Blessing of new extension to St Anne’s Primary School, Charleville

Last Friday, September 27th, Most Rev. William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne, paid a visit to Charleville to celebrate Mass, marking the official opening of the extension to St Anne’s Primary School.

Parents, members of the current and previous Boards of Management, Sisters of Mercy, representatives of the schools in the town and other local organisations joined the pupils and staff on their special day.

Bishop Crean was assisted in the ceremony by Canon Cotter, PP, Fr Thomas Naughton C.C. and Canon Harrington A.P., along with previous chairmen of the Board of Management, Fr Michael Fitzgerald and Fr Brian Boyle.

A number of symbols representing the school were brought to the altar at the start of Mass. These included musical, sporting and academic items. Many extra-curricular activities available in St Anne’s were highlighted with camogie, basketball, recorder, drama, French and homework club available to pupils.

The most unique symbol presented at Mass was a golden key, dating from 1941. The foundation stone for the current school was laid in 1939 and the school opened two years later. The Golden Key was originally presented by the builder Mr John Cleary to Canon Burke, who in turn, passed it to the first principal of the school, Sr Francis.

The offertory gifts were brought to the altar by St Anne’s first lay teacher, Mrs Mary O’Connor, and Sr Colette O’Connell, the last Sister of Mercy to be Principal of the school.

The school choir sang beautifully, assisted by the congregation, and the school orchestra played “Inisheer” after Communion.

On the day, the chairman of the Board of Management, Michael Murphy, told those present that €440,000 had been invested in the building in the past three years, and he outlined the huge difference it has made to St Anne’s. The school has been extended by two classrooms separated by a partition door. This provides the facility for whole school gatherings. The entire school was rewired and brought up to current Department of Education electrical specifications which includes internet cabling, key code entry to the school, an intercom system and CCTV. All flooring throughout the school was replaced with coloured marmoleum and the entire school was painted, inside and out.

The Board of Management presented interior designer Ms Stephanie Walshe with a bouquet of flowers as a token of appreciation for her work in choosing child-friendly colour schemes. St Anne’s is now a sea of colour and provides a bright, attractive, friendly environment for all it’s pupils.

Local artist Peter O’Brien was acknowledged for his unique design of the St Anne’s School Crest. The crest is inlaid in the marmoleum flooring in the entrance hall and adorns school documents. Eddie Biggane of Diesenvale Engineering, impressed with Peter O’Brien’s work, offered to sponsor the manufacture of the crest in stainless steel, and it now hangs on the front of the school building as the official sign welcoming people to St Anne’s.

Principal Ms Carmel Rainsford spoke about the teamwork involved in the renovation of the school. She talked about the success of the school in forging posi-tive relationships between home, school and the community and she thanked each of the partners in education for their contribution to school life.

Following blessing of the extension by Most Rev Bishop Crean, those present enjoyed refreshments as they ambled through the school admiring the building work and looking at the many old photographs on display.