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St Columba’s marks golden anniversary

Principal Colette Maguire and pupils Kyle McShane, Ella Browne, Alex Foley and Brooke Neeson look over the 1968 roll book for St Columba’s Primary School. The Clady school is preparing to mark its 50th anniversary.

THIS year marks a historic milestone for St Columba’s Primary school as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The school recently launched a year of events with a celebration mass and school principal Colette Maguire is taking on a fitting but challenging tribute by writing a book on the history and life of the school.

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“St Columba’s has always been at the heart of the local community and what better way to highlight that than in the form of a book,” said Mrs Maguire.

“In the past 50 years we have only ever had three principals  which I believe is an achievement in itself and says a lot about our school and its association with the community.

“Our motto is ‘from tiny acorns grow might oaks’. Once a pupil enters our school they are like a little acorn.

Throughout their years here we foster them to develop and reach their full potential and that has been the foundation of the school.”

Hoping to have the book completed by June 2018, Mrs Maguire highlighted that the school has achieved so much in its young life.

“We were the first primary school in the North to sponsor children from abroad, when we had three children from South Korea learning with us. We even built an oriental garden in their memory. We also became an Eco school and that was a great day for us. Since then we have been awarded five green Eco flags. We take a lot of pride in developing our outdoor teaching areas which is something that has been supported by the entire school community.

“In 2008 we buried a time capsule which was filled with different information and things about the school. That won’t be opened until 2058 and for whoever is here then it will be an exciting day to look back and see how things have changed and progressed.”

With 135 pupils at the school Mrs Maguire added that each subject is as important as the next in St Columba’s.

“It is very important to us that as a school we develop the talent of every pupil. There is no subject more or less important than another and I believe we deliver the whole package when it comes to our pupils achievements in different areas of the school.”

Mrs Maguire who is originally from Castlederg but lives in Fermanagh has been principal of St Columba’s for 16 years but says her connection with the school started long before then.

“I have been associated with this school for four decades, I came here for my first teaching practice in 1976. I have taught many of our pupil’s parents and my own children were even educated here.”

Looking forward to celebrating this historic milestone in the school’s history Mrs Maguire emphasised that this is something for the whole community to enjoy.

“This year will be a challenge for myself and the staff as we want to make this special occasion as memorable and fun as possible for everyone. We look forward to having many events throughout the year which the entire community can enjoy.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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