Years 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Erne Integrated College were joined by Fr Brian D’Arcy for a special assembly on examinations preparations and moving on. Fr D’Arcy, who was coming from finishing a slot with Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2 began by asking students how often they were asked the question, “what’s right with you?” Fr D’Arcy went onto say that we are far more often asked “what’s wrong with you?” And reasoned that it seemed to be human nature – even our own personal nature to focus on the negative.
Fr D’Arcy spoke about his time in South Africa during apartheid and shared an anecdote about a newly-wed black couple who were hunted from a public park by guards with dogs and guns, just because they entered the park to take wedding photographs during curfew. He made the point that despite black South Africans having nothing and living in abject poverty, they had joy and an indomitable spirit. He urged the young people to seek out the goodness in themselves and to celebrate it.
Continuing his message of hope and empowerment to the senior students, Fr D’Arcy said that we should only ever focus on our strengths. He spoke of his association with Barry McGuigan and Carl Frampton and used the analogy of the boxing coach who instead on telling his trainee that he had a weak right hand, told him instead that if his right punch was twice as strong, he would be unbeatable! The message of positive language and self-belief he said, was crucial to our happiness and wellbeing.
Fr D’Arcy concluded with a line from the poet Patrick Kavanagh, who said, "No man needs to be a mediocrity, if he accepts himself as God made him. God only makes geniuses.” He reasoned that we are all in our way geniuses and we all have talents and something special to offer our world. After the assembly, students spontaneously came and thanked Fr D’Arcy for his time and powerful words before he embarked on a tour of the school and had his portrait taken by award-winning Year 14 photographer Roksana Dawidowska.