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Sunday 21 October 2018

School is all set to celebrate a great milestone

The Presentation School crest
The Presentation School crest

Anna Hayes

The Presentation community in Wexford town is looking forward to three days of events to mark the bicentenary of the Presentation School.

Among the activities planned are visits to the convent and its gardens, a celebratory mass, a gala concert, and the launch of a book that has been two years in the making.

The festivities kick off on Tuesday, October 2 - Foundation Day of the convent on Francis Street - with organised walks for all present students to the Presentation Convent and Gardens. There will be an open evening at the convent and school for all past pupils from 6.30 p.m. This will be followed by the launch of the book 'Going One Step Beyond - The Presentation Community in Wexford, 1818-2018' at 7.30 p.m. in the school concert hall.

A lantern procession walk from the school to the convent cemetery will take place after the launch and the evening will finish back at the school with light refreshments.

On Thursday, October 4, the school will celebrate a bicentenary Mass with Bishop Denis Brennan and school chaplain Fr Tom Dalton in Rowe Street Church at 11 a.m. Present students, staff and Sisters will be in attendance and will enjoy refreshments in the school afterwards.

On Friday, October 5, there will be a bicentenary gala concert in Rowe Street Church at 7.30 p.m. with the Presentation Secondary School choir (past and present members) followed by refreshments in the school.

All students will have a half day on Tuesday and Thursday, and each student will receive a specially commissioned bookmark to mark the occasion of the bicentenary.

To further commemorate the occasion, a specially commissioned sculpture is currently being designed and will be unveiled on Presentation Day - November 21 - in the school grounds. An art mural is also being designed and painted and will become a permanent fixture in the school in due course.

The book 'Going One Step Beyond' has been two years in the making, with teachers Joe Rolston and Scott Gaynor working tirelessly on condensing 200 years of history into just over 300 pages.

It includes a 'Perspectives' series, where past students and staff reflect on their time in the school. Featuring anecdotes from the 1930s up to the 2010s, they offer a firsthand account of how the school developed from a mixed primary school to a 'secondary tops' and kindergarten, to its present existence.

The book also explores the contribution that the Presentation Sisters made in Enniscorthy, until the Convent closed there in 2001.

The authors are very pleased with the finished product, saying: 'We're delighted with how the whole process has gone. We're hoping it will be received well by all who have connections to the Presentation Convent and School. We gave the Presentation Sisters in the Convent a preview of the content and got their blessing on the work that we've done, so that was very important to us.'

The duo feels that the balance between history, interesting tid-bits, anecdotes from past pupils and staff, and photos is just right and will bring back plenty of memories for readers.

The book, which will retail at €20, will be on sale on the launch night in the school as well as in local bookshops around the town.

'We're looking forward to the book launch on October 2. We hope to see lots of people there on the night; all are welcome to attend. It's been a long road for us, from the start to the finish of this process, but a very valuable road to walk down.

'The Presentation is Wexford Town's first home of education, it's a massive milestone for the whole Convent and School community, and we hope that this publication will be the jewel in the celebrations during the week's events.'

Wexford People

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