Kerry bids fond farewell to pupils after 34 years
It was a day filled with emotions for lollipop lady Kerry Coyle as she retired from her post after 34 years in the job last Friday.
Kerry, who works at St Mary's Parish Primary School on the Dublin Road, first interviewed for the role of lollipop lady at Scoil Mhuire na Trocaire Girls School on the Dublin Road when she was just 16.
When Scoil Mhuire na Trocaire Girls School and Congress Avenue Boys School merged to form St Mary's Parish Primary School, Kerry moved from the Dublin Road to the new purpose built premises at Bryanstown. During her three decades in the job she has helped thousands of children safely across the road and has watched as some of her former charges have gone on to become teachers in the school.
'It is emotional, I was more nervous coming out the door today than I was the first day I started. I love the job, I love the kids and I love talking to people. It's been amazing, my whole adult life has been spent doing this job,' said Kerry who lives in Clogherhead. 'I have past pupils coming now who are bringing their own children to school. I have secondary students who are coming back to do their TY here in the school and even some of the teachers are former students I would have walked across the road at Fatima every day.
'I'm not leaving than for any other reason that it's long enough and it's the right time to change.'
Kerry herself is Mum to three boys, a 26-year-old, a 20-year-old and a 16-year-old, David Ben and Adam, but they never passed through her care at the school gates as they lived on 'the far side' in Brookville when they were attending primary school. She has seen huge changes over the years, from working on the Dublin Road when it was the main route to Belfast, to the opening of Scotch Hall and finally the big move to Bryanstown and the amalgamation of the two schools.
'When I started on the Dublin Road there was no signs, there were no lights and it was the main Dublin to Belfast Road. So I had articulated lorries coming down the road at me! then they put in a Pelican Crossing which was great because I had the lights. A few years later they built Scotch Hall so they moved me up the road away from the building. Then when we moved up to Bryanstown it was chaotic in the beginning because you were moving from two separate schools with 400-500 students to a huge school with almost 1,000 students but it was grand, you just get on and do it.'