Congratulations to Mr Billy O’Shea, Principal, the staff and all in Loreto Secondary School Wexford on their recent 150th Anniversary Celebrations. The celebrations consisted of a series of activities which began with a concert in the National Opera House on Sunday night, September 11 in aid of the Wexford Hospice Homecare. On Monday, September 12, the stories of the two pioneering women were told to all students in the school – “The Mary Ward and Teresa Ball Stories”. The school which is looking forward to starting a brand new chapter in November 2017 when it moves to a custom-built 900-pupil campus in Killeens, was first established in Wexford on September 17, 1866 by the sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) better known in Ireland as the Loreto Sisters. First established in a premises on George’s Street in Wexford town, before moving to Spawell Road, Loreto Wexford had an enrolment of some 103 students by the following June. Fast forward to 2016 and a 720-strong student body attend school at Loreto Wexford.
The celebrations continued on Wednesday, September 14, when a 150th Anniversary Book was launched in the Talbot Hotel along with the unveiling of a huge Loreto commemorative cake which had been specially baked for the occasion. Students and staff recreated a school day from 1866 on Thursday, September 15, dressing up in old style clothing and imagining what it was like without computers, whiteboards, mobile phones, canteen microwaves, cars and school buses. Then on Friday, September 16, a special anniversary Mass was celebrated in Rowe Street Church by the Bishop of Ferns, Denis Brennan. Past-pupils were invited back to the school for an afternoon of nostalgia on Saturday, September 17
A school walk in typical 1866 dress took place to Wexford Racecourse for music, games and a picnic in aid of the Loreto Secondary School in Rumbek, South Sudan on Tuesday, September 20 and the entire school community comprising 720 students and their teachers lined up in a formation of ‘150’ for an aerial photograph on Wednesday, September 21. A panel discussion on the theme of ‘150 years done -what now for the future’ with contributors and audience was held in the Talbot Hotel on Thursday, September 22.
The anniversary celebrations closed on Friday, September 23 with a classroom party and table quiz when a short prayer service was conducted before the school closed early to facilitate a lunch for past and present staff members. As the school celebrates its 150th birthday, Principal Billy O’Shea is confident that Loreto values will remain at the core of its work with young women well into the future.
Aoie Carty, Brendan Howlin TD, Billy O’Shea (performed launch), Tom Gunning and Rebecca Crean pictured at the launch of the Loreto Secondary School Wexford 150th. Anniversary Book ‘Lasting Values’ in the Talbot Hotel. Pic: John Walsh