Saturday March 9th was a very special day in the history of our school. Staff past and present, students past and present, parents and members of the public came together to celebrate the Centenary of Ardscoil Mhuire Ballinasloe. The theme of the day was celebrating the contribution of women to society over the last 100 years and the vital role of education in enabling them to do so. The day began with the arrival of Mairead McGuinness MEP for the official opening. Mairead spoke powerfully of the importance of education, now more than ever in our society. She spoke of the importance of working together to create a better society for all. She reminisced on her own time in school and acknowledged the role of the Mercy sisters in educating the young women of Ireland.
Then, five of our present students Alice Duncan, Keri Manning, Leah Clogher 5th Years, Emily Gillespie and Roisin Grealy 1st Years, presented “Echoes of the Past” a moving history of our school in tandem with the major historical events over the last 100 years. Sr Loreto McLoughlin spoke eloquently of the history of Scoil Mhuire from its beginnings. Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington spoke of the role of her grandparents in the fight for the vote in the early part of the 20th Century.
Following lunch, a panel of past students discussed their experiences of school life in Scoil Mhuire or Ardscoil Mhuire and the impact their education had on their careers. They reminisced about their most abiding memories of their teachers and fondly remembered extra-curricular activities. The panel included Margaret Curley, Zoe Carol, Dr Caitriona Cormican, Ann Walsh, Dr Aideen Ryan and Anne Marie Hayes. They each outlined their respective careers and were encouraged to elaborate on their many achievements by moderator, Mary O’Rourke, former TD. Margaret Curley is the Series Producer of the Marian Finucane Show on RTE 1. Zoe Carol is a fashion designer with her own online label. Dr Catriona Cormican combines her busy GP job with her camogie and football commitments to both club and county. Dr Aideen Ryan is involved in ground breaking research into the cure for Colon cancer. Ann Walsh is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing in NUIG while Anne Marie Hayes combines her Primary teaching job with regular sports commentary on RTE 2’s “The Sunday Game”. Their discussion proved very insightful and inspiring. Eithne Treanor, past student, gave an hour long presentation on “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield. Her presentation was inspirational and encouraged all in the audience to ACT (Action changes things). Following her talk she generously gave 10 members of the audience a copy of the book “The Success Principles”.
Throughout the day our wonderful school choir and group entertained the audience. Included in our exhibits were recordings of interviews with many past students as well as recorded messages from past students who could not be with us on the day. Geraldine Lynagh sent a lovely message from outside the Four Courts, a place she regularly reports from with Virgin Media TV. Aime Doherty sent her good wishes from Hollywood, where she is forging a very successful career in composing for the movies. Caroline Curley, airline pilot with Aer Lingus sent her good wishes also. An extensive display of photos and Echoes magazines were on view throughout the day and many projects completed by our students to mark our Centenary.
Our Leaving Certificate Prefects, and other students welcomed our visitors and guests and acted as guides for the tour of the historical exhibits on display. Our Student Council Presidents, Rachel Whyte and Aisling Doherty acted as MCs throughout the day and they did a wonderful job. We want to thank everyone who contributed to making our celebration such a truly special and memorable day.