Teachers, colleagues and pupils at Scoil Naomh Carthaigh / Castleisland Boys’ National School enjoyed one of those different days yesterday, Thursday, December 22-2016.
The history of the school will show that it was Master Griffin’s final day teaching there – where he had been principal since January 2010.
The association between Denis Griffin and ‘The Masters’ has been an almost life-long affair for him.
As a boy he graduated from ‘The Nuns’ – Castleisland Convent Primary School and made the long trip up town on graduation day. For Denis, the path to his new school was far shorter from his home at 136 Upper Main Street.
Chain of Association
Today marked the final link in that long chain of association and the obvious vocation with which he remained loyal for just over 40 years.
It also marks an historic point in the school’s ongoing development as incoming principal, Marina O’Connor is the first woman to hold the post at ‘The Masters’ since it was built and opened on the hill on College Road in 1961.
The first principal was Paddy Brosnan and he was followed in their turns by: Dermot Hanifin, Michael O’Donohoe, Tim Nelligan, Denis Griffin and now Ms. O’Connor.
Castleisland Boys’ National School first opened in 1875 on Limerick Road where the entrance to St. John’s Park is now.
The inscribed stone from that school is now embedded in the wall leading into the estate and the wall itself is built from the remains of the school.
The school relocated to the closed down, old fever hospital in College Road in 1931, this building is now St. Patrick’s Boys’ Secondary School.
The present boys’ national school was opened and blessed by Canon David O’ Connor in 1961. On that occasion it was named Scoil Naomh Chárthaigh.
As it approached its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2011, Denis Griffin explained its ethos:
“The school operates under the patronage of the Bishop of Kerry.
Our mission statement here is to commit to developing the full potential of each individual pupil in a happy, secure environment.
“The pupils of Castleisland Boys’ National School are valued members of the school community and are treated with fairness and respect.
“The school provides a happy, safe and caring environment for its pupils. Pupil behaviour is of a very high standard. We aim to motivate and promote an eagerness to learn in all our pupils.
“A positive attitude towards learning contributes significantly to the standards achieved by the pupils.
“We aim to prepare our pupils for further education and lifelong learning. Scoil Naomh Chárthaigh seeks to be a warm and welcoming place, respectful and accommodating of diversity in race, culture, religion, gender and ability.
“We aim to promote equality in all areas and to provide extra support for any child with a learning disability,” said Denis Griffin.
The ensure that he remained busy in his retirement, his colleagues made him a presentation of a Kerry Cow and she was delivered as the celebrations went on inside.
Commenting on the school he spent so much of his life in as boy and man, Mr. Griffin had nothing but praise for the pupils and staff he worked with.
“The school is in good hands and I’m delighted that Marina got the principal’s job. She knows the set-up and the staff and it’s the best possible outcome for the school,” he said.
He’s particularly proud of the pupils and teachers who packed the Ivy Leaf Art Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday nights of this week with the school’s annual Christmas pantomime.
Daisy Settling In
The cow was bedded down with a few more of her kind – if not her breed – that evening and was settling in nicely.
The staff gave her a name. Think pantomime, think Jack and the Beanstalk and bingo…it’s Daisy. There’s a possibility that she’s in calf and the staff members have gone even further and pre-named any potential off-spring as Buttercup – regardless of the gender.
While we wish Denis Griffin health and happiness in his retirement, we also wish Marina O’Connor well in her history making role at the great old school.
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