Principal Gary Kelly paid tribute to pupils at the annual prize giving awards at St Kevin’s College telling them to be passionate about issues and ‘make a difference’.
The Principal told the audience of how proud he was of the pupils in the manner in which they conducted themselves during the disruption that the Covid lockdown brought to their education.
Mr Kelly said the pressure and stress faced by the pupils was never-ending and that they deserved enormous credit for coming through that difficult period.
He said: “We are extremely proud of you, the way you have overcome too many challenges thrown at you over the past two years – be that the Covid pandemic, lockdowns, online learning, schools restarting and stopping and then restarting again, reintroduction of formal exams, revision, obtaining a University of College place/Course, student accommodation, student finance – the pressure and stress you have faced has been never-ending.
“How you do things often matters more to your success than your specific job. Or, as someone else once said, ‘How one plays, and what one plays for, that alone reveals the person’.
“This is all about character and attitude. Your approach and outlook will define how well you do, what people think of you and what success looks like in your career.”
For former pupils who had left St Kevin’s in the summer and gone on to university or the job market, Mr Kelly urged them to work for the greater good, be hopeful, do the small things well and embrace responsibility.
He added: “Give yourself a cause, be passionate about issues, become well-read in an area – you’ll find it more rewarding when you work for the betterment of something beyond your own life, and it’ll take you further in your career.
“The person with the most hope in the room is the person with the most influence. Hope brings creativity and optimism. It’s what the best people convey all the time, especially under pressure.
“It’s an obvious point but hard to stick to in life, especially for Irish people who tend to be glass-half-empty/or things are ‘not too bad’ people.
“People notice your attitude and demeanour when it comes to these (small) things
“They watch to see how you treat people who can do nothing for you or junior pupils you don’t need to impress. Don’t be slack with the little things, and you will be trusted with the big things.
“Embrace responsibility, don’t duck it. This is a really difficult one sometimes; it’s hard to say yes when you’re asked to step up.
“But it’s really important to resist that and try to say yes. This is how people make a difference, take risks and win big.”
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