Fond farewells as doors finally shut at Roslea school

St Eugene’s College, Roslea RMG33

FOR almost half a century St Eugene’s College has been at the heart of the Roslea community, but this June the secondary school will close its doors for good. 
This Saturday, June 24 the people of the ‘St Eugene’s community’ will gather in the village for a Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by a social event across in the school. Past and current staff, former pupils, parents, and all those who have been associated with the St Eugene’s over the past 49 years are invited to come along for the emotional celebration of what was most certainly special school.
As current principal Malachy McConnell, who will be moving along with the pupils and the teaching staff to the new St Kevin’s in Lisnaskea this September, explained the hallmark of St Eugene’s has always been the individual attention given to students, pastoral support, the integral role the school has played in the local community, and the close knit ties among staff. 
“The thing about St Eugene’s is you looked forward coming back in September to meeting the children and meeting the staff,” said current principal Malachy McConnell.
“The staff always saw the pupils as being the important ones in the school, but there were great working relationships and friendships amongst the staff and a respect for each other too. I think as a result the children benefited because that was part of the ethos.”
That ethos, Mr McConnell believes, is the reason so many past pupils returned to teach at the school, why so many staff members have spent practically their entire careers there, and why the school has been such an important part of the local village community. 
“I suppose that makes it all the more difficult to leave that behind,” he said, “Knowing that yes, we’ve lots to look forward to, that was the St Eugene’s community and it’s only really those who’ve been a part of it that really appreciate it and really recognise it.”
The Mass of Thanksgiving later this month will be concelebrated by local parish priest Fr Chester and, among others, past pupil Fr Gary Donegan. 
Fr Gary is far from the only notable past pupil of the school, with barristers, teachers, medical professionals, journalists, joiners, labourers, electricians , musicians and accomplished sportsmen among the many professions of its alumni. 
“We are an all ability school, and we’re proud of every single one of our former pupils,” said Mr McConnell. “We tried to provide a curriculum that catered for them all.”

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