St. Mary’s Arklow Celebrate Mercy Day
This year the staff of St. Mary’s College Arklow decided to celebrate Mercy Day a few days early on Friday September 20th and were blessed in return with beautiful weather for our Opening School Assembly, Mercy Day Mass and Sports Day in the afternoon.
At the Assembly Principal Aidan Ward spoke of our traditions as a Mercy School and the legacy of Catherine McAuley. He urged the students to challenge themselves, to care for each other and to become connected with their school and wider community. The new student leaders and volunteer groups were presented to the Assembly and received their badges for the year. The girls who in May travelled to Belarus to volunteer at the Gorodische Orphanage as part of the Burren Chernobyl Project, were honoured for both their fundraising for the project and the tireless work they did assisting with the care of children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. The girls raised over €10,000 prior to the trip which they donated to assist in the operational costs of the orphanage. At the Assembly, Ms. Shiela Clancy spoke of the the wonderful work carried out by the group and after presenting them with certificates she appointed Jessica Osipov and Allanah McHugh as student ambassadors for the Belarus project 2020.
Mercy Day was also an excellent opportunity to announce the granting of our Amber Flag. Goretta Rochford gave a presentation on the Pieta House Amber Flag initiative which was set up by Pieta House to recognise the various community groups that work to create healthy, inclusive environments that support mental well-being.Last year, St. Mary’s set up our first Amber flag committee and students worked hard to achieve four main goals. We set up an Amber Flag notice board, ran our “Spread positivity in our school” campaign, held a Mental Health Awareness day and created a school Gratitude Board. Members of the committee worked hard throughout the year and St. Mary’s was awarded its first Amber Flag in recognition of this work.
Our Head Girl Leah Redmond McAnanama and Deputy Eve Ni Ruarai then addressed the student body for the first time taking ‘powerful women’ as their theme and urged their fellow classmates to strive to achieve their goals this year.
The Sr. M Regis award was then presented to Caoimhe Gavaghan who was welcomed back to St. Mary’s for the day with her family to receive the award. Caoimhe who achieved the maximum 625 points in her leaving Cert is studying Financial and Acturial Maths in UCD and she urged the girls to start early and have a systematic approach to their studies in order to achieve success.
Mercy Day Mass was then celebrated in the Parish church with wonderful musical accompaniment from our Choir and school Orchestra. Hope was the theme and this was echoed in the chosen readings and prayers.
The wonderful sunshine was the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of sports including the Cross campus races, sprints, long jump, javelin and relay races. Great fun was had in the duvet and potatoe and spoon races and in the hotly contested Teacher v 6th year Relay race it was the students who celebrated victory this year.
A wonderful Mercy Day and a wonderful start to the year!