Model celebrates 149th anniversary

LURGAN Model Primary School and Nursery Unit recently celebrated 149 years. The school opened on Monday, March 2, 1863.

Monday, 2nd April 2012, 8:23 am

To mark this occasion, and to begin the countdown to 150 years, former principals of Lurgan Model were invited back to plant a tree in the school grounds.

Attending the tree planting were all five living principals who have ran the school from 1973 onwards.

When the school first opened in 1863 there were 384 children enrolled.

This seems like a lot in comparison with the 184 students that attend the school now.

In 1863, however, the attendance of students was poor reaching on average between 33 and 50 percent.

This was most likely due to children of that era being encouraged to earn money rather than an education.

The total cost when building the school was £8,000 which may not seem like much in present day but would have been a considerable sum at the time.

The first principal of the Model was Mr Alexander Greer.

This role has been passed down over the years and is currently held by Mr Rodger Toner, he has been a staff member at the school since 1998 and been principal since 2000.

Mr Toner revealed some details of what the school has planned over the next year.

Coming up to the 150 year anniversary the school would like to host a school play as well as creating a magazine about the school.

The Model is keen to collect information from past pupils and former members of staff or their families.

The hope is that an archive of information and photographs can be created and built upon.

Already some photographs have arrived in school, the oldest from 1900 and another from 1928.

The research so far tells them that there were no school uniforms until the 1950s.

Mr Toner said, “We would be happy with copies of photos and would be happy to return the original.”

He went on to say that if anyone would have information or photos on past principals it would be helpful as they would like to build a “timeline” for the archive.

Photos of Mr Thornberry, who was the longest running principal from 1943 to 1973, would be particularly welcomed.

If you have anything which you can contribute you can contact the school directly or alternatively pictures can be sent via the school website: