St Mary’s teachers call it a day after 35 years

St Mary's High School teachers, Mrs Rosemary McAreavy and Mrs Marian McStravick who are retiring after more than 33 years each, with Ms Deirdre McNally, principal and Mrs Sinead Carlin, vice principal. INLM27-106gc
St Mary's High School teachers, Mrs Rosemary McAreavy and Mrs Marian McStravick who are retiring after more than 33 years each, with Ms Deirdre McNally, principal and Mrs Sinead Carlin, vice principal. INLM27-106gc

Two teachers from St Mary’s have retired after devoting the careers to the school.

Rosemary McAreavey came to the school in the late seventies as an English teacher, but soon became a woman of many subjects.

Rosemary said: “From the outset I taught in the English department (Learning Support), however I was persuaded to retrain for the Science department and taught science along with English for a number of years. I have also taught Home Economics and Child Development and in later years I became Senior Teacher in St Mary’s and Head of Pastoral Care.”

She added: “Education is ever-changing, for example the revised curriculum, but the biggest change is soon to happen – the amalgamation of St Mary’s, St Paul’s and St Michael’s into one non-selective school.

Regarding the highlights of her teaching careers Rosemary said she’ll never forget “the laughter and joy shared every day with pupils and staff in the school”.

She said the lowest point was making the decision that it was time for me to leave a job I had enjoyed for 35 years.

Rosemary moved from Coleraine to Garrymore in 1980 where she settled with her husband Brendan from Armagh. They have two children - a boy and a girl.

She spoke of her plans for retirement: “I plan to rest for at least a month then set in place travel plans.

“I have children in England to annoy, exotic places to visit, new skills to be learned and others to be honed. According to my husband’s friends, I’ll be destroying his ‘party’ that he has enjoyed since he left work some years ago!”

Like Rosemary, fellow departing teacher Marian McStravick came to the school in the late seventies. Originally from Portadown, Marian is a former pupil of St Michael’s Grammar School.

After starting as a general studies teacher, in 1981, Marian was appointed as Head of the RE department and was later appointed as Head of Year 11. During her time in St Mary’s, she was appointed by Bishop McAreavey as Diocesan Advisor to the Post Primary Schools in the diocese.

She listed the highs of her teaching career: “As well as feeling privileged to have worked with many generations of young people in Lurgan, the RE department afforded me many wonderful opportunities outside the classroom,” she said.

“It gave me the opportunity to introduce pupils to other Christian denominations and to visit the all the local churches in Lurgan where we were always made very welcome

“Back in 1979, I accompanied a group of young people to Galway on the occasion of John Paul II’s visit to Ireland

“In 2006, met the Dalai Lama with a group of year 10 pupils and I accompanied a group in 2007 to meet President Mary McAleese in Aras an Uachtaran.”

As part of school’s involvement in a history/conservation project related to St Peter’s Church renovations, she also met His Royal Highness Prince Charles.

Marian is married to Paul and has two children - a boy and a girl. She plans to use her retirement to enjoy her new grandson.

She commented: “I want to thank all the parents for their constant support over the years and the pupils, past and present, that I have been privileged to teach.”