The first Leaving Certificate class from the Patrican Secondary School graduated 50 years ago in June 1963 and a new book compiled by former pupil Patsy McGann recaptures the era in detail.
The booklet, entitled ‘First Leaving Certificate’, recalls the 13 pupils whose names will forever be captured as the Class of 1963.
They were mostly the same pupils that started in infants became the 2nd class in the Brothers in 1953, went to become the primary cert class of 1958 and then the first leaving cert class of the Patricans in 1963.
“It was a great achievement,” said Patsy, a retired Aer Lingus professional who lives in Paric Mhuire.
“Credit has to go to the Patician Secondary School and the town for getting behind it and all the parents and teachers involved.
“Out of the 13 of us, two got scholarships to go to univeristy and they now live aboard while the other 11 live mostly between Dublin and Newbridge.
Patsy added that several of the students went to night school to get degrees.
“I studied Financial Accounts and Economics in UCD at night and I joined Aer Lingus for 38 years. I travelled all over the world and lived abroad and I had a fantastic career. This class also became the under 14 football champions in Kildare after several dissappointing years.”
Following the opening of the boys national school in 1914 education for boys in Newbridge remained stagnant with most boys leaving education aged 14.
“Why the primary certificate class of 1958 became the launch pad for a new secondary school will remain a bit of a mystery,“ the booklet, which is available from the Parish Centre, reads but credit is given to the arrival of Bro Lazderian who brought a new dynamism to the school.