Be all you can be at St. Joseph's, Tulla

Clare Champion, Friday, 1st January 1999

Since the establishment in 1950, St. Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla, has grown and grown. The catchment area includes Sixmilebridge, Broadford, Crusheen, Quin, Clooney, Tubber, Kilkishen, O'Callaghan's Mills, Tubber, Feakle and Ennis.

Burgeoning pupil numbers have made an extension necessary. This has been sanctioned by the Department of Education and is now at the planning stage.

When newly appointed principal, Michael McMahon, welcomed his team at the start of term school mass, he reminded them that the opportunity offered by the new school year would not come again. His sentiment reflects the school's motto, "Be all you can be". The school facilitates each student in achieving their goal in a number of ways. There is a diverse range of subjects on offer in addition to creative transition and LCVP programme and a wide choice of extra-curricular activities.

While adopting a forward looking, educational approach, St. Joseph's still nurtures its East Clare heritage of traditional Irish music and hurling. Both are natural elements in the day to day school environment, "If it's music you want you should go to Clare", the words of Christy Moore are reflected in the large number of students involved in the music scheme mainly through Comhaltas. At the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Ballina last August, pupil Eilis Flaherty, Crusheen, came second in the flute slow airs, under 18, while Michael O'Rourke, Tulla, was second and third in accompaniment under 18's.

The Transition Year students are learning the skills of piping as one of their modules. They will play with the renowned Tulla Pipe Band at the end of the year. Links with European partners were further extended this year when Eilis Flaherty and Emma Kearney represented the school at the European School Summit Conference in Cardiff. Both girls accomplished musicians, entertained their European peers when political matters had been attended to.

Hurling and camogie are hugely popular, with Tulla's second ever appearance in Harty Cup competition this year. Many students seek to emulate the achievement of current Clare hurling supremo, P.J. O'Connell, a former pupil, Jonathan Cleary, Rory Hogan and Conor Harrison are members of the Clare minor squad.

But it's at under 16 that St. Joseph's have clashed the ash most successfully to date, having three munster titles back to back. Ladies football and camogie are well represented in the school. Tulla are now through to the senior county A final, while the junior A team challenge Spanish Point for county honours next week.

Senior county football players include Emma Kearney and Denise Walsh; Amy Colleran and Deirdre Murphy are county camogie representatives. All-Ireland title holders in the school include Marie Fawl, soccer, Donna O'Sullivan, walking, and Rachel Lenihan, 1500m.

Pastoral care and counselling play a pivotal role in the school with school chaplain, Fr. John McGovern and Sr. Bosco providing invaluable support.

Eilish Flaherty and Michael O'Rourke providing
the music for dancer Margaret Brohan.
Art teacher, John Delaney, with Tracy Hogan,
Claire Meaney, Helen O'Carroll and Aoife Burke.

Photographs by Eamon Ward, Clare Champion.

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