanted to and meant it. After years of all the advice we’ve taken from you, I have some advice you should take from us! There is a lot of expectation for us students to do well in school or life, to get good points in our leaving cert and to push on another 4 or so years and claim a university degree. Sometimes a sense of under-achievement is formed when such things aren’t completed. There is also competition between parents for their children to be the best! However, what is honestly better than your child being truly happy? Come September, does it actually matter if we are working, attending college, completing a PLC or travelling the world? With the pressure stowed upon our generation from the unrealistic views of perfection on social media, constant comparisons of grades in school, or just trying to keep up with everyone else around us, sometimes the last thing on our mind is ourselves, our own happiness! This shouldn’t be the case. Perhaps it’s easier to dream when you’re younger, but as we get older dreams change. Our needs and wants for ourselves vary as we experience different things and that is the same with our plans for after school. Just because last year I may have wanted to attend college, it’s ok that this year I’m not entirely sure! In a way, I’m thankful dreams can change, because if not, we would all be stuck with our first dream, the world would be overrun with cowboys, astronauts and princesses. So whatever our dreams are right now, if we don’t achieve them, we haven’t failed and nor have you as a parent, because in all honestly not everyone is always happy when they do eventually achieve their dream! Therefore I urge you to support us in every way possible, even if we fail, because if we don’t how will we ever learn! As J.K Rowling said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously, that you might as well not have lived at all; in which case, you’ve failed by default.”

To all the teachers sitting before us, this paragraph is dedicated to you. A good teacher is a possession of our society. They are sincere in their work. They are honest, punctual, hardworking and a talented person. A good teacher must always encourage the learners to develop their latest talents. They help the students to understand their lessons and to develop their creativeness. A good teacher discovers the treasure hidden inside each student. A good teacher is a friend, a philosopher and a guide to the students. I’m extremely lucky to say that we have been blessed with a multitude of great teachers here at Loreto College Crumlin. Although appreciation is sometimes hard towards teachers, due to the constant homework, never ending tests, and their strange ability to mention the dreaded Leaving Cert hundreds or thousands of times a day!! Through all the times we’ve considered them as the thorn in our side through school life, I suppose it’s clear to say that their continued work in helping us achieve our goals and be the best we can, doesn’t go unnoticed! They have also been there through all the funny/ happy memories of our time in school. From Ms Doyle casually tumbling into the river in Glendalough, Mr Quinn’s inability to take a loss in PE every week and blaming it on his 6 year long ‘hamstring injury’, Mr Howard exquisite performance of Bon Jovi’s Living On A Prayer at Fun Day to Ms Walsh and Ms Ryan being the school’s very own oompa lumpa’s at Halloween, just to name a few.

I know I speak for everyone graduating today when I say we are so grateful for the quality of teaching and teachers themselves in this school. It’s quite rare to find people whose only wish is to see you succeed. The student to teacher relationship in this school is one of a kind, the teachers are willing to do all they can to help in both educational and real life needs of their students, and although it may be hard to believe, us 6th year students have the utmost respect for both you as people and the work you do. Therefore we say with ultimate gratitude… Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Finishing up on another valuable lesson instilled in us from our parents, our school days went by so fast, just like they told us it would. Therefore I hope everyone in this room cherished these unforgettable moments we have shared, as some days, no matter how much we may want to turn back the hands of time, we will never be able to return to secondary school. There is a universal truth that has to be acknowledged, whether we want to or not. Being that everything has to come to an end! As much as I’ve awaited graduating from Loreto College Crumlin, I’ve never truly enjoyed goodbyes. The last day of Summer Holidays, the final chapter of a good book, the end with a close friend. Yet, endings are inevitable, time continues to tick away and life continues to pass. Today is one of those inevitable days for us all. Today we say our goodbyes; to teachers, students, this school, and in some ways part of ourselves. But as one of our childhood heroes Winnie the Pooh once said, ‘how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so special.’

Thank you.