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Marie Meets…….Rory D’Arcy who is saying goodbye to St Oliver’s after 20 years

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School has been part of Rory D'Arcy's life since the age of three. As he bids farewell to his teaching career and begins a new career as a Senior National Advisor to Catholic Primary Schools with the Managers Association, our new columnist Marie Carroll-O'Sullivan caught up with him for a chat to find out how he's feeling.

‘Enter to learn & Exit to lead’. What an appropriate sign to greet me as I visited exiting Principal, Rory D’Arcy at a much quieter St Oliver’s National School this week. It was lunch time in Ballycasheen and the Spúnóg take away was on the menu which I enjoyed with Rory as we chatted in the beautiful 20 degree sunshine. Principal Rory D’Arcy has been attending school since the age of 3. “The 1st Sept 2021 will be the first year I am not in attendance at school in some shape or form. I was an early starter to ‘make up the numbers’ in Sligo Marie. I did my Leaving Cert at the age of 16 and was teaching in Ballyboden in Dublin at the age of 19, in May 1988”. After almost two decades as Principal at St Olivers NS, Rory will remain working in education as a Senior National Advisor to Catholic Primary Schools with the Managers Association in September 2021, over seeing project work and giving advise on training to many of these 2,800 primary schools in Ireland. No better man for such a position I thought. An inspirational, innovative man with magical leadership qualities. As we ate lunch I asked about the outdoor covering in my view, which stretched across an internal play area. It was magnificent. A cream tent like cloth covering complete with equally impressive perimeter bulb lighting. The Shire eat your heart out!! “We got ahead of the pubs on that one Marie. We use it for daily assembly and recently held the 6th Class Graduation here also” Rory explained. That’s Rory all over. Always thinking ahead in thinking of others. “So what brought you to Kerry” I asked. “Love is a wonderful thing!” Rory laughed. I met my wife Siobhan who is a teacher & Deputy Principal at Barraduff National School. We were both attending St Pat’s together. We spent 11 year in Dublin. Siobhan in Kocklyon and myself between Ballyboden & Tallaght before I took up my four and a half year post at Raheen NS. “Will I meet you at the gate?” I

"Enter to learn and exit to lead" - what an appropriate sign to greet me as I visited exiting Principal Rory D’Arcy at a much quieter St Oliver’s National School this week.

It was lunch time in Ballycasheen and the Spúnóg Take Away was on the menu which I enjoyed with Rory as we chatted in the beautiful 20 degree sunshine. 

Rory has been attending school since the age of three.

“September 1, 2021 will be the first year I am not in attendance at school in some shape or form. I was an early starter to ‘make up the numbers’ in Sligo. I did my Leaving Cert at the age of 16 and was teaching in Ballyboden in Dublin at the age of 19, in May 1988.”

After almost two decades as Principal at St Olivers NS, Rory will remain working in education as a Senior National Advisor to Catholic Primary Schools with the Managers Association this coming September, overseeing project work and giving advice on training to many of these 2,800 primary schools in Ireland.

No better man for such a position I thought. An inspirational, innovative man with magical leadership qualities.

As we ate lunch I asked about the outdoor covering in my view, which stretched across an internal play area. It was magnificent. A cream tent like cloth covering complete with equally impressive perimeter bulb lighting. “We got ahead of the pubs on that one Marie. We use it for daily assembly and recently held the Sixth Class graduation here also,” Rory explained.

That’s Rory all over. Always thinking ahead.

A KILLARNEY CAREER

“So what brought you to Kerry,” I asked. “Love is a wonderful thing!” Rory laughed. "I met my wife Siobhan who is a teacher and Deputy Principal at Barraduff National School. We were both attending St Pat’s together. We spent 11 years in Dublin, Siobhan in Knocklyon and myself between Ballyboden and Tallaght before I took up my four and a half year post at Raheen NS.

“Will I meet you at the gate?” I remember Principal Brendan Walsh (RIP) asking me as I arrived at the gates of St Oliver's.

"Not at all I said to Brendan. I remember that first day so well and the butterflies I had at the size of the school and my new position. I then thought to myself how it must feel for a little child entering the gates on their first day. In my opinion one of the most important things is a welcome, no matter what industry you work in. My aim was to welcome every child no matter what, even if they broke your heart the day before,” Rory laughed. “I think it’s so important.”

FROM PUPILS TO STAFF

I thought to myself the number of welcomes Rory gives daily and asked how many pupils are in attendance at St Oliver's.

“When I arrived at St Oliver's there were 410 students and today we have 680. We help more children with additional needs than any other school in the country, some of which travel the Ring of Kerry to school daily. We have 60 teachers and 26 SNAs and would you believe some of our teachers today were pupils during my term as principal too - Aoife O’Carroll, Gavin O’Shea, Amy O’Shea and Gemma O’Mahoney to name a few.”

“And how many nationalities attend St Oliver’s,” I asked.

"One” Rory replied. I loved that answer and I knew exactly what he meant. “All the children at St Oliver’s NS are Irish Marie. We have a colour coded system here - light blue and dark blue - the colours of our uniform, and red and yellow. You will get green if you mix blue and yellow and you will get orange if you mix yellow and red. Together with white they are the colours of the Irish flag. I remember one little girl who arrived at school in the most beautiful Bangladeshi clothing. I admired her appearance and asked her where she was from to which she replied "I am from Pinewood". There’s your answer Marie. As John Hume said "difference is an accident of birth". We are proud to say that we have many Irish speaking awards from Conradh na Gaeilge.”

I later noticed the rock over Rory’s shoulder which reads St Oliver's in Ogham script, a medieval alphabet used to write the early Irish language.

