Last week the five Australian GAP students (or Gappies), who have graced the groves of Clongowes since January, began to make their way back home for a bit of sunshine before embarking on the next stage of their lives at Third Level. James Quinn, Lochlan Moody, Sam Hartwig, Daniel Sheehan and Josh Schwager (left to right above) have added much to the rich tapestry of Clongowes life over the last year and before they left Sam addressed the school on their behalf.
“Good morning, everybody. This morning we gather for Morning Prayer for the last time this year that all us GAPs are present. I fly out on Thursday and the others in the coming days so we’d like to take a moment to extend a vote of thanks to everyone who has made the past year here at Clongowes, an experience we will never forget.
To Fr. Moloney, thank you for continuing the tradition of the GAP programme and having us this year. To Mr. Frank Kelly in his absence, and Mr. Stephen Gray, Mr. Martin Wallace and Mr. Martin Nugent (his predecessor); thank you for coordinating our role here and extending the friendly hand of the Clongowes Community. To the perfecting staff, teachers, coaches and students; a big thanks for making us feel so at home this last year. If it weren’t for you, the GAP year here at Clongowes wouldn’t be what it is.
To Ms. Ann Cooke and the refectory staff, a big thank you for keeping us well fed and looked after over the year. The food has been unreal and is always served with a smile that really does lighten up your day. A special thanks to Liam Maher aka ‘Chief’ for the role you have played in our year. You are an absolute legend and an all round bloke who really has looked after us this year.
Finally, a big thanks to our coordinator Tony Egan. You have been a great help to all of us over the year, and more importantly a great friend. There are many situations where we would’ve been stuck without you, Josh falling asleep and waking up to a flat battery in Naas, one of the more recent examples! We will miss your constant stream of banter, and just your general company, which has made living away from home much easier.
Finally, you, the lads, have really welcomed us this year and helped us out when needed. You are all great for a laugh and a chat whenever and really do make the year all that it is cracked up to be. You have all been great and for this we thank you.
So in summing up, thank you all so much for your efforts this year. The experience to live on the other side of the world for the year and to travel is an opportunity none of us have taken for granted. We all definitely recommend the GAP year to all who are thinking of it. I’m certain we will be back in the near future to check in and see how you are all going. Thanks Clongowes, we will see you soon!”