Last Friday, February 1, was a day of celebration at the Cross and Passion in Kilcullen to mark the 125th anniversary of the opening of the school.
Although the school was open to the public from 7pm, the day itself was full of celebration for the entire school community.
The day started with a walk up to Old Kilcullen just after 9am by way of special pilgrimage to commemorate the work of the Cross and Passion Sisters down through the years in the school community.
Later in the day, as the school doors were thrown open, members of the public attended. There was a general invitation to all past pupils, but especially those from the 1986/87 year when the first boys attended the school.
Up to that point it was single sex school for girls.
The school was packed all evening with current and past pupils dating all the way back to the 1950’s. While members of the catering committee darted around the school keeping the guests all stocked up on delicious nibbles, some current students, who were in a band had set up in one of the halls, and sounded great.
Parents, staff, Board of Management members and members of the local community, as well as representatives of the Cross and Passion Sisters and Le Cheile attended the event.
While there were official events happening, there was an easy going atmosphere about the evening – and if there was a built in emphasis was on reminiscing.
Past pupils of a certain vintage mingled in the library and chatted away, reminiscing over old times, while even more attended an opening ceremony for the school’s newly created ‘Sacred Space’.
One point of particular interest was the old albums of photographs from years gone by. They were met with shrieks of delight, nostalgia - and mortification at some long forgotten hairstyles!
And, as part of the celebrations, the school put out a call asking for anyone with old photographs of the school to donate them.
Four generations of girls, and more recently boys have passed through the halls of the Cross and Passion.
Even the oldest person there on the night was an awkward teenager once, and even they weren’t around 125 years ago when the Cross and Passon school began accepting teenagers.
And if the Cross and Passion is still standing on the corner of the Athgarvan road when they come to celebrate the 250th anniversary, nobody who was there last Friday night will be there to celebrate it.
But a building, is just a building. It’s the school community that breathes life into it – their boisterousness vitality and their imagination that make it in long lasting institution of its own community.
And last Friday night, while the past pupils may have spent their time marveling at computers in classrooms or the new Sacred Space, there was a little part of them that was a teenager again.
- Conor McHugh