Former TD and Minister for Education, Mary O’Rourke, was the special guest at Lanesboro Community college on Thursday, September 5, for the official opening of the school's new science building - Arás na hEolaíocht.
The opening ceremony commenced with a harp recital, while attendees were also treated to performances from some of the students in the form of spoken word, a piano recital, Irish dancing and a song from a band formed in the school.
Principal of Lanesboro Community college, Bernice Martin, welcomed everyone in attendance and thanked everyone who was involved in the project from start to finish.
She told to the Leader: "A huge amount of work has gone in behind the scenes and today has been a wonderful day, a day of celebration of what our school is all about - a tight knit community spirit.
“It is a wonderful day for the school and for the students involved in the opening of the building.
Continuing, she said: " It is great to have this modern facility now to back up all of the work that has been done by teachers in the past, in the areas of science and STEM subjects.
"The students now have all the equipment that they need to hand. In comparison to the science lab that we had, it is a wonderful facility for the students."
Ms Martin says the new building has come at the right time, with a greater emphasis now placed on STEM subjects than in the past.
"There is a huge emphasis now on STEM subjects.
“Really they are the way forward. Careers down the line will be linked to STEM subjects and this facility will hopefully encourage students to take part in these subjects.
“It broadens their minds and that's what we are all about. It is not so much about the content of the subject, but having the skills so they can adapt once they enter a working environment.”
Deputy principal, Michael Lyons, introduced special guest speaker on the day, former TD Ms Mary O’Rourke and the former Minister for Education praised the renewed focus on STEM subjects in education.
“They are the way forward, there is no doubt about it,” she said.
“In our day we didn’t pay too much attention to STEM subjects, but they are very necessary requisite for today and tomorrow’s world.”
Offering some final words of encouragement she said: “To the young people in particular, the world is before you.”
Following Mary’s address, Dr Christy Duffy of Longford Westmeath ETB was invited to say a few words and he described the occasion as a ‘great day’ for everyone involved in the school, lauding the ‘great people’ who made the project possible.
He said: “Today is a great day to be a student or have an involvement in Lanesboro community college, it is just wonderful.
“The building sometimes tells the story of a school and the story of this school is that it is growing and developing. The building doesn’t make the school, the people make the school and the people make a great school, great.
“Here in Lanesboro, that is what you have in spades, great people at the heart of the school.”
Willie Dennigan, Lanesboro community college Board of Management, thanked everyone involved in the project, before praising Longford Westmeath ETB for their unanimous support of the development from the get-go.
Following the conclusion of the event, which included the unveiling of a plaque and planting of a tree to honour the occasion, students treated attendees to a tour of the new building, while also performing some scientific experiments and more.
Ms Martin, principal of Lanesboro Community college, says it is hoped that this new building will allow the school to achieve even greater success in the field of science, especially after significant success in recent years.
"For a small school, the students really have excelled in the area of science and in our involvement in the BT young scientists exhibition.
"Now we have the facility in place, we can expect a lot more success," she added.