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‘Final Assembly’ at Tullymacarette Primary School

‘End of an area’ but be proud to say, “I went to Tullymacarette”

Tullymacarette Primary School

Tullymacarette Primary School

An emotional ‘Final Assembly’ was held in Tullymacarette Primary School on Thursday 21st June when the teachers and pupils were joined by parents and guests for a varied programme introduced and led by the Principal, Mrs Laura Cairns. The present school, which opened in 1939, will close at the end of August and the fourteen remaining pupils will leave at the end of June.

At the ‘Final Assembly’ in Tullymacarette Primary School on Thursday 21st June are L to R: Marie Woods (Board of Governors), Mary Hughes (Vice Principal), Denise Baxter (Board of Governors), Wilson McMullan (Principal of Ballydown Primary School), Laura Cairns (Principal), Trevor Watson (Assistant Pastor of Banbridge Baptist Church), Kathleen McGregor (former Dinner Lady), Gerry McBrien (Principal of St Colman’s Primary School), Arthur Gibson (Former Principal) and Nick Stevenson (Chairman of the Board of Governors). Teachers and staff pictured cutting a cake marking 68 years of the present Tullymacarette Primary School 1939 - 2007. L to R: Isabel McDowell (School Secretary), Helen Eadie (Classroom Assistant), Christina Gibson (Building Supervisor), Mary Hughes (Vice Principal), Laura Cairns (Principal), Lynda Dickson (Part-time Teacher), Carol Jones (Playground and Dining-Room Assistant) and May Gordon (Classroom Assistant).
At the ‘Final Assembly’ in Tullymacarette Primary School on Thursday 21st June are L to R: Marie Woods (Board of Governors), Mary Hughes (Vice Principal), Denise Baker (Board of Governors), Wilson McMullan (Principal of Ballydown Primary School), Laura Cairns (Principal), Trevor Watson (Assistant Pastor of Banbridge Baptist Church), Kathleen McGregor (former Dinner Lady), Gerry McBrien (Principal of St Colman’s Primary School), Arthur Gibson (Former Principal) and Nick Stevenson (Chairman of the Board of Governors). Teachers and staff pictured cutting a cake marking 68 years of the present Tullymacarette Primary School 1939 - 2007. L to R: Isabel McDowell (School Secretary), Helen Eadie (Classroom Assistant), Christina Gibson (Building Supervisor), Mary Hughes (Vice Principal), Laura Cairns (Principal), Lynda Dickson (Part-time Teacher), Carol Jones (Playground and Dining-Room Assistant) and May Gordon (Classroom Assistant).

Mrs Cairns welcomed everyone to the ‘Final Assembly’ and recalled that in 1939, it was the NEW School with Jack Grier at the helm. “Apparently the desks were brought on a tractor and baler trailer from the previous school” she said. “The school has seen major changes over the years but has maintained a community ethos throughout this time providing a friendly, caring place of learning whereby everyone feels valued and supported. Later Mount Ida and Mullafernaghan, two small rural schools were amalgamated with Tullymacarette thus forging a continuous link with these traditionally farming communities, in which Tullymacarette over the years has played a central role. I have had the privilege to serve as principal here for just over 11 years and fortunate to have had two excellent supportive chairmen, firstly the Rev Mark Rodgers and now Mr Nick Stevenson. Their counsel has been greatly appreciated and their work on behalf of the school invaluable. The Governors during this time also worked alongside the staff forging both formal community links. It is a measure of their commitment to the school in the long service, which they have given. Robert Campbell, Moira Alexander, Marie Woods and Denise Baker to mention a few but there are others who also gave their time freely in the interest of the school”.

Close up of a cake marking 68 happy years of the present Tullymacarette Primary School. At the ‘Final Assembly’ in Tullymacarette Primary School on Thursday 21st June are Arthur Gibson (Former Principal) and Joe Poots who Arthur described as “always a good neighbour of the school”.
Close up of a cake marking 68 happy years of the present Tullymacarette Primary School. At the ‘Final Assembly’ in Tullymacarette Primary School on Thursday 21st June are Arthur Gibson (Former Principal) and Joe Poots who Arthur described as “always a good neighbour of the school”.

“Finally” she said, “the most important people in our school are the children. This year they are all school leavers. There have been many happy times and special times that we have shared together. We’re all proud of what you have achieved and we hope the lessons you have learned through the different terms with your friends, stay with you, as a foundation so that you can go forward with confidence as you move on in different directions. So take care and don’t be scared as you leave here, because there’s so much more in store for you as you grow through the years. It is my cherished wish for you that you take all that you have learnt here and be the best that you possibly can be!”

Trevor Watson, Assistant Pastor of Banbridge Baptist Church, read a portion of Scripture from Mark 10, which contains the well-known verse “Suffer the little children to come unto Me”. Trevor spoke of the need for “a child like faith” and the need to “trust in Jesus and enjoy Him forever”. He concluded by speaking of “God’s forever Kingdom” emphasising that “while all good things must come to an end - God’s Kingdom will never end”.

The (P2 to P7) children presented their first item entitled ‘Our Children’s Perspective’ after which the children’s awards were presented by Mrs Cairns assisted by Nick Stevenson, Chairman of the Board of Governors.

Following a short interval, the children presented their second item entitled ‘Finding Happiness’ which included a hearty performance of the well-known Ken Dodd song ‘Happiness’.

At the ‘Final Assembly’ in Tullymacarette Primary School on Thursday 21st June are Playground and Dining Room Assistant Carol Jones (nee Curran) and her brother Errol Curran, who is the pupil’s popular football coach.

‘Tullymacarette Days’ were recalled by former Principal Arthur Gibson. Picking up on the happiness theme he spoke about his 22 happy years at the school, which for him, commenced just a few weeks before the Ulster Worker’s Strike in 1974. He recalled that soon after his arrival he was invited to tea with Joe Poots and his late wife Elsie and concluded by saying a special thanks to Joe, who he described as “always a good neighbour of the school”.

Speakers from the audience were then allowed to share in a session aptly entitled ‘The end of an area’. Mary Hughes, Vice Principal of nearly 33 years, said that she was “privileged and honoured to teach here”. She went on to say that the children were “very special to her” and wished them every success for the future. “I take many happy memories with me” she said and concluded by wishing everyone a final and tearful - “Goodbye”.

Gerry McBrien (Principal of St Colman’s Primary School) spoke of the benefits of a small school and of the family and community spirit, commitment, caring and kindness, which is manifested here today. “Everything has its time and its season”, he said and recalling closures of other schools including Ballyvicknakelly and Carnew, he said that there are only two schools left in the area - St Colman’s and the Central. He concluded by telling the children to keep their sweatshirts and be proud to say, “I went to Tullymacarette”.

In his ‘Final Thoughts’, Nick Stevenson recalled coming to see Mr Gibson about getting a placement in Tullymacarette for his two daughters in the days when about 100 pupils attended the school. In preparation for his talk he said that he asked his daughters “what was special about Tullymacarette?” to which they replied that it was the “small and friendliness of the school - not separated by age”. Referring to the imminent closure of the school he said, “there will be no more laughter in the playground, no more classroom doors shutting and with the very heart and soul gone - only the school building will remain”.

The P2 - P7 children then presented their third and final item entitled ‘This Beautiful Day’ followed by a closing prayer by Trevor Watson. A delightful finger buffet was served in the Dining Room during which time the teachers and staff cut a cake marking 68 happy years of the present Tullymacarette Primary School 1939 - 2007.


22/06/2007