The arrival of the Christmas holidays was a bittersweet day for the children and staff of Killusty National School and indeed for the whole community of Killusty.
It was with much sadness that everyone at the school said farewell to Mrs Harrington who after 38 years of dedicated service is dusting off the blackboard and handing over the chalk!
Mrs Frances Harrington started teaching in Killusty in 1975 when she became assistant teacher, replacing Mrs Flood. She taught in the junior room and was often referred to as, “Our mammy in school”, by the young pupils in her care.
She left Killusty and taught for almost three years in England and America. Thankfully she returned again to the valley of Slieve na mban and continued shaping the young minds of Killusty. Frances became principal in October 2002 when Mr Danny Kane retired, and held this position until December of this year.
Frances always showed commitment and dedication to the children and parents of Killusty NS. She was gifted at nurturing children to their best. She invariably had a kind word, a loving smile and a gentle reprimand was usually enough to correct when the line had been crossed! Firm but fair is how her pupils describe her. She had a genuine interest in all the school community and always encouraged kindness, respect and concern.
In 2010 Killusty NS celebrated its centenary and also the official opening of the new school extension. Frances played a huge role in bringing this extension from idea to reality. Thanks to her endeavours and many long working days, Killusty now has a bright, comfortable, child friendly school with modern features such as interactive whiteboards and yet it retains the charm of a country school.
Frances always strove to give every child a safe and happy environment where they could learn and develop to their full potential. Sport, music, drama, healthy eating and care for the environment were actively encouraged. She has been not only a teacher, but a leader, a mentor, a colleague and a friend.
As Frances finishes this phase of her life and embarks on a new one, we wish her the very best. No doubt she will put as much energy into being retired as she did into teaching! We wish her many years of happiness with her husband Noel, her children, her daughters in law and her beloved grandchildren.
In the words of the children of Killusty:
Slán go fóill,
Go raibh maith agat,
Tóg sos, cuir suas do chos
Agus ná déan dearmad
Tá tú go hiontach!