The respect, regard and affection with which she is held was evident at a special retirement mass and function for Anne O’ Sullivan, Principal of Castleisland Community College.
By Colm Kirwan
Rarely has the Assembly hall been so packed with hundreds of parents, students, staff (past and present) who attend this special event which was organised by the Parents Committee. Anne, accompanied by her husband Tom and daughters, Michelle and Tracey, received a standing ovation as she entered the hall.
The mass was concelebrated by Canon Denis O’Mahony, Monsignor Dan O’Riordan, Fr. Martin Spillane and Fr. Patsy
Crean-Lynch. All of them spoke with great warmth and humour of their association with Anne over many years and thanked her for her enormous contribution to the school and the community. Canon O’Mahony recalled his appointment to Milltown parish where he first came to know Anne. Monsignor Dan spoke of their shared experiences as school principals and Fr. Martin as a former student of the school. During the mass the school choir of over 30, under the direction of Marion O’Sullivan, sang with style, fervour and harmony. They were accompanied by a number of musicians playing the accordion,
tin whistle, fiddle, flute and concertina lead by Mairead Corridon.
Hugh O’Connell, Chairperson of the Board of Management, thanked Anne for her decades of dedicated professional service to the school. The school could not have become the success that it is without her contribution. She had helped to create a real lasting partnership within the school community. He also thanked Lorna Hannon and the Parents committee for the enormous effort they had put into organising the function. Lorna stated that it was a pleasure for the committee to work with Anne and they always looked forward to her participation at meetings.
Deputy Principal, Teresa Landers said Anne was a committed and professional leader of the school community. She was recognised as an outstanding teacher who worked so hard for her students and always sought to maximise their potential. When she became deputy principal in 1991 she became one of the driving forces within Kerry in school planning and management. She was truly innovative and ahead of her times. She excelled as Principal as she lead the way forward as schools faced so many changes and challenges and did so with a united staff, Board of Management, students and parents. She was truly held in the highest esteem by all.
Then eight students, representing various sports clubs and
community voluntary groups, were introduced. They also made presentations to her in recognition of her tremendous support for sport within the school and for community initiatives such as the Tidy Towns. Her influence and contribution had extended well beyond the boundaries of the school walls.
Anne O’Sullivan stated that she was delighted at the extent of and the warmth shown to her. She spoke with emotion as she recalled with great affection her many years in the community college as a teacher of Maths and English, deputy principal for 12 years and principal since 2003. She was proud to serve so many wonderful students, parents, staff – teaching and ancillary – and the wider community. She would treasure many precious memories and was proud of the growth of the school and the success of its students. She thanked her husband Tom and daughters, Michelle and Tracey, who accompanied her, for their unswerving support. She thanked Lorna Hannon and the Parents committee for organising the function and all who had worked with her.
The Parents Committee then served refreshments.