Knockerra in the Spotlight

Clare Champion, Friday, 22nd October 1999

The thirty three pupils of Knockerra Primary School will find themselves in the spotlight on Sunday, October 24th, as local families gather to mark the fortieth anniversary of the school's opening in 1959.

The major event of the day will be a Mass in Knockerra Church where the concelebrants will be school board chairman, Fr. Pat Mulcahy, and two of his predecessors, Rev. Patrick Carmody and Rev. Harry Brady. According to principal, Nora Madigan, the children will perform some of the music and dance for the liturgy and will be joined at the service by the local choir, many of whom are past pupils of the school. A school banner will also be launched on the day and everyone will afterwards adjourn to Knockerra Hall for a party.

There is a lot to celebrate, certainly, such as the great educational tradition in the area and the huge commitment to the school shown by parents who clean the building on a voluntary basis each week and are always willing to help out.

Still, there is also bound to be a sense of nostalgia for the days when Knockerra was a three teacher school and the student body stood at a hundred.  The big exodus from the district since 1959 is reflected in the radical drop in numbers over the past four decades.  Principal, Nora Madigan, is a past pupil and her commitment to the school is underlined by the fact that all three of her children received their early education at Knockerra.  She and her colleague, Catherine McNamara, a native of Kildysart, place a lot of emphasis on the happiness of the children in their care and are keen that they should grow up to be caring members of society.  The school ethos also aims to instil a pride of place in the youngsters, to foster the growth of a community spirit and to encourage a love of nature and interest in the environment.

Extra curricular activities include Irish dancing and set dancing classes under the direction of John Fennell and nature studies under the guidance of John Carmody.   The school is also equipped with three computers while the children likewise have access to a well stocked library.

Sport is naturally a major priority in the lives of pupils and they enjoy everything from football and basketball to soccer and swimming with classes arranged for Kilkee Pool every Wednesday afternoon.  On the footballing front, the youngsters joined forces last year with the children of Burrane National School to win the West Clare schools' football final.

Twins, Martin and John Crowe, the only
set of twins at St. Senan's N.S., Knockerra.
Soccer star at St. Senan's N.S., Knockerra,
Daniel Nash heads the ball goalward during a
lunchtime game of football.

Photographs by John Kelly, Clare Champion.

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