Presidential Visit to Our Lady's Secondary School, Templemore

On Monday December 7th Our Lady’s Secondary school was honoured by a visit from President Mary McAleese and her husband, Dr. Martin McAleese.

On her arrival The President was played in by student members of Templemore Pipe Band. After signing the visitors’ book she was introduced by Principal, Ms Patricia Higgins, to members of the Student Council, the Board of Management and the Parents’ Association before she unveiled a plaque to mark her visit to the school.

In the library, the President chatted with students and viewed displays by the Sport, History, Science, Home Economics, French and Music departments. In the German room which was splendidly decorated for the visit, there were multilingual greetings from students in all the languages of the school - Irish, English, French, German, Polish, Hungarian and Lithuania.

Students of Home Economics, under the watchful eye of Ms Caroline Kinane, then treated Ireland’s first citizen to the delights of home baking before she was briefly entertained by the school’s traditional music group. In the Design and Communication Graphics room President McAleese interacted with students of the subject and viewed artefacts created in the Woodwork and Construction Studies’ Department.

After viewing a short digital display on school life, President McAleese was formally welcomed and introduced to students and guests in the school Gym by Ms. Higgins. In her address of welcome Ms. Higgins told President McAleese that her visit had been eagerly anticipated by students and staff of the school.

She spoke of President McAleese’s outstanding academic prowess which she carries lightly as she extends the hand of friendship to all the people of Ireland especially the old and the vulnerable.

After Ms. Higgins’ address, there was an enjoyable performance by award winning Irish Dancer, Aoife Newe who danced a reel for the President. This was followed by a performance of Siúil a Rúin by the school choir and traditional musicians.

The high point of the visit was, of course, President McAleese’s address. Speaking in her characteristically engaging and sincere manner she spoke of the warm welcome she experienced on her arrival at the school. She said she was impressed by the range of work being done by students and the quality of the work on display.

She expressed her happiness to be greeted in a range of languages in the school and made reference to the difficulties for newcomer students who do not always have the same network of close family support that we may take for granted. President Mc Aleese spoke of her love of Gaelic Games and the rivalry between Tipperary and Kilkenny. She said she looked forward to seeing Tipperary in Croke Park next year.

Transition Year student, Saoirse Timmons was the final speaker. She thanked the President for her visit to the school and for her commitment to young people.

She expressed the hope that the young people of Our Lady’s would grow up to be the kind of leaders and problem solvers that President Mc Aleese had wished young people to become when she spoke at her inauguration ceremony in 2004.

Finally, first year student, Shane Manton made a presentation to President McAleese. The Presidential visit was a memorable occasion which was enjoyed by the entire school community.

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