To conclude we needed a photo to go with my chat with Rory so we took a walk around the back of the school. Another forward thinking COVID friendly classroom, 'The Spooky Garden'. It was so impressive (but way too dark for photography sorry!), another amazing outdoor classroom option within the existing forest grounds, complete with actual tree stumps as seats for each child.

LIFE AT ST OLIVER'S

“Rory, before I put down the pen and paper, can you describe your time at St Oliver's in five words for me?"
Off the cuff he wasn’t phased one bit.

“Big, diverse, fun, busy and happy,” Rory replied. “Diversity breaks down immeasurable barriers and I think St Oliver’s is reflected in Killarney town. It’s a ‘can do’ town. Did you know that the Racecourse, the Town Hall and the Golf Club were all built in the 1930s, and look at how Killarney has adapted so well to COVID-19 with outdoor dining. Killarney is an amazing town of innovation.

As we chatted and snapped Rory explained to me how the Sixth Class pupils Callista, Mark, Nell and William were involved in a programme called CRAG (Children’s Research Advisory Group) with architect and parent Mary O’Connell of MRG, together with teacher Ciaran O Muircheartaigh and Rory himself in the design of two new classrooms to replace two existing prefabs. I was so impressed with this. It reminded me of that Benjamin Franklin quote "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember and involve me and I will learn”. So true.

ONE LAST QUESTION

Photoshoot over I had one last question for Rory; “What will you miss the most about St Oliver's NS?"

“The team. The team at St Oliver's are everything. They are exceptional people to work with Marie. I could not have asked for better over my 19 years here. I have been very blessed to be Principal at such a beautiful school in an equally beautiful town. Yes there were hard times too, but the happy memories that lie here outweigh those by far. Change is good and I really hope I will be as happy in my new position as I have been at St Oliver's.”

All the very best in your future career and thank you for having me at St Oliver’s NS Rory.

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Taking care of your skin at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio In Part 2 of taking care of your skin at home it’s important to do the following steps after cleansing, toning […]

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By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

In Part 2 of taking care of your skin at home it’s important to do the following steps after cleansing, toning and exfoliating your face, neck and décolleté.

Serums, eye creams and moisturisers: Moisturising provides a protective layer to the skin that locks in moisture and keeps skin hydrated. This hydration is what gives your skin a smooth and luminous appearance. This is the step in your skincare routine you don’t want to skip. We always apply the serum closest to the skin as it’s water based and needs to be absorbed on the deepest layer of the skin; the basal layer which is the active layer. It’s where the collagen and elastin start to grow and move up towards the surface of the skin. The more hyaluronic acid, peptides, ribose, and active ingredients in your serums the better. We need to keep our fibroblasts, melanocytes healthy as they are the source of plump, juicy skin.

An eye cream to me is the most important cream as the eye area is a place that doesn’t have any sebaceous glands (oil gland). These glands help remove old skin cells, keep the skin lubricated and prevent tissues drying out. Therefore, for me, I always use an eyelid lifting serum, eye cream in the night time and eye roll-on gel in the morning. Our eyes can make us look older than we are so it’s important to look after them. It’s very important not to go too close to the eye when applying creams as the skin is very thin. A little bit often makes a big difference.

When applying your serum and cream rub upwards and outwards; be careful not to tug the delicate skin around the eyes.

Apply SPF all year round, it’s the most important step in preventing skin cancer and keeps your skin healthy as you age. Protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays helps maintain a healthy youthful visage. However, it’s important to remember the best form of sun block is to keep your face in the shade.

With all skincare routines, it’s important to keep it consistant. Do it twice a day every day and follow with monthly facials. Your skin is the largest organ on the body. This means that it’s important to take good care of it.

For more information, or to book a skin consultation or facial, call Jill on 064 6632966.

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What do we mean by ‘Employability’?

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, a member of the Kerry Branch of IGC and a career consultant at www.mycareerplan.ie. Follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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By Niamh Dwyer, Guidance Counsellor

According to experts in the area of career development, the term ‘employability’ refers to a set of achievements that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations.

This in turn benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy. At this stage in the year Leaving Cert students are well into the process of trying to decide what step they want to take next. It is a daunting task for many of you because of the variety of choices available and the challenge for young people at 17 or 18 years of age to really know what career they might like. It is important to remember that you aren’t choosing a career for life, you are taking the next step and you will be building on that as your career develops. A big concern for many students and parents is whether they will get a job at the end of their chosen course or pathway. While we have some indications of where there will be skills shortages in the short to medium term, the jobs market is subject to change.

PATHWAY

One thing we can be sure of is that, regardless of what pathway you take after the Leaving Cert, be that Further Education courses (FET), traineeships, apprenticeships or university courses, on completion of your training and education you will want to be ‘employable’. In simple terms ‘employability’ depends on your knowledge (what you know) your skills (what you do with what you know) and your attitude (how you approach things). As you research the various options open to you after you finish school, remember you are heading into a working world that values transferable skills which include specialist knowledge in the subject, field of study or technical area you have chosen to follow. It also places huge emphasis on having the ability to analyse, evaluate and use information effectively to problem-solve and to organise and communicate knowledge well. Furthermore, your personal qualities are a core part of your offering to a potential employer – your ability to work on your own initiative, to self-manage, to manage time and meet targets and deadlines. Central to all of this of course is the ability to collaborate, to work and study as part of a team.

If you are struggling to decide between courses or options, focus on finding an area that you really want to find out more about. You will develop a set of transferable skills which will give you flexibility and adaptability as you grow and develop in your career. All of the other things you do will add value to your degree/qualification and that is what will ensure your ‘employability’!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, a member of the Kerry Branch of IGC and a career consultant at www.mycareerplan.ie. Follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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