The two pictures show staff members of Carndonagh College in the Colgan Hall, top, and Convent of Mercy, below. The photos first appeared in INIS DÚINN, 1972, when the second edition of the school magazine was published. It ran to 52 pages and included contributions by students called Paul Fiorentini (Moville) and Paddy Doherty (Dunaff ) among others. Paul is the current Principal and Paddy taught Irish for many years. John O’Kane, (Culdaff) wrote a poem called TRAMP and Deirdre McGrory (Culdaff) wrote a poem called VOCATION. Carmel Lynott provided make-up tips. By 1972, both schools had amalgamated with a total school population of about 400. In September 1973, the two schools joined the Technical School to form Carndonagh Community School, one of the first ten established in Ireland and funded by the World Bank.
Of the college staff, four have passed away – Fr Gallagher, Fr McKenna, John O’Leary and Evelyn Beattie. Of the Convent staff, four are deceased – Helen O’Reilly, Sean McDevitt, Sister Margaret Mary McKinney and Mrs Farren.
The idea for the school magazine came from Fr McKenna in 1971. He had been a teacher in Maghera before he came to Carn College as Headmaster in 1971. Maghera had a magazine also and they included photos of all pupils and staff. Thanks to Fr McKenna, photos were published of all students thereafter except for a break in the 1980s. They can be seen today in the school corridors.
Of the College staff, Veronica McLaughlin is currently School Secretary and Fr McGoldrick is PP of Fahan. Fr Lagan became a Bishop, and was the first Guidance Counsellor in the school. John O’Leary had a great knowledge of History and English and never used text books. He came from Cork and his brother was Professor of Political Science in Queen’s University, Belfast and a published author. Jim Quigley taught Geography and was mentioned in a poem by one of his pupils who became a famous dramatist, Frank McGuinness. Andy McNelis taught mainly Irish as did Evelyn Beattie, who also taught English and Religion. Brian Gormley taught Maths and Colm Toland taught Science and Maths (and Gaelic football outside class time). I taught English, History and French (the latter for one year). In 1984, I was appointed Guidance Counsellor. Fr McKenna taught Latin for a short time before he became Principal. Fr Gallagher taught Irish.
When the two schools amalgamated in 1972, teachers had to travel between the Convent and the Colgan Hall. Fortunately, speed cameras had not been invented. In 1973, the Community School was not ready for students, so classes were still held in the old buildings. Overcrowding was so bad that some classes were taught in a Lough Swilly bus parked outside the Tech. That experiment was not a success.
In 2023, CCS will celebrate 50 years.