Reece Murphy

Strabane Primary prize giving ceremony

Reece Murphy, a P7 pupil at Strabane Primary School writes about this year’s prize giving ceremony at his school.

The Strabane Primary prize giving ceremony was a very different occasion from what it would usually be. It would have been the glistening trophies and shields all laid out on the table, the proud and somewhat emotional parents in the seats and all the children on their toes waiting to see if they had won a prize. Due to the effects of COVID-19, the prize giving ceremony was held on Microsoft Teams. Just as much work went into the teams meeting as would have gone into the ceremony in the Hall, perhaps more. Mrs Thompson, our Principal, started by giving a speech about how special this day was and that all the teachers were holding back tears today. She said that this day would go down in this school’s history as the first virtual school prize giving ceremony.

Once Mrs Thompson was finished talking, she handed over to Mrs Maybin and Mrs Fallows. Mrs Fallows presented the trophies, shields and awards with pride for her P7s, each prize winner was given a compliment and a bit of a story before she revealed who had won. She had us all giggling and remembering the good times we had in her class. Then Mrs Fallows gave her speech, the tissue boxes were out and we were right to have them to hand. Near the end of the speech my mum and I began to cry, my mum had to leave the room because she is not a pretty crier! Mrs Fallows had gone out and bought a packet of Liquorice Allsorts to remember her class of ‘Liquorice Allsorts’. Mrs Fallows’ speech was very emotional, and it inspired me to keep working to the best of my abilities. We all have to thank Mrs Fallows, she taught us so much, both educationally and through some of life’s little lessons. My favourite ones are “If you want 100% from life, you have to give it 100%” and “What’s sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander”.

After the Awards were presented, the Chief Executive of the Controlled Schools’ Support Council, Mr Barry Mulholland, gave a wonderful speech. He addressed that even in these difficult times, the teaching and non-teaching staff of the school were working very hard behind the scenes to make sure we had access to online learning like Google Classroom. This included pre-prepared work packs that were able to be picked up from the school for all the pupils, to help our parents continue our education from home. That shows us how privileged the school is to have such wonderful staff. He went on to speak of the ‘Legend’ Mrs Fallows, of Mrs Hepburn and of course Margaret, the provider of amazing meals. Mr Mulholland said that with Mrs Thompson as Principal, the school was in good hands, and he is most certainly right! Thank you to Mr Mulholland for being our guest speaker, it is inspiring to have someone, who isn’t from the school, see how amazing our school is.

After Mr Mulholland’s speech we were treated to two slideshow presentations, one which showcased some of what we had accomplished in P7 and another which had photos of us during our younger years followed by more recent pictures, which showed how much we had grown during our time as pupils of Strabane Primary School. It was funny to see how much we had all changed. The music for the slideshows was made by Jayden McNally on Garageband, and boy was that music amazing. No-one could have done better.

Sadly this year, Mrs Hepburn and Margaret will also be retiring. What they have done for the school will always be remembered. Mrs Hepburn was always doing all those jobs no-one else would have done, helping out with every single class in whatever way she could. Margaret always went above and beyond, coming in early in the morning with Mrs Maybin to operate breakfast club, which still has the best pancakes and toast! And always making sure no-one went hungry, even if you forgot your dinner money and always being generous. Thank you both for having a huge impact on the school.

We must also thank all the staff who made our prize giving ceremony possible. This could have been the year we didn’t get any prize giving at all, so I am very grateful for the chance to see everyone again. Massive thanks to Mr Gamble who was always there to assist with the technical difficulties, and who organised all of us pupils to submit their photos.

The final thing that I’d like to say is good luck to all the other P7s in their new schools, hopefully some of us can see each other in September at a new school, and thank you Strabane Primary. Thank you for helping me discover who I am and what my true potential is.

Reece Murphy, P7