St. Cronan's Boys' National School, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

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Mr Dodd's Retirement

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St. Cronan's Bids Farewell to Vaughan Dodd

Mr. Vaughan Dodd retired this Christmas, after 20 years as principal of St. Cronan's Boys National School in Bray. A large cross section of the school community, including past and present staff and parents, local Principals, Parish representatives, together with family and friends gathered in the school hall on Saturday 17th December for an evening of celebration, hosted by the Board of Management.

When he arrived to St. Cronan's in September 1991, it was located in the old school building on Vevay Hill, which is now occupied by Gaelscoil Uí Chéadaigh. He took the reins from the retiring Principal Seán Cotter, and headed up a team of 11 teachers, and a very small ancillary staff. There were about 360 pupils in the school from 2nd to 6th class, with over 35 pupils in each class. Mr. Dodd came with the valuable experience gained during his 7 years as Principal of St. Fergal's Junior School, and prior to this, as a teacher in St. Fergal's Senior School and Westland Row.

During his time in the school, Mr. Dodd has lead many changes; including the building of a brand new school building in Vevay Crescent in 1999, and a further 6 classroom extension in 2009. The school now caters for boys from 1st class upwards, and its enrolment has grown to over 500 pupils, along with a teaching staff of 26, and over 10 additional staff.

Tree Planting

Chairperson of the Board of Management, Gerry Cosgrave along with staff members Vera Nolan, Mícheál Ó Murchú, Dave Barry and Karl Ó Broin all spoke on the night, as did Fr John O'Connell and Barry Groves, Chairperson of the Parents' Association. All spoke of Mr. Dodd's tireless professional dedication to enrich the experience of the pupils in the school and his efforts to ensure St. Cronan's would be regarded as an inclusive and progressive school. Others spoke of his many personal qualities including his approachability and patience, and his many interests including music, sport, the Irish language and local history.

Presentations were made on the night by the Board of Management and the school staff, in appreciation of his work and leadership over the years. The school staff also unveiled a plaque, dedicating the most recent school extension to Mr. Dodd. The inscription on the plaque simply stated "Molann an obair an fear" ("The mark of the man is his work").

The night finished with traditional Irish music and songs as a true celebration of the Bray man who gave so much to the whole community of Bray.

There were a number of other events to mark Mr. Dodd's retirement during his last week in the school. The school staff gathered to plant a mountain ash tree at the entrance to the school in his honour, and all of the pupils in the school presented Mr. Dodd with a book which they had compiled of their memories of him and their wishes for his future. The Parents' Association also paid tribute to him and made a presentation in the school hall.

Read Mr. Dodd's Farewell
"Slán agus Beannacht"

Slán agus Beannacht

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I wish to say how deeply grateful I am for your overwhelming generosity and support recently. As I leave St. Cronan's after 20 years the thing I will miss most, other than the exuberance and happiness of the boys, is the unity of purpose and mutual respect between the parents and staff. Over the years there have been very few low points or disagreements and no rows! That for me is success. As for our effectiveness in our primary duty of enabling the boys to learn who they are and to accept their strengths and weaknesses, only time will tell if our input as worked.

Just as the conductor may be part of the orchestra without actually making any music, so the school principal can be a little distant from where the real pupil learning is taking place. The heroes in any school are the teachers and the parents. Year on year, we have been so fortunate to have the best of teachers who respect and encourage all our pupils.

The past twenty years have been 'of their time' a stage in the long history of our school. The future direction will now be led by Ms Tierney and I know she will receive the wonderful support afforded to me.
It has been a privilege to have played a small part in your son's life so I wish him every success in school and in life.

Míle buíochas
Vaughan Dodd

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