NINE decades dedicated to educating girls through their teenage years were celebrated at two special events to mark the 90th anniversary of Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland last Friday.
The school was founded by the Presentation Sisters in 1927 to allow pupils to continue their education in the same school after they finished sixth class.
90 years on, the current pupils and staff welcomed guests for an Open Day during which they participated in a prayer service, followed by an account of the history of the school. Following inputs from the Bishop of Kerry, Dr Ray Browne, Dr Marie Griffin (CEO of CEIST) and Sr Sheila Kelliher (Provincial of Presentation Sisters) the guests received a tour of the school and were invited for refreshments in the school canteen.
Later in the evening, around 200 people attended a special Mass in the Parish church, Castleisland to celebrate the landmark occasion and to remember past pupils, staff and Presentation Sisters who played a key role in the development of the school overs the years.
The Principal of Presentation Secondary School, Castleisland, Katherina Broderick, said: “We are proud to be part of Presentation Secondary School where our students continue to flourish. Because of the firm foundations laid down over 90 years ago, we are always mindful of building on these solid and everlasting values. The work of the Presentation Sisters continues unabated. We are the current torch bearers until the time comes when we will, in turn, pass the light that represents the spirit of the Presentation Order onto the next generation of girls that will follow. Today, we are proud to be part of this dynamic school which exudes positivity is going from strength to strength.
Presentation Secondary School offers a wide variety of subjects to students. The school has a well-established partnership with St Patrick’s Secondary School in Castleisland whereby students are facilitated to study optional subjects in both schools. In recent years the collaboration has seen the introduction of a joint Transition Year (TY) programme which is proving a very popular option for senior students.
The school has seen a steady growth in student numbers in recent years along with a number of new appointments to staff – currently there is a staff of 19 teachers and two Special Needs Assistants (SNAs).
Success in extra-curricular programmes and national competitions including Enterprise, Art, Creative Writing, and Science are evidence that students in Presentation Secondary are afforded opportunities to succeed at the highest levels.
It has emerged, during conversations with past pupils who attended during the 1940s that the school day was similar today – starting at 9.00am and finishing at 4pm. However, the students had to attend school for a half day on Saturdays after Easter until the end of the school year.
The school uniform has changed through the decades going from brown in the early years to navy in with a new crest in the 1980s to the tartan navy and white skirt which has been a great hit with the students since the start of this academic year.
In 2007, the Presentation Sisters handed over the trusteeship of the school to the trustee body CEIST (Catholic Education Irish School’s Trust).
CEIST promotes core values such as developing the students’ Spiritual and Human Development and achieving quality of teaching and learning and showing respect for every person.
The school has a strong tradition of success on the Basketball court having won 21 All Ireland titles to date. In recent years, students from the Presentation Castleisland have succeeded at national level in many competitions including Enterprise, Art and Digital Media.
The school Principal, Katherina Broderick, concluded: “We have a treasured past, a vibrant community and a strong vision for the future in Presentation Castleisland. Our school is without doubt a faith filled community characterised by quality relationships. This is the winning formula which secures our success.”