Farewell to a 'prince of pals'
WHEN you hear a school headmaster being described by one of his students - 'in front of the lads' - as being more of a 'prince of pals' than a principal, then you know he has to be pretty special.
And around Sunday's Gate they know they've lost a great one with the retirement from St Joseph's CBS last Friday of Kerry native Mr Paul Hussey after almost 40 years.
To mark his departure from the hot seat, the school community put on a show for him that even had the old rocker in him on full show, Mr Hussey taking to the stage to belt out 'Bad Moon Rising' with the 'Gods of Rock' group.
He had managed to keep his composure moments earlier for a farewell speech, although he admitted he was almost speechless after a superb hour of talented performances from the students.
'We are proud of you boys and we think this is the best school in Drogheda. Keep being the best and come to school with a smile on your face and leave the school with a smile on your face. Remember, don't count the days, make the days count,' he stated.
He paid tribute to fellow long servers, Mr Clayton and Mr Reilly, the entire and all those who helped make the day so special for him and his family, wife Noeleen and son James who attended.
He was delighted when the tin whistle group played the 'Kerry Polka' – remarking he had seen it all when a Cork teacher had taught the lads to perform a Kerry tune!
MC for the day, John Clayton, who might do a slot on RTE given his professionalism, introduced the various acts, including gifted violin players, something Mr Hussey had helped set up, actors, rappers and of course OCC, the trio bound for great things in the years ahead. Six class students Sean and Conor also delivered an appreciation.
They said he had promoted the Green Schools, built an extension, organised Roddy Doyle and Drogheda Utd to visit, encouraged a few Jamie Oliver's of the future and was 'firm, fair and a prince of pals.'
Michael Kennedy of the Board of Management said Mr Hussey had been innovative in his approach since joining the staff in 1978 and in his four years as principal. The role of the board was praised by Mr Clayton who said they were invaluable to the school.
Fr Emlyn McGinn, the school chaplain, and Canon McDonnell attended, Fr Emlyn stating that Mr Hussey was 'dedicated and committed' and had a great sense of humour. He also said he was glad of his advice from time to time. 'He's an excellent leader, teacher and principal.'