“MOL an óige agus tiocfaidh sí”: there is no proverb in our native language which more aptly defines the first quarter century of Gaelscoil na nDéise’s service to the children of Cathair Phort Láirge.
From its humble origins at Saint Olaf’s Hall in Lady Lane in 1996 – a single classroom with 24 pupils – to the Carrickphierish campus where it educates over 230 pupils today, the long-term vision for the Gaelscoil was clearly well worth sticking with.
Between Lady Lane and Carrickphierish, most of the school’s first quarter century was hosted in multiple prefabs in Gracedieu. Indeed, no other school in the city was exclusively based in prefabs in a manner similar to Gaelscoil na nDéise.
But that environment catalysed a collegiality among the school’s staff which remains intact to this day, a credit to everyone who has worked under its banner since 1996.
This sense of bonhomie was palpable when the Waterford News & Star recently visited the school for this special anniversary publication. The staff, led by Príomhoide Marc de Grás, clearly relish their work and each other’s company.
From the friendly welcome afforded by Caoimhe in reception through the informal chat with teachers and other staff members, including Caretaker Dee Lanigan and Special Needs Assistant Breda Chester, the surge of positivity was undeniable.
Carrickphierish has attracted an array of headlines in recent years yet there’s little doubt that the Gaelscoil’s arrival here in 2015 represents one of its best and most welcome developments.
A new community is literally being built around the school campus, and the next generation of pupils will soon pass through the school’s doors, initially to Naíonra na nDéise before progressing into formal education. This is an area with a bright future, providing it with an opportunity to remould its profile as a new suburb within an expanding city.
The school provides its pupils with an outstanding learning environment, one that everyone has been delighted to return to in a conventional sense since September. Its bright and spacious classrooms are complimented by a special education rooms, a multi-sensory room, a superb sports hall, the adjacent public library and outdoor play areas, a world away from the school’s previous iteration.
Modern ICT technologies are also integrated into teaching and learning on a daily basis, as is the staff’s commitment to inclusivity thanks to a huge collective effort, spearheaded by the Special Education Team.
Gaelscoil na nDéise actively promotes parental involvement and through Cairde na Scoile (the Parents Council), mums and dads support the school in policy development, school events and a host of fundraising initiatives.
Relationships with Waterford City & County Council, Waterford Sports Partnership, Waterford Institute of Technology and Roanmore GAA Club, to name but a few, have consolidated the school’s standing within the wider community.
Said Príomhoide Marc de Grás: “We strive to instil a love of the Irish language, culture, traditions and heritage in the children and their parents. We promote Irish as a language that is alive, relevant and accessible through the need to communicate in a fun, enjoyable manner.
“Tá sé rí-thabhachtach go n-oibríonn gach uile duine le chéile chun na héachtaí seo a bhaint amach. Glacaimid leis an oideachas mar phróiséas comhoibritheach ina mbíonn gach éinne páirteach – na páistí, na tuismitheoirí, an fhoireann agus an pobal i gcoitinne. Oibrímid go dlúth le tuismitheoirí ionas go mbíonn siad ar an eolas faoi cad a bhíonn ar siúl sa scoil. Táimid ag siúl go mbeimid in ann braith ar do chomhoibriú agus do tacaíocht sa chomhpháirtíocht seo ionas gur féidir linn go léir an t-eispéireas is fearr a bhaint amach don pháiste.”
Justly proud of its first 25 years, Gaelscoil na nDéise is looking towards an even better and brighter future for its enthusiastic pupils and dedicated staff. Go maire sibh an lá!