Ardee Community School held their 2017 Open Evening last night (Thursday, Sept 28th) and a bumper crowd of parents and prospective students came along to get a taste of secondary school life and see what the school – now in it’s 43rd year – has to offer.
With major upgrade work having been undertaken in the school and with the brand new extension nearing completion, it’s an exciting time for the school and for the area. In excess of 170 new pupils have started in the school this month and 800 pupils are currently enrolled, with that number expected to rise to around 900 in the coming years.
Visitors on Thursday evening were given the chance to get an up-close look at the woodworking, construction and engineering workshops, as well as the Science Labs, Computer rooms and Home Economic facilities. State examination projects from earlier this year were all out on display for all to see, including in the Arts room where Ms Scott was on hand to welcome visitors and show people around.
In the malls, prospective students were able to learn more about extra-curricular activities available to them – including rugby and GAA. The Flood Cup, won by the boys’ under 16 team in 2017, was on display (above) and as well as the sporting offerings – visitors could learn more about off the field activities like the Student Council and Amber Flag Initiative.
Teachers and staff were also on hand to talk more about – amongst other things – the Transition Year programme and support services available within the school. With a big representation from the student body in attendance, anyone who required a guided tour of the school and it’s facilities were catered to, with welcoming faces not difficult to find.
In two separate talks, guests were invited to come and hear from principal Mary Jackson – as well as Chair of the Student Council Niamh Crawley and Head Girl and Head Boy, Katie Commins and Cormac Rafferty.
Those in attendance would also have been given the chance to have a glimpse of the new school build that continues apace adjacent to the existing building. Around six months work was crammed into the summer as major improvement works were carried out on the current school premises. Many parents, who may have different memories of what the school once looked like, were enjoying having a look at the latest interior upgrades, with more to come. But, the new build is the jewel in the crown of Ardee Community School’s immediate future.
Work is set to be completed on the new build by April and the Board are intent on moving students and classes into the new facility as soon as it is feasible to do so. Plans for the new build and overall site were on display in the Dalton Room last night for all to see.
“We’re delighted to open the school to you and let you see our facilities and meet our students and sample the atmosphere in the school,” Ms Jackson told the assembled crowd. “We currently have every possible programme on offer in secondary schools in Ireland and we do that for the good of the students in this community so that everybody can achieve their potential.”
The principal spoke about the introduction of senior cycle subjects such as Agricultural Science and Applied Maths. “This is as as broad a range of subjects as you will find in any school in the country. We make every effort to facilitate everybody’s choices.”
“Our LC students have progressed onto university or college in a large variety of fields including medical, pharmaceutical, engineering, teaching, business, science and art. This year, we had Conor Myers from Collon who achieved a perfect 625 points in his Leaving Certificate, one of only 25 students to do so. He is currently in the Royal College of Surgeons studying Medicine. He is a truly wonderful young man and he was a pleasure to have here,” she continued.
“We commend and celebrate the achievements of all our students, not just the high achievers,” Ms Jackson added, before explaining the growth and popularity of the school’s TY programme. “The programme was become firmly established in the school and we expect numbers to increase in the coming years.
Principal Jackson also took some time out to welcome Pauline Duffy to the staff for 2017/18. She is now one of two Deputy Principal’s in the school, alongside Tony Corcoran. On the ongoing development work, Ms Jackson confirmed further work would take place next year ahead of the end of construction.
“Work will continue next summer to further enhance the facility. Our new building will be open in April 2018, as will our new sports field. We are so looking forward to it opening.”
There’s a full gallery of images from the Open Evening on ThisIsArdee.ie now and on Facebook later on Friday, so keep an eye out.