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Our School Crest

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A crest is a clear expression of the identity and lineage of an organisation or a group. For the alumni of St. David’s Holy Faith Secondary School, as for any school, the crest represents something very special and unique to the school. It says something about our identity and our sense of belonging as a community. It has a deep association with our days when in school here and, with the re-configuration of the crest, you might now feel as if you are being left behind. There is a sense of difficulty that must be acknowledged in a certain letting go of something beloved and familiar.

However, we are not abandoning everything that the crest symbolises and represents. Rather, we are changing it for our times but aligning ourselves with the long tradition. We are conscious that we are part of a community extending back to 1906. For some, they were part of the community of Sisters, the pioneering founders themselves, whose presence in the school was here until relatively recently and whose legacy lives on in who and how we are in the world. For others, it was a whole familial lineage of grandparents, parents, family, relatives, and perhaps the relationships we forged in school are still as strong today. For others again, they worked on the staff of the school as principals, deputy principals, teachers, members of the Board of Management, Special Needs Assistants, care-takers, cleaners, and administrators. We are all part of the history of St. David’s.

In all of this, it was the inspiration of one woman who made the school find a beloved home here, in Greystones. It was a Waterford woman, Margaret Aylward (1810-1899) who founded Holy Faith Sisters, the congregation of women who founded St. David’s Holy Faith Secondary School in 1906. Margaret Aylward was born into a prominent family in the merchant town of Waterford in 1810, a link with another sea port. Her whole life was centred on the message of Jesus, to combat poverty and injustice and to educate the poor. She was well aware of this through her work with the poorest families in Waterford and later in the slums of the Coombe in Dublin. The congregation which she set up with her companions in the late 1850s had a major impact on the Ireland of her day in the areas of child-care, education of the poor, religious life and, centrally, the defence of the faith. After her release from prison in 1861 she founded her first school. She said, prophetically, ‘Upon this one thing, the education of the poor, depends the future of Ireland and the future of society’. This was her dream and her desire, and the crest embodies the fact that, today, we stand on the shoulders of giants - the community of Holy Faith Sisters, the staff, the teachers, and the students, the parents, friends who came to the school or those who supported us in any way and were associated with the school since its foundation. This is what makes us who we are in St. David’s Holy Faith Secondary School.

In the re-imagining of the crest for our times (2022) in quite a revolutionary way, we wanted to respect this unique heritage entrusted to us over the generations and communicate the essence of what is contained in the crest without compromising anything except the actual style. What we have tried to do is to link two things: the essence of the former crest, and the lesser known congregational emblem of the Holy Faith Sisters. The Holy Faith congregational emblem has the Cross at the centre symbolising the centrality of our faith. The open-ended Cross is an invitation to spread the Word of God and to be open to receive. The Cross rests on the waters of life, open to the world and to infinity. With our school
undergoing radical renovation and extension, transforming our 1970s buildings into modern and stunning architecture, it was important also to examine who we are, where we have come from and our future together, in the middle of this transformation. Hence, we were conscious of building on the history and heritage but expressing it in a new way for our times, remaining faithful to the legacy we have received but sustaining it into the future.

In the former crest, the Cross was above the crest itself; the initials, CHF, written in the centre, recognised the Congregation of Holy Faith Sisters, and St. David’s, Greystones surrounded the acronym. The newly-configured crest, designed by a team of incredible parents and senior school management, and the colours by our students, representative of our geographical location, has the beautiful image of a boat with the Cross intersecting its sails. The Cross and the waves incorporate the symbolism of the congregational emblem of the Holy Faith Sisters. The new crest contains a strong image of a boat on a journey with its identity embodied in the symbol of the Cross and the name and location of the school clearly emblazoned as ‘St. David’s Holy Faith Greystones’ clarifying our identity in line with our heritage but also clearly expressing the pride that is felt by the St. David’s
community. It is radically different to that with which most alumni would be familiar but it is still connected to our historical and spiritual legacy. The boat is a vibrant image signifying dynamism and change. It is a boat that is not safely tethered in the harbour but a boat in full sail on the open sea with the swell of the sea and the wind propelling it forward in future challenges which we must face with courage and vision. This boat is also symbolic of our life journeys. Our alumni are scattered in all areas of the world, as are many of the Holy Faith Sisters and their foundations, in places they probably never envisaged. We must remember that our own individual boats can still find a safe haven and welcome in the harbour of St. David’s Holy Faith Secondary School.

In our context of 2022, our exquisite view over towards St. David’s Head in Wales (soon to be greatly enhanced with our four-storey extension), has changed little from the time of the early founders in 1906. However, our world has changed irrevocably since then. As a Catholic school of faith, we are a school of dialogue and inclusion where everyone finds a place. We embrace and welcome people of all faiths and beliefs and none. We encourage people to become the best people they can be. In our journey forward into the future together, we embark with the conviction that the Spirit of God, which hovered over the earth at the beginning of creation, will power our sails to move out into the world with creativity, compassion, empathy and love to always be alert to the needs of our times and to better our world which is the essence of our Catholic identity. This is our legacy which is
expressed symbolically through our crest as a continuation of the ethos, meaning and heart of St. David’s - what St. David’s was, what it is and what it will continue to be. The extraordinary people that make ours a unique and special community in St. David’s Holy Faith Secondary School, Greystones, will continue to shine and thrive in spite of the many changes taking place.


Louise O’Sullivan
Deputy Principal

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