Laois school bids fond farewell to retiring principal after 40 years of teaching

Leinster Express Reporter

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Leinster Express Reporter

Laois school bids fond farewell to retiring principal after 40 years of teaching

Laois school bids fond farewell to retiring principal after 40 years of teaching Pictures: Holy Family Senior School, Portlaoise

Staff and pupils at one of the biggest Laois primary schools have paid tribute to their retiring principal, Des Sutton. 

The well-known principal announced his retirement in May. After forty years of teaching thousands of children, Des Sutton, Principal of the Holy Family Senior School, formerly St Paul's NS, will step down at the end of this school year.

The Holy Family Senior School, Portlaoise shared pictures and this touching tribute on Facebook this morning.

"Des, as you retire as principal, we thank you most sincerely for all you have done for us. The kindness, gentleness and care you have shown us all will never be forgotten. You have been such a special person in our lives and you have, indeed, touched our hearts. 

"Des, the whole school community wishes you the very best as you head into the next phase of your life. We will never forget you. 

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

He confirmed his decision to the Leinster Express in May.

"It's time to move on. I have been blessed to work with wonderful people but it's time for someone else to take the reins," Mr Sutton said.

A proud Dubliner, he taught in Ballyroan for 12 years and still lives there. He moved to St Paul's NS 25 years ago, continuing as Principal when the school amalgamated with others to become the 750-pupil Holy Family School in 2017.  

"I have seen a lot of changes, mainly good. I was delighted to see the end of corporal punishment. The child has become centre now, they like to come to school, it is a kind place now.

"I have no plans now, that's the beauty of it," he said.

Monsignor John Byrne, Parish Priest of Portlaoise, is chairman of the Board of Management for the Holy Family School.

"It is the end of an era. Des was a marvellous principal of St Pauls, and a very vital cog in the transition to amalgamating to form the Holy Family schools. It is great that he was the first principal of the Holy Family Senior school. He will be greatly missed, but I'm glad for Des that he is relatively young, with lots of energy and please God we will be seeing lots of him," Msgr Byrne said.

Mr Sutton will remain officially as principal until August 31, but the search for a new principal will start immediately.

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