A new school uniform appeared on the streets in Portlaoise town last Tuesday, as the newest post primary school Dunamase College, opened its doors for the first time.
The new first years wearing their electric blue jumpers joined together in the Railway Street school for the first time as a group.
Mums and dads produced cameras for the momentous occasion, as their child started post primary school, and a new phase in their growing up process.
Almost 40 first year students began their education at the new school, which has undergone a refurbishment over the summer.
Aoife Elster, principal of Dunamase College, welcomed parents and students.
"It is such a historic day for Portlaoise where we welcome the very first students into the school.
“In years to come the community will look back and note who were our first group of learners, and they are among us today", she said.
Dunmase promises a strong focus on digital and science areas, while offering an Irish wing.
“The school will have a strong pastoral, science and digital focus, something required in the modern era and in the modern economy,” Ms Elster said.
Mr Joe Cunningham is Chief Executive of Laois Offaly ETB, the patron body responsible for Dunamase College.
"We have a group of students who will follow their course of learning through the medium of Irish and another group who will follow their learning route through medium of the English language. This school will be a model for many as it incorporates both groups within the one school building,” he said.
“In particular, I want to welcome the new students, their parents, and indeed the new teachers who will facilitate the student learning in the years ahead,” Mr Cunningham said.
“We are very excited about our new school and wish it well in the years ahead,” he added.
The school is promised a new 1,000 pupil building by the Dept of Education, to cope with the rapid population growth in Portlaoise.