St Eithne’s Primary School in Derry celebrates turning 20

Bishop Donal McKeown was the chief celebrant at Friday’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Mass of St. Eithne’s Primary School at a filled-to-capacity Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 8:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 8:40 am
The Bishop of Derry, Dr. Donal McKeown pictured with Mr. Terence McDowell, Principal, staff. board of governors and friends after Fridayâ€TMs 20th Anniverary Mass at Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty.

Parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters joined the pupils, staff and board of governors along with Bishop McKeown, Fr. Paul Farren, and Fr. Paddy O’Kane and the school’s choir sung favourite hymns and school songs enhancing the morning’s celebrations. There was also a notable number of past-teachers and past-pupils in the congregation.

Readings were given by Paddy McDaid and Julie Spence with Prayers of the Faithful delivered by P1-P7 pupils Abigail Bond; Sean McFadden, Sophia Chambers-Laird; Aisling Harrigan, Lila Conaghan, Alexandra McCallion and Roise Parkhill. School Principal, Mr. Terence McDowell gave the Communion Reflection.

The local school was opened on January 28, 2000 by the then Bishop of Derry, Dr. Seamus Hegarty and Minister for Education, Martin McGuinness.

Pupils and teachers taking part in the singing during the 20th Anniversary Mass on Friday.

The modern purpose-built school in the Hazelbank area of the city presently accommodates around 355 pupils with a teaching and ancillary staff of 25.

After Friday’s Mass, a reception was held in the school assembly hall, where Mr. McDowell said he was delighted to see such a fantastic turnout and praised Bishop Donal McKeown for the beautiful Mass. “We are blessed with continued support from our Bishop and I thank him for that. I also pay tribute to Fr. Paddy O’Kane for his constant support for St. Eithne’s,” he said.

Mr. McDowell also mentioned the sterling work of his predecessor, Mr. Gerry Cosgrove, praising the sound and solid foundations he laid before his retirement. He also commended the staff for their continued dedication to their pupils throughout the awful financial crisis that has existed for a number of years now, stating: “The staff of St. Eithne’s are the key to its success.”

A week of celebrations will conclude this Friday, January 24 with a tree planting ceremony within the school grounds.

The Bishop of Derry, Dr. Donal McKeown pictured with Mr. Terence McDowell, Principal, some staff and board of governors and pupils after Fridayâ€TMs 20th Anniverary Mass at Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty.
Pupil Abigail Bond makes a special presentation of Derry Crystal to Principal, Mr. Terence McDowell during Fridayâ€TMs Anniversary Mass.