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                                                                    Enniskillen Old Collegians 

 Alna

163 Main Street,

Fivemiletown,

Co.Tyrone.

BT75 0PG

028 89521203

 

February 2013



 I can hardly believe that a year has passed since I wrote my last annual letter.  We have had another very successful year both in our Association and in the school.   Again our main function was our AGM and Dinner which was held in the Killyhevlin Hotel on 8th June 2012. We were delighted to welcome Arlene Foster (nee Kelly) MLA, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, as our speaker for the evening.  She concentrated on the positive influence which membership of guides and attending a single-sex school had in building her self-esteem and confidence to set her on the path where she is today. It was wonderful to have the three Falloon sisters and the three Fleming sisters able to attend together.  Our thanks go to the Killyhevlin Hotel for once again providing us with an excellent meal and a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy it.

During the past year many of our friends, both members of the Association and others connected with the School, have lost loved ones. We particularly remember Phyllis Winslow and Ruby Ferguson.  Phyllis served on the Committee of the Association and opened her home on very many occasions for Morning Coffee or Afternoon Tea.  Ruby worked as a Lab Assistant in the school and regularly attended our events.  We send their families our sympathy and prayers, especially at those times when remembrance is most difficult. Memories are always precious and comforting as the sting of loss recedes. 

  On 31st March 2012 Elaine Kennedy (nee Jordan) made us most welcome to her lovely home at Castlebalfour in Lisnaskea for our Spring Coffee Morning.   Again, this was another very enjoyable occasion and we were treated to music from the School’s String Quartet.   We thank Elaine for being such a gracious hostess.  

On Saturday 25th September we had our Autumn Coffee Morning in the Staffroom in the School. Thanks go to the Principal, Miss Elizabeth Armstrong and the Vice-Principal, Mrs Irene Dunn (nee Owens), for having us and showing people round the School after coffee. At a very busy time of the school year, we appreciate them giving up a precious Saturday morning for us. We also thank the Staff of the School Meals Kitchen for providing us, once again, with delicious home-made tray-bakes. I would also like to thank the Committee for providing the scones etc and their unfailing, cheerful help at our Coffee mornings.

 News of Old CollegiansMrs Jean Boyd (nee Clingan) retired from her post in the School Office on 31st March 2012. Jean had performed her duties very efficiently and with good humour in twenty-seven years of service.Mrs Yvonne Bowles (nee Johnston) carried the Olympic Torch in Enniskillen.Miss Elizabeth Armstrong, former pupil and Principal of the school, was presented to the Queen when she visited Enniskillen in June for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.Mrs Hope Kerr (nee Kidney) is President of Enniskillen and District Branch of Soroptimist International.  She is also Treasurer of the St Macartin’s Cathedral Parish in Enniskillen.Mrs Margaret Knox (nee Elliott) is Clogher Diocesan President of Mothers’ Union for the next three years.Marion Maxwell (nee Cathcart) presented “Winding Banks of Erne” with Bryan Gallagher as part of FLive Fermanagh Live Festival.Barbara Chapman is still involved in her Community in Newtownbutler.  She switched on the Christmas lights in December.

