President McAleese Visits St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush

President of Ireland, Mary McAleese visited St Joseph’s Secondary School on Friday 28 January, 2011. Local people lined the streets as her car approached the school. Once in the school, the President was formally welcomed by the Principal, Patricia Hayden, Chair of the BoM, Jim Kilgarriff, Deputy Principal, Jacinta Owens and Deputy Head Boy and Girl, Sean McCormac and Shauna Lynch.

Second Year student Sam Smith presented President McAleese with a Braille message of welcome. It was a lovely gesture and Sam did the school proud.

The President posed for photographs and then proceeded through a guard of honour to the library where she met with pupils. Pupils who had participated in the school’s Zambia Project talked to the President about their fundraising campaign and their experiences while in Zambia.

Conan Byrne, from Sporting Fingal (who led the project) and John O’Brien (General Manager Sporting Fingal) announced their intention of leading another Zambia Project with St Joseph’s in 2012.

St Joseph’s scientists showed off their prize-winning SciFest Projects to President McAleese. The President was impressed by the pupils’ interest in alternative forms of energy and answered the President’s many questions about the projects.

The President also had the opportunity to meet some Transition Year students who proudly explained their mini-company projects, involvement in Young Social Innovators and their Exchange Programmes with Germany and Spain.

The German exchange students happened to be in St Joseph’s for the President’s visit and were lucky enough to shake hands with the President. They return to Germany with a fantastic tale to tell.

Finally, having been entertained by the school’s Samba Drummers and Fag Parade (celebrating 22 nationalities in the school) the President addressed the assembled school in the Hall.

Her speech was inspiring and the pupils hung on every word – you could hear a pin drop as the President talked of the welcoming atmosphere in the school. She referred to Head Girl, Kamila Ponikwia’s words of welcome in her speech much to the delight of Kamila who proudly represented the school with Head Boy, Luke Coghlan. In her speech President McAleese recounted stories of her own education and that of her parents.

The President explained how her own mother likened the chance of an education to winning the National Lottery.

President McAleese noted St Joseph’s strong links with the Trinity Access Programme and reminded students of the bar on women students, which existed in Trinity College until 1904!

On Behalf of the BOM, CEIST and Mercy Sisters, the Principal thanked President McAleese for honouring St Joseph’s by her visit. The principal also wished President McAleese well in the next phase of her career, noting that whatever position she might hold, she will do so with the moral authority of a President who has the respect of all the people.

Photos from the Presidental Visit









Pictured above are members of the Sisters of Mercy, Board of Management and Trustees with the President.










Pictured above President McAleese addressing the 50th Anniversary of St Joseph's Secondary School Rush.











St. Joseph's welcomes the visit of the President.