Presentation Secondary School, Thurles Reunion 2013

What is rare is wonderful. September 21st saw Presentation, Thurles open their doors to over 730 people offering past pupils a rare opportunity to meet with friends they had not seen in years and walk the corridors of their Alma Mater.

From the eldest past pupil, Mary Bergin, who turns ninety shortly, representing the graduating class of 1941 to Rachel Browne, who visited the school on a whirlwind visit with her new husband Colin, a wonderful day was had by all.

Sr. Fidelis and the nuns of the convent welcomed past boarders, and a few curious non-boarders, into the boarding school and gave them the chance to relive memories of their old home away from home. For many the boarding school was the source of much fun and laughter, not to mention a little bit of study along the way.

From one o clock the stream of glamorous ladies began to stream in the entrance of the school and the sound of incessant chatter began to fill the air. While registering people had the chance to glimpse faces from their decade, many of whom they may not have seen in many years.

A beautifully inspiring liturgy was held in the Sports Hall of the school celebrated by school Chaplain, Fr. Tomás O’Connell, whose four sisters are all past pupils of the school. Principal, Marie Collins eloquently opened proceedings by welcoming everyone back to the school.

She captured the essence of the event when she said that there were generations of the one family in attendance at the reunion. Her emotive words set the stage for a wonderful event that will become part of the folklore of the school.

Sr. Fidelis gave the homily during which she recounted the history of the Presentation Sisters in Thurles. She gave thanks for each and every generation in attendance and for all who educated them throughout the years.

Renowned Irish poet, Áine Ní Glinn, read a self-penned reflection after communion praising the care given by the Presentation to all their students.

Mary Hanafin, former Minister for Education and Science, reflected on her time as a Presentation pupil at the end. Recalling the musicals over the years, the trips to the Gaeltacht and memorable teachers such as Sr. Alice and Padraigin Ni Dhuibhir.

She referred to the strength of spirit of the Presentation pupil and praised the bravery of Majella O’Donnell (Roche), a former pupil of the Presentation, who publically shaved her hair as part of her fundraising efforts for the Irish Cancer Society.

What followed was a chance to view thousands of old photos and slideshows of pictures in the classrooms that were once so familiar to so many. Getting a chance to sip a glass of wine in the box desk you once sat in for English lessons was a treat for many.

The sound of laughter resonated throughout the halls as people caught a glimpse of their old first year photos or marvelled at their choice of Debs dress.

Mitchell House were on stand-by and fed the 730 plus guests with ease and confidence. The clink of glasses and the clatter of cutlery sounded throughout the newly refurbished block of the school. Stories and tales of bygone days were shared over a beautiful meal.

Closing the event was never going to be an easy task, Deputy Principal, Mary B. Lanigan Ryan, did so wonderfully. She praised the superb organisation that went into the event.

It was all hands on deck at Presentation Thurles to pull off such a magnificent day, from those who first believed in the project, the committee, the current staff of the school and the present students.

The day went too quickly, the only possible complaint anyone could have with the day. A triumph for all those involved in its organisation.

For many, September 21st will be a day never forgotten. Not a stone was left unturned by orgainsers, from the welcome pack on arrival to the slideshow presentations in the classrooms.

Over one hundred current pupils were on hand to dance, sing, guide and attend the past pupils and many remarked at the friendliness and respect evident among these girls.

The spirit of the Presentation is alive and well as remarked by many who were lucky enough to be part of what was an incredible day. A day filled with memories, smiles, laughter and the odd tear.

The event, organised as part of the 2013 Gathering was a wonderful success. Days like September 21st don’t just happen, they are well planned and a huge congratulations goes to all involved in the event.