End of an era as Donacarney Boys School principal retires

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Cepta Burke cuts into his retirement cake.

Olimpio Macari from Bettystown recently took a very special order – a pizza for everyone at Donacarney Boys School! The special party was ordained by Cepta Burke to mark her retirement as principal of the school.

Students and staff in turn paid a vibrant tribute to the native of Ballinasloe. Noting her passion for history, art, music and Toastmasters, each class created a special performance in her honor on her last day at school with songs, dances, poems, speeches and theater.

Pupils and staff have also created an art gallery in the school’s vast hall, with each artwork drawing inspiration from the school’s bank of prints in the National Gallery of Ireland.

It was in this glorious setting that the final presentations were made to Mrs. Burke.

Deputy Principal Anne Brennan led the tributes to Ms Burke, followed by Eimear Donnelly on behalf of the Parents’ Association and new Principal Caitriona Campbell. While the students honored the principal with two very special dances choreographed by staff member Helen Matthews.

Presentations included a walnut clock by wood turner Gerry McWeeney, a painting of the Donacarney Red Brick School by Gary Brennan of the Parents’ Association, and very generous gifts from school staff and students.

Cepta paid tribute to the board of directors and the parents’ association, describing them as “unsung heroes for all of us”. Of her twenty-six years at Donacarney School, she described them as “wonderful years with wonderful people” where she was surrounded by amazing people every day.

She welcomed the new headmistress as her successor, noting that she was an inspirational teacher who had already proven herself to be an excellent learning leader at school. She looked forward to returning to the school in retirement and staying in touch with staff and students in the years to come.

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