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Maggie was an inspirational teacher whose smile lit up a room

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The late Margaret 'Maggie' Condren.

The late Margaret 'Maggie' Condren.

The late Margaret 'Maggie' Condren.

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The past two weeks have been a very difficult time for the school community of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin as staff, parents and students have tried to come to terms with the untimely passing of their colleague and teacher, Ms Maggie Condren. Maggie was a much-loved colleague and an inspirational teacher of Art, CSPE and SPHE in Coláiste Chill Mhantáin and, formerly, Abbey Community College in Wicklow town.

Following her graduation from the Limerick School of Art and Design, Maggie worked in the fashion industry and taught in Dublin before she began teaching in Abbey Community College in 2003. She worked there until the school’s amalgamation with De la Salle College in 2011 and the opening of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin where Maggie continued her illustrious career.

During these years, Maggie was a devoted teacher of Art, CSPE and SPHE, inspiring her students with her talent, creativity and extensive knowledge of her subjects. She had a particular love for textiles and ceramics, and always encouraged her students to discover their own talents and to strive to achieve their potential. Maggie’s Art classroom was, in itself, a place of inspiration and colour, always decorated with the students’ beautiful work and often adorned with flowers from Maggie’s beloved garden. Indeed, the many works of art hanging on the corridors and adorning the display cabinets of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin are testament to Maggie’s talent to inspire and bring the best out of her students. These works of art will endure as a legacy to Maggie in the school.

In her teaching of SPHE and CSPE, Maggie drew, not only on her knowledge of her subjects, but on her world travels and her love of the natural world and animals to communicate meaningfully with her students about the important principles and values which underpin these subjects. She kept up to date with social trends and topics that would interest her students and her lessons were always meaningful and engaging. Her classroom was a place where students were encouraged to express themselves, but also to listen to and learn from each other. Maggie’s strong sense of stewardship was also evidenced in her involvement with the Green Schools’ Committee, which she chaired and was very actively involved in.

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Outside of the classroom, Maggie’s contribution to both Abbey Community College and Coláiste Chill Mhantáin was immense. Early in her career, Maggie was promoted to the position of Assistant Principal 2 and, since that time, she fulfilled several important duties in the school. She chaired the Green Schools’ Committee and coordinated several competition entries in the VEC Schools Environs Awards which were hosted annually in the Brockagh Resource Centre in Glendalough. Maggie was involved in EU Comenius projects, escorting students to Austria and welcoming the Czech Ambassador to Wicklow in 2007. Due to her love and appreciation of sculpture, Maggie was invited to be part of the tendering interview panel for the school sculpture which now resides at the front of the school. In addition, Maggie was Coordinator of SPHE and CSPE and was involved in the planning of these subjects to bring them in line with the specifications of the new Junior Cycle Programme. More recently, Maggie was involved in the publication of the Christmas and Summer Newsletters which curated the many successes and achievements of the student cohort throughout the school year.

For the students and staff of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin, Maggie was an inspiring teacher and colleague. However, she was so much more than this too. Maggie was a wonderful friend with a sense of humour and a smile that lit up every room she entered. All who met her were enthralled by stories about her travels, her garden and her beloved dogs, of course. Yet it was Maggie’s unique ability to listen to others and to empathise with them that endeared her to her colleagues and students.

At this very sad time, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Maggie’s parents, brothers, sisters and to all the Condren family. The staff and students of the school were honoured to join Maggie’s family for her funeral Mass last Wednesday, December 8, and to form a guard of honour as she was laid to rest. It is difficult to move on, but we all have our memories of Maggie for company; they will bring a smile to us at times, sadness too, but they will also spark conservation and ensure Maggie and her legacy will always be remembered in Coláiste Chill Mhantáin.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.

The staff of Coláiste Chill Mhantáin


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