 
The Class of ’62 had a reunion weekend in early September when around 60 girls came together.  It was an action packed weekend from the Friday evening when they had an exhibition of memorabilia and a singsong of songs from the sixties. On the Saturday they visited the school when the Principal, Miss Armstrong, helped the former Head-girl Heather Deering and Deputy Head-girl Sandra McMullen cut the cake. They finished off the day with a boat trip to Devenish Island and an evening meal in the Killyhevlin Hotel.  I am sure there was plenty of chatter catching up on all the years since they first met. No wonder they were all exhausted.  I do hope that some will endeavour to join us for our Annual Dinner on 14th June.
News from the school Our Head-girl is Faith Viney and her Deputies are Leah Buchanan and Sophie Jones. The girls are performing their duties very well. Once again the girls achieved very high results in the academic field.  At A2 level while there was a reduction in A* grades across N. I. and indeed the UK the Collegiate girls had a percentage increase of A* grades awarded with 17% of all grades at A* compared to the Northern Ireland figure of 7.7%.  Eighteen girls had at least one A* Grade and sixteen girls had three A grades or better.  Again girls from the Collegiate featured in the top candidates in Northern Ireland in the public examinations.  Laura-Jane Mahon had 3rd place in A Level Physics and Claire Smith was 2nd in A Level Spanish.  The A Level Geography class had three slots in the top ten places in Northern Ireland with Lauren Hetherington in joint 3rd place, Louise Houston joint 4th and Clodagh Miskimmin in joint 9th place.  At GCSE level in Home Economics in Northern Ireland, Melissa Johnston was 3rd equal and Alex Hanna had 7th place.Some girls were able to gain significant scholarships to help them with 3rd Level studies as result of their examination attainments.  Stephanie McConkey and Laura-Jane Mahon were both awarded All-Ireland Scholarships by the J P McManus Fund on the basis of their A level results. Laura-Jane is studying Medicine at Queen’s while Stephanie is studying Natural Sciences at University College London. Miss Armstrong travelled to Limerick to see them receive their scholarships from President Bill Clinton. Karen Coulter, who is studying Civil Engineering at Queen’s, gained a Quest scholarship from the Institute of Civil Engineers.  Melanie Brownlee gained an Entrance Scholarship on the basis of her A level German to study French and German at Cardiff University.

 
Our Celebration of Success took place on 22nd November when the Guest of Honour was Dr Marie Cowan from the Northern Ireland Geological Survey.  Annika Latimer received the Old Collegians Cup for special achievement. Rose Saunders was awarded the prize for English Literature, which is presented by the Old Collegians in memory of Mrs Ada Malone. Collegiate girls also continue to distinguish themselves at a national level.  In the UK Intermediate Mathematical Challenge held on 2 February 2012 Alice Rooney won a Gold Certificate and the Best in School Certificate.  Alanah Kerr, Hannah McCaw and Becky Watson were awarded Silver Certificates.  Bronze Certificate winners were Rachel Brownlee, Rachael Burleigh, Kathryn Coalter, Emily Donaldson, Hannah Gamble, Hannah McClure, Sarah Morrison, Laura Patterson, Sophie Robinson, Jane Simpson, Olivia Skuce and Chloe Virtue.

 

In September the first joint Spanish, Art and History of Art trip took place to Madrid with Ms Fahy and Mrs Johnston-Cobain leading a group of nineteen pupils. Annika Latimer from Year 13 has experienced an impressive level of success in two all-Ireland Cookery competitions.  She was runner-up in the All-Ireland Final of the Rotary Club’s Young Chef Cookery Competition which was held in Santa Sabina Secondary School, Dublin on Saturday 25 February. Annika was selected to go forward as a finalist to this competition after a “Master Chef” style cook-off at the Northern Ireland. In mid-March she again sampled the sweet taste of success by winning the Senior Section of the All-Ireland Cookery Competition of “Take Away – My Way”, an event organised by Safefood which attracted a total of 923 entries.  The event was held in St Angela’s College, Sligo on Tuesday 13 March when Annika had to compete against 15 other finalists to secure her title.  In addition to receiving a trophy, Annika came home with an extensive range of prizes both for herself and the school, including a microwave, cookery books, an X-box, vouchers and a one-day cookery master class in Neven Maguire’s filming kitchen.  I noticed in the WI magazine that she did a talk for a local branch of the WI recently. The local heat of the Soroptimist Public Speaking Competition took place in November.  Siobhan Kerr gained 1st place and Ellen Cupples was 2nd.  Both girls spoke on the topic “Books – Are they a thing of the past?”  Siobhan will represent Fermanagh in the Northern Ireland Competition in February.Twelve girls from Year 13 took part in the school heat of the Rotary Youth Leadership competition.  Erica Fyffe, Hannah Gamble and Melissa Johnston were selected to represent the school.  Hannah went on to win the overall Fermanagh Competition and acquitted herself very well at the Regional Final in Letterkenny in November.  Caitlin Johnston, Year 9, won the Rotary Young Photographer Competition in the Intermediate Section.

