A NEW era for second level education on Limerick’s north side officially dawned on Thursday last as Thomond Community College came into being.
The school – an amalgamation of Salesian Secondary School and St. Nessan’s Community College that will be run under the auspices of the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB) – celebrated as it enjoyed its initial intake of First Years, with 96 students walking through the doors today and starting out their five year second level education.
The Thomond Community College is located in the state-of-the-art, former St. Nessan’s Community College facility off the Old Cratloe Road. Its students are drawn predominantly from Limerick city and county but also east Clare.
The First Year intake at the college is up 50% from three years ago when the amalgamation was announced. Overall numbers on the campus, which is located adjacent to Limerick Institute of Technology, is now 500, up from 320 in 2013.
In addition to the new First Year intake, Fifth Year and Second Year students from Salesian Secondary School have today transferred to the Thomond Community College, with all set to retain the teachers for the various subjects they had in the 2015/2016 school year at the Salesians.
The amalgamated Community College, thanks to the transfer of teachers from Salesians this year, now has a teaching body of 57, an increase of 17 from the numbers that taught at the Old Cratloe Road school last year. The first day of the new school was marked by the planting of a cherry blossom tree by staff, with the full complement of 500 students crossing the threshold on Friday.
Thomond Community College School Principal Eugene O’Brien said that today was a historic day for education at the campus and for the city. “This is a monumental day for us all and there’s a great air of excitement amongst everyone, teachers, students and parents. It has been three years in the making and we are starting with a very positive intake of 96 students.
“Above all, it was great to see the First Years coming through with such positivity. It’s the start of a new period in their lives, a hugely important one. They and their parents have chosen Thomond Community College and the entire teaching staff here is committed to making sure they get the best possible platform for the rest of their lives.”
Thomond College Deputy-Principal Vivienne Hogan said nothing will be spared to give the students the best start, with a very strong focus on progression to third level. “We have a great campus here, with fantastic facilities, very committed teachers and a hugely supportive LCETB. We’re going to build something really special at Thomond Community College.
“Our ethos is built around ensuring that students achieve to the best of their ability, with the best possible results, ensuring progression to Third Level and also very much helping them to become rounded and confident young men and women,” she said.
Parents also gave the new Community College their seal of approval. Said, Leeianne Roche, from Annacotty, whose daughter Jaylynn was among the starting First Years: “For me as her mom, it’s a nervous day as my first born daughter embarks on a new journey into becoming an adult and getting new experiences and subjects that she’s going to learn. It’s an emotional and proud time as I know she’s going to grow into a fantastic little woman.
“I wanted her to go to Salesians primary and she’s out the other side of that now. With the amalgamation, it made sense to follow through and send her here. I’m a past pupil of Salesian Secondary also and many of the teachers that taught me are here also now and I’ve met them here today. That gives me great confidence. They taught me well and I’ve no doubt Jaylnn will get the same experience.”
As for Jaylynn herself, there was a mix of excitement and nervous. “I’m excited and nervous. We were here for the introduction night and I have friends as well here today from my primary school, the Salesians, so that’s great. We were made feel very welcome.”