It has been both a pleasure and a fascinating journey to explore our school archives, in order to compile this section of our new website. Some of the material has not seen the light of day for many decades. I suspect (and hope) that when the site goes live, yet more images, stories and resources will be shared with us by viewers. Many thanks are due to Mrs Aileen Bell, (recently retired) teacher at Finaghy PS for storing, organising and retrieving much of our physical and digital archive material.
Whilst outlining some of the highlights and milestones of the school’s 83 year history, it has caused me to consider the importance and significance of the past in shaping our futures. In 2018 everything moves so quickly that we often neglect to find the time to pause and reflect. Yet many of our school’s most important traditions and values have roots which lead back through all of those years. In times past, there would have been some school practices which would be out of place in today’s world. Likewise, some of our modern-day influences would shock a time-traveller from the 1930s. However, there are traits in today’s school which have been built upon long-held values and principles: honesty, decency, politeness, trustworthiness, self-discipline, rigour, resilience, sharing and caring, to name but a few.
Today, we have many children attending the school whose parents, grandparents and great-grandparents can still be found listed on old class registers. There have only been four Principals since 1934. Many of our teachers have spent their whole career with us. Three of our current teaching staff and many of our ancillary staff members are past pupils, and two of our governors (Chair and Vice-Chair) have served the school since the 1970s. Such loyalty, commitment and sense of belonging are rare in today’s world and we don’t take it for granted.
When talking to pupils and staff, I have been known to use the phrase ‘closing the circle.’ This could be in reference to many things: writing a story with a good beginning, middle and ending; awareness of the changing of seasons; seeing a task through to completion; looking after those who have looked after us, and giving service to others. When past pupils come back to see us and tell us proudly of their achievements in life, that also closes a circle. As does the fact that our school is often spoken of within the Finaghy community and well beyond, with affection and appreciation. I hope that the History section of our website reawakens that affection for some, and, for visitors who are new to us, provides some glimpses into what makes us feel special.
‘Preparing today’s children for tomorrow’s world’
Alastair Mackay October 2018