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At a time like this, our mental health and wellbeing must be a priority. I’m glad we have been laying the foundations for this since last September, so try to think back to our wellbeing wall and the messages it delivered, ‘Happy or Sad, it’s Good to Talk’ and ‘Keep Fit, Stay Active’. You might need to draw on these messages over the next few weeks. There is loads we can do to keep fit, I just completed the Joe Wicks PE workout on YouTube myself and it set me up for a great day! 

Starting with the same routine each day will help this to feel ‘normal’. Some ideas that might help include: making a plan of work to do; getting regular exercise; eating healthy meals and avoiding sugary snacks; limiting video games and TV screen time; calling friends, parents and grandparents; helping out around the house; saying thanks to those who help you and getting a good night’s sleep. Try to stick to your usual bedtime routines, we must remember this is not holiday time. Sticking to a good routine will help you when completing your schoolwork, exercise and household chores. 

Our Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has asked everyone not to visit other houses or play in large groups. I know this is difficult because boys love visiting their grandparents and other boys in their class. Well done to all of you for listening carefully to these rules, I know how hard it is, especially for those boys that have had to celebrate their birthdays without parties and without their friends. 

Boys, I am always proud of you, but I am prouder of you today more than ever. One of the many things I admire about you is your ability to find the best in situations and I know that this is what you will do now. You will see the adventure; you will find the magic and in doing so you will allow those around you to see it too. When this virus is gone, and it will go, we will all remember how you boys came together by staying apart and stood with those who needed your help. 

In Hollypark BNS we use the rules, Kind Words, Kind Actions. Even though we are not in the school building these rules still apply, be kind to your parents, brothers and sisters. Show how your kind actions can make a difference around the house and help with the chores while remembering your wonderful, polite Hollypark manners. 

I’m looking forward to meeting you all again soon and standing at the school entrance as you greet me with ‘Good morning, Mr. O’Donovan’, just as you have been doing since September. I’m looking forward to seeing the smiling faces in the corridors, the soccer and hurling teams pulling on the green and yellow jerseys, boys coming for stickers in my office and listening to the noise of the playground as boys play catch and chase. We will all return to normal again soon. 

In the meantime, keep safe, enjoy your ‘work from home’ and continue to do me proud. 

Best wishes, 

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Mr. O’Donovan