Issue 1/2015 Vol.2
Dia dhaoibh agus fáilte romhaibh go léir go dtí ár scoil nua álainn anseo in Eiscir. We are delighted to welcome you all to our new building, which was officially opened on Wednesday, June 17th 2015, by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD.
What a momentous and monumental day for the whole school community! In this edition of our newsletter, we would like to tell you all about our beginnings, our history and the celebration of our school’s biggest day.
The History of Our School
Our wonderful school was founded in September 2007. It emerged from a local need for a new school, in the rapidly growing area of Lucan.
The school was founded by Colette Kavanagh, Jane McCarthy(Board of Management), Paul Rowe (Educate Together’s CEO) and Amy Mulvihill (Regional Development Officer) in the summer of 2007. History was made! Tom Costelloe joined quickly thereafter and brought with him his exceptional dedication and support.
The school opened on the 5th September 2007 with 77 pupils and 9 teachers. It continued to grow and grow, to 413 pupils and 31 staff this year.
Over the course of our first 7 years, we spent time in Adamstown Castle ETNS, St. John the Evangelist NS, Lucan East ETNS and our temporary home in Adamstown. We were so warmly welcomed by these other schools and made great friends at each stage, but it was time for a change!
Having worked tirelessly up until that point to get a new building and after much speculation, a new school site was located. Surveys were undertaken, architectural plans were drawn up and approved. It was all starting to take shape!
The first sod was turned in early 2014, with the building ready for occupation as the school year commenced in September 2014. The first few months were taken to settle in and adjust to the new school environment: The bright and airy classrooms, a spacious hall in which to house our wonderful assemblies, two fantastic yards and beautiful, mature trees all around the site that make it feel like we were always here!
Parent Teacher Association
Our new building is now a focal point in the community for our parents and our families. We have been blessed with a wonderfully active PTA that have helped to shape the school into what it is today, a vibrant educational and supportive community. We are extremely grateful to the whole parent body who have remained loyal to us in all our journeys. Their help has always been invaluable and they are “truly the backbone of the school”.
On the day of the opening, many of our parents worked to create a virtual international food festival upstairs. Other parents helped us with our funfair and art and craft fair. Others helped out with traffic management.
Under the chairmanship of Aoife Linnane and ably assisted by Maureen Fox, the PTA has moved from strength to strength and we thank them for their work in making the opening the great day that it was for us all and especially for the children.
The evening before the grand school opening, many parents and friends came to help us to get ready for the big day. Preparations had been underway for several weeks in the classrooms; creating artwork, learning speeches, learning songs and dances. Preparations behind the scenes had also been taking place, Ministers had been contacted, local TDs, local principals, past colleagues, members of Educate Together, our families and other friends had all been invited to come to our special day.
The Grand School Opening
Wednesday, 17th June 2015 arrived and the excitement was palpable across the whole school from the time that we opened our doors. Energy and enthusiasm were brimming across the school as the children flooded into their classrooms. The time came for us all to go outside, with children lining up around the perimeter of the carpark for the guard of honour. Children waved their national flags, full of energy and vitality.
After a couple of false starts, the car of the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD arrived.
A welcoming committee of hundreds, including our Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Paul Rowe, Amy Mulvihill, local TDs Derek Keating and Joanna Tuffy and many of the councillors were there. Councillor Eamon Tuffy really helped in the beginning and deserves special mention. We were also really overwhelmed by the support of our parents and the great number that came and helped us. Special mention also to our first BoM guests – Peggy, Mark, Doris and Eithne, and the representatives of other local schools that really helped and supported us: Tom, Ita, Tony, Fr. John and Eddie.
Without further ado, the guests poured into the hall to begin the celebrations. The choir opened the ceremony with the “Congolese Welcome Song”.
Ryan Liu (6th class pupil and Student Council representative) and Farzana Shah (PTA member), Peggy, Paul and the Minister all spoke about the wonderful education, community and building at the heart of the celebrations.
Some memorable quotes
Colette: “We deserve this building. This school feels right. It belongs to us all. It feels like home”.
Peggy Masterson: “Esker has been very lucky to have had Colette as principal. From her first day at Esker she has been a truly inspirational leader for the whole community.”
Paul Rowe: “This is a tremendous day, a day to celebrate the fantastic achievement of a community, a school community, a group of outstanding teachers and educationalists, committed parents and a superb group of children”.
Farzana Shah: “I have to say that it is not just a building that makes a school – the spirit, the heart, and the atmosphere comes from the teachers, the parents and the children”.
Ryan Liu: “When I first saw it (the school) I was really pleased to have the chance to spend my final year in primary school in such a bright, fresh spacious building. Learning is easier and much more fun when there’s space and light and room to move about”.
Minister O’Sullivan, TD: “I am delighted with the warm welcome that I received from the children, staff and parents. I can see today what a happy and productive school it is. I congratulate them for their many successes to date with the school choir and in athletics competitions in Cumann na mBunscol. Congratulations also on the Award of Science and Maths Excellence two years in a row and for being the proud holders of a green flag”.
The ceremony continued with beautiful renditions of “Teir Abhaile” and “Something inside so strong” from the choir. We all agreed with the sentiment in “What a wonderful world”!
The Minister then unveiled the plaque, which will adorn our school wall and records this very special day.
“How lucky and grateful we feel today!”
Following the unveiling, everyone moved outside for the tree planting. Peggy had chosen a beautiful Magnolia tree, a plant that can survive extremes and then continues to blossom.
The Minister was then surprised by the whole school flashmob of Mr. Blue Sky!
Everyone then moved upstairs for the Café. Parents had created the most appealing array of foods, from every corner of the globe.
The students welcomed their parents into their classrooms, who then enjoyed quizzes, maths games and chats with the children in each class!
This was then followed by the carnival. What fun! Bubbles wafted into the entrance to greet the children, with two stilt walkers teetering above. Two minions bounced around the children, as they entered the yard. The children were so excited! There were so many stalls, which were ably run by parents, teachers and students! Fan making, biscuit decorating, origami, face painting, henna (mehndi), hair styling, nail painting, target throws, robot making, limbo dancing, hook-a-duck, clay, recycled junk art, the obstacle course, hockey shoot out, welly throw, penalty shoot-out and wall painting.... And then popcorn and candy floss!!!!! What an amazing day! The children loved it!
Our heartfelt thanks to all of the children, staff and parents that made it all possible, especially Gemma and Catherine.
The 6th class graduation took place on Thursday, 25th June. These two classes are very special to us, having been the first junior infants that we taught. And haven’t they blossomed?
The ‘Croí na Scoile Award’ was awarded to Ryan Liu. This award commemorates our dear colleague Paul Kilgarriff for school spirit and the embodiment of the ethos. Well done Ryan!
So it is there that we will leave you all. We wish you a very happy, fun-filled and safe summer.
We look forward to seeing you all back on Tuesday, 1st September at 9:20 for the usual school day (2:00 finish for infants, 3:00 for 1st-6th classes).
Bain taitneamh as na laethanta saoire!
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The Esker Gazette is newsletter that started in 2014 to give a around up of events in our school over the year.