AFTER 36 years at Lurgan College, Home Economics teacher Rosemary Sinton has decided to call it a day.
Rosemary started the school in 1975, taking over the HE department from Isobel Hunter.
She had previously done a probationary year at St Mary’s High School in Lurgan and also completed her second year teaching practice there. She’d also done a final teaching practice at Lurgan College.
A past pupil of Princess Garden Schoool she moved on to the School of Domestic Science at Garnerville House, which was later integrated into the University of Ulster.
She graduated in Domestic Science in the summer of 1974.
Rosemary said: “After my teaching practice and probationary year I was hired by Mr James Truesdale. I learnt so much under his tutelage. Ian Wilson contacted me this week to remind me that I was the last teacher to leave the school who was recruited by Mr Truesdale.”
As well as responsibility for Home Economics, Mrs Sinton alsotaught some RE in her early years and in latterly was involved in the delivery of Learning for Life and Work.
She was also involved with the Scripture Union for over 20 years and attended many memorable SU House Parties with fellow teachers Mr Wilson, Mr Bateman, and the late Mrs Johnston.
Rosemary said: “I will miss it. My lasting memories will be of the fun, friendship, support and loyalty from both pupils and colleagues.”
She said the highlights were the outstanding achievement of some of her students.
Fiona McCullough (1991) and Esther Wright (2007) got the top marks in HE at A-Level in Northern ireland and in 1993 Alanna Calvert won the Dairy Council Young Cook of the Year award.
She went on to break down some of the myths surrounding HE.
“A common misconception of HE is that it’s all about learning to cook. It’s very science based. Nutrition is really fundamental.
“HE is not just for girls. Most years we have boys take Home Economics at GCSE. We don’t have so many at A-Levels. I remember Neil Abraham was the first boy to do an A-Level in HE at the school. That was the class of ‘91.”
Rosemary continued: “Something that has given me huge pleasure in recent years is that I’ve had a very large number of children in HE whose mothers I taught. There’s also been a lot of children who have come back to the school as teachers.”
Rosemary and her husband Dan, who received an MBE recently for Public Service, live in Tamnaghmore. They have three children - James, David and William and a 10-month old grandson Oliver.
Rosemary is a Quaker and attends Friends Meeting House in Portmore Street, Portadown.
During her career Rosemary spent a lot of time on pastoral care: “I was privileged to work with pupils in times of difficulty.”
She retires as head of Years 13 and 14 having had pastoral responsibility for almost half the school for many years.
She said her retirement would give her more time to spend with her parents Tom and Gertie Irwin who live in Moira. She commented: “I feel fortunate in that both my parents are still alive and I will be able to spend more time with them in my retirement.”