‘Hopefully,we’ll be here for another 40 years’

Former school principal Mr Hilary McCloskey with Jeanette Kelly (who baked the celebratory cake) and present school principal Mr John J McWilliams at the St Johns Primary School Dernaflaw 40th Anniversary celebrations this week. INLV1916-404KDR Photos by Ken Reay
Former school principal Mr Hilary McCloskey with Jeanette Kelly (who baked the celebratory cake) and present school principal Mr John J McWilliams at the St Johns Primary School Dernaflaw 40th Anniversary celebrations this week. INLV1916-404KDR Photos by Ken Reay

Past pupils and staff of St. John’s P.S., Dernaflaw, enjoyed a trip down memory lane as part of celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the school’s move into its current building and re-naming as St. John’s.

To mark the special occasion, a special Mass was held, concelebrated by Fr Seamus Kelly and Fr Gerard Mongan at St. Patrick’s Church in Dungiven last Thursday.

Following the Mass, past pupils, staff and friends made their way to the school to enjoy refreshments and view a display of photographs and articles relating to the school through the years.

Principal, John McWilliams, said it was “a very special night enjoyed by all.”

“I think the leadership achieved something very special for future generations of education in Dernaflaw, which they have,” he said, referring back to 40 years ago.

“We thought it was important to mark the re-naming of the school, We wanted to open up the school and invite everyone, past pupils and staff and anyone with a connection to the school to come and celebrate with us.”

Mr. McWilliams said the school is an important focal point for the community.

“Hopefully, God willing, we’ll be here for another 40 years,” added Mr McWilliams, who thanked everyone involved in organising the events.

Among those present on the night was past pupil, Aidan Farren, who attended the school in the 1950s.

“I was a pupil there from 1949 until 1959.

“They were happy days at a country school,” said Aidan.

“In my day it was a two-teacher school, and then it became a three-teacher school.

“It was lovely to look back at photos and reminisce with people and meet some of the people I was at school with.”

(More photos on Page 12)