Raymond has fond memories of school and his teachers

Raymond Pollock.
Raymond Pollock.

Former Edenderry pupil Raymond Pollock will never forget his time at the school, and cites the guidance of teachers there as a big factor in his career path.

Raymond, a former Chemistry teacher at Wallace High School and current principal of Banbridge Academy, said Edenderry left him ‘well prepared for life’.

He said: “I was at Edenderry from 1954 to 1961. I was happy in school. You worked hard and you made friends and you enjoyed your time in school.

“I remember a variety of activities like learning about nature and making a papier mache relief map of Northern Ireland and then painting it. I remember the regular Friday tests.

“I enjoyed all of my time at school especially being out and about in nature and I liked athletics.”

Of the teachers he said: “Teachers took an interest in you as a person. There were high expectation which we were helped to attain by our teachers, who worked extremely hard.

“One teacher in particular, Jean Livingstone, was inspirational. She taught me for three years - P4, P6 and P7.

“She really engaged us. I remember her showing us slides of her holidays in Spain. Slides were something of a novelty.

“When I passed my 11 Plus I had the choice of going to either the Tech or the College. I chose the Tech, but Mrs Livingstone sensed I was uneasy with my choice and intervened, spoke with my mother who worked in the school meal service across the road.

“As a result I ended up going to Portadown College. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have ended up where I am today if I’d gone to the Tech, but it demonstrates how much of an interest the teachers took in their pupils.”

After finishing Portadown College and subsequently university, Raymond worked for two years in Belgium carrying out church work.

Following that he was a scientific officer with the Department of the Environment before becoming a Chemistry teacher at Wallace.

He commented: “It’s ironic that our P7 classroom at Edenderry on the old Carrickblacker Road site was an old science classroom with all the gas taps and sinks at the teacher’s desk for demonstration. Years later I ended up back in a Chemistry lab.”

Raymond spent 18 years at Wallace, then two years as vice principal at Friends, before taking over as principal at Banbridge Academy, where he has led the school for the past 18 years.

He said: “When I meet up with former classmates from Edenderry there’s an immediate bond and often an opportunity to reminisce.”

Raymond married a fellow Edenderry pupil, Joan Craig who was a few years above him at the school.

Together they have three girls - Claire, Jill and Katie, all of whom went through the new school at Edenderry.

“Edenderry left all of us well prepared for life,” said Raymond.