A CELEBRATION of words, music and song was held to mark the retirement of three teachers who collectively taught for 100 years at Scoil Mhichíl Naofa in Athy.
Mrs Eileen Doyle, Mrs Mary Lawlor and Mrs Carmel Giblin Farrell were the VIPs as the 652 pupils, 51 teachers, 19 SNAs and members of the school’s ancillary staff gathered to pay tribute to the their retiring colleagues and friends last Wednesday ahead of the summer break.
The event began with a flag parade followed by a Gaelic Haka. The celebration also included the pupils of First Class singing Let it Be
Third and fourth class then performed a comedy interpretation of what they imagined the job interviews for the three retirees were like all those years ago.
During this comedy sketch there were recorded tributes from former pupils and family members.
Throughout the tributes the various attributes of the three retiring teachers was recalled including Ms Lawlor’s love for sport, Ms Doyle’s love for music and Ms Giblin Farrell’s love of reading and science. It was also recalled how each of the teachers had influenced the pupils they taught in their respective areas of interest.
Anna Gatewska and Deirdre Archbold representing the Parents’ Association presented the three teachers with plants and Scoil Mhichíl Naofa Board of Management Chairman Tony O’Rourke presented each of the teachers with lamps which had been made from the wood of desks which had previously been in the school. Mr O’Rourke also paid tribute to the teachers for their hard work and commitment over the years.
The pupils then had an opportunity to pay tribute to their teachers and they also presented them with a commemorative DVD to mark the occasion.
Kate Murray, accompanied by Niamh Davis and Igor Oskabowski, thanked Mrs Lawlor on behalf of the students and said; “Most of our memories of you involve sport. You brought girls football to the school some years ago and now we have football, hurling and camogie teams. We also have Tag Rugby too. From you we have learned to participate in all activities and sport to the best of our abilities. We have learnt to follow the rules of sport, to keep trying even if the game isn’t going our way and of course never to argue with the referee.”
Amy Larn, accompanied by Amy Wright and Jess Clancy, paid tribute to Mrs Doyle. “In your years here at Scoil Mhichíl Naofa you have dedicated yourself to creating musicians. Although the school band was before our time there are many in Athy who have fond memories of the band’s performances and wearing the band uniforms, especially the very fashionable hats. From you we have learned a love of music and performing. You have taught us that music is for everyone and can be enjoyed by all. And when one of us is a famous singer we promise you a VIP pass for the concert.”
Ava Wall, accompanied by Shauna Dunne and Isabelle McGlinchey, paid tribute to Mrs Giblin Farrell.“You made sure the younger children always had somebody to listen to their reading by organising volunteer reader to come into the classrooms every morning. This has helped many of us to improve our reading. From you, we also learned to speak clearly and properly. You ensured that we had enough science equipment in the school and maybe you have inspired a budding chemist, physicist or engineer.”
Mrs Lawlor said her decision to come and work in the school was one of the happiest decisions she had ever made and she said she was leaving the school with ‘such lovely memories’.
Mrs Giblin Farrell thanked the children and her colleagues and she said that she loved the time she had spent at the school and she said she would remember her time as a teacher with great affection.
Mrs Doyle recalled her own school days and a less than illustrious initial attempt to join the school band as a drummer. However she said she practiced and practiced and eventually she was good enough and she told the assembled children that each of them had a skill and a talent and she encouraged then to work at it and to believe in themselves.