Presentation to mark 200 years of history

By Maria Pepper

The Presentation School as it looked in 1910.
The Presentation School as it looked in 1910.

The Presentation community and secondary school in Wexford are gearing up for a major milestone in 2018 when they celebrate 200 years of continued education and service in the town.

A bicentenary committee has been set up comprising current teachers in the school and Presentation Sisters from the convent to organise and co-ordinate celebration events next year.

To mark the 200 year anniversary, a special bicentenary publication is in the early stages of planning. Teachers Joe Rolston and Scott Gaynor who are compiling the commemmorative booklet are appealing to past students and staff and anyone with an interest in local history to provid them with copies of old photographs of the convent and school building over the years along with any interesting stories or articles.

The Presentation Convent was the first religious order to be established in Wexford town, after the Penal Laws. The convent was opened on Francis Street on Friday, October 2, 1818 on the Feast Day of the Guardian Angels.

Two Presentation nuns Sister Mary Frances de Salles and Sister Mary Baptist Frayne came from the already established convent in Kilkenny City. A school room was set up within the building shortly afterwards.

The convent and school had a number of prominent benefactors at the time, including then Bishop of Ferns, Patrick Ryan and the Earl and Countess Shrewsbury along with two wealthy Wexford families, the Carroll family of the Faythe and the Devereux family.

Young children, many of them from the Talbot orphanage, received their education from the Presentation Sisters in those early years.

Thousands of young people have been educated in the school over the last two centuries and the school building itself has evolved significantly during that period of time, particularly since 1971 when the Presentation was granted secondary school status by the Department of Education.

From the next academic year, the school will have over 800 students on its enrolment book.

To contact the bicentenary committee in the Presentation, telephone 053 9124133, fax 053 9124048; email 200@preswex.ie, Twitter @PresWex, Facebook Presentation Wexford, Instagram presentationwexford or write to Bicentenary Committee, Presentation Secondary School, Grogan's Road, Wexford Y35 XV70.

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