6th Year – Class 2019

Like all of you I am praying for this speech to be over soon. So in spite of the fact that I do love the sound of my own voice I will try and keep this speech short and to the point unlike some of the other speakers to follow. Yes Mr Ó Ceallaigh that was aimed at you.

On behalf of the class of 2019 I’d like to wish a warm welcome  to all family, friends, alumni, esteemed faculty members and Mr Hayden. Well my fellow graduates we made it. To quote the esteemed Philosopher, street poet, and world famous artist. Drake “we started from the bottom, now the whole teams here”. When I say from the bottom I do mean the bottom. Physically we were about the same height as Mr Flynn is now.  The first number of days in Colaiste Éanna where a baptism of fire. Back in the days when the bags on our back where bigger than the boys wearing them and at every turn you would be bundled into a wall by a gigantic 6th year. We wandered the corridors like lost sheep in a sea of grey but now we have emerged as men heading out into the real world. We have grown both physically and mentally. There are a few exceptions, Peter O’Carroll of course. By the way he did ask me to shoutout his instagram so for anyone not following him its @peterocarroll1. 

As a year group we have overcome adversity such as the departure of 3 different teachers from the role of Year Head after taking on this year group. I assure you it was only partially our fault. I would like to thank each of them for the role they have played in getting us here and of course our current year head Mr Ó Ceallaigh. During the last two years you have worked tirelessly to get us to this point. We are all extremely grateful that you have always stuck by us in good times and bad. After 6 years of being slagged by you in class sir I am going to rise above making a joke at your expense and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning at 7am for a listening exam.

As a year group we have accomplished many great feats, we have thrived while representing this school in multiple disciplines.  Our future leaders represented the school with pride both at home and abroad in EYP and debating. Our star athletes delivered success in Soccer, Gaelic Football, Chess, Table Tennis and Basketball of course. Even though as a team we suffered irreparable back injuries in carrying Darragh Reilly to an East Plate title, it was worthwhile. We tackled theatre, took on the business world and raised thousands of euros for those less fortunate than us along the way. Some of us were extremely fortunate in traveling as far as India, Brussels and Taize to make a difference in the world. We achieved all of these accomplishments while striving for academic excellence and still managing to be the most handsome group of young men in recent Colaiste Éanna history. As the class of 2019 we should look back and feel proud of the legacy we leave behind knowing we worked nearly as hard as the material on Mr Conway’s small t-shirts.

While the days were long the years were certainly short. Having been through Mr Hennessy’s  French class I can conclude this statement to be true. Six years at this school have flown by. It is hard to believe that we entered this school in 2013. To put that into context the words twerk and selfie were added to the dictionary that year, Macklemore’s Thrift Shop was the biggest song around and Manchester United finished 28 points above Liverpool. In those six years the world has undergone significant changes and so have we as a group. Each one of us has experienced setbacks and disappointments. I too have. I remember the first time I watched Spiderman. I leaped up off the sofa and said to my Mam “When I grow up I wanna be Spiderman”. She looked at me and said “Manus grow up you graduate next week”.

Looking out across the crowd I see how proud our parents are of us. I think we all owe them a great deal of gratitude for standing by us even when they drove us crazy. I can only imagine the sense of relief and joy they are feeling. I would therefore consider this the most opportune to ask for money to head into town later.

Speaking to one of my co-writers Adam Farrell a few weeks ago, we reflected on our time here and looked ahead at possible future reunions and how different things would be. One thing we both agreed on was that the class of 19 didn’t have a great ring to it. Not like the good ole boys of 81 or 95. We therefore came up with a few alternative names to put on the banner. It could be the class of square root 361. For those of you who have a social life and don’t spend all your time looking at a maths book, Mr O’Sullivan that’s also the class of 20 minus 1. However, a personal favourite of mine was the class of Dylan Christian’s last accounting test score. I can just see the banner now.

I feel privileged to have shared this journey with each and everyone of you. Through the good days and the bad we have stuck together even if all those who began this journey did not finish. When I arrived at this school I knew barely anybody. By now I’m sure some of you wished it stayed that way. Nonetheless I am extremely grateful to each and everyone of you who made my time at Colaiste Éanna some of the best days of my life. I’d like to conclude by offering an old Irish blessing

“Go n-éirí an bóthar leat”, may the road rise to meet you, thank you and best of luck in all your future endeavors.

Manus Coughlan

6th Year 2019