The Graduation Ball is a source of great excitement for fifth years and Leaving Certs across Co Longford, but one teacher has come up with a great idea that could reduce the personal and financial pressure that comes with the occasion.
Fr Joe McGrath, a teacher at St Mel’s College, spoke to the Leader last week about the plan, which would see students from the three secondary schools in Longford town - St Mel’s, Meán Scoil Mhuire and Templemichael College (the latter of which don’t host a graduation ball) - come together to plan and attend one big “Super” Grad.
Fr McGrath has been helping the St Mel’s boys plan their grads for the past number of years and he has seen the stress, for both boys and girls, of buying tickets, asking a date, sourcing dresses and suits and planning hair and beauty appointments.
This idea, if it comes to fruition, will allow the students to minimise that stress by holding one big event planned by themselves.
“If we only have one grad, and get a really good venue, good food, good music, it could be a really great night,” Fr McGrath explained. “It’s up to the students. We won’t force a decision on them.”
Fr McGrath suggested that having such a big group would help drive down the price of tickets, and it could have a great knock-on effect on the local economy.
Looking further into the event, Fr McGrath said that he would be keen to engage with local service-providers and businesses to provide all manner of “grad packages” to keep Grad business in Longford.
Acknowledging that many students want to go to more than one Grad, Fr McGrath said that the option is there to hold a Grad ‘launch’ before Christmas or a post-Grad celebration in August to be held in Longford. Indeed, talks have already started, with one Longford publican readily agreeing to help out.
“It’s a floating idea,” Fr McGrath concluded. “The schools are aware of it and know we’re exploring the idea to see what might be possible!”