I’d Do It All Over Again – ‘The Boys National’ Retiring Principal

Members of the Junior Entrepreneur Programme with their packaged product and an impressed Minister for Education Norma Foley TD during her recent visit to Scoil Naomh Chárthaigh. Included are: Tadhg Moran, Louise Hayes, teacher; Minister Foley and Robert Voveris. Back from left: Sam McCarthy, James Burke, Nojus Sileika, Tiernan Riordan Deery, Jakub Surzyn, D.J. Hayes, Ryan Browne, Luke McCarthy, Ben McCarthy, Marina O’Connor, principal and Michael O’Brien. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD presented retiring Principal Marina O’Connor with a bouquet of flowers as she prepared for her retirement from ‘The Boys’ national school / Scoil Naomh Chárthaigh at the weekend. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Marina O’Connor, the first lady principal of ‘The Boys’ National School retired on Friday after 38 ‘wonderful, happy years’ in teaching and doing a job that she has loved.

She has spent 27 of those years in Naomh Chárthaigh National School or ‘The Boys National’ as it is known with affection locally – where she became principal in 2017.

“I enjoyed every minute of the job and derived energy from the enthusiasm of staff and students alike,” said Marina as she worked through her final week in the job.

Fantastic Role Models

“Former colleagues were fantastic role models for me. It is easy to see ahead when you are standing on the shoulders of giants, such as Timmy Nelligan and Denis Griffin,” she said of her immediate predecessors.

“I have loved working with families over the years and always maintained an ‘open door’ policy. I feel proud and fully rewarded. Parents were always welcome to call. No problem too big or too small !

“The Boys National has a special place in the hearts of the people of Castleisland. It has been a beacon of light in the community for generations.

Diversity and Inclusion

It offers an education in an environment of diversity and inclusion. Each child is welcomed and cherished whatever his background, culture, nationality, faith or ability,” Marina continued.

Minister for Norma Foley, TD, while on a visit to Castleisland on Thursday, visited ‘The Boys’ and congratulated Mrs. O’Connor, she thanked her for her enormous contribution to the teaching profession and wished her health and happiness in her well earned retirement and she presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

Castleisland Chamber Alliance Chairman, Michael John Kearney also called to the school on Thursday to add his and his organisation’s thanks and good wishes to the long serving teacher.

Importance of Smaller Schools

“Minster Foley appreciates and values the importance of smaller schools like ours in a community,” said Marina.

“On her visit on Thursday, she was full of praise as she witnessed first hand our obvious policy of diversity and inclusion. I had the opportunity to thank her for her support and for what she’s doing in her ministerial role.

“My retirement celebration was a truly wonderful occasion. I felt proud as the yard began to fill up with students, parents, friends, colleagues and former colleagues.

Presentation Sisters and Fr.Brick

“The Presentation Sisters, Fr. Mossie Brick and teachers from local schools were also there to wish me well.

“The parish team and board of management imparted some lovely, touching words on the day and all of my own family attended and helped to make it a fantastic day.

“Our young, vibrant, enthusiastic staff members are full of exciting plans for the future. I wish them and the next principal all the best in the years ahead.

“Go raibh maith agaibh daltai, muinteoiri, tuismitheoiri agus muintir Oilean Chiarrai !

“I would do it all over again! said Marina.

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