Last Friday, we had a wonderful day of celebration in the school as we marked 50 years of school life in St. Mary’s NS. The children and staff had been working extremely hard leading up to this momentous day to make sure everything went to plan and their toil was justly rewarded with a day that will live long in the memory of all staff, pupils, former staff, family, friends and special guests in attendance.
The celebrations began at 10:30am as local TD, former school principal and former pupil of the school, Declan Breathnach, met with our Green School’s committee as we raised our 7th Green Flag. Led by piper Patrick Martin and introduced by Deputy Principal and Green School’s coordinator, Mrs Farren, Declan proudly raised the flag in front of the Junior School and members of the Knockbridge Tidy Towns group.
We then had our Jubilee mass celebrated by the new Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese, Michael Router, who was officiating at his first Jubilee mass in his new role. Outgoing school chaplin Fr Paddy Rushe and incoming school chaplin Fr. Gerry Campbell concelebrated with Mrs Farren superbly organising the liturgy for the mass. The choir was in great voice led by Mrs Kearney and organist Ms Sweeney while Ms Starkie’s dance troop led the celebrants down the aisle to open the ceremony.
After this the pupils formed a guard of honour for the special invited guests and the members of the student council as the proceeded down to the school where the Bishop blessed the new extension to our school – the new library, SET rooms, classroom and also our brand new running track. Declan Breathnach cut the ribbon on the library and new extension while Parents and Friends member and former pupil, Frances Farrell Noonan, cut the ribbon to officially open the new running track generously funded by the P&F Association.
The special guests then made their way to the Halla Setanta where the student body and invited guests were waiting. Speeches were made by Declan Breathnach, Chairperson of the BOM, Fr Rushe and Master McDonnell. We were also treated to a commemorative video made by Ms Conroy and there was a special surprise when a presentation was made to Master for his own celebration of 50 years!
Guests and pupils were then treated to delicious refreshments with the children enjoying a BBQ and ice cream on what was a very mild September day. The school was opened to guests to explore with old role books laid out for perusal by anyone who wished to look themselves up!
A superb day was had by all and one that will live long in the memory. Here’s to the next 50 years!