At the end of August 2005, myself and around 40 other young lads congregated in De La Salle College Churchtown's assembly hall for our first day of secondary school. It's strange to think that was six years ago, and now we're leaving the school that was so unfamiliar to us back then.
There are a lot of things that I'm going to miss from De La Salle. Throughout my stay at the college, there has always been a great relationship between the students and teachers. That being said, they were never too lenient. Between people quickly removing hoodies at the sight of Mr Sheehan, lest they be confiscated, and students rushing to beat Mr MacGiollarua to his classroom to save themselves a detention, punishment was never far from the teachers' minds. But there's always been a mutual respect between us; De La Salle students and teachers have always been able to have a laugh with each other in and out of class. Whether its Mr Quirke's calling someone a cabbage, or Mr Byrne's comments which make you wonder if he ever really left the school at all. And of course who could forget Mr Eugene Ryan's projector screen swinging from its nail and knocking the speaker from the wall. Classic ...
Rugby has always been a big part of De La Salle life. I played rugby for first and second year, and again in fifth year, and always found it to be a tremendously enjoyable experience, even though I was never too good at it. Even when not playing, the matches were always great to attend. Unfortunately the last year we've had a great loss to the supporters' side with the graduation of Ross O'Connor and Jason Walsh, who were always on the sidelines leading the old chants with their trusty megaphone. One thing that always struck me was the presence of past-teachers and pupils at rugby matches, a great reflection on school spirit, and I hope to be there to support the De La Salle teams next year also.
Even for those not interested in sport, they were always catered for. Chess has always been active in the school as long as I've been there, and the chance of an odd game or two during lunch was always a good break, if you could get a seat in the library that is ... Also, the school has been very good in terms of music the last few years, with the two incarnations of the school band Mustang Salle. Prize Night each year was also a great way to see the broad spectrum of musical talent that the college had to offer.
Now, as I wait to sit my Leaving Certificate, there's so much to look back on from my time at De La Salle. Even though we all move onto bigger and better things, I know that the school has educated me in the ways of academia and also the ways of life, and although there's a degree of uncertainty for everybody as they leave secondary school, I feel well prepared for years ahead.
Eamonn O'Shea (Class of 2011)