Sheila O'Neill retires from St Conleth's and Mary's Primary in Newbridge after 38 years

Fine school: Rewarding experience

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

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niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Sheila retires from St Conleth's and Mary's in Newbridge after 38 years

Sheila receives a round of applause from her colleagues and pupils. Photo: St Conleth's and Mary's

A diligent teacher, thoughtful colleague and dedicated principal were just some of the tributes paid to Sheila O’Neill as she retired from St Conleth’s and Marys Primary School in Newbridge before Christmas after 38 years.

The Leinster Leader caught up with Sheila recently.

When asked to sum up her experience of her time at the school, she replied; “I had a very rewarding and enjoyable teaching experience in St. Conleth and Mary’s for 38 ½ years. The Boards of Management, staff, parents and children, past and present have worked hard to create and maintain a very positive learning environment for the children and I am proud of my association with such a fine school,” she said.

“Looking back over the years I have seen many changes take place in the school. When I first took up a teaching post in 1979 in St. Conleth’s Girls School, the school was under the wonderful management of the Holy Family Sisters.

“The Holy Family Sisters were very dedicated and committed to providing an excellent standard of education for the girls of Newbridge. There were three Holy Family Sisters on the staff, Sr. Elizabeth, Sr. Brid and St. Teresa as principal. In the late eighties the school transitioned to lay management and Teresa Doyle became the first lay principal.”

Shelia recalls how the school then became co-ed, the name changed to St. Conleth and Mary’s and the green uniforms changed to the grey now worn by the pupils.

“Over the course of the years in the classrooms, the children moved from desks to tables, whiteboards and markers replaced blackboards and chalk, eventually changing to interactive whiteboard as we embraced the age of technology,” she says.

“Very quickly we became accustomed to computers, iPads, laptops and encyclopaedias became items of historical value as we learned how to google. Technology has not only changed how the pupils learn but also how the teachers record attendance with the leabhair rolla being replaced by a digital roll book.”

When asked what her plans are, Shelia points out; “As regards plans for my retirement I look forward to not having to respond to the alarm clock in the morning. I intend to enjoy my new freedom with long leisurely walks on the Curragh and further afield perhaps.”

In a special piece penned by the school for the Newbridge Parish News and Views magazine, the school paid tribute to their retiring principal.

“At the Christmas concert and at Sheila’s retirement dinner, just before the holidays, pupils, parents, Board of Management, and colleagues had the opportunity to express their appreciation and wish her well for the future. While the celebrations were tinged with regret for what was ending, there was also a great sense of happiness for Sheila that a new phase in her life was about to begin,” wrote the school.

It described her as a diligent, patient, understanding and effective teacher who was committed to the social, spiritual, curricular and extra-curricular development of her students.

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A diligent teacher, thoughtful colleague and dedicated principal were just some of the tributes paid to Sheila O’Neill as she retired from St Conleth’s and Marys Primary School in Newbridge before Christmas after 38 years.

The Leinster Leader caught up with Sheila recently.

When asked to sum up her experience of her time at the school, she replied; “I had a very rewarding and enjoyable teaching experience in St. Conleth and Mary’s for 38 ½ years. The Boards of Management, staff, parents and children, past and present have worked hard to create and maintain a very positive learning environment for the children and I am proud of my association with such a fine school,” she said.

“Looking back over the years I have seen many changes take place in the school. When I first took up a teaching post in 1979 in St. Conleth’s Girls School, the school was under the wonderful management of the Holy Family Sisters.

“The Holy Family Sisters were very dedicated and committed to providing an excellent standard of education for the girls of Newbridge. There were three Holy Family Sisters on the staff, Sr. Elizabeth, Sr. Brid and St. Teresa as principal. In the late eighties the school transitioned to lay management and Teresa Doyle became the first lay principal.”

Shelia recalls how the school then became co-ed, the name changed to St. Conleth and Mary’s and the green uniforms changed to the grey now worn by the pupils.

“Over the course of the years in the classrooms, the children moved from desks to tables, whiteboards and markers replaced blackboards and chalk, eventually changing to interactive whiteboard as we embraced the age of technology,” she says.

“Very quickly we became accustomed to computers, iPads, laptops and encyclopaedias became items of historical value as we learned how to google. Technology has not only changed how the pupils learn but also how the teachers record attendance with the leabhair rolla being replaced by a digital roll book.”

When asked what her plans are, Shelia points out; “As regards plans for my retirement I look forward to not having to respond to the alarm clock in the morning. I intend to enjoy my new freedom with long leisurely walks on the Curragh and further afield perhaps.”

In a special piece penned by the school for the Newbridge Parish News and Views magazine, the school paid tribute to their retiring principal.

“At the Christmas concert and at Sheila’s retirement dinner, just before the holidays, pupils, parents, Board of Management, and colleagues had the opportunity to express their appreciation and wish her well for the future. While the celebrations were tinged with regret for what was ending, there was also a great sense of happiness for Sheila that a new phase in her life was about to begin,” wrote the school.

It described her as a diligent, patient, understanding and effective teacher who was committed to the social, spiritual, curricular and extra-curricular development of her students.

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