Friday's Child Mrs Roisin Rice, St Mary's College vice-principal
Roisin Rice is currently Acting Vice Principal at St Mary’s College, Northland Road, Derry. Roisin joined the staff of St Mary’s in 2013. She is a Microsoft Expert Educator and has just recently returned from the Microsoft School Leaders Conference in Estonia. Roisin is a graduate of Queen’s University and has been teaching for almost 20 years. Roisin was awarded the coveted title of IT Educator of the Year by the British Computer Society in 2019.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as someone who is passionate, energetic and hard-working. I’m definitely not easygoing.
Happiest childhood memory?
My happiest childhood memory is of being in my grandparents’ house in Carlisle Road, they owned a sweet shop. We went there every day. Granny used to make the most beautiful dinners then give us ice cream, a real treat at the time.
My grandfather loved singing and he taught me to sing my first song, ‘Lovely Derry on the banks of the Foyle’.
What was your first job?
My first job was working in Quaver Records with my Mum. When we were teenagers my brother and I, being the oldest of four children, worked alternate Saturdays in the record shop that my late father owned. When he died my Mum took over the running of the shop.
This is a hard question, as I have so many. If I had to choose it would be ‘My Left Foot’ by Christy Brown. I read this book when I was in my teens and I was inspired by his resilience and how he overcame the challenges that he was presented due to him having Cerebral Palsy in 1930s Dublin.
It has to be ‘E.T. The Extra Terrestrial’. This film holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first movies that I saw at the Strand Road pictures.
‘Only Fools and Horses’. It is comedy gold, need I say more and a much loved favourite in our house.
“You can have anything in life that you want if you dress for it.”
Favourite method of
My favourite method of relaxation is singing in the wonderful Derry-based chamber choir, Codetta. Being a member of Codetta is like being part of a second family. Singing, travelling and spending time with lifelong friends, what more could you ask for?
Favourite holiday destination?
The Algarve, Portugal.
Who would you most like to meet?
I would love to meet Sinead Burke, advocate, educator who graced the cover of ‘Vogue’. She is an extraordinary and inspirational person.
I first heard about her when I watched her TED talk. I am completely in awe of how she uses her voice to advocate for rights for those with disabilities and those whose body shape, type and height do not fit societal norms.
What makes you angry?
Our children are our most important resource. They are the future and it makes me angry to see cuts in the education budget. Teachers’ creativity being restricted by limited funding and having to engage in overly bureaucratic processes that detract from creating authentic learning experiences for our young people.
What makes you happy?
I love being a teacher and I feel happiest when my students are happy. I love seeing them achieve success and especially those who achieve little successes that they have worked very hard for. I love seeing my students blossom and grow and it really is a great privilege to teach such wonderful young people.
What human quality do you most admire?
Kindness and generosity. People who put others before themselves is the most admirable human quality.
What human quality do you least admire?
What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
As a Microsoft Expert Educator I was selected with another colleague from St Mary’s to travel to their Seattle headquarters for an education summit. While there we were invited to a drinks reception. My colleague and I thought nothing of the caviar canopies, the champagne and the guests clad in designer clothing, thinking this was normal as we had never been at anything like this before.
It wasn’t long before the Maître d discovered that we were not on the guest list and we were told to ‘eat our food and go’. We left red-faced only to discover that we had taken a wrong turn into the potential investors’ reception rather than the educators’ reception.
What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?
The worst thing to happen to me was finding out that my beloved Granny had cancer and her subsequent death. I miss her every day but also feel blessed to have had the privilege of knowing such a strong, hardworking and selfless woman.
What is your greatest fear?
That governments around the world will continue to bury their head in the sand regarding climate change and that our beautiful planet will be destroyed for future generations.
What has been the high point of your life to date?
The high point of my life to date is being appointed acting vice-principal of St Mary’s College and being awarded the British Computer Society IT Educator of the year 2019.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a gentle, kind and compassionate person who did her best.
What is your most treasured possession?
My many photograph albums. I take loads of photographs on my mobile phone and religiously print them out once a month. My photograph albums contain beautiful reminders and memories of my family, friends and fun times.
If you won the lotto what would you do with it?
Apart from giving money to my family, I would create a fund so that local schools could apply for bursaries to carry out educational initiatives that they are prohibited from doing so due to education budget cuts. I would also donate to money to encourage more children to take up singing, an activity that is proven to help young people’s mental health and well-being.
If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?
That there was equality in the world among people and that there be no more poverty.
If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?
Remembered with a smile, she left a little bit of sparkle wherever she went!