Students of St Colman’s Community College, Midleton, planned a surprise gift presentation for outgoing school Principal Ms Goretti Fitzgerald last Tuesday, 20 December.
The entire sixth year student body, along with dozens of Ms Fitzgerald’s teachers and colleagues, were in attendance as their outgoing principal was presented with flowers, chocolates and wine by Ryan Conroy, Cian O’Regan, and David Balog, the three students who masterminded the surprise presentation, to honour her retirement.
Ms Fitzgerald delivered a speech thanking her students and encouraging them to continue working hard, especially for the next few months prior to their Leaving Cert examinations. “There is nothing that cannot be achieved with hard work,” she said, before assuring her students that whoever it is will replace her as principal, they will only have their pupils’ best interests at heart, then finally thanking everyone once again.
Dean Fitzgerald, a sixth-year student and one of the stars of the school’s previous week’s George and Lenny play, then delivered a light-hearted speech on behalf of the students, which poked a little fun at the outgoing principal, before finishing with sincere gratitude for her endeavours and accomplishments during her time with St Colman’s Community College.
“When we heard Ms Fitzgerald was retiring,” said Dean Fitzgerald, “all the classes got together and said we’d do something for her, individually or together. We chose together, and we all put in a few euro and that’s what bought her the flowers, the chocolate and the wine, d’ya know? We worked with the Irish teachers to leave us out of class [on Tuesday] so we could make the presentation. Ms Fitzgerald is retiring on Thursday, but there’ll be nobody in so [Tuesday was] the day.”
Ms Goretti Fitzgerald, who has worked in St Colman’s Community College for more than two decades, officially retires today, Thursday, 22 December. “It’s been an honour and a privilege to work in St Colman’s for 23 years,” she reaffirmed to the East Cork Journal. “I’m very proud of the school we have here, and of the staff and of the students.”