Presentation Secondary School, Loughboy, Kilkenny set about marking Nano Nagle’s 300th birthday by compiling the various values and talents of its students, so that all who visit the school may reflect on the work that happens there every day. This was done through the creation of a specially commissioned mural, which is now proudly on display in the front hallway of the school. The art students of the school, guided by their teacher, Anna Walshe, were asked to create drawings of what they associate with the school and the wider community of Kilkenny. They also created drawings marking the progression of women’s rights since the birth of Nano, and indeed the development of human rights and equality as a whole in our world. These drawings, set around the Presentation Congregation Cross as the centrepiece, let to the creation of a spectacular piece of art. Caroline Conway, an artist from Birr, Co. Offaly, took the students’ drawings and created the stunning mural, which includes depictions of the suffragette movement, sport, the Presentation Sisters, landmarks of Kilkenny, music and human rights, to name but a few. It truly is a very appropriate way to mark the legacy left behind by Venerable Nano Nagle.
Of course, Presentation Secondary School Kilkenny is but one of many Presentation schools around the country, and so it was important to the school that the tercentenary year was celebrated alongside its fellow Presentation schools. A basketball tournament was held in the Watershed, organised by the basketball coaches of Presentation Kilkenny- Emma Brophy, Catherine Power and Sandra Campion. They were joined by basketball teams from the Presentation schools of Waterford, Ballingarry, Thurles and Clonmel. Theresa Walsh, the President of Basketball Ireland, presented the medals to the winning teams of the shield and the cup finals- which, as it happens, were both won by Presentation Kilkenny! Further to that, the shooting knock-out competition was won by Gemma Lawlor of Presentation Kilkenny, and so it was a very successful day for the home side, in particular. However, all who attended agreed that it was a wonderful day of camaraderie, sport and fun between all of the schools, and a fantastic way of joining together in celebration of the “Nano 300” year.
The 21st of November each year is a very special date in the calendar for Presentation schools, as it is on this date that “Presentation Day” is celebrated throughout the world. Each year, Presentation Loughboy celebrates this with a mass held in the school, and the story and works of Nano Nagle are remembered. However, this year, it was felt that it was important to mark Nano Nagle’s tercentenary in a special way, and so on 21st November last, the Presentation Primary and Secondary schools joined together and held a celebratory mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral, led by Bishop Dermot Farrell, Bishop of Ossory, who was joined by Fr. Richard Scriven, Administrator at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Fr. Dan Carroll, chaplain to Presentation Secondary School. Prior to the mass, a huge amount of work went on between the schools, including preparing the choir (under the direction of Ms. Patrice Davern) the readers and those who brought up gifts. It must be said that the teachers and management of the schools are due great praise for their time and effort in coordinating the event. It was a fantastic celebration of what it means to be a member of the Presentation community. The cathedral was packed to capacity, not only with the staff and students of the schools, but with retired members of staff, and of course, with the very special guests- the Sisters of the Presentation Order.
The mass was opened by Maria Kelly, former principal of Presentation Primary School and current Chairperson of the Board of Management of Presentation Secondary School. At the end of the mass, Irene Deasy and Shane Hallahan, principals of the primary and secondary schools respectively, spoke to the congregation, and in particular thanked the students for their participation and most especially, the Presentation Sisters for all of their work and dedication to the young people of Kilkenny. They were joined on the day also by Sr. Margarita Ryan, former principal of the secondary school and now Provincial Leader of the Presentation Sisters, and Dr. Marie Griffin, CEO of CEIST (Catholic Education, an Irish Schools’ Trust), who are the trustees of Presentation schools. It was a wonderful gathering of so many people who have been shaped, influenced and formed by Presentation Kilkenny, and in turn, have shaped, influenced and formed Presentation Kilkenny itself.
Nano Nagle once said: “I can assure you my schools are beginning to be of service to a great many parts of the world… I often think they will not bring me to heaven as I only take delight and pleasure in them.” On her 300th birthday, let us hope that Nano continues to take delight and pleasure in the work that remains ongoing in her schools, here in Kilkenny and beyond. Happy birthday, Nano!
Top Marks in Presentation Kilkenny
A student from Presentation Secondary School, Loughboy, Kilkenny has become the only female student in the country to receive 8 H1 grades in her Leaving Certificate. A H1 is the highest mark possible to receive since the new grading system was introduced two years ago. Edwina Aylward, from Knocktopher, had originally received seven H1s and one H2 (in Accounting) when she received her results in August. She got the points she needed for her course in Trinity College, Dublin, studying maths. However, as Accounting was one of her best subjects, Edwina was a little surprised at the H2 grade, and decided to request a viewing of her paper.
Upon seeing the paper, she noticed that a number of her marks had been added up incorrectly, thereby leading her to miss out on the top grade. She applied to the State Examinations Commission for a recheck, and has since been granted an upgrade to a H1 in her Accounting exam.
Edwina said that she was delighted, but that although her upgrade did not affect her own college course, other students may not be so lucky. She feels that greater communication is needed between the State Examinations Commission and the colleges/universities around the country to ensure that students who receive upgrades can still access their dream college courses.
Edwina also explained that her excellent grades were due to a number of factors, including consistent work throughout 5th and 6th year. She also has a flair for STEM subjects, and so chose to study a number of those for her Leaving Certificate. Edwina feels that focusing on your strengths definitely helps, and it has lead to her studying maths at third level, which she said is challenging, but enjoyable. She also thanked her teachers in Presentation Kilkenny for all of their hard work and commitment throughout her six years in the school. The management and staff of the school said she was consistently a hard-working, unassuming and modest student who deserved every success. They are all hugely proud of Edwina’s remarkable achievement and wish her all the best for the future.