Wholeschool Portal | Home 17 October 2016

 President Letter 2008
2 Laragh Lee
Enniskillen BT94 2JT
February 2008

Dear Old Collegians and Friends

First, I must apologise that this my tenth letter to you is three months late, due to circumstances were beyond my control. I am delighted to able, once more, 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, either by letter or preferably by email, address ethelirvine@btinternet.com. Please note the change of email address. I have been very pleased to receive news of Old Collegians, whether or not they are members of the Association, from some of you during the year.

Some of you will receive this letter electronically and we are very grateful to those of you who sent me your email addresses. This will save on postage, which is becoming even more expensive. It is not too late to send me your email address. Please send me a message, subject – Old Collegian, with your name, so that I may add it to those already received. If you have already sent me an email and still receive your letter by ‘snail mail’, please send me another email since I am plagued by spam which I do not always check through.

During the past year many of our friends, both members of the Association and others connected with the School, have lost loved ones. We send them 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.

At the Annual General Meeting last June the following office bearers were re-elected: Margaret McLean as Honorary Secretary and Hazel Scott as Honorary Treasurer, and myself as President. Mavis Rolston resigned as Vice-President and at a laterCcommittee Ingrid Logan was asked to fill this role. We are delighted to record that she agreed. Ethel Dickson, Mae Glenn and Doris Campbell resigned from the Committee and were replaced by Avril Dunlop, Ingrid Logan and Anne Wilson. We are pleased to welcome them to the Committee and thank the retiring members for their long service and faithfulness to the Association. I continue to be very grateful to Margaret, Hazel and the Committee for their support, advice and prompting during the year. Joan Hill undertook to chair during the election of Officers and Committee. She performed her duties with her usual efficiency. Thank you, Joan.

The Belfast coffee morning took place in January (2008) of this year, as planned, in the Park Avenue Hotel. Margaret Lynas organised the morning but illness and weather limited the numbers attending. She asks that anyone in the area please mark the first Saturday in January in their diary and come to what is a very pleasant occasion. The hotel makes the Belfast Old Collegians very welcome.

Ingrid Logan was our hostess for the Spring coffee morning. We had a most enjoyable morning, the bright sunshine adding to the already beautiful setting of Ingrid’s home. It was very pleasing to meet with many people whom we had not seen for some time and we thank those who made the journey to be there. Ingrid was an excellent hostess but a special word of thanks must go to Ingrid’s mother who had supplied lovely scones for the coffee morning.

The Annual Dinner was held in the Killyhevlin Hotel in June. The dinner was attended by 50 people, some of whom had travelled a long distance to be with us. We had made a conscious decision not to have an after-dinner speaker but so many people were disappointed that we rued the decision. However the buzz of laughter and chat suggested that it had not been too great a mistake.
Elizabeth Armstrong, Principal of the School, said a few words about the ways in which the 75th Anniversary of the School on its present site was to be celebrated and introduced the booklet ‘Now and Then’, which had been produced by the School Council. They had interviewed past pupils from all the decades between the 1930s and the present day and had put together the reminisces, together with photographs, to form a most entertaining collection. Elizabeth told us that the School Council had enjoyed the experience and had been astounded by some of facts uncovered!
Our thanks also go to the Killyhevlin Hotel for once more providing us with an excellent meal and a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy it. The staff, as usual, were very helpful and attentive.

For the eighth year in succession, the September Coffee morning was held in the Staffroom in the School. In spite of the fact that the numbers were not as large as in previous years, we had a very enjoyable morning.
Thanks go to the Principal, Elizabeth Armstrong and the Vice-Principal, Irene Dunn, 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 their precious Saturday morning for us. Many thanks to Elizabeth for the use of the premises and to the Staff of the School meals kitchen for providing us, once again, with delicious home-made biscuits. I also thank the Committee for their unfailing, cheerful help at all our Coffee mornings.

Lunch on the first Wednesday of the month in FermanaghCollege continues as a firm favourite with many regulars. Some months are missed because of College holidays but the convenience of arriving at the lunch table and being able to meet with old friends without having to make specific arrangements, not to mention partaking of an excellent meal, makes this a convivial occasion. Details of how to book can be found at the end of this letter.

Last year marked 75 years on the present site and we will present the School library. with a copy of the recently published history of Castlecoole. Also, plans are being made for a show case for the Entrance Hall. My ill health has delayed moves in these areas.

The activities of Old Collegians continue to be many and varied.

Some of you sent me information by email. This I stored and then lost the file. I apologise for this, especially to Hazel and Genevieve.

Kathryn May held an exhibition (probably not the correct word) of examples of the wide range of videos which she has produced. Her work is a commentary on various social issues.
Lesley-Anne Shaw has had apart in a production of Tom Hanks’ company, ‘City of Ember’. Lesley-Anne began her acting career with Ken Adams in House plays and musicals in the School.
For the first time ever, two of our past pupils, have won through to the final of Miss Northern Ireland. Judith Wilson and Nicola Corrigan looked absolutely stunning as they took part.
Kathleen Ritchie continues with her work with Cavan County Enterprise Board.
Jayne Bruce’s Baskets of Ireland (a specialist hamper company) has flourished with the continued introduction of new products.
Jane Veitch is working in television as an Assistant Producer.
Kate Doherty is President of Enniskillen and District Soroptimists Club
Arlene Foster MLA has been appointed as Minister for the Department of the Environment at Stormont.
Congratulations to Catherine Creighton who won the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland Student Teacher Award.

