The Abbey School community in Tipperary town gathered to honour John Heffernan on his retirement as principal.
However Mr. Heffernan was also a teacher, colleague, friend and role model.
He arrived from Carrick C.B.S. to the Abbey as principal in 1996. “I have no doubt that as far as being principal of the Abbey is concerned; I was very much the lucky general.” John said
He demonstrated his leadership qualities from the outset and acknowledged all parties involved in education.
The Board of Management recognised the fine leader that led their school, John acted as secretary to the board, chaired over the years by Pat O’Hallaron, Maureen Gleeson, Donal Daly and currently Michael Martin, who praised John for his efficiency, decisiveness and organisational skills as he worked tirelessly and unselfishly to promote the Abbey to the dynamic school it is today.
Mr. Heffernan truly believed in the significant role parents play in the development of a successful school. He paid tribute to the fantastic Parents’ Council led by such people as Maureen Gleeson, Sean Moore and Aileen Cashman, Mary Ryan, Eddie Scott, Michael Martin and presently led by Michael Hogan and Eleanor McCahill. .
Current principal John Kiely paid tribute to Mr. Heffernan’s outstanding commitment to the school. The gathering was guided through the impressive developments that John, “the walking principal” who knew every pupil by name, had led - the development of the Parents’ Council, Transition Year, the Musical, Merit Awards, Technology in Education, Sports Department,LCA to name but a few.
Brother Pat Madigan, Christian Brothers’ Community Leader commended John on his integration of the ideals of Edmund Rice. During his time in the Abbey he ensured that education was inclusive of all regardless of background or ability. Bro. Madigan mentioned the Mary Rice Resource Building and The Abbey India Project. The real benefit of these is that students learn to look beyond themselves to reach out to those who have needs greater than their own.