Slán, Mrs. Duggan!
The week before Midterm Break 2020 was a very special one at Bunscoil Gleann Sidheain(BGS), It was filled with happy memories and a sense of a bright future ahead. Firstly, a derogation from the week’s homework was in place. Hmm! Nice! And the reason? It was the final week in the 36-year teaching career of Mrs. Bríd Duggan, BGS Principal and her outstanding enrichment of education in Cappoquin was marked and celebrated in a myriad of ways.
Starting on Monday, 19th October, at various times and on different days, following Covid-19 guidelines, representatives of Bunscoil Gleann Sidheain’s Board of Management and Parents Association, Fr. Gear P.P., Fr. Arthure P.E .and Mr. Denis Ring, Principal of Blackwater Community School, Lismore, met with Mrs. Duggan to thank her for her contribution to education in Cappoquin and to wish her good health and happiness. They presented her with gifts in acknowledgement of her hard work and dedication through the years
Meanwhile at BGS, Tuesday 20th October was designated ‘Movie Afternoon’ and each class got to watch a movie in their classroom. They were bestowed with surprise treats from Mrs. Duggan which they heartily enjoyed.
Thursday 22nd October dawned sunny and dry. In compliance with HSE and DES guidelines, all students and staff gathered outdoors in the playground. In recognition of Mrs. Duggan’s continuous and superb development of music education in our school, two classes at a time entertained her with renditions of the following songs which happen to be some of her firm favourites: ‘Tomorrow’, ‘A Million Dreams’,’ Count on Me’ and a specially adapted version of ‘The Cup Song’. Mrs. Duggan then received gifts from the pupils, which encompassed a range of framed items-a poem composed by 3rd Class, lyrics of ‘The Cup Song’ adapted by 6th Class, lyrics of a whole school song ‘Go Forth With a Song’, a photo collage of students and staff of BGS, a piece of art work from Le Cheile, a bouquet of flowers and a set of books containing a personally composed message from every child in the school.
A staggered lunch break incorporating two sittings followed. This took place in the school hall which was beautifully decorated for the occasion by members of the school’s Social Committee. Mrs. Duggan was presented with gifts from the staff and she cut the specially designed cake.
Her passion for music ever to the fore, Mrs. Duggan organised an outdoor musical recital on Friday morning. The school community sang a number of songs including ‘I have a Dream’ and they were accompanied by Mrs. Duggan on piano. Later, the day came to a fitting conclusion with an announcement over the intercom calling each class in turn to the main school entrance. There stood the van of Mr. Softee! Everyone, clad in Hallowe’en costume, was treated to an ice cream, courtesy of Mrs. Duggan! Oh how we relished this treat!
At this point, it is pertinent to pay tribute to Mary McGrath, local photographer, both for her presence during Mrs. Duggan’s last days in BGS and for capturing so beautifully on camera the many magical moments and highlights that occurred at this time.
In summary, over the course of her career, Mrs. Duggan taught at all levels from Junior Infants to 6th Class in Cappoquin She worked as learning support teacher, resource teacher and shared resource teacher. She served as vice principal and in 2015 she became principal. Under her stewardship, the ASD Unit or Le Cheile came into being and this is indeed a major part of Mrs. Duggan’s legacy to the school and to education in West Waterford. Another towering part of her legacy is her impact on the development of music education both within the school and in the wider community. She has been musical director of the school choir since the eighties and under her direction, the choir has sung at celebrations of First Communion, Confirmation, at masses, concerts, Nativity plays and many more occasions.