Pictures: It’s back to future for Minister as she visits St Aloysius School

Minister Foley taught Irish and English in the all-girls secondary school for 10 years between 1989 and 1999, and was warmly welcomed back by pupils and staff on Friday.
Pictures: It’s back to future for Minister as she visits St Aloysius School

Minister for Education Norma Foley, having fun with students during the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.

IT was a case of going back to school for Minister for Education Norma Foley last week, as she visited St Aloysius College in Carrigtwohill, where she began her teaching career.

Minister Foley taught Irish and English in the all-girls secondary school for 10 years between 1989 and 1999, and was warmly welcomed back by pupils and staff on Friday.

Sixth-year students Lily Clifton, Sarah Connolly and Millie Williams, looking colourful at the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.
Sixth-year students Lily Clifton, Sarah Connolly and Millie Williams, looking colourful at the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.

Arriving in the midst of the school’s Christmas Spirit day, students greeted the Minister decked out in festive finery, as she judged a Christmas Costume Competition.

School principal Seán Twomey said that Norma Foley’s visit really added to the fun filled atmosphere of the day.

He added that there was much reminiscing amongst Minister Foley and teachers she taught alongside, as well as a few former pupils of Minister Foley’s who now teach at the school.

“It was a really special occasion and the Minister was welcomed back with genuine emotion by staff, as we are all just so proud of what she has achieved,” he said.

Minister for Education Norma Foley, centre, chatting with deputy principals Ruth Harrington, left and Sharon Holland, at the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.
Minister for Education Norma Foley, centre, chatting with deputy principals Ruth Harrington, left and Sharon Holland, at the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.

Minister Foley enjoyed a trip down memory lane visiting her old classroom, and meeting 5th year English class Rang Norma and their teacher Seán Driscoll for an in depth discussion on the poetry of Sylvia Plath.

She was also welcomed to the student Christmas Market, which showcased the businesses of Enterprise students from across the school.

“She marvelled at all the creativity and business acumen, and I am sure there are a couple of the enterprises gearing up a new social media campaign!” said Principal Twomey.

He said that the highlight of the Minister’s visit was when she addressed the class of 2023.

“I have to say the Minister was brilliant with our 6th year students. She spoke with them about her beginnings when she started teaching in the school straight out of college and her journey to where she is today,” he said.

Minister for Education Norma Foley, chatting with sixth-year student Keely Fitzgerald during her visit to the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.
Minister for Education Norma Foley, chatting with sixth-year student Keely Fitzgerald during her visit to the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.

“She had loved teaching in St Al’s and she spoke about the relationships in the school between students and teaching colleagues and how there was always a focus on excellence and reaching to be the best you can be. The reaction she got from the students was brilliant because they saw in her a warmth towards them. Overall it couldn’t have capped a better week for St Al’s with the Taoiseach having visited us on Monday,” he added.

On Monday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin also visited St Aloysius College, to announce a major €35m investment into a new educational campus for the school, and neighbouring primary school Scoil Chlochair Mhuire NS.

Fourth-year students Eimear McGrath, Alex Dunphy and Cliona Cullimore, enjoying their marshmallows during the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.
Fourth-year students Eimear McGrath, Alex Dunphy and Cliona Cullimore, enjoying their marshmallows during the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.

The project has been progressed to the Design and Construction Stage (Stage 2), and when completed will provide new state of the art buildings for both schools, as well as shared sports facilities and playing areas.

Commencement of construction of the new campus is scheduled for late 2024, and is expected to be completed on a phased basis over two years.

While in Carrigtwohill on Friday, Minister Foley also turned the sod on another multi-million euro education build, which she said is the most ambitious ever undertaken by the Department of Education, the Carrigtwohill School Campus project.

Sixth-year students Eva Casey, Caoimhe Buckley and Emma Daly, with some of their crafty cookies at the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.
Sixth-year students Eva Casey, Caoimhe Buckley and Emma Daly, with some of their crafty cookies at the Craft Fair and Christmas Jumper day at St Aloysius' College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: David Keane.

It includes a new post-primary facility for Carrigtwohill Community College for up to 1,000 students, and new 24 classroom school buildings for both Scoil Mhuire Naofa and Scoil Chliodhna primary schools. All three school builds will also feature 3 class SEN units each.

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