Stories School is Out! (In Lockdown...) Being in lockdown undoubtedly has its challenges. We’ve explored them in our recent posts about isolation, being unable to pursue regular hobbies and pastimes, uncertainty about the future and missing our friends and family. However, many young people at schools across the country had been working towards the finish line of completing A Levels or GCSEs. On the day before lockdown closed schools, all the excitement of finishing school was compressed into a single day. School leavers will be suffering the loss of all the high points of finishing sixth form – Leavers Mass, Class of 2020 photo, graduation parties and many other special occasions that draw the school years to a conclusion. Headliners Foyle member and St Joseph’s student Canice Cusack describes how he currently feels finishing his school years in lockdown. “I had attended Saint Joseph’s since 2013 and left in 2020, I have been a pupil in school for about seven years, seven years of hard work, seven years of memories only to be let go a few months early due to the lockdown. Compared to my first year of secondary school I had thought that I would be there forever in a sense, you never really think about that one day it all comes to an end and looking back and think ‘where the time has gone’? It does not really impact you until you reach September and realise that you will not be waking up at half seven in the morning putting on your uniform only to realise you are not going back to secondary school ever again. But I am still grateful for the teachers for their effort as not many would be willing to do that under these difficult times. It does not help that the lockdown might have an effect on my final grades, I would not know until August my results and I’m having a hard time handing in all my work that would be otherwise done and finished by now if I was still in school getting the proper help that I needed, but I am not too worried as they are using predicted grades for most of my subjects so I would have enough to get into further education at NWRC. It has definitely been anti-climactic. The word I would use to describe me leaving school since the year was cut short. I just felt a bit empty and down because it was not the send-off I wanted instead of the glorious final weeks with friends and teachers just having a laugh was just reduce to a social distanced photo and video on Facebook of our leavers mass. But I am still grateful for the teachers for their effort as not many would be willing to do that under these difficult times. My plans for next year depending on Covid-19 are taking on an apprenticeship course at North West Regional College for Software Development, I will learn software development from the tech and be hired by a business that will mentor me on skills and knowledge. So, I am still very hopeful for the future and everything turn out well for everyone.” This article was written by Canice Cusack as part of our #LifeInLockdown series. Thank you to The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland for making stories like Canice’s heard.