Wednesday 26 June 2019

Red-letter day for Scoil Aonghusa

Bill Browne

While for many schoolchildren the very mention of the words Monday morning is enough to send shivers down school-children's spines, pupils from Scoil Aonghusa Community NS in Mallow walked to school at the start of this week with something of a pep in their steps.

Last Monday was very much a red-letter day for the school community as they welcomed Minister and Cork East TD David Stanton to Castlepark to unveil a plaque marking the official opening of the Mallow school. 

Following its establishment in 2004 the school had been operating out of a temporary base at the Mallow GAA complex in Carrigoon while the lengthy and convoluted process of securing planning permission for the Castlepark site played out around them. 

Work finally commenced on the new two-story school in February of last year, with delighted pupils finally arriving for their first day at the newly completed premises in January of this year.

The excitement of that watershed day was replicated last Monday as the 81 students; staff and invited guests watched as Minister Stanton unveiled a plaque commemorating the auspicious occasion. 

"It is my absolute pleasure to be here with you all today, and to be granted the honour of officially opening this magnificent new school," Minister Stanton said. 

Having spoken to teachers and students this morning, the passion and pride in your school is clearly evident. 

"I'm excited to follow the journey of the students of Scoil Aonghusa and hear all about the fantastic achievements you accomplish with the aid of the amazing facilities and resources now at your fingertips," he added. 

The Mallow facility, the first Community National School to be built outside of the greater Dublin area, consists of eight classrooms; a suite of resource and support rooms; multi-purpose sports hall; a library; a music room; and extensive external play areas. 

Community national schools are a relatively new concept to the Irish primary education system. 

Unlike single-denominational schools, they have a multi-belief and values education programme that caters for children of all faiths and secular beliefs. 

Scoil Aonghusa Principal Catherine Fleming described their new home as a "perfect fit". 

"As always, we will continue to promote respect, inclusion and equality throughout our school," she said. 

"We welcome each child in the community; serve and create learning opportunities in a setting of diversity and inclusion; as well as catering for the academic, physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of our students within every school day. 

"We are very fortunate to have a highly motivated staff that is committed to promoting the ethos of the Community National School model."  

The school has invited families interested in enrolling their children in the upcoming 2018/2019 academic year to see their premises at first hand on Wednesday, January 31 nest.

"The open night will start at 7.30pm, and all are welcome," Ms Fleming said in extending the invitation.