Message from the President
No human is limited. This is the philosophy that drives Eliud Kipchoge in his running and in life. I wrote about Kipchoge in the College Record in 2017 when he had by mere seconds failed to run under two hours for the marathon. A feat he has since achieved when in Vienna on 12th October 2019 he ran a 1hr 59mins 40 seconds to be the only person to ever break two hours for the marathon – a feat many thought impossible. No human is limited – words worth remembering. This past year Kipchoge was beaten into 8th position at the London marathon – something as small as a blocked ear from 15km the reason for the upset.
Arguably, this past year we have been limited, in so many ways. Something small, and unseen, has brought to the fore the brittle nature of our human condition. We have had limits on who we can see, where we can go, how we can work, what we can do and how we can educate. As we prepared to return, the language of pods and bubbles, close contacts, and isolation rooms, had to quickly become the norm to ensure that our schools could re-open. Walls were knocked, rooms rearranged, one way systems put in place, pitches and areas assigned to each year group as every conceivable precaution was taken not only in St Kieran’s College but in every school thoughout the country and world to ensure that education, in its proper setting, could take place. No human is limited – as I see first hand the dedication and selfless commitment of families, students, teachers, staff, and management ensuring that not only education was possible – but the very best of education – not in the midst of, but in spite of, the pandemic. Truly no human is limited as science and the human spirit has shown in these past months.
Life then, has been found in new ways for so much of what we do and that is very evident here throughout this past academic year. Transition Year was without its many wonderful road trips, but it was not without its fun. Competitive sport was not possible but the competitive edge was still clearly evident on the pitches and at breaks, traditional State Exams are for this year not traditional but assessments continue, for many months post Christmas meeting up was not possible but staying apart was not permitted either! Online classes, sports within our years, education in and out of the classroom took place, and laughter and fun still as integral a part of each day as we journeyed, together, through this pandemic year.
The College as a centre for the Diocese of Ossory continued its virtual and digital offerings with many new initiatives finding seed here. The Faith Development Group continued to innovate to finds ways of making faith gatherings possible and catechetical gatherings real. Parishes from all over Ireland are benefiting from the online MyFaith.ie programme of preparation for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation with literally thousands of children logging in each day – a new generation engaged in a new way with their faith. Emerging now too, from the College is a new means of Adult Catechesis – Aspal – a response to this pandemic time. The College then, through these and so much more, continues to remain at the heart of its service to the Church and Diocesan community.
The Design Team for the New School Build and complete school refurbishment has been busily working away and is now ready for its Stage 2a meeting with the Department and following this a planning application. Contracts have been signed on the exchange of lands to allow the relocation of the City Vocational School from the grounds of St Kieran’s. Historic days all contributing to the future of this great College.
Our School Patron has changed too, with the translation to Dublin of, now, Archbishop Dermot Farrell and, as we await a new Bishop, the appointment of Bishop Denis Nulty as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. We wish Archbishop Dermot well in his new ministry, his continuation to, and support of, St Kieran’s College was greatly appreciated by all in the College community. Dublin have in him a very fine leader. We welcome Bishop Denis who joined us for the celebration of St Kieran’s day this year and who, in his fine words, has already captured some of the essence of this special place – a place where no human is limited.
The Trustees of St Kieran’s College and its Board of Management have been as busy and active as always – technology has ensured that we continued to meet to plan and to guide this immense College. Work has begun on the restoration of the College Organ and over the summer months that work will be completed bringing that sacred sound, to animate our prayer, back into the heart of our College community.
This summer sees the retirement of a good number of our much loved colleagues. We see Ms Anne Wemyss, Ms Ann O’Shea, Mr Niall Connolly, Mr John O’Keeffe and Ms Bernie Dowling. Their individual contributions are well known – but for their immense contribution to academics, the breadth of their co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, their legacy of immense sporting successes, their deep pastoral care of students, and their contribution to, and support of, their colleagues will be sadly missed. Would that any of us can say we gave our all to this fine institution in the service of the students in our care? That they can, I thank them for their contribution to the environment that tells the young men of tomorrow that, in every way, no human is limited!
As President of the College I work closest with its Management and in doing so I see, at first hand, what it takes to avail of each and every opportunity to improve, to excel, to grow and to develop this fine school community. Its rigorous academic, competitive, and yet caring, nature demands a relentless pursuit of its founding ideals. In Adrian Finan, our Principal, and Ken Maher and Liam Smith our Deputy Principals, we are blessed to have men willing to do whatever is necessary for our students, staff and families on every occasion. Their passion for St Kieran’s and all it entails is inspiring in its energy, it is humbling in its commitment and it is breathtaking in its endless nature. I thank them, whole heartedly, for all they have done, and continue to do, to enable our students to work from the belief that in our God-given nature – truly no human is limited.
In pandemic enforced days, without its students, the College is a very different place. Your energy, your laughter, your hunger for learning and your relentlessly competitive nature makes it so that our present and our future is every bit as bright as our past. You set the bar for the one to follow, you define the culture into which they will step, you created the atmosphere from which they will feed – you have made and continue to make the College an academic institution like no other where each of us not only believe, but function from the ideal that no human is limited.
We have, then, a real debt of gratitude to the students and their Council, the parents and their Association, the School and College staff, my colleagues on the Board of Management, the Trustees, Bishop Denis our Patron, the Alumni Association and our past pupils and all those who make St Kieran’s College the special place that it continues to be.
Yes, this has been a different and, at times, difficult year. but we have shown in so many ways not what is not possible but what is. We have functioned from the belief that we can do, we will achieve, we are to become the best versions of ourselves. With Kipchoge we too say no human is limited. Hiems Transiit.
Rev. Dr Dermot Ryan, President
Chairperson, Board of Management