IT was a day of memories, reminiscing and catching up with old acquaintenances in Kilflynn on Sunday last as over 1,000 past pupils of St Teresa's returned to the classroom for a spectacular reunion that was months in the making.
Organised to celebrate the centenery of the school - and to raise funds for its new astro turf pitch - past pupils near and far gathered for a day that began with Mass at the local church and then onto the school for some great celebrations. Organiser and past pupil John O'Flaherty (right) said that the day was a tremendous success.
"The Mass was very poignant, with past pupils John Neenan (99) bringing the old school bell to the alter and Ned Breen (90) brought the register. It was also attended by a number of past board of management chairmen and the sons of two previous headmasters - Master O'Halloran and Master Egan - also made the trip," John said. "It was a wonderful occasion, especially for the older generation who got to meet up with old school friends who they hadn't seen in years."
Special guest on the day was Arts Minister Jimy Deenihan, who paid tribute to all who took part in the celebrations. He said it was undoubtedly the largest reunion he had ever witnessed
As past pupils filed into the school, they perused a massive array of old school photographs, each looking for their own. The roll book, chronicling 100 years of schooling in St Teresa's also proved hugely popular, with locals getting great enjoyment out of finding their own names from years ago.
Sunday's celebrations also included the launch of a special commemorative book - A Centenary of Learning - featuring photographs, the complete register of all past pupils and some fascinating interviews with some of the past pupils. Presentations were made to the school's oldest surviving male and female past pupils, John Neenan and Mary Somers (on behalf of her sister Peggy Keane), Tom and Bridie Quinlan, who are the oldest surviving couple and Kitty Flaherty, the oldest surviving woman present on day.
Principal Mary Carroll was also presented with a bouquet of flowers by her good friend and teaching colleague Mary McCarthy. The women have taught together in the school since the 1970s.
"The day surpassed all my expectations, such a large crowd turning up meeting their old school friends, many past pupils were huddled together reminiscing about the past, oblivious to what was going on around them. A wonderful day which portrayed the school as one of the best in Kerry, with a rich past and a bright future," John said.