Sabina attends Marino College of Further Education Annual Graduation Ceremony

Wed 22nd May, 2019 | 14:45
location: (Dublin) Croke Park Stadium

(Dublin) Croke Park Stadium

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

Sabina Higgins speech at Marino College of Further Education Annual Graduation Ceremony

Croke Park Stadium, Dublin, Wednesday, 22nd May 2019

It is a great pleasure to be here today at Marino College of Further Education. It is a particular pleasure to have the opportunity of joining you as you are about to take such an important turn on  your life’s journey,  one that I hope will lead you to fulfilling futures that you  have worked so hard to attain.

The history of Marino College is a long and proud one, a history rooted in a very different Ireland from the one we know today. That Ireland of 1936, the year before our constitution was enacted, was one of poverty and harsh social conditions where a second level education was a luxury very few could afford for their children, while a further education was an impossible dream for the vast majority of Irish people.  Marino College, founded to meet the needs of people in the local area, was not just an educational institution but also a space of vision and possibility, a pathway to better futures and to the achievement of full potential.

Today the college is firmly embedded into the life of the North Strand community, while also welcoming a diverse student population from Dublin and beyond. Like those who have gone before, you are all now part of the rich narrative of this college and have played your important role in its continuing and ever evolving story.

Today marks the culmination of several years of study, effort and determination from you all. It also marks your formal departure from Marino College of Further Education, as you now embark on new projects and new ventures. Some of you may be moving on to further studies, others into employment or internships, others may have plans to live and work in places beyond Ireland. All of you, whatever your plans for the future, will bring to those futures the skills, talents and knowledge you have acquired here at Marino College of Further Education.

You will also, I hope, bring with you many happy memories of the time you have spent here. I am sure for most of you Marino College became not simply a building where lectures where delivered and exams were sat. It also, I hope, became a place where you began to ( realise your ambitions), gain confidence in your abilities, widen your horizons, discover new truths and forge new friendships. The years of higher education are an exciting and dynamic time in our lives. They are also extremely important and fruitful years; years that most students look back on with gratitude and with great pleasure. 

The theme of this year’s graduation is, “following your dreams and stepping into a new future with courage and resilience” .  That is a greatly inspiring statement, that speaks of the importance of not only  having visions and ideas for the future you wish to create for yourselves, but of harnessing those concepts to real will and action in order that imagined futures can become lived realities.

Some of you came here straight from your schooldays, others amongst you made the brave decision to return to formal education after a gap of many years. The range of courses you have undertaken is wide and includes the fields of business, the arts, communications, medicine and so many other interesting and important areas of study. The paths that led each of you here are individual and unique, and you all have your own plans for your journeys going forward. It is important, however, that those journeys are taken in solidarity with others; that, whatever your chosen career path, you do not lose sight of the need to play your part in the building of strong communities and societies that will place the flourishing and fulfilment of citizens at their very heart.  

By coming here, successfully completing your studies and engaging in college life you have already demonstrated that you are people prepared to actively participate and rise to new challenges, people who have the capacity to realise a better world. 

A fulfilling education, as I am sure you’ve learnt, is about so much more than studying texts and passing exams. It is about developing the facility to think creatively, to question and interrogate the prevailing views of the day, to be unafraid to voice alternative opinions and, in the process, to become citizens who place humanity and solidarity at the centre of all we do. 

My hope for all of you who graduate today is that you will achieve success in your chosen careers – a success that will bring you happiness and personal fulfillment and will be measured by so much more than financial recompense or social status. 

Indeed my great wish for you all is that you become part of and embrace the concept of ethical and equal workplaces where opportunities for the individual are not placed above the collective good, and where participation in the workplace is understood as a source of personal dignity and freedom, family stability, prosperity in the community and democratic flourishing.  That is, I believe, the best path to a rewarding and satisfying life supported by a profound sense of achievement.

In conclusion, may I extend my congratulations to all our graduates here today.  I also extend my congratulations to the family members and friends who have been such an important part of this great journey,  supporting and encouraging you in order that you could arrive at this proud moment. 

I wish each and every one of you true success as you tread new paths and  pursue new ventures and commend you on all you have achieved here in Marino College of Further Education. 

I am honoured to come today to celebrate your Graduation from Marino College FE. 
I celebrate your persistence, determination to complete your studies and you see the value of life long learning

I hope today will be a day when many of you are pointed in new and productive directions and that you will leave here ready and energised for the exciting journey ahead. I wish you all every success in the future