Last Monday Mary O' Sullivan called time on her teaching career having served in Ballyclough National School for 34 years, the final 13 as school principal.
Mary began her teaching career in 1983 working in Ballyclough, Kilbrin and Dromahane Schools, securing permanent position in Ballyclough the following year.
She taught the middle classes until her colleague Mrs Murphy retired in 2000 and it was from then she went on to fulfil her heart's desire to teach the Infant classes. Throughout her years in Ballyclough, Mary endeared herself to all who passed through the school.
Following Michael O'Boyle's retirement in January 2005 she took over as principal and continued to work tirelessly and selflessly to ensure that every child in her care was happy and safe.
Mary's colleagues told Mary had a wonderful work ethic, with her summer holidays often devoted to school improvements.
During her tenure as principal, Mary was instrumental in the installation of new windows and doors, new boiler, enlarged staff room and the recently completed extension that includes two resource rooms and a sensory room. Mary worked for the Cork Teacher's Centre and she trained as a tutor with them, also giving summer courses to many teachers on the 'Incredible Years Programme'.
She also took part in teaching the Aistear programme which promotes play therapy in the junior classes.
Mary was very proud of her school's health-promoting status and green flags, taking great pride in the school garden which she set up 10 years ago. It can indeed be said of Mary that 'teachers plant seeds of knowledge that will bloom forever'.
She can be very proud of the school as it is now thanks to all her initiatives. Speaking to The Corkman, Mary said she had been overwhelmed by the amount of good will and good wishes that she received from parents, staff and pupils.
"I am extremely grateful to everyone who made my retirement Mass and last day as principal so memorable. I thank all the members of Ballyclough school community for their support over the last 35 years. I especially thank the parents who entrusted the care of their children to me," said Mary. "The memories of those 35 years I will always cherish."