We have to take our hats off (or should that be on?!) to the staff and student body who carried out a simple act of solidarity with one of our students who is battling cancer. Since returning to school after the summer recess, Clongowes has been supporting Hugo Dwyer (Poetry) in his recovery. So a plan was ‘HAT-ched’ to find a way of showing solidarity and support in a simple gesture and an idea was born – that every student and member of staff would wear a cap or hat to walk in Hugo’s shoes for a day.
The only thing was, Hugo had no idea it was happening. It’s not an easy thing to keep something quiet in Clongowes, but this was always going to be a winner. So, on Monday last (November 1st), after Morning Prayer in the Concourse, Mr Frank Kelly addressed the gathered assembly and briefly spoke about Hugo’s condition. No sooner had he finished speaking than the entire school donned caps and clapped as Hugo was invited to speak.
Small gestures can often have a positive effect to remind us all of the situations that others find themselves in. By concentrating our minds on both having, and displaying empathy for others, we deepen our own awareness of the daily reality of everyone who continues to battle no matter what the condition. A small school like Clongowes prides itself on looking after each of our students – we call it ‘cura personalis’; a lofty term often used throughout the school. However, care of the individual will sometimes necessitate ‘walking a mile in someone else shoes.’ Monday last saw a school united as everyone from the Headmaster to the youngest boy in Elements, by way of the teaching, prefecting, and ancillary staff all put their hats on to emphasise that none of us walks this journey alone, but always in the company of friends and mentors to support us every step of the way.
Hats on to Hugo!