A Reflection on his time in The Green by 6th Year Cathal Hannafin

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                               A Personal Reflection on My Time in This School
                                                                    -Cathal Hannafin, Sixth year

My father went to this school, and his father before him, and his father before him, and… well you get the picture. I grew up surrounded by stories of what a hugely successful school was in the world of post-primary sports, stories of victories and of the heroes who brought about these victories, and was constantly told how much of a necessity sport is in this school, so naturally, as I was getting nearer to entering this school for myself, I was…


Ask anyone who knows me in this school; They’ll tell you I’ve never had interest in sport. I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to pour themselves into an ill-fitting jersey, but I have no desire to follow suit. So prominent is my disinterest, that it’s almost become a personality trait: “Cathal Hannafin, the boy who doesn’t like sport.”

But I wear this title as a badge of honour: I’ve grown to learn that, though sport is undeniably important, there is so much more that the world, and indeed this school, has to offer, if sport isn’t your cup of tea. I’ve been in this school for almost six years now, and not once was I left feeling like “the odd one out” due to my lack of passion. Instead I was invited to get involved in other events; Youth Parliaments and Debating competitions were “my thing” and Music became my hobby, and I’m so grateful I was encouraged to get involved in these things.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t let the stereotype of the school get to you. It’s always been said: “The Green, they know their sports.” And the like. And while this is undeniably true, there’s so much more to this school than you’ll ever hear on Radio Kerry’s sports section or in the Tralee Outlook’s sports pages, and if you’re worried you/your son might not “fit in” here because of a lack of sports knowledge, I have one piece of advice for you:

Don’t be. I came here with an overwhelming anxiety for the same reason, but now I exist as living proof that such anxiety is unnecessary. This school has so much to offer, and I think it would be an incredible mistake to go somewhere else for fear that it doesn’t.

                               What I’ve Done With My Time Here.
                                              -Cathal Hannafin, Sixth Year

I’m reaching the end of my time in the school here, lucky for you, your time here might just be beginning. This school has offered me so many opportunities, and as my time here comes to an end I feel compelled to reflect and appreciate just some of them:

Academics: This one’s a no-brainer. One of the first things anyone thinks of when they think of “school” is study, results, subjects. And while this isn’t the only part of school life, it would be a shame not to mention the infinite amounts of knowledge and skill that I have been granted due to the tireless efforts of the staff in this school. The teaching staff have never allowed any student feel confused or lost when teaching their subject, and I will leave this school with an unquestionably larger store of information than I believed imaginable.

Music: Music has been a big part of my life ever since I was in First Year. Though the school may not offer Music as a subject, that doesn’t mean it isn’t encouraged. Throughout my years in this school I have received endless support for my music and I had no worries about taking it as an extra subject outside of school, as I knew the school would support me if I was ever struggling. The school talent shows, open nights, open days as well as performances such as the school play, also gave me an outlet to showcase my hobby, so I’ve never felt marginalized.

Drama: No, not the kind you see on reality TV, although there’s been some of that too… During Transition Year I was encouraged to involve myself in the school’s production of “The Field”, and I’m so grateful I accepted this encouragement. I played the role of “The Bishop”, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I was so engaged and so passionate about my performance that Billy Keane himself even gave me a mention in the Irish Independent, saying that my performance had him blessing himself! I don’t like to brag, but…

Public Speaking: I also was urged to join the school debating team, and I gladly signed myself up. We reached the quarter finals of the Concern Debates, and also received an award for “Best New School”. Inspired and invigorated by this, I got involved in the “European Youth Parliament”, where myself and hundreds of other young people discussed topical issues such as climate change and the refugee crisis, in hopes to come up with sensible, smart solutions which could be introduced. I reached the National Session of this activity and enjoyed every day which I spent discussing world issues, so much so that I’ve had a heightened sense of world issues ever since.

Climate Change Challenge: In November 2014, myself and my friend were invited to attend  a Climate Change Weekend, organised by Trócaire, in Maynooth University. We quickly accepted this offer, and do not regret it. We learned so much about the pressing issues of climate change and climate injustice, and have since been invited to many incredible events, such as the COP21 conference in Paris and a UN Conference on Climate Change in New York.

Career Guidance: Throughout my time here I have received plenty of information and direction in choosing a career path. Teachers, organised Guest Speakers as well as a designated Career Guidance Counsellor are relentless in their efforts to ensure that every student has a definite sense of who they want to be once they leave this school. I personally found my passion in Chemistry this year, and hope to study Pharmacy in Dublin next September, but I mightn’t have realised this if it hadn’t been for the tireless work the school does to ensure each student is aware of their own passion.

I realise now this sheet looks like a “Cathal Brags About Himself List”, but it’s in no way intended to be that. This is but a list of just some of the amazing experiences I have had because of this school, and an example of the experiences you could enjoy too.

© 2016 The Green CBS Secondary School, Tralee. All rights reserved.