The above gives only a small sample of the ways in which Old Collegians are working, paid or voluntary, and making a difference to where ever they find themselves. More information which can be found in the scrapbooks which I continue to keep, a practice started by Barbara Chapman. These were a great source of interest at the annual dinner.

Now for news of the School itself. The future is still uncertain as to the replacement arrangements for the selection system for entrance to the School. The old system has been abolished with some indications of what will replace it but the uncertainty must be very distressing for girls hoping to come to the Collegiate in 2009, for their parents and for our whole school community.
Staff have been attending courses to introduce them to the changes in syllabuses at A Level standard and to inform about other initiatives.

In the School, the Head Girl this year is Diana Barton. Natasha Carney and Jane Rutherford are Deputy Head Girls.

Evelyn Hassard, who has been Head of the Music Department, retired in June. She will be missed for the enthusiasm and verve which she brought to her Department over the years. Roberta Hunter (Head of Chemistry) and Elizabeth Beattie (Biology) retired from the Science Department. Roberta left to get married. We wish her many tears of happy married life and we wish Evelyn and Elizabeth long and happy retirements. All three were very caring of the pupils in their charge and the School community will miss them.

As part of the celebration of 75 years on the present site, a dinner was held in the Killyhevlin Hotel in early October. Over 150 guests, including past Principals George Young (accompanied by his wife, Edna), Kate Doherty and Sheila Watts (accompanied by her husband, Robin), representing her mother Ada Malone, attended. Elizabeth Armstrong welcomed the guests. After dinner, Diana Barton Head Girl and her Deputies, Natasha Carney and Jane Rutherford interviewed past pupils from the various decades. Helen Williams (nee Pierce), Ethel Irvine (nee Connor), Marion Maxwell (nee Cathcart), Alison Hilliard and Sara Saunderson helped revive memories, some amusing and some better forgotten, of their time at the School. The under-lying theme was the gratitude which all felt for the substantial and broad education which enabled them to go with confidence into the wider world. The values learned at home, and reinforced by School, have served them well.
Elizabeth concluded the evening, thanking everyone for their support and for helping to make it such a success.
As part of the celebrations, the House Plays in November reflected on the changing times and fashions through which the School has passed with an exhibition of costumes from past productions and a display of photographs.
I have already mentioned the booklet ‘Now and Then’, a tangible reminder of times past and present.

Once again, examination results were excellent at every level, with many AS and A level grades at A or B. Elizabeth, School Principal, is very pleased for both students and teachers. Once again their destinations upon leaving School a wide and varied, as is their choice of career.

The ‘Celebration of Success’, which recognises the academic and other achievements of the students, took place in November 2007, when Mrs Arlene Foster MLA and past-pupil, presented the Certificates, cups and awards. Kathryn Wilson received the Old Collegians Cup for special achievement. Rachael Melanophy was awarded the prize for English Literature, which is presented by the Old Collegians in memory of Ada Malone. Kathryn Wilson was placed in the top ten in the United Kingdom in A Level Design and Technology while Alison Foster gained third equal place in Northern Ireland GCSE Technology and Design. Many congratulations to both girls and their teacher. Stephanie Connor won an entrance Scholarship to St AndrewsUniversity.
The complete list of awards is available in the programme which is filed in the scrap-book. The evening was much enjoyed by the parents, students and guests who attended.

The curriculum in the School continues to expand and broaden to meet the demands of the twenty first century.

Sport continues to flourish, with individual and team successes. The School has had success at Provincial level, from sports which include table-tennis, swimming, rowing, cross country, sports hall athletics and hockey. Girls are spreading their wings to try sports outside the normal range. This gives some indication of the confidence which young people have nowadays. They are not afraid of failure, a very valuable attribute for later life. Sian Hurst took up wakeboarding and less than a year later won a silver medal (Junior Ladies) at the World Championships. No fear of failure there!
Musical activities, foreign exchanges, careers activities, Young Farmers’ Club and public speaking give a flavour of the activities which take place in the School and within which the girls have achieved success. Again, I have fuller records in the School Magazine, the Annual report and the Principal’s Newsletter. You will be very welcome to look at these at any of our gatherings.

Our congratulations go to the Staff of the School for all their successes, our thanks for all their hard work and for the difference they have made to so many young lives in their care.

Our programme for the coming year is as follows:

Saturday April 26 2008 at 10.30am – a coffee morning will be held at the home of Wendy Graham, Mossfield House, Mossfield Road, Ballinamallard. Everyone attending will be most welcome.

Friday June 13 2007 at 7.00pm – the Annual General Meeting followed by the Annual Dinner in the Devenish Room of the Killyhevlin Hotel. We are delighted to say that the after-dinner speaker this year is Joan Carson. She has chosen an unusual title – ‘Outside the Box’.
Please reply, to either me (02866324022 or by email to the address given earlier) or Hazel Scott (02866323229) in early 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 September 27 2008 at 10.30am – a coffee morning in the Staffroom of the MillenniumBuilding.

Lunch in FermanaghCollege of Further Education. Every first Wednesday of the month during term-time. If you wish to go, just phone the College at 028 66 342300 and ask for your name to be added to the Old Collegians table. Friends are also welcome.

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. Also, if you have news of past pupils please drop me a line about them as already requested. I will do my best not to lose them!

.Yours sincerely

Ethel Irvine (President)

Ethel Irvine (President) Avril Dunlop
Ingrid Logan (Vice President) Olive Elliott
Margaret McLean (Honorary Secretary) Carole Johnston
Hazel Scott (Honorary Treasurer) Mavis Rolston
Florence Brunt Anne Wilson