Immaculata High School turns 70

Immaculata High School in Wittebome is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

To mark the milestone, a mass celebration was held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church on Sunday August 27.

The service was led by Father Hugh O’Connor who thanked the nuns for serving on the school governing body (SGB) and the dedicated staff who kept the spirit of God alive in the pupils.

Immaculata High School opened in Wittebome in January 1947. The decision to start the high school arose when Sister Amelia Corcoran and Reverend Mother Therese became concerned about the lack of opportunity for Catholic boys and girls leaving St Augustine’s Primary School to continue their high school career in a Catholic atmosphere.

The high school initially consisted of one classroom with 30 pupils, 15 boys and 15 girls and one teacher. The classroom was borrowed from St Augustine’s, but later two extra classrooms were built in the playing area to have a fully functional high school.

The name of the school derives from “The immaculate heart of Mary”.

Sister Henrietta was the first principal at Immaculata High School and after her retirement, Sister Dymphna Carew took over the reins.

The Late Archbishop Lawrence Henry was also a former pupil of Immaculata School. The school became an all girls high school in 1948 when the General of the Dominican Order ordered that the genders be kept apart.

The growth in the number of pupils had increased over time, resulting in the need for new classrooms to be built.

At the moment there are 520 pupils and 21 teachers at the school. Nuns do not teach at the school any longer but are involved in the SGB.

DeputyprincipalChauntal Noble, a former pupil and teacher, said: “We try to groom young women for leadership. We still have a prefect system that works along with the staff but we also have a RCL (Representative Councils of Learners) which is the duly elected pupil body and they support one another.

“We don’t have large grounds so we don’t excel at sports so we develop the cultural side of it, still growing the leadership still growing their potential,” said Ms Noble.