Staff and pupils at St Anthony’s P.S. are preparing to celebrate 59 years of education.
Much to the sadness of staff and pupils, the hilltop school, opened by Bishop Neil Farren in 1956, will close in June.
Principal Marie Bradley one of only four female principals at the school - started her career at St. Anthony’s covering a maternity leave in 1979. She admits the closure decision by education minister John O’Dowd was difficult to take in.
“It’s very sad and, yes, I am heartbroken,” Ms Bradley said’, “but, it’s a sign of the times, and we don’t have enough children in schools and, due to budget limitations, I think it’s just the start of it really.”
Ms Bradley said her main concern is for her 13 students, but she is confident they will adapt well to their new classrooms come September and they will be “an asset” to their new schools.
In the meantime, the school is issuing an open invitation to past pupils and staff to attend a celebration event at the school on June 19th. Ms Bradley said the school boasts a rich tradition of music and song, and she hopes past pupils will return to show off their talents.
Fr. Frank O’Hagan will say mass, and attendees can enjoy a trip down memory lane looking at old photographs and sharing their memories.
Ms Bradley said while ‘it’s the end of an era”, it’s also the “start of a new chapter for everyone”, including staff and pupils.
The school will have a special Facebook page about the event. For further details call the school on 028 777 50349.