An unexpected end to primary school for Donegal's Sixth Class pupils

A view of life in Donegal through the coronavirus crisis by Siobhán McNamara

Diary school

Sixth Class pupils on the cusp of a new stage of their lives

What a strange end to primary school for Sixth Class pupils across Donegal.

When school doors closed back in March, it was initially announced that it would be for a two week period. Most of us knew it was likely to go on for a lot longer. But I wonder how many of those children leaving school on March 12 - perhaps excited about the prospect of a few extra weeks at home before the Easter Holidays - had any idea that they would never return to those familiar classrooms.

For Sixth Class pupils, their school has been a huge part of their lives; some for the last eight years since their journey began in Junior Infants, others who were welcomed to the school community along the way. A quiet, unmarked ending to that time would be unthinkable.

Yet again, teachers and school management have excelled themselves. They are making sure that this special time for children on the cusp of another major phase in their young lives gets due recognition.  From virtual graduations to drive-by celebrations, letters, certificates, video messages, and many other creative approaches, schools are going all out. 

There is still much uncertainty ahead. Will schools fully reopen in September? If not, what will happen? This is particularly challenging for incoming First Years across the county. It is now over to the secondary schools who are no doubt also doing everything they can - as they do every year - to make the transition as stress free as possible.

But whatever happens next, Donegal’s primary school graduates will be moving on with a strong sense of feeling valued. This is thanks in no small part to the efforts of their teachers, particularly over the last few weeks.

Best of luck to all Sixth Class pupils here in Donegal and elsewhere as they enter a new and exciting stage of their lives.

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