Offaly school principal retires after 26 years service

Tribune Reporter

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Patricia Grimes, centre, with the teaching staff at Ballyboy NS

Friday October 23rd was a significant day for the School Community of Scoil Bhríde Ballyboy. Due to Covid 19 restrictions a large gathering was not possible, however, instead, the entire community gathered together in spirit, if not in body, to pay tribute and wish a fond farewell, to retiring Principal, Patricia Grimes.

Patricia has served the school community with dedication and loyalty for the past 26 years. She was appointed principal of Scoil Bhríde in 1994. Since then she has totally invested herself in the school and community of Ballyboy. Her creative, innovative thinking, practical no nonsense attitude, along with her enormous generosity, kindness and warmth has touched, inspired and left a lasting impression on so many lives. As a mentor she gave understanding and advice, as a colleague she was a true friend, as a teacher, she taught the joy of learning and helped shape so many careers and successes.

It has been said that teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say. Patricia was always warm, welcoming, full of fun, kindness, caring and giving. She displayed a sense of altruism and generosity of spirit which has been an inspiration to adults and children alike. Her dedication over the years to charitable work in Africa has cultivated in Scoil Bhríde, an ethos of charity and support for the less well off. Patricia has worked tirelessly in the pursuit of education for children, not only in Ballyboy, but also as far away as Kenya and Tanzania. The twinning of Scoil Bhríde with a school in Ewuaso, Kenya has taught us all to look outward and it has provided a wonderful source of real-life learning for the children and a belief in our ability, that, even though we are small, together we can make a big difference. Her encouragement of the school’s Millenium Pledge to provide annual bursaries for the education of children in Tanzania has led to such memorable community events as the school’s annual Enterprise Day and annual Christmas Carol Singing. These events have created precious memories for so many of us and our children and have impacted on the lives of so many children further afield.

On this special occasion to honour Patricia’s huge contribution to Ballyboy, she was presented with a Book of Memories, a compilation of pictures, dedications, photos and tributes from pupils and staff, past and present and from all those in the school community whose lives she touched. She was also presented with a beautiful collection of good wishes, memories and songs from the children, recorded and compiled by Jared Madden, drama teacher. The Board of Management Chairwoman, Catherine Buckley, and Parents’ Committee Chairman John Gill, also made presentations on behalf of the pupils, parents and school community, among them, a spectacular and unique framed, inscribed, photograph of Ballyboy church, taken by John Gill. The children, in their “bubbles” serenaded Ms Grimes off with the Beatles “ Here comes the sun” and Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”!

Patricia has truly been inspiring. Her teachings will forever be treasured, her contribution to the school and to all our lives can never be measured. It is with heavy hearts we see her go, but no-one can say goodbye to a teacher like her, because she’ll be forever in our hearts. We thank her for her dedication, kindness and generosity of spirit. As she plans for the future, we wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement… Patricia, you’ve inspired our souls with a precious legacy. May you be proud of the work you have done, the person you are and the difference you have made. Here’s to new beginnings and happy memories…. Is go maire tú an gcéad.