After 44 years in teaching, one of Inishowen’s most beloved principals retires today.
Since December 1994, Maureen Scott has kept watchful eye over An Scoil Naomh Fionan NS in Whitecastle when she took over as principal having spent three years as a teacher there when the school opened in 1991.
On 3rd July 1967 Mrs Scott began her teaching career in St Bridgets NS, Glenmakee in Carndonagh before moving to Clunelly NS in 1974.
The Quigley’s Point principal remained there until it closed on the 28th June 1991 when it began amalgamated with Drung NS and St. Colm’s NS Clar into the Whitecastle primary school.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday Mrs Scott said she felt very sad about leaving the school.
“I feel very sad about going. I haven’t looked back since I started and I’ve been very fortunate teaching in Whitecastle school. I have great teachers here and there is brilliant support within the community, and I’ve always had the backing of the board of management and an extremely supportive Parent Teacher Association.
“It’s been a very fulfilling life for me and I’ve enjoyed being principal.”
The Inishowen woman admits there will be a huge void in her life when she leaves the school.
“There will be a void, but I guess I’ll just have to move on to pastures new. I haven’t a clue what I’m going to do during my retirement yet. I haven’t even thought about it to be honest. At the minute I’m just going to concentrate on saying goodbye and handing the school over to the new principal Patrick Patton.”
Scoil Naomh Fionan is re nowned for its excellent academic reputation throughout Inishowen, the thought of which often “frightens” the woman.
“There are a lot of good schools throughout Donegal, and I know we do have a good school here, but it is thanks to a brilliant staff.”
The Inishowen principal says she has noticed huge differences in the running of the school since it opened in 1991.
“The school has grown a lot since it opened, in 1991 we had 8 teachers, that number has now grown to 12, which is great. But these are uncertain times for teachers and schools, and there have been big changes to regulations, policies and protection even since I started here.”
Yesterday the teachers and pupils honoured their principal for the final time with a concert in the school, much to her surprise.
“It was lovely, all the pupils and classes did something for me and I no inkling anything was happening at all. They did all the practising in secret, but it was a lovely surprise. And there was me thinking I knew everything that went on at the school,” laughed Mrs Scott.