 

Three Year 13 girls were successful in gaining places on the GETSET Insight into Engineering for girls organised by Sentinus.  Alice Rooney, Jane Simpson and Olivia Skuce spent a day Jordanstown Campus of Ulster University, two days on placement with engineers and the final day at Queen’s. The school continues to play a full part in the Fermanagh Learning Community.  There has been an increase in the number of subjects on offer in shared post-16 block.  Collegiate pupils are also involved in a shared personal development programme funded by Atlantic Philantrophies under the Fermanagh Trust on Friday afternoons along with five other schools.  They have a choice of 17 programmes. 

 

The Music Department continues to support the school by providing music for all school functions and some events in the Community.  Some Choral groups sang in Aughentaine Presbyterian Church and in St John’s Parish Church, Fivemiletown in November in support of Tearfund’s “Silent No More” project in Congo. In October Catherine Chestnutt on flute, soloist Julia Frazer and Jenna Stinson on piano entertained a large audience at the Rotary Concert in aid of the British Heart Foundation.  Many of the girls won prizes at Fermanagh Feis as individuals and members of groups of musicians.  Amy Breen was selected as a member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra which gave her the opportunity to play at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall during the summer.  Julia Frazer was delighted to gain a place in the Ulster Training Youth Choir. Apart from finishing fund-raising for the minibus, the girls supported other charities during the year. Year 8 and 9 pupils raised £1706.39 for Clic Sergeant through the annual Readathon. Pupils taking music tuition with WELB peripatetic music service also participated in the Practice-a-thon for Clic Sergeant. Mrs Bleakley, the School Librarian, sold second-hand books and made £230 for Book Aid International; Marie Curie Cancer Care and the MRI Scanner Appeal shared the proceeds of £457.50 from the Generation Game; The “Silent no More” project sponsored by Tearfund received £360 and Fermanagh MS Society were given a cheque for £481.57.  Mrs Aly Finlay (nee Allen) directed the school play, “The Gym-Slip” which raised £750 for NI Cancer Fund for Children.  The House Charity events, non-uniform days and the school fete also generate lots of fun and community spirit as well funds for their favoured charities which included the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the British Heart Foundation, the Horizon West Children’s Hospice appeal and Sports Relief.

 

Girls at the Collegiate have a much wider range of sport to participate in than happened when I attended the school.  In reading the termly newsletter, “Headlines”, from Miss Armstrong, I see there are athletics, hockey, netball, table tennis, tag rugby, football, cross-country and show jumping as possible options. This only happens because we are fortunate to have staff and parents willing to give of their time to help the girls in preparing and travelling with the girls when they take part in competitions.The Tag Rugby Team was runner-up at Ravenhill in March following three years of winning the Moore Trophy. It was a very tight match against Grosvenor Grammar School with a final score of 8 to 7.Five girls, Sarah Armstrong, Emily Donaldson, Emma Foster, Rachel Hume and Jane Simpson received their Youth Sport Leadership Awards at a special ceremony in Belleek.  They had to organise a tournament for primary school pupils as part of their project.The Year 12 Netball won a bronze medal at the Fivemiletown Blitz.These are just a flavour of the successes which were celebrated during 2012. The school web-site: www.enniskillencollegiate.org.uk , which was recently given a new look, will keep you up to date with ongoing successes.

 

