History of St Josephs Convent National School
1957 to 2008.
In 1954 plans were submitted to erect new primary school designed by a Longford man Fred Browne. The amount required to build the new school was £100,000. The Sisters of Mercy provided a site on the same grounds as the old school, gave a generous donation in cash and helped to raise more by organising sales, concerts and other money-making activities.
The school was officially opened by the then Minister For Education, Mr Jack Lynch, on Oct 10th 1957. It was a long spacious building with thirteen classrooms and assembly hall, cloakrooms and toilets. The administrative block includes cooking room, staff room and principal’s office. The new school was also named St Joseph’s and accommodated 584 pupils. Teachers and pupils were very happy with their new school. Having all facilities, particularly the toilets under one roof was a great asset!!
Up to the 1970′s, the teaching staff at St Joseph’s were almost entirely Sisters. However, around this time more lay teachers had to be employed. This was because of a decline of vocations, some of the Sisters left to establish a school in Ely, Nevada and an increase in the number of pupils coming from the town itself.
By 1975 there were a record of 832 pupils in the school. That year, an extension consisting of eight classrooms, a hall, cloakrooms and toilets, were built under the supervision of the then principal Sr. Scholastica. She was also responsible for the building of a lunch room which was totally financed by the Sisters. In Sept 1976 a new school extension was opened to cater for the ever increasing population, adding 11 new classrooms to the existing 13.
1974 to 1975 saw the building of a large, well -equipped lunchroom/kitchen adjacent to the school which offered hot lunches and was extended to a breakfast club. Sr Scholastica continued her great work as principal until her sudden death in 1981. She was succeeded by Sr Beatrice. In spite of the extension of 1975 there was still a shortage of space in the 1980s. Every available space was occupied including dressing rooms, hall and cookery room.
In 1993 after 132 years of the Sisters of Mercy being in charge, Mrs Loretta Farrell became the first lay Principal. In 1994 St Joseph’s was the first school in the midlands to have a special Speech and Language unit. In 2001 the Senior Speech & Language class was established.
1957 to 1966: Mother Bernard Gill
1966 to 1981: Sr Scholastica Kenny
1981 to 1993: Sr Beatrice Ruddy
1993 to Present: Mrs Loretta Farrell