THERE was a tangible “feel good factor” in Carrigaline Community School last Friday evening as the school community celebrated the 40th anniversary of the school.
Pupils, parents and former and current staff members were joined by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath and members of the wider community to mark the auspicious occasion.
“We were celebrating, belatedly, the 40th anniversary of our school. It was established in 1981. We obviously wanted to celebrate last year but we couldn’t with Covid,” school principal, Paul Burke, told The Echo.
“We had all our previous principals back in the school for the evening.
“There were three previous principals - Michael Shields, Donal Murray and John Hourihan - and we had most of our previous deputy principals as well. It was lovely to get everyone in the one room to celebrate,” he added.
The event commenced at the school before moving onto the Carrigaline Court Hotel where the celebrations continued.
Mr Burke said the event was a great success and that there was a real “feel good factor” on the evening.
“Overall, it was a wonderful, wonderful occasion. There’s a lot of messages coming in today,” he continued.
Speaking about the evolution of the school, Mr Burke said that from fewer than 200 pupils in 1981 the school has grown to almost 1,100 students today.
Several expansion projects over the years and an extensive offering of subjects has meant the school is well-placed to serve its large student body.
“There have been some major extensions over the years, the first few involved putting on two or three classrooms, but our major extension was completed in 2014 which seated about 400 students and we had a brand new PE hall put in place as well so it’s very well equipped for now and for the future.
“Also, we have a huge curriculum in the school. There is something for everybody.
“We have all the new Leaving Cert subjects like computer science, PE, and politics and society so it’s really vast and every student basically gets to study whatever they want. We do the donkey work around the timetabling afterwards once they’ve picked which is quite a feat but it’s very important that the kids get to study what they want.
“It's a very inclusive school too. We have three special needs classes and it’s a very happy place. That was mentioned by the Taoiseach,” Mr Burke said.
The success of the school, Mr Burke said, is the result of a collective effort.
“It’s gone from humble beginnings to the big institution it is today.
“The success of it is down to the teamwork of absolutely everybody involved from the students, all the way up through the staff, into the senior management team which includes myself and the board of management, the trustees, the parents, everyone. It’s a real community effort.”