independent

Saturday 17 August 2019

Sean ends career on a high

Sean Crowley on his last day in Horeswood school after 39 years with his 3rd & 4th class who presented him with a beautiful engraved glass inlayed clock which the class bought him. Also in photo is S.N.A. Kathleen Larkin
Sean Crowley on his last day in Horeswood school after 39 years with his 3rd & 4th class who presented him with a beautiful engraved glass inlayed clock which the class bought him. Also in photo is S.N.A. Kathleen Larkin
James Teague, parents association, Sean Crowley and Brian Flood, principal

David Looby

The contribution a teacher can make to a pupil's life cannot be underestimated and over 39 years Horeswood NS teacher Sean Crowley contributed greatly to the lives of the pupils in his care, passing on a love of Irish culture, science and history to hundreds of pupils.

Mr Crowley ended his teaching career with a party at the Horse & Hound, where colleagues paid warm tributes to him and also with a celebration in his classroom. He thanked everyone for their kind words and fine presentations, saying that it was both a happy and a sad occasion for him.

Arriving fresh from Mary Immaculate College in 1980, the Rathmore, Kerry man took up lodgings locally at Ann Kinsella's home, cycling the two miles to school every day.

He knew no-one and it took time for him to settle into his new life in south west Wexford, but settle he did and by the time he finished up his teaching career in late June, he had taught six of the school's current teachers: Evelyn O'Connor, Declan Murphy, Darren Keating, Anna O'Hanlon, Trish Barnwell and Jane Grennan (née Dempsey) and several hundred pupils.

Stories and adventures of Fionn and the Fianna, Friday evening readings of The flight of the Doves and many more Irish tales were all told with the skill of a seanchai.

When he started his career and for many years that followed Mr Crowley used the tools of the trade: chalk, a blackboards, dusters, a TV on a trolley, VCR tapes, projectors to teach his pupils.

'For years a trolley of artefacts moved with me from class to class. I built up this museum over the years. I had a deep respect for people who used these artefacts which included pots, pans and kettles. It brought history to life for the kids.'

Over the years the school changed and Mr Crowley was there to witness the changes and introduced one important development in the school's history, it's very own website in 2003.

Three new rooms were added to the school over the years, as well as an indoor 'GAA centre'.

Among the highlights of his time at Horeswood NS, Mr Crowley recalled the pageant on Sliabh Coillte in 1998, the School Around The Corner with Gerry Ryan, three Building For The Future awards in 2004, 2005 and 2006 which netted the school €21,000, past pupil Tadhg Furlong's visit to the school in 2005, the launch of Horeswood Folklore by the late Billy Colfer in 2008 and the anniversary of the Campile Bombing by the Nazis in 2010.

He brought in speakers to enlighten pupils about local history and culture.

During his time at the school he taught all classes.

Reflecting on his long career, Mr Crowley said passing on a love of history and science, opening up windows of wonder to his pupils ranked among the highlights. In fact Mr Crowley taught pupils science before it was a subject in schools.

'The kids loved the hands on experiments and each week I would be asked "when are we doing science".

He said he was always greeted with respect, pupils and parents always referring to him as Mr Crowley, even to this day.

'I have many happy memories. This year's grandparents day being one of them.'

He thanked the class SNA teacher Kathleen for her great work.

Mr Crowley said he will miss the biannual Christmas school concerts, which he said were worth all of the hard work, and compiling the historical calendar, which he did for many years.

He said teachers are the footsoldiers on the front-line of education, adding that the job can be stressful and anxiety inducing at times, with too much paperwork and tasks loaded on teachers, but is a very rewarding career.

'It's the type of job that consumes you at times. Times have changed but it would never stop me putting my hand around a child and saying well done or giving him or her a clap on the back.'

As he counts the days to his official retirement on August 31, Mr Crowley said he won't miss the alarm clock, school bells, sandwiches every day and his trips to his car for a smoke.

Mr Crowley was presented with a painting of Dunbrody Abbey made by Maeve Doherty and a beautiful engraved glass inlaid clock from his pupils, along with some more presents for him to enjoy.

He thanked his colleagues and the Horeswood community for a fantastic send off at the Horse & Hound where the lyrics of the song The Rising Of The Moon were changed to sing Seán's praises.

He said he did shed a tear of appreciation and sadness at home afterwards.

'Up until then there were only three times in my life when I've cried: the passing of my father and mother and when Kerry lost the five in a row,' Sean said.

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