TCS - the early years

TCS - the early years - Page 8

Looking back at the distance of 30 years I have to record my admiration for the generosity of teachers who gave far beyond their strict duties to help these pupils. From my visits and contacts since I retired I know that the same dedication is still there, and in many cases from teachers who were there at the beginning. I may be permitted a personal memory. Remember the first 3 R, who had come in to the school with a variety of learning difficulties. They were persuaded to stay on to Leaving Cert and they finished with 5 passes in a restricted range of subjects. I gave one boy his results and when he stopped cheering and laughing he turned to me and said “I’ll get the ------ maths next year ". To all the teachers who encouraged them, cajoled them, gave out to them, stayed with them I can only say “Well done"

In May 1974 the school was officially opened by the Minister Mr. Dick Burke with the official blessing by the Catholic and Church of Ireland Archbishops of Dublin. There had been a change of government and the new Minister was not very enthusiastic about the community dimension of the school He stated "A school is a school is a school". Fortunately for us the momentum was such that it was impossible to halt it, and, each year, new community schools were opening in various parts of the country.

Soon the full community element of the school was under way with adult education classes and the use of the facilities of the sports complex by local groups. In the school success soon came in a wide variety of sports, we made our first steps in stage productions There were always problems to be solved and there were differences of opinion among us - sometimes sharp - always open to solution.

For me it has been a rare privilege to have been associated with this school. I can only thank all who worked with me on this undertaking Board, teaching colleagues, office and caretaking staff, parents and above all the pupils. You, the pupils, are the school. I am happy that we have in some way helped you on in life, and to those whom we did not always succeed in helping I say “do not think too unkindly of us".

Recently I came on a poetic image of the teacher. The teacher is the gatekeeper at the gate of knowledge who can close or open that gate for the pupils. The teachers of Tallaght Community School have opened an infinity of gates over the last 30 years for the children of that “Pilgrim People".