On Friday 20th September last, over 80 past pupils / "Beaufort Girls" attended the 5th Annual Beaufort Past Pupils Dinner in Castle Golf Club, Rathfarnham.
As President of the 2013 Beaufort Past Pupils Annual Reunion, I was delighted to extend a very warm welcome to all and a special welcome to our Guests:
- Margaret O’Donoghue Principal, Loreto Beaufort
- Sr. Rosemary, Loreto Order
- Hugh McGauran – our Main Sponsor
- Nóirín Hegarty, Guest speaker and past pupil (’83)
The Dinner (and golf outing) are non-profit-making. It’s all about us Beaufort Girls getting together, renewing friendships and sharing memories. It’s also a great opportunity to hear about the Beaufort of today and to support the great work that the Loreto Sisters continue to do in educating young girls.
Before Sr. Rosemary said grace, we remembered the passing of Ceara Bergin (nee Geoghegan), Catherine Chamberlain and Sr. Grace Consuelo. I shared some memories of the life of Sr. Consuelo who had been a very popular member of the staff of Loreto High School for many years.
Sr. Consuelo, who was 96 years of age when she died, had been on the staff of Loreto High School, Beaufortsince returning to Ireland in 1956 from Gibraltar where she had been missioned since 1945 and where she had started the High School for girls. Most of the dinner attendees had been taught by Sr. Consuelo and remembered fondly the sound of her large bunch of keys as she hurried along the corridors and the sight of her chalky habit!
Having made plans for her retirement she then spent many busy years as a Minister of the Eucharist in Terenure parish visiting nursing homes and people living alone. She was a very versatile woman with strong views, but always open (after a good argument!) to other people’s opinions. May her great soul rest in peace.
Bronwyn O’Donnell then told us about the great work done by the Loreto Order in Loreto Rumbek in South Sudan (which was the beneficiary for the charity raffle on the night). Bronwyn told us that of the 18 graduates to date, 14 of which are now in University. In November this year, another 28 Loreto girls will graduate and again most will go on to University which is fantastic. The demand for secondary education is now great with over 50 first year students this year.
The success of the secondary school has now resulted in the need to provide a new primary school building. Currently there are 480 boys and girls in the Primary school, all still under the lulu trees. They get a hot meal every day and love coming to school. The plan is to begin building a primary school in 2014.
There are also 30 older local girls who came to the Primary school this year, so a 6th & 7th Class was created for them. These are preparation classes for the Secondary school for girls who have missed out in Primary and the hope is that they will become day students in the Secondary school in another year.
There is also an Adult Education Programme, teaching English and skills to adults who have never had the chance to go to school because of the war and the school is also used during holiday time for teacher training. So all in all the progress in this school over the past 7 years has been superb.
A pre-dinner drinks reception compliments of Castle Golf Club, was then followed by a delicious three course dinner.
Our “Guest Speaker” on the night was Nóirín Hegarty (class of 1983) and a well-known journalist and media contributor and is a former Editor of the Sunday Tribune and independent.ie. Nóirín spoke of her strong desire whilst she was still in Beaufort to train in journalism and her much loved mentor, Séan MacConnell, who passed away recently and had encouraged her from the age of 14 right through her career.
Nóirín’s two sisters Orla and Bronagh and her two daughters, Róisín and Ella Hopkins are also past pupils of Loreto Beaufort so her ties and loyalty to the school are very strong. Nóirín shared with us some key messages one of which was an encouragement for women to ‘lean in’ to their careers and also for mothers to pass values on to their sons to respect and promote gender equality. “Educating girls is not enough as women are still not breaking through to senior management and board level in the numbers they should be. As women we also have to educate our sons to view women as equals in the home, in school and consequently in the workplace, in order for real change to occur” she said.
Next up to speak was Margaret O’Donoghue, Principal of Beaufort. We were all captured by her enthusiasm and pride in her students and Beaufort today. She reported that the school is now at its maximum intake with over 600 pupils all of whom have a strong Loreto spirit and social conscience. Margaret quoted Seamas Heaney who said recently on his deathbed “don’t be afraid” and she pledged to continue in Beaufort to work hard to have a vibrant and happy school.
After Dinner there were some thanks…
So many local businesses sponsored prizes for our charity raffle in aid of Loreto Rumbek and have committed to sponsoring for a number of years (mind you if you were faced with the formidable Bronwyn, you’d probably agree to anything too!! ). They are featured on our Website.
Our Main Sponsor, Hugh McGauran of Home Instead Senior Care said a few words about his associations with Beaufort! Hugh was also rightfully there as a Beaufort past pupil having attended the kindergarten – so food for thought – this could become a mixed event!
A very special thanks was extended to the “small Committee” who are an amazing engine of organization and have made this annual event go from strength to strength. We owe them a huge gratitude for all the work they have done
- Bronwyn O’Donnell (nee Byrne) who is the mastermind behind everything and organises the raffle for Loreto Rumbek
- Louise McKennedy (nee Lannigan) who took bookings for the golf timesheet and dinner reservations and of course collected the money
- Suzanne Elliott who was the primary contact with Castle golf club, did the table plan and was our photographer for the afternoon timesheet
- Mary O’Gorman (D’Arcy) who did huge work in building and maintaining the database, looking after all the communications and was photographer for the morning timesheet.
After dinner we had the prize-giving for the Golf Outing that took place during the day with special thanks to Stephanie Graham and Joan Merrigan for running the registration desk and thanks also to Patricia Gleeson for once again doing the cards. Bronagh O’Flanagan (Class of ’83) won the Beaufort Cup with a great score (see attachment for results).
There then followed the charity Raffle, held to raise much needed funds for Loreto Rumbek in Southern Sudan. Bronwyn’s words inspired everyone and we were delighted to raise over €1,100 for this very worthy cause. Sr. Noelle Corscadden (Provincial Leader) was absolutely thrilled to receive such a fantastic cheque and she commented later that she was extremely thankful and very appreciative for all the genuine interest and continued financial support for Loreto Rumbek from the past pupils of Loreto Beaufort.
AND THEN… the craic began with dancing to live music from The Bandits which was a new idea of the Committee and was enjoyed by all. As in previous years the chatting, reminiscing, catching-up and laughing went into the wee hours for some! (Yes, of course it was the usual suspects!)
The 2013 Annual Beaufort Past Pupils’ Dinner was yet another great succes.
Date for your Diary
Next year’s dinner and golf event will be held once again in Castle Golf Club on Friday 19th September 2014.
Finally it was a great honour to be your President this year and I am delighted to announce that next year’s President is Suzanne Elliott (Class of 1993).
Eimear Cowhey (nee Murphy)
President Loreto Beaufort Past Pupils’ 2013