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Do you recognise this graduate?

30 June 2011

Photo Photo

For those of you looking for a clue as to her identity, she graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1985 with a degree in Celtic Studies. The following autumn she joined the first cohort of PGCE teacher trainees who did a teaching practice in an Irish-medium school. After completing her initial training, she was hired by the Bunscoil Phobal Feirste, the same school in which she had her school experience during the PGCE. In 2001, she left the school to join the lecturing staff here at St Mary’s where she is currently a member of the Irish Medium Team.

She fondly remembers the diverse group of students who trained with her on the PGCE. Coming from both city and country, they had a wide variety of interests and previous educational backgrounds. In fact, the above 1985 picture of her (middle) is a close-up taken from a group shot of her class. At that time St Joseph’s had not yet joined with St Mary’s, and she remembers travelling back and forth between the two sites in the familiar black taxi. “We were very much a part of the West Belfast Community”, she remembers.

In thinking about her education at St Mary’s, she fondly remembers the individual attention given to her by her lecturers and how they, as teachers, emphasised the importance of the individual and the use of activities to foster active learning. She particularly remembers the kindness and guidance of Brendan McMorrow who was the course coordinator during her studies. “He was highly professional and caring”, she remarks, “and we were all very fond of him”.

She also remembers the emphasis in her teacher training on environmental studies and fondly remembers nature walks led by science lecturer Jim O’Meara, who had a very practical approach to the teaching of science. In 1991 and 1992 she took further CPD courses in sciences at the College.

When joining the St Mary’s lecturing staff in 2001, she commented that the ethos was reminiscent of her experience of 15 years ago: a close-knit community dedicated to humane values, and, within her department, a deep love for the Irish language.

This year St Mary’s will be celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first cohort of co-educational students. Our ‘mystery person’ was one of these students. If you know who she is, or would like to know, e-mail us at j.worley@smucb.ac.uk and identify yourself as a former St Mary’s or St Joseph’s student.

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