A message from the President

This time last year I had the privilege and the challenge of taking over from John Cullen as President of the Row Past Pupils Union. I have recently been re-elected for a second year.

There were enjoyable moments during the past 12 months and I will come to some of these below. However my one regret, and my big failure, is that we haven’t managed to attract any new members to join our Committee. As well as provided a way to keep in touch with the activities of the Row and for keeping in touch with former school friends the PPU has an important role providing financial and other support to the school and its current pupils. This support is ever more important in to- day’s competitive and high-tech world.

However the majority of the current Committee are not in the first flush of youth - or in truth, even in the second flush - and we need some new blood to carry on the important work of the PPU. In particular we are looking for a small number of volunteers who were in the Row in the 70s and 80s and who would like to give something back to the school. Call me on 087 2528733 if you are interested. We are especially looking for somebody with IT skills to keep our web-site up to date.

For me personally the highlight of the year was the presentation last January to Father Myles Kavanagh, our Row Person of the Year. Father Myles had somehow slipped under the radar up to this. He has worked tirelessly in Ardoyne in Belfast for over 53 years and has received global recognition for his work on community development, social deprivation and unemployment. It was a privilege to hear Father Myles talk about the activities he supported. He also brought a cheque for $10,000 for the school from The Flax Trust, a US based fund – raising organisation he helped to set up. Our principal Kate Byrne will put the money to good use.

The dinner also provided the annual opportunity to meet and chat with old school friends - where does everyone go between the annual dinners? And as always we raised some additional funds for the school. Our thanks in particular to those who provided prizes for the raffle.

I had the pleasure during the year to formally open a refurbished and re-stocked school museum, which had being greatly enhanced by the transition year students and their teacher, Susan Lawlor. There are photos of past classes, football and hurling teams and of the many other activities and events that took place in the school over the years. And, of course, of the different groups of teachers that served in both the primary and secondary schools. The museum even has a full set of school reports, kindly donated by John Murray, a long standing and hard working member of our Committee. And yes, the reports are excellent. The museum is well worth a visit if you get the opportunity.

Work continued on the school achieve project which was one of our 150th anniversary projects and I am delighted that the results are now available. Whether you want to search for members of your past family or just to look at a slice of our history I would encourage you to check out the site. Just enter the web-site and click on the Archive button. Our thanks to all concerned but especially John Costello and John Cullen for their work on the project.

Not many Irish schools can claim a World Champion in their ranks, especially one who has provided great support to his old school. Ken Doherty won the World Snooker Championship 20 years ago, in addition of course to many other trophies. We are delighted to be asked by Ken to join in a Celebration Evening to remember his great achievement. This will take place later in the year and we will aim to have a good representation from the Row attending. Look out for further details.

Jim Conway has been a stalwart of the PPU for many years and has done trojan work, especially in promoting the annual dinner. And, of course, with his blog which kept us informed of all the activities involving the PPU and the school Regrettably, after serving many years as our Secretary, Jim has decided to step down this year, although he will remain on the Committee to give us the benefit of his knowledge and experience. I am delighted that John Cullen will take over from Jim.

I also want to acknowledge and thank the Committee for their work on behalf of the PPU and the principal, Kate Byrne and the Vice Principal Eddie Kelly for readily giving any help we sought.

Thank you for your continued interest in our work. And think about getting more involved!

Brian Duncan. President. May 18, 2017

Message ends.