CSW Reflection from Presentation Secondary School Currylea Students

The following is a reflection on Catholic Schools Week from students of Presentation Secondary School Currylea, Tuam, Co. Galway.

The article was presented by students Soracha O'Rourke, Katie St. John, Jessica Cosgrove and Katie Newell.

This week in our academic calendar has been christened "Catholic School Week", in which the true, infinite, and some times over looked gift, of a Catholic School, is being amplified and expressed. Our riverside retreat of Currylea is one of such educational establishments whose soaring scholarly drive is balanced by the tender caress of an unfaltering spiritual identity.

If you googled the phrase "Catholic School", or perhaps flicked through your little blue collins dictionary you would probably be greeted by monotone, emotionless explanations such as "A learning institution that supports the work of the Catholic Church and its ministries."

That's what I discovered anyway when I was left to my own devices. Yet, after my quick, bolt of research I was left unsatisfied with my supposedly accurate results. Because something so elusive, so ponder able, so abstract cannot be confined by the cage of the English language, restrained inside a tidy sentence or captured by a full stop.

To be a Catholic school is not an honour that can be explained in words, it is simply a foundation on which a school is built, as important of an asset as the bricks, the cement and tiles that are a part of the physical presence of the college.

The aura of Catholic belief and spirituality is not limited to the regime of a set, inflexible curriculum, which does not extend beyond the three classes a week of formal learning dedicated to it. It radiates through the attitudes, sentiments and morals of every young lady who dons our school crest. Seeing the communal sisterhood of students in our hallway's is more enlightening than any encyclopedia entry.

To witness the shared camaraderie, efforts to support those around us and the refined, eloquent gentleness that every presentation girl holds within herself, is a testimony to the Catholic ethos that permeates this very building.

It is heard in the joyful, carefree laughter that echoes from the shiny tiles. It is noticed in the almost maternal affection that the elders of this educational based family hold for their younger counterparts. It is recognised in the diligent, unstoppable, force that battles in every student, as they strive not to surpass others but to simply do their own personal best.

An unteachable trait to work hard, exist modestly in success, to reflect on mistakes with a positive outlook and to rejoice in fellow students achievements dominates in the personalities of our student body. To be a Catholic school can not be learned, it is created in the atmosphere that surrounds us.

The spirit of a Catholic school prevails in the delicate, angelic, exquisite voices of our choir, accompanied of course by the flawless, melodic lullaby created by our army of skilled violin masters, credited piano key tamers and graceful flute charmers.

Each note, bar and symphony created from nothing is possessed, controlled, made to swirl up from their instruments of origin, to pirouette, twirl and float high above, blending together to create a divine message. A prayer in itself.

We have not randomly struck luck here in currylea, as regards our religious department, but rather we have been ecclesiastically blessed. This closely knit team comprises our passionate teachers including Mrs Mahon coordinator of the Religion Department, and our spiritual role model Sr Dorothy, a Presentation Sister, who works
incessantly to make sure the river of belief never runs dry and our dedicated chaplain Fr Sean, who's paternal, friendly and casual presence never goes unnoticed during his frequent visits while also possessing an uncanny ability to know almost every individual of our clan of 400 by name.

It is no accident that we can proudly boast the fact we are a Catholic school, because every moral, belief and value laid down by this premise of learning, echoes the teachings and message of our higher powers.

It is easy to exist in harmony, to try and mirror the mannerism of hope, charity and generosity, when it is seen and felt all around us, like a shawl of understanding or a warm affectionate caress. Every project, lesson and undertaking, just like this week's theme, truly rooted in Christ.