President pays tribute to primary pupils who missed out on milestones

Michael D Higgins’ message comes at end of ‘ difficult and in some ways strange’ school year

 President Michael D Higgins  said he was “very impressed” with the “cheerful and responsible” attitude of children when making these sacrifices. Photograph: Tony Maxwell

President Michael D Higgins said he was “very impressed” with the “cheerful and responsible” attitude of children when making these sacrifices. Photograph: Tony Maxwell

 

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to primary school children after a strange anddifficult year as he commends them for following Covid-19 restrictions.

In a special message Mr Higgins acknowledges the milestones that these children have missed, such as communions, confirmations and school tours.

The president said he was “very impressed” with the “cheerful and responsible” attitude of children when making these sacrifices.

With the academic year for many primary schools drawing to a close this week, the president noted that this year was different to others.

“May I send my very best wishes to all our primary school children as you enter the final weeks of this school year,” he said.

“It has I am aware been a difficult, and in some ways strange, year for all of you.

“At school, you have been asked to follow new rules and restrictions in order to keep your fellow pupils, teachers and their families safe.”

The president went on to note that children’s home lives also changed. “You have had to find different ways to keep in touch with your friends and to pursue your hobbies and interests as you played your important part in preventing, as much as possible, the spread of Covid 19.

“Following your Christmas break you were all asked to once again learn at home for some time, and for those of you who could, to work online with your teachers and your classmates until it was safe for you to return to your schools.”

He recognised that many events children usually participate in have been cancelled. “You have also, of course, been unable to enjoy many of the events that are normally such an important part of the school year for many of you, including religious ceremonies such as First Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies, Christmas plays and concerts, sports days, tours and outings.”

“You have constantly placed the health and safety of others above your own wishes and needs, and that is something of which you, along with your teachers and parents, can be very proud indeed.”

He added that despite the year’s challenges, he hoped children had learned a valuable lesson about the importance of community.

“As the school year draws to its close, I assure you it is one that we, the adults who have benefitted so much from your selfless actions, will always remember, grateful for and very proud of a generation of children who are so generous and so willing to change their behaviour for the benefit of others.

“To all of you I send my deepest gratitude and my best wishes for a very happy and enjoyable summer holiday. Bain gach sult as an samhradh.

“Make the most of these long summer days and enjoy yourselves as you spend time with your families and friends.