THE new primary school in Ardclough was officially opened last Friday, 11 April, and hundreds of parents, staff and officials gathered to celebrate.
Ceremonial master, Pat Doyle, the Board of Management treasurer, and others had plenty of great things to say about its Principal for the last 17 years, Ms. Patricia King.
She too had some lovely things to say about those who took part in the long campaign for the new school and welcomes for all.
The visitors included one of the school’s earlier pupils, Ms. Kitty Keane (91), who is the mother of Leinster Leader photographer, Tony.
Ms. King summed up the relief at the school’s opening. “Really I’d like to say only one word, ‘hooray’,” she said.
She was presented, amidst special applause, with gifts for “endless hours of hard work and dedication”.
She thanked all of those on the journey, including Mildred Hegarty, a staff member who has been at the school since 1980.
Enda Hughes, from the Department of Education and Skills, said the new St. Anne’s, which opened its doors last July, had cost €4m to build. A generic design, it was built to create space and light.
Not too much was said on the joyous occasions about the campaign to replace the former school building, which had been built in 1949. Mr. Hughes, who was basically standing in for the Minister for Education, thanked “the parents for their patience.”
Bishop Nulty, who said there are 174 schools and 37,000 children under Roman Catholic patronage in the Kildare and Leighlin diocese, said he knew all about the days and dates.
The new site was bought in 2006 and an application for a school was made in February 2009.
In January 2011, the sod was turned for construction to start.
The school should have been ready before it opened its doors in July 2013 but problems with the constructions plans led to very a frustrating delay.
On 11 April, the overflow crowd was able to see the ceremony, including the much applauded, “If I were a butterfly,” on video screens. The technology was quite advanced compared to that available to the first student, Ann Buggle, who signed up in 1901, some 113 years ago.
The Board chairperson, Dr. Marie Griffin, noted that the long time principal of the old school, Mrs. Maguire, doubled jobs as an Evening Herald greyhound correspondent.
She paid tribute to former Boards of Management.