Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
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Retirees Mr B. Lenehan, Mrs M. McDonnell and Mr B. McKenna with the Head Girl and Head Boy - View Full Size Image
Retirees Mr B. Lenehan, Mrs M. McDonnell and Mr B. McKenna with the Head Girl and Head Boy
Mr B. Lenehan, who is retiring as Principal of Loreto College Coleraine - View Full Size Image
Mr B. Lenehan, who is retiring as Principal of Loreto College Coleraine
Mr B. Lenehan, retiring Principal of Loreto College Coleraine, with his successor, Mr M. James - View Full Size Image
Mr B. Lenehan, retiring Principal of Loreto College Coleraine, with his successor, Mr M. James
24/06/2011 END OF AN ERA AT LORETO COLLEGE COLERAINE

As the school year ends, the students and staff of Loreto College Coleraine, Specialist School, have had some goodbyes to say as they wish a long and happy retirement to three senior and long-serving members of staff: College Principal, Mr Brian Lenehan, Senior Teacher, Head of ICT and Examinations Officer, Mrs Margaret McDonnell, and Head of Technology, Mr Brian McKenna.  A Farewell Mass was held in honour of all three, celebrated by Fr Charles Keaney in the College Hall as the Summer Term drew to a close.

Mr Brian McKenna has, over a teaching career of forty years, taught Physics, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology to the very highest of standards, taking several generations of students through their examinations with outstanding results.  Mr McKenna reached the public eye most through his participation with teams of students in various Young Scientist competitions, in Belfast, Dublin, at European level and in America – winning accolades on local, national and international stages.  Fittingly, Mr McKenna was named Science and Technology Teacher of the Year at the recent Sentinus Young Innovators exhibition in Belfast.  Mr McKenna was also a much-loved Head of Sixth Form, and the designer and builder of sets and scenery for generations of school musicals.

Mrs Margaret McDonnell, in her thirty-seven years of service in Loreto College, acted as Mathematics teacher before introducing and developing the College’s highly successful ICT department.  Not only did Mrs McDonnell teach ICT, she also trained staff in its use, allowing computer expertise to filter throughout every area of the College’s curriculum.  Mrs McDonnell was Examinations Officer, reassuring anxious candidates and assuring the smooth running of their GCSE and A level examinations, and also Senior Teacher, bringing her wisdom, experience and serenity to bear in every aspect of school life.  In the course of her career, Mrs McDonnell was the first Editor of the School Magazine, the teacher in charge of costumes for school musicals and a source of guidance for generations of students and staff alike.

Mr Brian Lenehan is retiring after twelve years as Principal of Loreto College, and a total service of 27 years to the school.  During his years at Loreto College, Mr Lenehan was a Geography teacher, Head of Geography, Head of Year, School Press Officer, Vice Principal and finally, Principal. Mr Lenehan has guided Loreto College through many years of change and development, and his stewardship of the College has been outstanding.  Under his leadership, Loreto College has continued its tradition of excellence in absolutely every area of school life: academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, building programmes and the development of resources and facilities, and the building of a spiritual, ethical and outward-looking school community.

Between them, these three distinguished members of staff have given a lifetime of service to Loreto College: they will be greatly missed, and it is easier to calculate their combined years of service – a magnificent 89 years -  than it is to reckon how the gap their retirement will leave can possibly be filled. 

In September, Loreto College will welcome a new Principal: Mr Michael James, who is well-known to everyone in the school, having served as Vice Principal for the past three of his 22 years as a member of the teaching staff.  Mr James has previously been a teacher of Physics, Head of Physics and Head of Year as well as coaching numerous sports teams and leading expeditions for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, Loreto Challenge and President’s Award.  

Wishing Mr James every success and happiness in his new post on behalf of all the staff and students of Loreto and of the College’s Board of Governors, Mr Brian Lenehan commented that he was absolutely assured of the excellence of leadership which Mr James would bring to the school.

Mr James commented that he was greatly looking forward to the challenge of leading Loreto College into a new chapter of its development, and was excited about the opportunities which lay ahead for every member of the entire community of this prestigious grammar school.

An era has ended at Loreto College Coleraine: in September 2011, a new chapter begins.