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Many fond memories for retiring principal of St Caireal

IT is with ‘mixed emotions’ that Mairead McHugh is retiring from her beloved role as principal of St Caireall’s PS, after a wealth of happy years at the school.

Indeed, Mrs McHugh will forever hold the honour of being the first past pupil of St Caireall’s PS to become principal, taking up her position as head teacher in March 1995, following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Ann Brannigan.

Describing the primary school as ‘her second home’, Mairead reflected upon the many high points she has enjoyed at the school as principal over the past 25 years.

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“I suppose one such highlight has been the exceptionally strong community link between St Caireall’s PS, and the community within the parish of Aghyaran,” she said.

“We have had many events within the school campus, including rural craft displays, sheep shearing exhibitions, dog trials, a combine harvester visiting the school, pantomimes, concerts, historical trips and trips to farms to name just a very small number of ways in which the school has been an integral part of the community here in Aghyaran.

“Another highlight is the close working partnership between the school and our local football club, St Davog’s GFC. Over my years as principal, we have had great support from the club and some of our past pupils have gone on to represent their county.

“Perhaps, for me, the most notable achievement has been to see the way in which so many of our past pupils have progressed in a variety of chosen careers and been successful in so many walks of life.”

Mrs McHugh added that the development of the St Caireall’s Community Playschool on the school site has also brought her great joy over the past ten years, as have the many school shows that have been produced and which featured pupils, parents, grandparents and members of the community.

“Having spent so many years of my life in St Caireall’s PS, being a past-pupil, an assistant teacher in September 1981, and principal in March 1995, it has become a second home, with all the staff and pupils a second family,” Mairead said.

“Retiring brings mixed emotions, however, I am looking forward to having more time to spend with my family; my husband Kevin, daughters Emer, Niamh and Fionnuala and their partners, my son Michael and his partner, and my two precious grandsons Micheal and Braidan”.
Mairead concluded by offering good wishes to the future of St Caireall’s Primary School, Aghyaran, and wished every success and happiness to her successor, Michelle Ellis.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 4 Castle Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AB