On Thursday (30th August) the young gentlemen of Rhetoric 2024 filed into the chapel to take pole position at the front – the 205th Elements class to enter the school in this, our third, century. They were shortly joined by the rest of the students from Rudiments to Rhetoric, the majority returning for another academic year, while 58 more new arrivals up the school shared the Elements Boys’ sense of expectation. After the Rector Fr Michael Sheil had led us in an opening prayer, the newly minted School Captain, Hugo O’Donnell took to the lectern.
Hugo welcomed all the students, new and old as well as the incoming members of staff. He reassured the new arrivals that ‘Clongowes is more than a school – it is a community – and everyone one of us has been the new boy here at one stage or another’. Hugo told them to ‘rest assured that we have your backs [and] are all here to help and support each other’. He outlined the challenges that would face the pupils at different stages of their journeys, be they the newly arrived Elements, those about to embark on Transition Year or his peers in Rhetoric, commencing their last lap.
Hugo gave way to the Headmaster, Mr Lumb, who acknowledged the Syntax boys and staff involved in the Duck Push and also thanked Mr Tom Carroll and the boys, who ran the Special Children’s Holiday in July. Clongowes hosted many other groups over the summer on what was a busy campus, with much work done on the new Third Line Study area as well as in the dorms and the refectory. For all of this activity he thanked Ms Denise Nichol and her teams, Ms Smith and the housekeeping team, Mr Haverty and maintenance as well as Ms Cooke and the catering staff.
The Headmaster declared himself delighted with the Leaving Cert results in what was another bumper year for the school. The grades were the best ever achieved in Clongowes’ history with an average of 457 points. Four students achieved the maximum 625 points while the boys had a high success rate in CAO first and second choice offers, winning places on a range of courses at UCD and Trinity, and other institutions across the country.
Mr Lumb then spoke of the recent, inspirational visit of Pope Francis and his use of the words ‘please, thank you, and I’m sorry’ and how they are just as applicable to our day-to-day lives here as members of the Clongowes family as they are in our own family homes. He closed by enjoining the boys to make most of every opportunity to reach their full potential, to develop there talents to the full and then challenged them to be the very best they can be in the year that lies ahead.
PICTURES FROM THE OPENING SCHOOL MASS HERE
Declan O’Keeffe, Head of Communications