Union Day has been one of the great traditions that have helped to make Clongowes what it is. It is the occasion when the graduating class effectively finish their second-level schooling, when the incoming School Captain, Secretary and Vice-Captain are appointed, and when the new President of the Union takes up his Chain of Office. It is also one of the principal social days in the College calendar and the Parents’ Association provided entertainment with a climbing-wall, face painting and the traditional Tug-O-War and Penalty Shoot Out and also arranged the Annual Fine Art Exhibition in the Concourse, organised by Ms Jazz Crowley-Long.
This year the event took place on Sunday May 24th and was as busy as ever. The Rhetoric Graduation Mass was followed by lunch in the refectory as well as in numerous pop up picnics around the grounds. Earlier Owen Binchy (OC’80) had succeeded John Bruton (OC ’65) as President of the Clongowes Union at the AGM.
Union Day 2015 also marked the formal end to the Bicentenary Celebrations that commenced just before Union Day 2014 with the Bicentenary Pageant on May 18th. The doyenne of these celebrations and Chair of the Bicentenary Committee, Ms Ger Ryan was singled out for mention by the Headmaster, Fr Moloney, who honoured her by naming her as an Honorary Clongownian.
While the day was an important rite of passage for the departing Rhetoric, it was no less important for the rest of the student body, all of whom were on the edge of another step in their progression through the school. Three Poetry students in particular felt the hand of history when Conor Slattery, Donnchadh Walsh and Jack McCreevy were named as Captain, Vice-Captain and Secretary respectively, in succession to Jack Gillespie, Rowan Osborne and Tim Burke (no less respectively).
The most prestigious award on Union Day is the Aloysius Award, named for our patron saint, Aloysius Gonzaga. The honour is given ‘For courage and determination in personal and communal life – for development of character, placing his talents at the service of others and through his efforts to come to terms with himself and life in Clongowes – for growth as an integrated, genuine person.’ Sergiu Morar was a very worthy recipient.