The School Minibus I am delighted to report that the school took delivery of the new Minibus at the end of August 2012 ready for the new school year.  Already it has transported girls to many parts of the province for a variety of activities.  I would like to thank all who supported the fund raising efforts.  It is no mean feat for a school to raise almost £28000 in just two years. Its first outing took a group of girls to support Kathryn Dane who was selected to play in N.I. U17 hockey team in an International Tournament in September. The School MagazineThe magazine is now coming out at the end of the first term with a new full colour format.  Mrs MacCombe is the new Editor.  Copies of the magazine can be purchased from School Reception for £6. On a more serious note I am sure those of you who have seen the local press in recent days will be aware that once again The Western Education and Library Board are proposing an amalgamation of the Collegiate Grammar School and Portora Royal School as part of the Area Plans which they submitted to the Minister of Education in December 2012.  These plans were drafted from an A4 page of very dubious statistics and bench-marks which can be moved up or down on the whim of the latest political agenda.  The Board of Governors of the Collegiate did not give their assent to this proposal which will result in the reduction of grammar school places for young people in our area and in the removal of a high achieving grammar school.  This obviously suits the present Minister of Education’s agenda. It is very sad to see that an Education and Library Board, which purports to be working in the best interests of children and young people to receive the best education possible appropriate to their needs, is content to support this political agenda.   As you all know the Collegiate Grammar School produces excellent results every year being consistently one of the top schools in Northern Ireland and indeed in the UK.  You have just read a snapshot of some the other activities that the girls are involved in showing that a well rounded experience is open to all pupils as well.  The people of Fermanagh and into Tyrone deserve to be treated better than this.  The Board of Governors of the Collegiate Grammar School are determined that the strong tradition of grammar school provision in this area is not diluted in any way and that the Collegiate as a high achieving single-sex grammar school is allowed to continue its positive contribution to the future provision of education in this area.  The School would value any support that you can give to it in the days ahead.  We will keep you informed of further developments through the school website.

 
Our programme for the coming year is as follows :- Saturday 20th April 2013 at 10.30am Coffee morning at the home of Mrs Florence Brunt (nee Crawford), Alna, 163 Main Street, Fivemiletown.  My home is opposite the Creamery and the Co-op Store.  Parking is available beside the Chestnut Trees across the street.  All Old Collegians and their friends are most welcome. Friday 14th June 2013 at 7.00pm – the AGM and Annual Dinner in the Killyhevlin Hotel.   Our speaker after dinner is Mr Roy Cathcart, former Head of English.Please reply, either to me (028 89521203) or by email to the address given in this letter or Hazel Scott (028 66323229) by 8th June. Also, in order that friends may have the opportunity to sit at the same table, please tell Hazel or myself if you are a member of a particular party. We have found that this arrangement has worked well for several years. Saturday 28th September  2013 at 10.30am – A Coffee Morning in the Staffroom of the Millennium Building.  A tour of the school is available if required. The funds that we raise through our Coffee Mornings are used to benefit the school.   Lunch in South West College of Further Education. On the first Wednesday of each month during term-time the Old Collegians have a table.  If you wish to go, just phone the College at 028 66342299 and ask for your name to be added to the Old Collegians’ table.  Friends are also welcome.  I am delighted to be able to pass on news of your old School and its pupils.  I rely on receiving news from you, so please send on any information you may have at any time throughout the year, either by letter or preferably by email, address florence_brunt@hotmail.com   If you send me your E-mail address you will receive this letter electronically in future.  This will save on stationery, time and postage, which is becoming even more expensive. Please send me a message, subject – Old Collegian, with your name, so that I may add it to those already received.   It is also important to have registered as a member of the Old Collegians to receive the letter and news of events being organised.  The Life Membership fee is just £20 or £10 for school leavers.  The form can be accessed on the school’s website.  If your details need updating please let me know preferably by E-mail.  If you have any ideas or suggestions of activities which might interest Old Collegians, the Committee would be delighted to know of them. Contact can be made with me as already mentioned.

 

I trust that news of your old School has been of interest to you. If there are any other aspects on which you would like me to report, please let me know. Do try to send news of past pupils to me or mention it to any member of the committee.  Yours sincerely

 

Florence Brunt (President) 

Committee                                                                           
President                               Florence Brunt  (nee Crawford)    
Vice President                       Ingrid Logan (nee Wood)                  
Honorary Secretary             Anne Wilson (nee McConnell)
Honorary Treasurer             Hazel Scott (nee Gordon)   
            
Ethel Irvine (nee Connor)                   Olive Elliott  (nee Beacom)                
Averil Dunlop (nee Fleming)              Carole Graham (nee Rutledge)                          
Evelyn Hassard (nee Moore)             Catherine Irwin (nee Morrison)