Ms. O Brien, Ms. Conlon, teachers and students,
I want to welcome you all to our first school assembly. I am Gertruda, the newly elected Head Girl and I am very content to continue and cherish the great work done by Leah Sleator, Head Girl and Aisling Hurson, Deputy Head Girl of the last year’s Coiste. The newly elected Deputy Head Girl is Emma Mc Keown - I’m extremely excited for us to work with together and am curious to see what we can do and achieve. I also wish to congratulate the newly elected members - I am sure we’ll make a great team in maintaining a friendly atmosphere of the school as well as incorporating new, fresh ideas. And hopefully we’ll also have some fun!
It’s the seventh week of this school year already - I’m sure you have all noticed how fast time soars above our heads. One moment we’re only starting out, either finishing primary school or entering secondary - after what seems like a few breaths or a few blinks - we’re already at the end of a straight road and it’s time to make the next turn. So make most of it. Make most of your time here. Explore, search, learn and eventually, find. Find yourself and you’ll find your road.
1st years - From the warm, comfortable sand grains that caressed your feet for so long, you’ve suddenly been thrown into a cold, deep, unwavering, unfamiliar ocean. You’ve been so cosy and snug right there on the warm coast, with environment you knew and could walk around with your eyes closed, with people you enjoyed your time with for years and suddenly - your comfort zone has vanished. You have to learn how to swim and you’re afraid. But as time goes on, your skin adjusts, you open your eyes and finally see how beautiful the ocean can be. Beautiful, filled with opportunities and chances, corals and colours you have never seen or touched before. So you become curious. You become curious and desire to dive in deeper and deeper, finally uniting yourself with the water and its wildlife. So stay curious. Don’t lose it. Don’t lose it and keep exploring.
2nd years - You can feel the sand grains completely washing off as you finally adjust to the new environment. You are becoming one with the ocean, and learn how to breathe so easily, you finally relax. Relax and notice details, explore, perhaps even incorporate rebellion and reveal your courage. You feel like you belong. And you accept where you are. You work with it and work around it. You know what fish to look out for and which seaweed tastes best. Metaphorically, of course. So keep at it. Even if you’re still unsure, you find your way.
3rd years - Through your journey deeper and across the ocean, there are unfortunately some bumps. A vigorous ocean current is approaching, getting closer and closer, and as the time is nearing, you can feel that it is more difficult to swim, to swim fast and to swim through the fear, worry, anxiety. At some points, you might feel like you’re losing oxygen. But it is just a current. It is just a current. It will pass, it will throw you from one side to the other and almost make you wish you were on the warm coast again, but it will pass. So stay strong. It is just a current. And when you’re on the other side, the challenge will be accepted and completed. So just keep swimming.
4th years - Calm before the storm. You’re through and you feel proud. As you swim again instead of being tossed and turned, you realise you’re stronger. You’re stronger, you went through this and you’ve made it. As you swim, you realise it’s easier, you have more power, more confidence, more strength. You explore the corals and treasuries of the ocean and start to find pieces of yourself. Everything is still and the water is still. Your inside is still. Enjoy it. Cherish it. You’ve made it.
5th years - Journey to the other side begins. Slowly, like it should. You feel stronger than before and the approaching waves in the far far distance scare you a lot less. You are part of the ocean now. Its got your back. You slowly begin to oar up, the water gets warmer bit by bit, unfamiliar, thinner, clearer, and little light rays are visible from above. Yet your journey is not over, you still explore, you learn, you overcome the small obstacles that stand your way. The ocean feels like home. The environment is dear and it becomes your comfort zone, when the coast that you sat on five years ago seems like a stranger now. You don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. So go forward. Keep moving.
6th years - You’re at the surface and can poke your head above the water. The air feels strange, smells like freedom, independence, innovation and new destinations. The other end is visible - land is visible - yet you’re not there yet. You will be, but not yet. Waves are forming sneakingly ahead of you, you are aware, and you linger in worry, yet deep inside you know that you’ll make it. And even if it rains very heavily or the dark clouds intimidate at times, you’ll make it. The coast is near and from then on, it is up to you. Up to you how you travel and up to you how you keep moving, will you dig through the sandstorms that lie ahead, will you take someone with you to help you through, will you dive into another ocean or maybe you will just like to sit in the warm sand and take a breather… That’s okay. As long as you’re happy. Remember that. And good luck in whatever you do.
So, as you can see, we are all in the same ocean. Even if we do different things, have different perceptions or reach for different goals, we are all in this together. We are all thrown in, learn how to swim, learn how to explore, how to gain strength, how to overcome and finally, how to reach the other side. So let’s remain together. Let’s lift each other up and support one another. We all did or will go through similar aspects, currents, waves, even abnormalities of this unwavering ocean. But if we do it together, it will make it that one bit easier.
Enjoy the year, girls.