The Thanksgiving Mass for our Year 14 leavers was celebrated by our Chaplain, Father Grant last night, Thursday 9 May. It was a very special evening, and at times quite poignant, both for staff and pupils as we remembered the shared experiences from the previous seven years.

Fr Grant’s homily was very moving as he talked about the real sense of community and togetherness within the year group both in times of joy and sadness. He asked the students, as they embarked on the excitement of university life, to remember the centrality of their faith in all that they do and to be grateful for the support and love offered by their parents.

After the Mass students, teachers and parents were treated to a slideshow of photographs showing the year group as they passed through their seven years in Aquinas. This raised many smiles.

The Senior Prefects followed with speeches of thanks for the dedication and commitment given by all the Aquinas staff. Caoimhe McCarthy for example, acknowledged the work done by Senior Teacher, Ms Dillon and Year Head, Mrs Guiney. Caoimhe mentioned Mrs Guiney in particular for the last six years of guiding the group and regaled everyone with stories from the past.

Presentations were then given to the outgoing Deputy Head Boys, Justin Gilmore and Eddie Bergin and also the Deputy Head Girls, Aisling Kelly and Patricia Magee. The Senior Prefect Team also got recognition for the commitment they gave to the school last year. They were: Aideen Murphy, Joni Gallagher, Caoimhe McCarthy, Clare McCrudden, Ben McDaid, Connor Dunlop, Gregory Woods and Arun Murtagh.

Mr Kelly followed with a speech that firstly thanked the staff for all the brilliant work done with Year Group and like Fr Grant, appreciated the support offered by parents. He too asked the students to remember with gratitude the love and encouragement that parents unfailingly give. Finally, Mr Kelly wished the students well for the future and reminded them that Aquinas is and always would be, their school.

The remaining speeches came from the very eloquent Head Girl and Head Boy, Helen Morgan and Tomas Flanagan. Helen spoke warmly of the support offered by her peers and teachers throughout her time in Aquinas receiving enthusiastic applause. Tomas was very humorous in his speech and used his Irish to good affect throughout! He also spoke quite movingly, of the friendship he shared with past pupil, Conal McGowan. They too received gifts from the incumbent Head Boy and Head Girl, Donal McKeever and Amaia Moore in recognition of the work they did for the school last year.

The evening ended with refreshments for all in the Mall and it was gratifying to hear all the lovely comments offered by parents about the school. For some it was very nostalgic since this was the last encounter they would have with Aquinas, in some cases, after fifteen years.