LAST WEEKEND the staff and students of Mount Lourdes bid a fond farewell to one of their own, a teacher who has put away her chalk and duster almost 50 years since first stepping into the school.
Vice-principal Mary McGinnity is retiring from Mount Lourdes after 14 years of service, however her relationship with the convent school goes back much further, to her own school days when she was a pupil there herself.
Born and reared in Roslea, Mary (nee Quigley) left the school in 1977 to study teaching at St Mary’s University College in Belfast. Upon graduation, Mary’s first interview was for a post at St Catherine’s College in Armagh.
The then 21-year-old was promptly offered the job, and remained at the school for 14 years.
Following that, Mary moved back to home turf, taking up a teaching post at St Eugene’s College, then St Eugene’s Secondary School, in Roslea where she remained for nine years.
It was in 2004 Mary, an English teacher who kept teaching the subject even throughout her many years as vice-principal, moved to Mount Lourdes.
She remained at the school she loved so well until last Friday when she finished her last day before officially retiring at the end of August.
“It’s been a wonderful school,” said Mary.
“I’ve loved all the schools I’ve worked in, and I learned a lot at each, but ultimately this was a lovely place to end my teaching career. I feel very privileged.”
Remembering the many Sisters of Mercy who were there throughout her time at the school, such as Mother Eucharia and Sr Consilie, Mary said that the school had always attracted young people from right across Fermanagh, as well as generations of local families, with many of the current students following in
their mother’s and even their grandmother’s footsteps.
“I have been very grateful for the privilege of teaching in Mount Lourdes,” she added.
“I’ve had wonderful colleagues here and have taught so many wonderful students. I am grateful to them and to their parents for the great time I’ve spent here.”
Mary spent ended her last full day at the school at the Killyhevlin Hotel with the rest of the Mount Lourdes staff on their annual night out.
She said she has “no grand plans” for retirement aside from relaxing, travelling, and spending more time with her family.