Dear all,

In this my final message to you all, I begin by offering warm congratulations to Mr Diarmuid Mullins who has been appointed to succeed me as Principal. I am confident this news will be welcomed by the entire school community and I have no doubt that Diarmuid will do a marvellous job and I wish him all the best in the role.

What glorious weather to herald in the summer break for our students and teachers; thank God for it. I hope you and your families remain well and can enjoy some respite now from online learning and end of year examinations. Our PE teachers have uploaded tips for the summer earlier today, which I hope will provide encouragement and diversion over the coming months.

For our 6th years, the uncertainty around the Leaving Certificate has been removed and the Calculated Grades Process is underway; it is designed to be robust and fair and to allow for progress to third level or the world of work.

I take this opportunity to commend again the calm and focused way all our students, from 1st year to Leaving Certificate, have responded and engaged with the impact of Covid-19 on their schooling. No doubt there were moments of resistance or panic in households; and this of course is what homes are for, to provide safe places for family members to ‘decompress’. But by and large, and in a most impressive way, our students have proven themselves to be ‘persons for others’; they demonstrate this by respecting the public health guidelines. They know this is what we have been asked to do to protect and shield others, and so are happy to do so for the greater good.

During my time in Crescent it was always my engagement with students that provided the energy to my days. I have never understood why ‘young people today’ are maligned, as it has always been my privilege and pleasure to work with them. They are energetic, idealistic, ambitious, hard-working and good humoured. I encourage all past pupils to join the PPU, and wish the new President, Mrs Geraldine Deery every success during her term of office. I again invite any past pupil working in, or supporting the health services to send in some testimony which we can include on our website.  Today we will post a link to the experience of member of the class of 1989 who works as a frontline medic in London. To everyone else I say, don’t be shy, send us your story.

Schools will look different in the 20/21 academic year, at least at the beginning. In our planning for the return we will engage with all stakeholders. I have been hugely impressed by the work of our teachers and other staff members in this new domain, and am delighted and relieved that the school was set up with a digital platform which allowed this essential work to continue; the teaching and learning for each subject and class, the Year Head teams, Guidance, and prayer to name but a few. Our terrific support team in ICT, caretaking, administration and finance have supported us all the way. We simply could not carry on without their assistance.

The commitment of my colleagues and the boards of management gave me the confidence to move ahead with our ambitious plans, whether in the area of development, teaching and learning, or finance. I won’t reiterate here musings on the current situation, as today is a time to look to the future. Instead I sign off by thanking my colleagues, for their dedication to our students, the board for its oversight and strategy, in particular the Chair, Helen; to current and former members of boards, finance and development committees, parent councils and cultural committee, student councils and prefects, Jesuit colleagues, especially Fr Jim Maher SJ and Fr Leonard Moloney SJ for their support, for me and for Crescent, and finally I thank Sinead and Diarmuid and wish them good luck with what lies ahead.

I am grateful for my time in Crescent, whether as a teacher, Deputy Head, Principal or parent, for the opportunities I had and the education of my children; it has been an honour and a privilege.

God bless,