Pres' Kilkenny Class of 2020 graduate in Nowlan Park ceremony

Unique event sees girls meet up again (socially distant) as next chapter of their lives begins

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

KILKENNY

Pres’ girl Rachel McInerny, deputy principals Sandra Campion and Anthony Reynolds and deputy Pres’ Girl Rose Cotter

The home of Kilkenny hurling, Nowlan Park, was the unlikely setting for a unique graduation ceremony for the students of Presentation Secondary School last week.

It was a moving end to a six-year journey filled with many trials and triumphs, friendships, activities and achievements. Now, the next chapter of the girls’ young lives begins.

The Park was the perfect place to host the event for the Loughboy school’s 130-plus graduates of the Class of 2020. After a summer where many have not seen each other at all, they finally got to meet up for a socially-distant, outdoor graduation ceremony .

The event was carefully planned by school staff and GAA officials, who left nothing to chance. Restrictions meant that family and parents could unfortunately not attend, but a live stream was arranged for them to view proceedings from afar.

Principal of Presentation Kilkenny Shane Hallahan paid tribute to school staff and to officials at Nowlan Park who liaised with GAA headquarters in Croke Park to put all the necessary precautions in place. The special, end-of-year event included an open air Mass celebrated by Fr Dan Carroll as well as speeches and presentations.

In her speech, Pres’ girl Rachel McInerney said the group had come a long way, with anxious first years developing into confident and responsible adults.

“An integral part of our year has to be the communal spirit,” she said.

“I will miss the closeness, the security, the bright smiles, and the friendly waves.”

Principal Hallahan said it had been an incredibly stressful few months for the group, and staff had been delighted to be able to get them together and bid them farewell.

“To you, the graduates of 2020, you’re unique, special and you’re getting to do something that hasn’t happened before, I firmly believe this is going to set you up very well for the future, knowing you’ll be able to roll with the punches when things get challenging,” he said.

“Instead of looking at this time and lamenting the things that didn’t happen, but look to the exciting future that lays ahead and think of yourself as very special.”

Principal Hallahan said that although the door for secondary school had abruptly shut back in March, he wished to remind them that another had opened.