It is mid-winter now. The Winter Solstice is close. A rose-red sun rises over the school as one drinks up the avenue of black, skeletal sycamore trees to school. Foraging seagulls, 17 miles from the nearest coast, along with scavenging crows and their first cousins magpies form two teams on the school soccer pitch as they pick their worms in the vivid softness of green.
Our Community College is thirty years old now! Three decades of attending school, of teaching, of learning, of making friends, retiring and graduating. The beech trees growing along the college’s front fence and the aforesaid avenue of sycamore trees have witnessed, perhaps students from twelve to eighteen years and adult students enter and leave. We now welcome and teach the children of past pupils. Now past pupils teach children of their neighbourhood.
This 30th year of our community of teaching and learning has been a memorable important one. Two major events took place here. In January 2014 our college community had an MLL inspection. We were well prepared to be quite honest, it was a nervous time. However our school shone!
The second major event of 2014 took place on October 1st when we celebrated our 30 years as a community of teaching and learning. Before each subject department met regularly, planning their displays of student work. Walls of school corridors proudly showed photographs and names of pupils from 1984 to the present day. Former principal Mr. Brian Fleming and former deputy principal Ms Libby Walsh with other teaching colleagues and friends attended the carefully orchestrated afternoon of celebrating events. It was lovely to see rows of our present students watching and listening to the history of the school.
In the new year of 2015, we return to our friendly place of teaching and learning. It is a day before the Feast of the Epiphany, the visit of the three wise men. Morning and evening light will have lengthened. Green Daffodil leaves are already peeping above the moist, dark earth in the courtyard.
Welcome to our First Years
Haven’t we has a glorious Indian summer? It has eased us back into school’s routine. Golden autumnal sunshine still yet continues to welcome us. Down the college avenue a colonnade of two rows of mature sycamore trees meet, interlock with their fading greens, yellow and Russell leaves. A couple of Rowan trees with their cheerful med seasonal berries greet us at the main door. At the perimeter fence the still fully clad beech trees stand tall, growing still.
A warm welcome to our First Years- twelve and thirteen year olds! You look proud of your new school, dressed in a smart new uniform: navy V-necked jumper, crisp white shirt or grey trousers. A dramatic change is the school uniform shoes- shinning, polished, black shoes- no more “runners”! I have seen one First Year Boy tap-dancing, experimenting with both the feel and sound of their shiny school shoes on corridors. This new uniform is so popular that even Second Years opt to wear it!
It is good to see and hear the enthusiasm and energy of First Years. It can be contagious. We wish them safe and happy days here at school, days of friendship, of learning, days of books, of reading stories and years of growing in self-confidence. These First Years students will graduate from Collinstown Park in the far off year of 2020. What a lovely number!
A most striking aspect of own new uniform is the interesting school crest. On it there is a growing green tree and a mortar board i.e. a special hat reserved for those students who graduate from our college after six years. An open book and two clasped hands complete the crest.
Our present Sixth years, the class of 2015, will soon wear their mortar boards when they graduate from our college next May. We wish them enjoyment in their learning and companionship in close friendship this, there final year. The striking picture of the two clasped hands is another image on our school crest. This latter image reminds us, perphaps, that in this college the staff and students have a strong, professional relationship in the purist of teaching and learning. Perphaps these are the firm hands of friendship, of helping each other, the firm hand shake of confidence, hands which write, compute, draw, create…. If a member of our school community falters, falls, we hope that two other members will satnd on each side of their friend and will give helping hands in that he/she can stand again.
This new academic year of 2014-15 starts in Autumn. Autumnal shades on beech, sycamore, birch and rowan trees in our school’s grounds fall, give way to bare branches and then new green shoots.
And so it continues
“The trees are coming into leaf…
Their greenness is a kind of grief. Last year is dead, the trees seem to say
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh”.
Collinstown Park Community College launched its School App in January 2013 to improve communication links between the college and staff, parents and students in areas such as upcoming school events, message alerts and school policy information.
Some of the useful features in the App are the school calendar which changes as new events are added throughout the year. The App also has the function of users being able to receive regular newsletters from the school. The App is already available to download for free on Android, iPhone/ iPad / iPod from Google Play and the Appstore by searching for Collinstown Park.