Report by Lauren McBrien, NI NCS Regional Youth Board
If you happened to walk past Crumlin Road Jail on the night of the 21st of August 2017 you wouldn't think that it used to house prisoners. The voices and excited laughter of over 250 new NCS graduates bounced off the walls. Crumlin Road was packed to the brim with young people for the NI NCS Summer graduation.
On arrival, NCSers and some of their parents were greeted by detailed social action boards from the various Northern Ireland NCS teams. The selfie mirror was in full swing, and the opportunities fair was bustling with keen volunteers. The Regional Youth Board table was swamped by aspiring graduates, hoping to secure a place on the RYB.
The graduation ceremony got off to a hilarious start with stand up comedian Aaron McCann warming up the crowd with his witty "culchie" humour. Next up was Co-operation Ireland’s Chief Executive Peter Sheridan’s turn with the microphone, reminding the graduates that they were now part of a ever-growing youth movement. Our very own Clarish, Janet and Ciaran from the Regional Youth Board shed some light on how to stay involved with NCS. Janet highlighted that the NCS graduation is simply a checkpoint, it doesn't have to be the finish line.
Finally onto the main event of the evening, the new graduates themselves. Each team produced a short film on to capture the highlights of their summer experience of NCS. These inevitably lead to some 'karaoke-style' sing-a-longs from the crowd. Denis McMahon, a representative of the Department of Communities, the department which funds NINCS, closed the ceremony by reinforcing the message that NI Graduates will draw on the skills they learnt throughout NCS to help them achieve their full potential in life.
At last, the moment everyone in the room had been waiting for... Party time! The graduates moved swiftly downstairs to enjoy the DJ whilst scoffing the sweets, decorating their faces with UV pens and covering each other in glow bands. Once again, a fantastic event which continues to out-do itself every year!
View the photos taken at the graduation.