50 Years of St. Marys
Scoil Mhuire, Stranorlar 1958 to date
Scoil Mhuire, Stranorlar first opened on 17th February 1958. It replaced the old school which was situated in front of the present building and which had been in existence since 1888. Prior to that again there was a school beside the old graveyard in Stranorlar and there was a church in the corner of it near Chapel Street, which is why that street is so-called. The new school was built to accommodate 300 pupils with separate schools for boys and girls. The main contractor was Tommy Dillon from Letterkenny and George Dillon from Castlederg was General Foreman.Clerk of Works was Mr. Kevin Timoney from Donegal Town. Many others who were involved in the construction came from the locality. Austin, Charlie and John Joe Kennedy carried out the plastering and carpenters at the time were Charlie Glackin, Glenfinn Road and John O'Donnell, Dan's Brae, Stranorlar.General workers were Danny Thompson, Curraghamone; Thomas Thompson, Drumboe; John Robinson, Drumboe and Johnny Gallagher, Meenglass. Mr. Ted Mc Garrigle, Stranorlar worked with machinery on site.
The teaching staff in the old school transferred to the new one after an extended Christmas holiday. The old school had to be demolished in order to give clear access to the new one. Cars were a rarity at the time so there were gardens in front of the school, where the car-park is now and entry was gained from a gate close to the footpath which runs along in front of the church. Each school had its own shelter and an area for bicycles. Principal of the Boys' school was Mr. Con Mc Shane, while Mr. Seamus Mc Glynn, Mr. Sean Ward and Mrs. Brigid Ward were also teachers in the school. Mr. Mc Shane was succeeded as Principal by Mr. Joe Collum and later by Mr. Sean Ward. Principal of the Girls' School was Ms. Aileen Mc Mahon and Mrs. John Ward, Miss Gráinne Griffin and Miss Mary Mc Glynn were also on the teaching staff. Ms. Mc Mahon was succeeded by Mrs. Annie T. Dunleavy and then by Mrs. Pauline Hegarty. There have been numerous changes in staff up to the present time.
Growing numbers led to a four classroom extension being added in the late sixties. Main contractor on that occassion was Mr. Michael Slevin, Lifford Road. Some of those who worked on the original building also assisted in the construction of the extension. Infant classes have been accommodated there for many years now. The general purposes room was added in 1974.It has been used extensively since then and is particularly appreciated whenever the weather prevents children from participating in outdoor activities. Further increases in numbers have necessitated the provision of 9 pre-fabs which are used by some mainstream classes and also by smaller groups for Learning or Language support. The Meenan family have looked after our plumbing and heating needs for many years now. Marilyn and Benny Patton are familiar faces as they carry out their cleaning tasks each day. A comprehensive upgrading of the electrical system was done a few years ago by Gallagher Electric. The demands and pressures created by a combination of modern society and a large school poulation have necessitated the installation of an alarm system by ADT. We also have CCTV cameras which were installed by Swift Security.
The two schools amalgamated in 1988 with Mrs. Pauline Hegarty taking on the role of Principal. On her retirement in Dec.2000, Mrs. Hegarty was succeeded by Mrs. Maire Masterson. The current principal is Mr.Fintan Keating who took up his position in June 2007. Numbers continued to grow in the intervening years since amalgamation and we now have 515 pupils of whom almost 10% are non-nationals. There are 19 mainstream teachers, 6 teachers on the SET team and a Language Support teacher. The school also has 10 S.N.A.s, a school secretary, school assistant and a caretaker on staff. For the past number of years our Senior classes have had the benefit of Spanish classes usually with a teacher from Spain.
The contribution of all involved, past and present, in every aspect of our school has brought us to where we are today. We acknowledge and thank each and every one. We remember especially those who have gone to their eternal reward. As we look to the future, one thing is certain, the story of our school doesn't end here. What wonders and changes will the next fifty years bring?
Helen Kennedy Martin
Deputy Principal. (2008)