Mary O’Malley, a much-loved teacher in Scoil Phádraig, Westport, retired recently. To mark the occasion, her family, friends, former colleagues, pupils and staff of Scoil Phádraig gathered in the school hall to honour her contribution to education in the Westport area.
Ms O’Malley’s career began on Clare Island over 37 years ago, where she spent many happy years before she was appointed to Lankill school. She also loved teaching there, but due to falling numbers at the time, she was transferred 23 years ago to St Patrick’s Convent school in Westport.
Students and staff came to love Máire Bean uí Mháille for her dedication to her work, her consideration and kindness to all, and the way she treated all her students as if they were her own children. When St Patrick’s Convent school and the CBS were amalgamated in 2006, Ms O’Malley embraced the change fully and played a huge role in developing the Learning Support/Resource department in the school.
The school choir and band sang and played beautifully throughout the prayer service in the school hall. Prayers of the Faithful reflected on Mary’s life and staff, former colleagues and pupils recalled her outstanding contribution to the Gina Heraty Fund, St Vincent De Paul Society and the GAA; her love of Art and the Irish language; her great interest in Italy; her contribution to Lankill and Clare Island; her role on school tours and her organisational skills in linking the school to the community.
Presentations were made to Ms O’Malley on behalf of the Parents’ Association, Board of Management and staff. Mary thanked everyone associated with the celebration. She was delighted that Kevin, one of her sons, had followed her footsteps into the teaching profession, and that Tomás, her other son, was following the footsteps of her late husband John by becoming a mechanic. She looked forward to spending more time with her daughter, Eibhlín, who has always been a great support to her.
She thanked to the Parents’ Association and the Board of Management and the staff for their support down the years, and she said that she had loved her time working in Scoil Phádraig. Finally, she paid tribute to the pupils for all the kindness and respect they had shown her throughout her teaching career in Scoil Phádraig, Lankill and Clare Island.