The new Performance Space provided the perfect warm and cosy setting for the fitting finale to the Graduating Class of 2018’s time at St. Conleth’s. Master of Ceremonies Mr. Carvill presided over a beautiful ceremony which mixed prayers, music, words of wit and wisdom and a considerable amount of style. Some of the boys have been at the school since First Class while the girls joined us just two years ago, but all involved seemed full of bittersweet emotions at leaving a place which for them had very much become a second home. Mr. Gallagher ‘s opening liturgy once again reminded us all of the ethos which helps make St. Conleth’s such a welcoming place and the speeches and awards which followed both recalled the good times of the past and the promising deeds of the future. Of course, this being St. Conleth’s where we are never at a loss for words, the musical challenge (detailed below) was more than met on the rhetorical front by Captain Harry Mansfield, Vice Captains Gavin Nugent and Emer Healy-O’Reilly, Principal Donal ODulaing and PPU President Donal Milmo-Penny. And Eoin MacNally did right by the legacy of Mr. Kelleher with a stirring, personal tribute to ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s’. All the speeches captured perfectly the nostalgic nature of the evening and Rory and Corey’s carefully composed (and hilarious) slideshow provided the perfect backdrop for their musings. Even better was Rory’s Tarantino-esque commentary afterwards: the boy already sounds like World Cinema auteur! Of course, awards were on the agenda and the The Mr. Porzadny Show is getting so popular we fear we may soon lose him to the Oscars, such is his talent of combining genuine warmth, good humour and technical wizardry. (You can see our winners and their prizes here… soon!) And Ms. Sheppard closed the ceremony with her eloquent but succinct words of celebration (and surely making Mr. K proud!).
It is certainly no coincidence that a new music room cum performance hall was the central feature of last summer’s (and autumn’s) building frenzy . Music is now at the heart of everything we do at St. Conleth’s, including last Friday’s beautiful graduation ceremony. In both the religious ceremony and the awards and speeches event that followed, with maestro Ms. DeBhal pulling the strings, music was the perfect accompaniment for the prayers, thoughts and memories, from Emer’s delicate opening harp piece through the plaintive sounds of Lucy Coleman Black on piano; Emer and Ciara Cole’s instrumental duet ‘Morning’ ; Emer and Luke McKay’s slightly more flirtatious duet ‘I Wouldn’t Be’; Jonathan O’Connell’s stirring ‘I Won’t Complain’, backed by Ronan Connor on piano; Rory’s boundary-pushing DJ set (a first at Graduation!); a rocking’ version of ‘Hotel California’ performed by Oisín Dowling, Tim Leary and Alex McCarthy; Tim’s brave solo version of ‘Little Lion Man’ and an absolute show-stopper: ‘Three Cool Cats’, namely Tony Barry, Jack Andrews and P.J. Terry- none of whom really had to step that far out of character for the performance. The evening and the music culminated in the rousing whole-class rendition of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’. And then it was outside for our graduation class photo in front of our gazebo and on to the RDS for a classy dinner for students and staff and surely some classy activities afterwards at Jonathan O’Connell’s. For specifics of those nocturnal celebrations you must, carefully, check social media, but for pics of the ceremony and details of the award-winners look above and below. And here is the Graduation Booklet, a testament to the hard work put in by Messrs. Carvill, Porzadny, Gallagher and Ms. DeBhal and, of course, Ms. Hopkins.