Ardfinnan National School marked a significant milestone in the development of the school on Thursday October 10 with the official opening and blessing of the new extension.
The pupils, staff, Board of Management, Parents Association, parents, members of the local community and Seamus Butler and his team at Marlhill Consruction gathered together with Fr. Bobby Power to celebrate the blessing of the extension.
Members of the school orchestra began the ceremony by performing Mo Ghile Mear. Mrs. Mairead Condon welcomed everybody and extended a special get well wish to Bishop William Lee and former school principal Matt O’Sullivan, both of whom had hoped to be part of the celebration but were unable to be present on the day due to health reasons.
Mary McNamara read an address on behalf of the Chairperson of the board of Management Tony Kenny acknowledging the funding received by the Department of Education to build the new rooms - one a mainstream classroom and the other a purpose built A.S.D classroom with adjoining quiet room and snoozelan. The Chairperson thanked all those involved in the planning, funding application, and tendering process right through to the high level of finish in the completed new building.
Pupils read a scripture reading and prayers of the faithful. The school choir sang Voice of an Angel and May The Road Rise to Meet You.
Fr. Bobby Power blessed the new extension and it was officially opened by Mrs. Celine Ryan. Celine Ryan is a past pupil, teacher and parent of two pupils presently in the school - her family connections with the school extend at least four generations. Jean O’Gorman (Parents Association) read a very fitting reflection entitled ‘The Sculptors’.
Mr. Liam O’Sullivan planted a tree to mark the occasion using a shovel that came from the old school garden.
Principal Mairead Condon expressed her honour to be associated with such a special day and her delight in ensuring all the pupils have access to the best possible classrooms incorporated into one building. Mrs. Condon thanked all involved in the development of the new building - the members of the communities of Ardfinnan and Ballybacon who have supported and continue to support the school in so many ways, pupils - past and present for their enthusiasm and their contribution to school life, their parents and grandparents for their continued support of the work of the school.
The pro-active involvement of the Board of Management, Parents Association and Fr. Bobby was acknowledeged along with the commitment and dedication of the school staff in making Ardfinnan National School a school everyone can be very proud of.