Thursday 16th May marked the official opening and blessing ceremony of the new extension and ASD unit in Ardscoil na Trionoide.
After five years of planning and building, the new part of the school came into use in January. Not only does the secondary school now cater for ASD students, the modern and bright interior of the extension brings a new life to the school.
The opening ceremony was held in the open hallway of the new extension. It was clear that a great deal of time and effort went into making the extension look perfect for the big day. On one of the walls in the hallway were the words ‘respect’, ‘love’, ‘belief’ and ‘esteem’, the core values of Ardscoil na Trionoide. The Ardscoil crest and CEIST logo were also displayed.
Teacher Mr. Con Ronan was the Master of Ceremonies and began by welcoming the priests and nuns, the Board of Management, the CEIST representatives, the Parents’ Council, the architects and builders, the primary school principals, the members of the school community and lastly the Minister for Education, Mr. Joe McHugh TD. Mr. Ronan was followed by Ms. Berny Salmon who welcomed all guests and emphasised the gratitude of everyone in the school for the new facilities.
To symbolise the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the school, seven students from different year groups of all different nationalities stood up and welcomed everyone in English, Irish, Polish, German, Italian, Nigerian and Philippino.
Next, chairperson of the Board of Management Mr. Seamus Taaffe thanked everyone for coming and admired the fantastic new facilities.
Fr. Tim Hannon led the prayer service and then blessed each new classroom. Students who use the new ASD facilities placed a plant in each classroom.
After the prayer service, Minister McHugh TD addressed everyone and said he was very impressed with the ceremony. He acknowledged Sister Concepta for being a ‘driving force’ in the school. He also expressed his admiration for the brilliant music performance by the 5th year choir during the prayer service, which hedescribed as ‘a wonderful experience’ and ‘something to behold’.
Principal Mr. John McCormack then thanked the wonderful architects MCOH, Portlaoise, who designed the amazing building. He also gave a huge thanks to builders Dunne Building Services DBS, Portarlington. He particularly thanked Mr. Mike Kelly who was ‘nothing short of superb in his control and monitoring of the build.’ Addressing the students, the principal said ‘this is all for you’.
After the cutting of the ribbon, the 5th year choir closed the ceremony with an outstanding rendition of The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ which was received with rapturous applause. Refreshments and snacks were then served in the new school.
After the official opening of the new extension, the candidates in the upcoming local elections who are past pupils of Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Eoin were invited to a debate to answer some questions posed by Ardscoil students.
The official opening ceremony was an important day for Ardscoil na Trionoide which will be remembered fondly by staff and students forever.