Glowing tributes as dedicated Tipperary teacher Maria O’Donoghue steps down

The pupils, staff and Board of Management of Scoil Mhuire Knockavilla came together to honour Ms Maria O’ Donoghue, who retired in January, having taught in Knockavilla for more than thirty years.
Proceedings began with the celebration of the Mass by Fr. Jim Egan P.P. in the school hall. This lovely ceremony was attended by Maria and her husband Tom, as well as members of her family, many former members of staff, representatives of the B.O.M. and of the parents, all the school pupils and current members of the school staff.
The beautiful Irish hymns, which have been firm favourites in Scoil Mhuire for many generations, were sung very movingly and tunefully by the school choir, adding greatly to the poignancy of the ceremony.
Following the Mass, the School Principal, Ms Eleanor O’Dwyer, thanked Maria for sharing her professional expertise and kindness with the pupils of the Knockavilla community throughout her teaching career.
During her time in Scoil Mhuire Ms O’Donoghue taught all age groups. She always taught with great dedication, thoroughness and kindness. Her classroom was a happy, busy place, where her pupils received an excellent education.
Maria, like generations of National Teachers before her, brought the message of Christianity into her pupils’ lives in a practical, concrete manner. She encouraged them to do the best that they can do and to use and develop the talents they have been given. In her many years in Knockavilla NS she was always willing to do the best for her pupils – always willing to investigate new and innovative teaching methods and programmes, while retaining the best of tried and tested and more traditional teaching methods. Throughout her career Maria engaged whole-heartedly in continuing professional development and devoted great time to extending her skills and knowledge for the benefit of her pupils.
Whatever role Maria undertook in Knockavilla she carried out to the best of her ability. school tours, school sports days, school book fairs were planned in great detail with many hours of organisation and work making each event seem effortless on the day. But her colleagues know how much work behind the scenes goes into these events.
Also, when the Parents’ Association was established in Knockavilla, Maria’s support and help did much to help its development. The members of the Parents’ Association are very grateful to Ms O Donoghue for the many evenings she gave up her free time to journey out to the meetings in the school.
Ms O’ Dwyer spoke of Maria’s love of literature and language and of her great expertise in these areas. Her pupils have benefitted from this knowledge as have her colleagues. Her use of language and her ability to sum up an individual or indeed a situation has often caused great merriment amongst her fellow staff.
On a personal note, Eleanor O’ Dwyer paid tribute to Maria for her great support to her as school principal. “You always took your role as Special Duties Teacher and Acting Deputy Principal very seriously. You devoted great energy and time to these positions and helped me greatly. As a teaching Principal I appreciate all that support enormously.”
“We will miss your good company, your kindness and dedication here in Scoil Mhuire. You will always be welcome here. I and everyone here would like to wish you a very happy, long and healthy retirement with your husband Tom.
Ta súil againne go léir anseo go mbeidh saol fada buan agat as seo amach a Mhaire. Go raibh míle maith agat as ucht an méid oibre iontach atá déanta agat anseo i gCnoc a’ Bhile. Go néirí an t-adh leat i gconaí.”
Tributes were paid to Maria by Kay Beardmore, Cathaoirleach BOM and Fr. Jim Egan P.P Knockavilla-Donaskeigh. These speeches also emphasised Ms O’Donoghue’s professionalism and kindness throughout her career.
Following the speeches and tributes Ms. Kay Beardmore presented Maria with a beautiful painting on behalf of the BOM of Scoil Mhuire. Pupils, Aoibheann, Shiva and Darragh presented Ms O Donoghue with some beautiful pottery and a card signed by all the pupils.
Maria thanked everyone for their great kindness to her. She complimented the pupils on their harmonious singing throughout the Mass. She spoke of her time in Scoil Mhuire fondly, but now is ready to enjoy the next part of her life with her husband Tom.

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