Celebrating 60 great years of Dominicans in Ballyfermot

By Maurice Garvey

PAST pupils and staff were amongst those in attendance this week for a celebration of 60 years of Dominican education in Ballyfermot.

St Dominic’s Secondary School opened in 1956 when Sisters Benin, Aimon and Anita travelled from Cabra, to establish a school for Ballyfermot girls.

Fr Martin Ms KeelerCareer Guidance Mary Daly Keith O Brien  Religion Teacher Sr Liz former DP

On Friday, Dominican Sisters, the Board of Management, past and present staff, students, parents, representatives from the local community, and businesses, gathered to celebrate the milestone.

Speaking to the congregation at Our Lady of Assumption Church, past pupil from 1979 Teresa D’Arcy cited the forward thinking of the early sisters, who provided a wide curriculum, with home economics and commerce classes taking place on Saturday mornings.

Introduction of free education 1967, led to an increase of student numbers and construction of St Dominic’s building, and in the mid 1990s, the refurbishment of St Catherine’s building.

Today, St Dominic’s is a leading Deis school, with high retention rates and progression to third-level education.

Mary Daly, who has taught in St Dominic’s since 1977, and appointed Principal in 2000, said one of her many ambitions was to ensure students stayed in school and reached their full potential.

The first family therapy centre in a school campus was opened in 2002, while the school completion programme was introduced to help keep young people in education.

In later years, partnerships with the local community and colleges have been central to learning opportunities, with programmes involving Allianz Worldwide Care, DPS Engineering, Ballyfermot Youth Service, Dublin City Council Sysnet, UCD, IT Tallaght, Ballyfermot Partnership, Familibase, Diageo, Park West Business Park, and Grant Thornton.

The school joined the Le Chéile Trust in 2007, which was established to safeguard Catholic education in Ireland.

“It was a historic occasion for St Dominic’s, as it gave everyone an opportunity to reflect on the many achievements and developments in the school over the past 60 years,” said Mrs Daly.

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