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Mary makes history as The Mon’s first ever female Principal

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After months of speculation as to ‘who would it be’ to replace popular Principal Colm O Súilleabháin at the Mon NS, all bets were on Mary Brosnan, an existing teacher at the school.

Well-known for her "zesty" and "up for the challenge of whatever life throws at her" personality, evidently displayed on the stage at Dr Crokes Strictly Come Dancing amongst many other events, it came as no surprise that Mary Brosnan would in fact ‘go for it’!

“I really had to think about it Marie. I thought to myself what would I be doing going for such a position with five children and my youngest just three?" Mary explained.

"After careful consideration it soon became a given. I had held the position of Deputy Principal for the past 10 years [out of 16] at The Mon so I knew the school inside out. I worked so closely with Colm to achieve the fabulous school that The Mon is today. Marie, I knew I would always have five children but I also knew I would always love The Mon. The support amongst my family and friends and my colleagues was fantastic and I was lucky enough to receive the advice and time from people within my field before the interview. This was so helpful to me and I was absolutely delighted to get the position.”

Ok, let’s hear a little bit more about Mary Brosnan, I smiled.

Mary gulped and took a sip of water from her pink flask that read ‘Principal’. “One of our SNAs, Geraldine Pigott, gifted me this on my first day and I actually use it all the time,” Mary laughed. I wanted to use it as a prop in Mary’s accompanying photo but she was having none of it!

CAREER

Mary Brosnan was born in Killarney but soon moved to Tralee as her dad worked in the bank at a time where bank managers were moved regularly. From Tralee to Middleton and back to Killarney, Mary’s education was at St Oliver's NS followed by Presentation, she then repeated her Leaving Cert as one of the first of 10 girls at The Sem before heading on to UCC to study Science - which she hated.

“I missed the classroom so much. I knew then that I wanted to teach. I spent three years in Mary I before teaching in St Anthony’s Ballyknock in Cork. When a position arose at The Mon I was delighted at the thoughts of returning to Killarney. Would you believe I have never taught girls. It has always been boys schools apart from a few weeks college placement.”

“What has been your favourite class to teach Mary?”

“Initially, I thought that it was Junior/Senior Infants. I loved teaching the children how to read, a skill that would stay with them for life, but then when I moved to The Mon, I found Fifth and Sixth Class equally as rewarding. It wasn’t just about teaching, it was about educating in life skills as well as academically. These are impressionable years and there is a similar innocence too,” Mary replied.

“So what’s changed for you Mary now that you are seated in the Principal's chair?"

“Everything has changed but nothing has changed if that makes sense Marie. The school is exactly as it was on a day to day basis but we miss Colm alright. We are delighted for him as new Principal at St Oliver’s NS. He has fantastic forward thinking skills but he needed a bigger platform I think. He has a brilliant mind. The timing might have been a little off, given he doesn’t get to enjoy our brand new school that he carefully masterminded, but when is the timing ever right Marie?” Mary replied. If it’s for you it won’t pass you came to mind.

The Mon NS educates 40 different nationalities but as Mary says herself, "they are all Killarney boys, and they are all Mon boys". There are 16 teachers, six SNAs, Secretary Alice and Caretaker Tadhg, and between them all they educate 190 pupils from Second to Sixth Class. It’s a big ship to steer but it didn’t seem like a big deal to Mary. It comes naturally to her.

As I left the Principal's office, we passed by the outdoor classroom and Dott’s garden, one of the new additions to the school. It really is impressive even on a cold and wet November morning. Complete with an outdoor blackboard, weatherproof seating and sheltered by a sturdy gazebo, only that it was pelting rain we might have taken Mary’s photo there.

Breaking boundaries, Mary was one of the first females to complete a Leaving Cert at an all boys school across the road at The Sem, and Mary has taught nothing other than boys throughout her career. In her personal life Mary and her husband Eoin are blessed amongst women with five daughters; Annie, Elizabeth, Jane, Susie and Maryann, but quite the opposite in her career as the first ever female Principal in the history of The Mon NS.

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SURVEY: Locals are reducing their social contacts

It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week. An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their […]

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It is just over a week since new restrictions were announced by the Government in an another effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In our latest online poll we asked our readers if they had reduced their social contacts over the course of the last week.

An overwhelming 62.90% said they had reduced their level of contacts with people.

Interestingly, 37.10% of people had made no change to their lifestyle, but they could have been extra cautious already.

A tiny minority – just 1.61% – said they increased their social contacts over the last week.

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Staff and students highlight important message

By Michelle Crean Local students went to great efforts on Friday last to highlight a very important message about inclusion. Staff and students in Killarney Community College came together for ‘Stand Up Awareness Week’ as part of a national campaign where second-level schools take a stand against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. All staff wore […]

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By Michelle Crean

Local students went to great efforts on Friday last to highlight a very important message about inclusion.

Staff and students in Killarney Community College came together for ‘Stand Up Awareness Week’ as part of a national campaign where second-level schools take a stand against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

All staff wore a rainbow colour and students wore rainbow coloured accessories to show their support for the campaign as Killarney Community College is a diverse, inclusive, accepting, and welcoming safe space for everyone.

The majority of students made a particularly great effort in terms of wearing rainbow coloured accessories were awarded house points.

During the week, the LGBTI+ flag was hanging proudly in the school canteen. Transition Years decorated the General Purpose area with informative posters, and in SPHE classes, students learned about LGBTI+ terminology and history.

“It’s important that school is a safe and inclusive place for anyone attending regardless of their race, sex, religion or sexuality,” Principal, Stella Loughnane, said.

“I’m delighted that our school community marked the occasion and brought great colour while highlighting a very important message. One of the key words of our mission statement is inclusion making this awareness day a very apt one.”

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