Rena Says Farewell After A Lifetime At Scoil Eoin

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Staff at Scoil Eoin Balloonagh, wish retiring Deputy Principal Rena O’Connell (seated centre) the best in her retirement at the school on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

SHE’S pretty much been there since she was four years old, but it was time for Rena O’Connell to say goodbye to Scoil Eoin in Balloonagh on Thursday.

As the junior infants were beginning their educational journey, the deputy principal was ending her time teaching after 39 years.

Originally from Ballymac, now in Ardfert, Rena actually went to Balloonagh primary and secondary school before studying in Mary Immaculate College to become a teacher. She got a job at her alma mater and has remained there since.

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It was an emotional day for Rena and tributes were paid to her by her colleagues and the Principal Kieran O’Toole at a special party at the school on Thursday afternoon to mark the occasion.

“She’s been here all her life really. Rene has been deputy principal for the past five years and did an absolutely tremendous job. She’s been fantastic with the children and will be sorely missed,” said the Principal.

Principal of Scoil Eoin Balloonagh, Kieran O’Toole and retiring Deputy Principal Rena O’Connell at the school on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Rena’s family had the Kerry Bookshop on Bridge Street and she said she came to the school even before she started primary.

“We used to deliver the papers here and I’d be in the back of the Morris Minor, so I can’t remember when I first came to the school,” she said.

“It’s the end of an era for me,” said Rena. “I’ll miss it, but I’ll pop in now and again to help out.”

Rena, who is married to Sean, and has two children, James and Aoife, has no plans for retirement but plans to meet up regularly with other teachers who have retired recently.

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