As the school year comes to a close, two teachers at Barntown will bid a fond farewell to the classroom as they get ready to embrace retirement. Principal Louisa O'Brien and teacher Margaret Byrne will both be finished at the school by the end of the school year, having overseen some major changes in their time.
Ms Byrne has been a teacher in Barntown since 1995, while Principal Ms O'Brien has been a driving force behind major changes at the school since taking the reins 13 years ago, having previously served as Principal in Screen.
'We've seen huge changes in the last number of years,' Ms O'Brien said. 'We have a gorgeous new school, state of the art facilities, a new pitch, a car park, wifi and a new ASD unit which consists of two classrooms. We're all very proud of what we've achieved here. It's a real community effort and we have a great board of management and parent's council here, as well as the school community itself, and everyone worked so hard to get where we are today.'
Paying tribute to her colleague, Ms Byrne, Ms O'Brien said: 'Ms Byrne has put in a long and distinguished service at the school. She's been invaluable in so many activities, for example, she was the driving force behind our annual shoe box appeal. She'll be sorely missed by everyone here.'
Both teachers will certainly miss the school as they get set to take some time for themselves away from the hustle and bustle of the classroom.
'I've loved teaching and it's always been my passion,' said Ms O'Brien. 'I've always wanted a happy school and I think we've achieved that here. I'd like to thank everyone who supported me in my time here.'
There were presentations to Ms Byrne as she departed with the children even performing for her in the hall and there will be similar scenes as the principal closes up for the final time this week. The former principal of Rathangan NS Nicola Roche is set to take the reins in September and Ms O'Brien wished her all the very best in the role.