Friday the 21st of May was a major date in the history of St. David’s Holy Faith Secondary School. School Principal, Ms. Mary O’Doherty, was finishing up after sixteen years of service in St. David’s.
School Deputy Principal, Simon Carey, opened proceedings by welcoming a small number of guests to the event which all took place in line with Covid-19 restrictions.
Fifth Year student Emily Farrell set the tone for the event with a wonderful rendition of the song ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac, accompanied on guitar by Ms. Joyce Murphy. School Deputy Principal, Mr. Simon Carey then returned to the podium to officially welcome Ms. Mary O’Doherty and other guests to the special occasion. Mr. Carey then proceeded to outline some of Ms. O’Doherty’s accomplishments over her past 16 years as Principal of St. David’s and 42 years of service in total within the education sector. Mr. Carey spoke of how he and Ms. O’ Doherty dovetailed in terms of characteristics whilst leading St. David’s. Mr. Carey finished his speech by wishing Ms. O’Doherty well in the future culminating in the line, “Well done, be proud and God bless!”
First Year student Rian O’Gorman, Sixth Year student Iseult Brosnan, and Fifth Year student Emily Farrell then recited some carefully-selected poems in both English and Gaeilge which were truly fitting to the occasion.
Head Boy, Daniel Hicks, and Head Girl, Ava Stokes then took to the podium to speak of their experiences as students under the care of Ms. O’Doherty. They spoke of how Ms. O’Doherty inspires all students to reach their full potential. They also discussed what memories will remain with them as Ms. O’Doherty moves on into academia. These memories included care and kindness, weekly emails, song choices, selection boxes and Easter eggs. Ms. Aisling Keaveney spoke on behalf of the staff members of St. David’s. Ms. Keaveney wished Ms. O’Doherty well in the future. She also spoke of her first experiences with Ms. O’Doherty, and described Ms. O’Doherty’s never-ending drive for academic excellence, her passion in relation to securing the best resources possible, and her dedication to securing the new school building and refurbishment of St. David’s Secondary School.
Ms. O’Doherty was then presented with cards from the Deputy Head Boys and Deputy Head Girls which had been signed by different communities within the school. Ms. Sarah Ward congratulated Ms. O’Doherty on behalf of the Parent’s Association before Ms. Jessie-Anne Sheridan congratulated Ms. O’Doherty on behalf of the students of St. David’s.
Ms. O’Doherty, her guests, students and staff were then shown an excellent video which had been compiled by Mr. Redmond, Mr. Geoghegan and a number of Transition Year students. The video contained goodbye messages from teachers and students in the school. The video was accompanied by the song ‘Free Falling’ by John Mayer which is Ms. O’Doherty’s favourite song.
Ms. O’Doherty then took centre-stage and spoke of everything which had led her to where she was today, from her time in secondary school in Galway to her experiences on returning to academia to work on her PhD. The importance of providing quality education for all, no matter what the financial situation has always been a top priority for Ms. O’Doherty. She spoke of how education should be utilised as a means of how to do good in the world, how to look after the lonely, and how to make the country a better place in which to live.
On a more local level Ms. O’Doherty discussed education in St. David’s, how it is much more than just learning facts and figures, but also encompasses values, morals, beliefs and habits. These are all aspects of the development of a student and take place in every part of the school, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Ms. O’Doherty then proceeded to thank several people who had supported and guided her over her 16 years as Principal of St. David’s Secondary School. These included Mr. Seamus Howley (of the Board of Management), the parents of the students of St. David’s (both the Parent’s Association and Fundraising Association), the school staff, the local Parish Priests, Sr. Anna and Sr. Berna, Mr. Simon Carey (Mr. Organised!), Celina, Aoife, Anne, Yola and Yvonna. The final thank you was to her own family who understood the commitment that Ms. O’Doherty had to the students of St. David’s Secondary School.
The final component of the celebration consisted of a virtual rendition of the Green Day classic ‘Time of Your Life’ by the St. David’s school choir. It truly was a fitting conclusion to a celebration for someone who had given so much to St. David’s Secondary School.