Student Is Third Generation To Attend St Pius X

 

 

  

REFLECTION

In early September 1964 I found myself going through the gates of the new St Pius X Intermediate School.  This was the first intermediate school which served the Catholic community in Magherafelt and the surrounding areas of Ballymaguigan, Newbridge, Castledawson, Loup, Ballinderry and Moneymore.

Coming from St. Treas, Ballymaguigan, a small rural primary school, St Pius was an exciting yet daunting place to come to. At that time it consisted of approximately 250-260 students and 12 teachers in comparison to St Treas which consisted of approximately 80 – 90 children and 3 teachers.

Before St Pius opened I would have remained at St Treas until I was 15 at which time I would have left. I was 14 and had only one more year to do at school so I was placed in fourth year at St Pius, the senior class at that time.

A significant change for me going to St Pius was that I had to walk one mile to catch a bus which meant I had to leave home a lot earlier. This was bad news for my parents who had the task of getting me out of bed! One thing that didn’t change was I continued to wear my own clothes as a school uniform had not yet been designed for St Pius.

It really did not take very long to get into the routine of the new school and, although the layout took a bit of getting used to, I eventually knew where I should be at a certain time. It did seem a bit strange for a while being with 5 or 6 teachers in one day and being taught a variety of subjects in comparison to one teacher at St Treas who taught all subjects. I do remember looking forward to my favourite subjects; history, geography and, of course, PE.

The PE teacher, Mr Murray, was looking for volunteers to start the first basketball team and I found myself in this team as well as in the first Gaelic football team under Mr Hinfey (that was when Gaelic was Gaelic). Seriously, it was a pleasure to be in both these teams in my only year at the school which reminds me how quickly that year passed for me.

As I wasn’t considering further education I left St Pius in June 1965 and began an apprenticeship in the building trade. It’s ironic that I am writing this in my retirement year having spent 50 years in that trade. The upside to that was 1965 was a great time to be a teenager for after all the 60s were just kicking off and those of us lucky enough to be teenagers at that time still think the 60s was the greatest decade.

Being back at St Pius recently in its 50th year I was amazed at how it has changed. I can safely say I recognised very little of it, but for me it brought back happy memories of the year I spent there. To present day students may I say enjoy your time at the college as school years pass so quickly.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish St Pius continued success for the next 50 years.

Jim Lee

4A 1964-1965

 

My Time at St. Pius X

 

In 1985 I arrived to St. Pius X Secondary school as a shy lad from the Lough Shore. In 1990 I left St. Pius X a confident 16 year old embarking on my A’ Levels in St. Marys. The five years in between, well what can I say, some of the best days of my life were spent during this time!

 

Leaving a small school like St. Trea’s in Ballymaguigan to go to ‘Big School’ in the town is a tough ask for any child and it was no different in my time. Bigger school, bigger numbers, bigger boys, everything seemed BIG!! But in the true nature of St. Pius, we were very welcomed, well looked after and soon settled into the daily routine of bus in, different periods, lunch time, more periods, bus home, homework. And so began my journey in St. Pius X.

 

I had a great form teacher in Mr. O’Neill (who hasn’t changed one bit) and I fell in with some great lads, Brian Corry, Mark Scullion, Deeky, Higgy, Barry Dillon, Owen O’Kane. All great friends and who made life in St. Pius so memorable.

 

As there were so many different subjects to study at St. Pius, they brought with them many teachers and some great characters. Mr Quinn (Woodwork), Mr McAuley / Miss Hanson (Biology), Mrs Loughrey (English), Mr Dempsey (Physics), Mr O’Neill (Tech Drawing), Mr Kynes (Geography), Mr Smith (Metal Work), Mr McGowan (Art), Mr McIvor (History), Mrs Kelly (RE), Mr Convery (PE), Miss McKeever (IT). Listing all these names with ease is testament of the impact they each made in my school life. None more so than Miss McKeever as she gave me the foundation knowledge and confidence to continue my studies in computing and to go on and build a career in the computing industry. Nearly 20 years on I’m still plying my skills in the fast moving world of computing. PE and IT were my favourite subjects but I had a few favourite events during my time at St. Pius.

 

The Biology field trip was always good, in fact they were great. Whether it was a trip up to see the rivers around the Sperrins or studying the sand dunes of Magilligan (with an overnight stay) and the mighty craic we had with Mr McAuley and Miss Hanson. Brilliant!!

 

The annual ski trip… Mr Kynes was in charge and keeping us all in check. It was a great trip to Romania in 1990 shortly after their civil war had ended. I have great memories of this trip, even til this day. The discos, the dinners, the ski slopes, the accidents, the bumps and injuries, the friendships formed and the stories that will stay in Romania!!

 

A big occasion for me was pulling on the St. Pius X football jersey for the first time. And it was a big occasion for the school as well. It marked the end of the schools involvement in Vocational competitions and joining the College’s competitions. I played corner forward and scored a point that day and we won! It took me 5 years to make the St Pius team. But that day it was well worth the wait.

 

So with my daughter now attending St Pius X College things have moved on within the school. It’s even bigger and more modern. Greater variety of subjects, A’ levels available, even more teachers, better technology and I would guess a faster pace of life but it still holds the same friendly and welcoming values which were evident all those years ago in 1985.

 

Martin Lee

 1 O – 1985-1990

 

 
 
 
 

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St Pius X College
59 Moneymore Road,

MAGHERAFELT
Co Derry
BT45 6HQ

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