Schools marks milestone as teachers retire

10 Clounagh Junior High School staff who have served under all four headmasters at the school. Included are back from left, Gary Jackson, Edriss Hanson, Lleslie Irwin and Leslie Tipping. Middle from left, Lloyd Montgomery, Pamela Mawhinney, Susan Ferguson and Rosalind Kempton. Front from left, Avril Elliott and Roberta Shields. INPT26-201.
10 Clounagh Junior High School staff who have served under all four headmasters at the school. Included are back from left, Gary Jackson, Edriss Hanson, Lleslie Irwin and Leslie Tipping. Middle from left, Lloyd Montgomery, Pamela Mawhinney, Susan Ferguson and Rosalind Kempton. Front from left, Avril Elliott and Roberta Shields. INPT26-201.
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They remember the excitement of the first photocopier, fountain pens and even the cane - and now 11 staff members at Clounagh JHS are celebrating a special anniversary.

The select group have served under all four headmasters at the school, and three of them are taking their leave this year, each with 35- plus years of service under their belts.

English teacher and librarian Mrs Susan Ferguson is retiring after 37 years, maths teacher Mrs Roberta Shields after 36 years and head of maths Mrs Edriss Hanson after 35 years.

The trio took up their posts under the schools’s first principal Mr David Watson.

Other staff members who began their careers in 1979 are vice-principal Leslie Irwin, history teacher and year head Leslie Tipping, head of home economics Pamela Mawhinney, Learning Support Centre teacher Rosalind Kempton, senior technician Lloyd Montgomery and senior executive officer Avril Elliott.

Gary Jackson, head of boys’ PE, joined the school in 1981 as did science teacher Stephen Cousins, who was not available for the photograph.

The staff recently enjoyed a bit of a reminiscence session, which unearthed some fascinating nuggets of Clounagh history!

The cane was in common use, before its ultimate ban, and Mr Jackson was one of those who admitted to using it “a couple of times!”.

The arrival of technology heralded a huge change over the years, with the BANDA machine and its “lovely smell of acetone” replaced by a photocopier, as did the arrival of the first computer, the 380Z, wheeled in on a trolley.

The change in the Clounagh uniform, from black to the current blue, was a big milestone as was the first minibus – a 29 seater ‘laundry van’, which couldn’t drive to Dublin and back without refuelling, and was memorably impounded by the Gardai on a trip to the city!

The original staff room, which had just 25 seats for 35 staff, also held its own perils, as it was thick with cigarette smoke and teachers had to run the gauntlet of darts as the kettle was kept in front of the dart board.