Mr Reid joined Canon Ian Berry in welcoming all to Monaghan Collegiate prize day noting that he was delighted and humbled by the great support offered to the students by the parents and friends of this school. He said that was truly a gift to the young people to realise that their efforts and achievements were noteworthy of the whole community.
Mr Reid highlighted the importance of the individual noting that “life is an intensely personal experience” and how each individual student would take away his or her own memories of prize day 2018.
The Principal said that it was a daunting task to introduce the guest speaker, Minister Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. He noted that there were 12,391 others in their area who could attest to her suitability to speak.
Reverting to the personal, Mr Reid said that he could say without hesitation that he had always found Heather open and approachable; always keen to help and willing to give advice where possible. From a school’s point of view, he noted that they had had the privilege of having Heather’s two daughters, Eva and Tara through the school.
Mr Reid thanked the choir, together with Mrs Glynn for their contribution to the occasion and similarly the string orchestra trained by Mr Keith Lyttle. He said that if there was any proof needed, that the investment made by the Ulster Scots agency in the provision of instruments and tuition was paying dividend to the community then they had just had it.
Turning particularly to the students, Mr Reid said that one of the strange contradictions of the modern world was that in an era where diversity was so celebrated it appeared that uniformity was so demanded. The uniformity demanded struck at the heart of the individual demanding that lives be lived in the public glare of social media, seeking approval for every little facet of life. Young people were so conditioned to fit in with others that they had become totally stressed out by keeping in step with the mainstream.
Mr Reid suggested, that at a time when wellbeing was at the forefront of everything that done in school, society should return the gift of personhood to the young people, so that they could pursue life, liberty and happiness as unique individuals confident with their own talents and skills. He said that this was not a carte blanche to live, as they like, but rather a prompt to be the best that they can be, taking pleasure in the fruit of their labours.
For sixth form students those “fruits” came in the form of the leaving cert results. Mr Reid commented that the students had performed solidly across the board gaining entry into the familiar set of Colleges, UCD, DCU, Dundalk etc. On the individual level, he noted that the school had a number of students who had their own personal triumphs; students who worked so hard to come to terms with the challenges that Leaving Cert presented them. He noted that he had the privilege of sharing their moment of triumph with them, and their families’ sense of pride, would long be imprinted in his memory.
Mr Reid referred to the Junior Cycle results as very pleasing. He believed that as the Junior Cycle reforms roll out, schools and students would be calling for greater prestige and importance to be attached to them. He also felt that a greater standardisation of percentage grades awarded in each subject would be of benefit.
Mr Reid turned to comment on general school life noting that boredom in school could only be self-induced. School life was frenetic he said.
Transition Year again enjoyed success at the Enterprise Awards with Matthew Wallace and Megan Allister taking third place.
There was another successful year in Junk Kouture with Sophie Kinghan, Elvie McAdoo and Jordan Pratt getting to the final held in the 3 Arena in Dublin. Students had also taken part in the Lego Mindstorms programme funded by Peace 4. All of TY students had enjoyed an excellent day in May visiting the Ulster Scots headquarters in Belfast and then travelling on to the mythical causeway linking Ulster to Scotland enjoying the beautiful North coast. Another successful ski trip had also taken place.
Commenting on the excellent sporting year Mr Reid said that the “planets” of talented young people, dedicated coaches and supportive parents all aligned to produce outstanding results.
The girls’ basketball team were yet again Ulster champions going on to be placed third in the All Irelands. Emma O’Hanlon Geary won gold in the Ulster 1500m senior girls, steeplechase.
The girls under 15 table tennis team had for the second time in a row, won the All Ireland title. The soccer boys U13 team were not going to be out done, and they went on to win the regional league and cup double. He concluded with the girls’ rugby team saying that they had etched their name into rugby history by winning the inaugural Rugby Girls’ 7’s cup at Kingspan stadium in Belfast. Lucinda Kinghan and Kelly McCormill have become regulars in the Irish setup, with Ella Garland and Sophie Kinghan both playing for Ulster U 18’s
Mr Reid mentioned the significance of the overseas students “They are a pleasure to have and we eagerly anticipate International Day in March where we get the opportunity to taste different foods and experience different cultures” He said. Continuing he said that Scripture Union continued to provide a focus for young people to express and discuss their faith and to share it with others. He also congratulated the Third form CSPE project work, who raised over €2000, which had been split between the Holy Family School in Cootehill and Temple Street Children’s Hospital. Concluding this part of his report Mr Reid said that he had explained his reference to boredom. He thanked all who gave up of their time to enrich the lives of the young people by providing opportunities to develop socially, mentally, spiritually and physically.
Mr Reid especially thanked Bishop McDowell and both the Board of Management and Board of Governors for all of their support over the course of the year. He also greatly appreciated the support of Siobhan, Yvonne and Sarah in the office and Eric’s tireless efforts around the school grounds. Turning to the Deputy Principal Mr Martin Killoran, Mr Reid thanked him for his wise counsel and good humour.
Mr Reid returned to his homespun philosophy that “Life is an intensely personal experience”. He noted that on the exact same day, October 26, 1967, fifty one years ago, Martin Luther King spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia. Dr King concluded his speech by saying
“So I would urge you to study hard, to burn the midnight oil; I would say to you, don’t drop out of school — stay in school. When you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail.
If you can’t be a sun, be a star.
For it isn’t by size that you win or fail.
Be the best of whatever you are.”
After personally thanking his wife and acknowledging God’s help Mr Reid commended his report to the Board.