The principal of a city boys’ primary school this week attributed its success to the “exceptionally” good relationship that exists between it and local parents.
Praising them for their interest and commitment Noel Cunningham of St Pat’s school, said they support and encourage their children to achieve excellence.
Addressing a standing-room only crowd at the school’s open evening and art exhibition he stated he was keen to strengthen the links between school and parents even further and promote their involvement in all aspects of school life.
“Many parents are already involved at different levels and in different ways, as members of the very active parents’ association and of other boards and committees,” he said.
“They give generously of their energy and time to help organise various sporting and cultural activities. They ferry the children to and from matches, athletics events, swimming galas, attend to their scrapes and bruises, celebrate their victories and console them in defeat.”
Mr Cunningham said the school would not be able to function, much less achieve the kind of success it does, without this “very active goodwill and co-operation” from parents.
The famous Patrician Brass Band - which gave a rousing performance at the start of the evening and was described as synonymous with Galway by Mayor Hildegarde Naughton - could not exist without the active commitment of parents, he said. The Brother David school library of more than 6,000 volumes is run voluntarily by parents.
In her opening address, Mayor Hildegarde Naughton, who is a teacher at St Pat’s, commended the work of the Patrician Brothers who founded the school.
She lauded them for their long service and devotion to education in Galway going back to the dark days of the 1820s and Famine times.
“St Pat’s is characterised by an atmosphere of friendliness and warmth shared by pupils, parents and teachers. St Pat’s boys are very happy; the school provides a safe, welcoming, happy environment,” she said.
After the speeches parents had the opportunity to walk around the school and observe the work being done in the different classes: the exhibition of children’s art and craft work, sports activities, science experiments, the fully equipped IT/computer room. The school choir, which will take part in this year’s Cór Fhéile in Cork, entertained with a selection of songs while boys from different classes gave an exhibition of Irish dancing. There were also video presentations of various aspects of the life and work of the school in addition to face-painting.
The school will celebrate the important role grandparents play in the lives of its pupils at its special Grandparents’ Day today (Thursday ).
Noel Cunningham says too often it is forgotten just how much the love of grannies and grandpas mean to children.
“We will also be celebrating the contribution they have made in the course of their lives to the wider community. Grandparents are living repositories of wisdom, lore and history and a great resource for children in their quest for knowledge of the world and of life.
“The day will begin with Mass at 9.45am in the school hall celebrated by Fr Dick Lyng. This will be followed by light refreshments and by popular demand, a special performance by the school choir and troupe of Irish dancers. Grandparents will then have an opportunity to visit their grandchildren’s classes and see for themselves how things have changed since they were at school. There will be an opportunity for them to share their memories with the pupils in question and answer sessions. The hall will be decorated with photos, stories and poems about their grandparents, by the children.”
Thursday also will mark the 204th anniversary of the foundation of the Patrician Brothers in 1808.
“For over 200 years these men have selflessly devoted themselves to educating the people of Ireland,” outlined Mr Cunningham. “They have run schools and provided for the poor of Galway since the 1820s. St Pat’s is proud to partake in that rich heritage and so we honour the dedication and sacrifices made by those men.”