Templemore College of Further Education held its Graduation Ceremony in the Templemore Arms hotel on Friday October 21st. This was a proud day for the graduates and their families and friends.
The ceremony began with an address by the College Principal Dr. Noel Colleran. His address focused on one element of the College’s Strategic Plan, which commits to provide a learning environment that encourages each student to get the best out of themselves, so that they can take charge of their lives. With this in mind he made reference to nineteenth century poetry, TV advertising, and the 2009 film entitled Invictus. Dr. Colleran said ‘Invictus means unconquerable, and all three examples mentioned exemplify this human characteristic. The underlying message in the examples seems to be, that no matter what one’s life circumstances, we can take control, and choose who we are, or who we want to be’. He went on to talk about the plight of Nelson Mandela, the central character in the 2009 film Invictus. He continued ‘Mandela had spent, nearly 30 years in prison in South Africa, and 17 of those were in Robben Island.
In Robben Island, Mandela suffered hard labour, and was confined in a very small cell. It seemed that he had no choices, no decisions, no freedom, no control, and yet he still had the power to choose to suffer, to endure, to persist, when all seemed lost. Mandela credits, his endurance and persistence, to the influence of William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus, which he recited to himself on many occasions during his 17 years in prison in Robben Island. It was the words in this poem that inspired him to continue: I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.’
Dr. Colleran concluded ‘all of us are visited by difficult challenges, throughout our lives, and it is how we respond, makes us who we are. We in Templemore College believe that education prepares us to take charge of our lives and to get the best out of ourselves, because in the end we are the masters of our fate and we are the captains of our soul’.
Special guest, Fr. Vincent Stapleton, addressed the Graduation on the theme of changing pathways in life. He said that he had become a Primary teacher and was not content with who he was so he decided to change direction and he trained to be a priest. Fr. Vincent talked about his experience of working in a hospital and how sick people and their families had humbled and honoured him by allowing him to be present at very sad times in their lives. He went on ‘I learned that sometimes you need to do nothing, just be present with the suffering because there is a place for silent presence when people are tormented by life’s circumstances.
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of Awards to the graduates by the Special Guest, Fr. Vincent Stapleton, and the College Principal Dr. Noel Colleran.