The opening of six new classrooms at Powerstown National School.
There was a celebratory mood in the air as principal Eugene Fogarty praised the “major” development at the school.
Funding for the “centre of educational excellence” was secured in 2013 from the Department Of Education, courtesy of the efforts of Cllr. Michael Murphy and Tom Hayes.
Principal Fogarty praised staff, parents, the parents council, board of management including Fr. Peter Ahearne, main contractor FDY Civil Engineering and Construction, neighbouring schools Lisronagh and Rathkeevin, and all those who played a part in the development over the past year, reserving particular praise for Powerstown pupils who were dressed like “multi-coloured smarties” for the joyous occasion.
He said the “improved physical environment” was just the beginning for the school, citing the need for a sports and recreational hall at Powerstown National School. “We must cherish the past, but strive for better,” he echoed.
Principal Fogarty said the new development alone does not define the school and its ethos, emphasising the important role Powerstown teachers have to play in preparing pupils for the future. The school currently caters for 367 pupils and has 19 permanent teachers. There is a full time secretary, one part-time teacher, caretaker and cleaner, along with two special needs assistants.
Each of the junior and senior infant classes performed hits including Toy Story’s ‘You've Got a Friend In Me’, lyrical dance world champion Daisy Mai Weymouth dazzled, while the school band and choir left the crowd feeling proud.
The students council’s Colm Carolan said it’s a “special day” for Powerstown National School, before Ellie Franklin hoped for a P.E. hall and more classrooms for pupils in the future.
Cllr. Michael Murphy, who spent eight years on the school’s board of management, highlighted the importance of the development for the parish of Powerstown. “Powerstown has seen significant development over the past 20 years. The provision of six classrooms had been the long term objective of the board of management and it’s great that it came to fruition.
“The centre of excellence is a place where children can grow and learn,” he smiled.
Cllr. Murphy reserved special praise for Oliver McGrath and Bulmers for making land available to the school over the years and backed plans for a sports and recreational hall in the future. He then received a rapturous applause for suggesting that pupils be given Monday night off homework.
Fr. Peter Ahearne said it’s a “new dawn” for the school, adding that Powerstown National School is a source of “light and hope” inclusive of all.