Presentation College Athenry is moving to a new school building in Ballygurran next year after more than 70 years of students passing through those same doors.
The current school buildings, built in 1947 and 1981, will close in 2019 as The ‘Pres’ relocates to a state of the art facility.
It would be a crime to let all that history come to an end without marking the occasion, so the PCA Project 2019 Working Group are holding a farewell party next week for all the students who’ve gone through those halls, wherever they are now.
A special community group, Cairde Pres, has been set up to reach out to three generations of past students and encourage to reconnect with old classmates and teachers.
It’s hoped that Cairde Pres and the students who have flourished after school will take part in some great events in the school calendar such as career talks, company visits, and career interviews.
To promote those events and programmes an number of past students, staff, and parents have been asked to become ambassadors for the school.
Helen Ryan, parent ambassador praised the skills that the ‘Pres’ imbued in its students, more than just grinding away for CAO points:
“Skills like confidence, like being able to communicate, teamwork. They actually stand to you much much more in the 60 or 70 or even 80 odd years of life after your leaving cert.”
“All the teachers have this real and genuine personal interest in their students. They use that very well guide their students through school.”
Those attitudes and values are what Helen wants to see carried to the new school.
Professor Gerard Flaherty, lecturer at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, came through the Pres and he said it was a great place to nurture young people.
“During challenging times, the support and warmth I received from the teaching staff in Athenry were very much appreciated. We were taught to care for and respect others, fundamentals of a good education surely.”
“As the Pres moves to a fine new building away from the town centre, I hope it retains its central role in the Athenry community and continues to uphold the highest standards of teaching, student support and innovation for which it is known and loved.
“I look forward to educating more medical students who also benefited from a tús maith in the Pres like I did all those years ago.”
The farewell party is on at the ‘Pres’ in Gorteenacara, Athenry next Wednesday August 15th from 6pm – 8pm. Everyone connected to the school, past or present, is welcome.
Also on this date a reunion of Past Students celebrating 10, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50 and 60 years out will be held.