On a lovely warm June evening in the Mahony Exhibit Space, KH staff, past and present, came together to say goodbye to some of our well-loved colleagues: Jan Nelson & John Huggard on their retirement and Dean Maguire & Jenny Wilson who are moving on to pastures new. Dave Keelty, our Sports Director, is also leaving us this year to return to his native New Zealand, where he will marry his fiancée, Ruth, next March.
Dean Maguire with Mark Ronan.
There were many emotions that night as we wished our colleagues well, but it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces return to join us. It just goes to show that you are always a part of the KH family and we look forward to welcoming this year's leavers back and catching up with them in the future.
Siobhán Daly, Cormac Ua Bruadair, Jenny Wilson.
John Huggard with his family.
Mick Mc Kinnon gave a heartwarming send-off to the shining light of our SEN department, Jan Nelson. In an extract from his speech, he said:
"It is impossible to be in Jan’s company and not see that her drive and passion for the children that fall under her wing comes straight from the heart. This has not been a job to Jan, it has been a calling. It is impossible to put a number on the number of children’s lives that she had made better just by caring. She has this enviable ability to see the potential in everyone."
As SEN coordinator, Jan has been a steadfast advocate and supporter for our students who experience learning diffiulties and she will be sorely missed by those students and parents alike. Jan was joined on the evening by her husband, who is school GP Dr Robert Nelson, and her four children, who are all past pupils.
A big highlight of the evening was not only Andrew Deacon's very entertaining and sometimes poignant goodbye speech to John Huggard, but the surprise we all received when the projector screen dropped down to show a pre-recorded message from the Taoiseach and John's former pupil, Leo Varadkar, who wished him well - very 'This is your Life'!
Highlighting the extraordinary history teacher John was, Andrew Deacon opined:
"When you talk to past pupils about their memories of the school, a few will always be mentioned with fondness and gratitude. Robert Whiteside and Philip Gray are among them and John Huggard belongs in that august company. It’s no coincidence that they are all historians and the quality of the school’s history department is a tribute to the quality of the teachers who’ve worked in it. When we had a history inspector a few years ago, she rated the KH department top of those she had ever visited and took home the planning and administration documents to study as a model of their type."