Michaela Harte: Pupils pray for murdered teacher
Published 11/01/2011 | 11:35
Heartbroken pupils of murdered Michaela Harte prayed for their inspirational teacher today.
There was a palpable sense of bewilderment and devastation at St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon as children and staff struggled to comprehend that the fun-loving and energetic Miss Harte had been brutally killed on her honeymoon.
Principal Fintan Donnelly began what should have been a normal school day with the solemn task of updating colleagues on the horror of what unfolded in Mauritius.
Staff then joined the 1,900 pupils of the co-educational Catholic grammar school for a special prayer service to pay tribute and remember an Irish and RE teacher with a long career in front of her.
Afterwards an ashen-faced Mr Donnelly described the 27-year-old in glowing terms.
"She was a consummate professional who was committed to her students, to the teaching of Irish and religious education," he said.
"A vibrant and popular teacher and colleague, she was an inspiration and example to all her pupils and she will be greatly missed by both staff and pupils."
Prayers will continue to be offered through the day and a book of condolence has been opened in the school oratory.
Mr Donnelly said Miss Harte was a hugely valued member of staff.
With the school having topped the league tables in GCSE grades in Irish language her ability was without question.
"On behalf of the entire school community we extend our deepest sympathy to her husband John and to the Harte and McAreavey families," added the principal.