Christmas in St Mary's


Principal’s Christmas Welcome

It gives me great pleasure as Principal of St. Mary’s College Naas, to welcome you to our school website, which we hope will inform and enlighten you with regards to all aspects of our rich and varied school life. We are an all girls, post-primary Catholic school in the trusteeship of CEIST, and are inspired by the educational vision of the Venerable Catherine McCauley and the Mercy Tradition.

I wish to take this opportunity to update you with regard to the many events and achievements which have kept us busy since the beginning of this school year in August 2014. As you know, we at St. Mary’s college have a proud tradition of academic excellence. This tradition was reinforced by the fact that our Leaving Certificate student’s results for the academic year 2013-2104 were no less than over three times the national average with a staggering 42 students receiving over 500 points. This translates to 28% of students achieving more than 500 points in the Leaving Cert when compared to the national average of 9%. In addition to this 96% of our students transferred to third level education in 2014. It also goes without saying how proud we are of the girls who chose other routes including PLC courses and indeed direct vocational training.


Many events have taken place which reflects the spirit and ethos of the school. In September we held our annual Mercy Day mass led by our new chaplain, Fr. Liam Morgan in our local Church, which signals the start of the new school year. It is both a touching and a poignant occasion as we welcome our new students to their first Mercy Day Mass and pray for our sixth year students as they embark on the next part of their journey. The importance which we place on the value of prayer in our lives does not end there however. Throughout the year, ongoing Liturgical services occur, such as the ‘Blessing of the Rosary Beads’ ceremony, TY Advent Prayer Service, the Sacrament of Confession and the St. Vincent De Paul food drive to name but a few. We also have a fantastic uptake for the prestigious John Paul II Award with over 20 TY students taking up the challenge. Our students are also very active in their parishes with some having already travelled to Spain to complete the Camino Way pilgrimage. We will also be running our first Rainbows programme in the New Year. This is a peer support group for students who have suffered a significant loss and is part of our pastoral care strategy, aimed at supporting our students in every possible way.

Extra-Curricular :

There are plenty of extracurricular events to take note of also. In October we held a hugely successful Halloween sponsored walk in order to raise funds for the school. Both staff and students walked almost 5km around Naas in full fancy dress and a staggering 10,000 euro was raised. This money is hoped to fund various projects within the school.There are also many other fundraising activities throughout the year such as those undertaken as part of C.S.P.E. projects in the form of bake sales etc. We have also had many school tours and trips with more to look forward to over the coming months, such as the 5th year trip to Italy, the TY French and Spanish tours, the German tour and of course our Spanish foreign exchange programme. In addition to this we have a very active debating life in the school, with active debating teams at both Junior and Senior cycles, taking in a vast array of topics and indeed languages. In fact our very own Mary Ryan, a fifth year student, just won the Best Speaker Award in the prestigious Rigby Jones Debating competition.

 We have also implemented a Literacy and Numeracy Strategy which is making a noticeable difference to the standard of learning in the classroom.  Some of the strategies include the use of Keyword journals by all first and second years, DEAR week (Drop Everything and Read) from the 15th December and the very successful annual Spelling Bee competition for 2nd yr students. However, the initiatives do not end there. We have also forged a ‘Cairdeas’ team, which sees 6th yrs befriend and mentor second year students,  complimenting our ‘Meitheal’ programme. Environmental awareness is also a concern of ours and due to this a new ‘Green Schools’ Committee has been set up in the school.  We are also a Fair Trade school, endeavouring to stock and promote the purchase of Fair Trade products as much as possible. Add to this our battery hen rehabilitation programme and you will agree that we are well on our way to becoming an environmentally friendly school. It is no secret that St. Mary's is a school which excels at sport and our recent All Ireland Senior A Volleyball triumph is a very apt reflection of the St. Mary's girls prowess on the sports field. The dedication and passion which goes into the sporting life of St.Mary's College is a testament to the strength of character of our girls and their teachers, who always give 100%, no matter the outcome.

 The above is some of the work, passion and dedication which goes into creating the unique learning environment to be found in St.Mary’s College. It would simply be impossible to mention every activity, initiative or project here but don’t forget to check our website regularly for the monthly Principal's report where you will find a more detailed account of the above endeavours and more besides. To provide a positive and rewarding learning experience for all of our students is the main goal here at St.Mary’s and I am sure you will agree that the above achievements can certainly only compliment and support this aim. I would like to thank my Deputy Principal Ms. Orla Forde and all the staff of our college for their continued hard work, dedication and commitment. I also wish to thank the parents for their support to the school, in particular the Parents Council who help with events management, fund raising, policy development etc. Finally I would like to thank the girls for their courtesy evident on a daily basis. They are role models within the school community and are to be applauded as such.  I would like to now take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy and peaceful Christmas and of course a prosperous New Year.

Le gach dea ghuí,

Rita McCabe


Board of Management Awards Night

An Awards Night that pointed to the holistic nature of education in St. Mary’s College, Naas, was held on Thursday, November 27th. This is an annual event and tribute was paid to the award winners from Sixth Year, class of 2013/2014. The overriding criteria for consideration for these awards were the girls’ exceptional academic achievement and their overall contribution to school life. At an enjoyable ceremony held in the school assembly hall, Board of Management Chairperson, Dr. Moling Ryan and Principal, Rita McCabe, spoke of the honour these girls brought to themselves, to their families and to the school. They are to be heartily congratulated and are living proof of the school’s ethos, which encourages both talent and effort.

The girls receiving awards were:

Sinéad Begley ,Karen Benn, Sarah Benn, Caoimhe Broderick, Niamh Byrne, Christina Cahill, Emma Casey, Ruth Corrigan, Méabh Cullen, Áine Cummins, Laoise Dillon, Louise Dore, Lorna Doyle, Rebecca Fallon, Naoise Gallagher, Emily Grimes, Emma Hanlon, Sydney Harper, Leah Headon, Jasmine Hyland, Síne Kenny, Kate Kiernan, Marianne Lee, Orla Lynch, Jodie McWilliams, Romy Morrin, Deirdre Mullaney, Clodagh NicGhiolla Rua, Doireann Nic Dhonncha, Kate O’Connell, Claire O’Connor, Megan O’Driscoll, Holly O’Reilly, Niamh O’Rourke, Niamh Phelan, Jade Quearney, Rosemary Read, Clíona Robotham, Kathryn Stewart, Sinéad Sweeney, Rebecca Thornton and Sarah Wall - all of whom achieved 500 points or more in their Leaving Certificate examination.

Rebecca Fallon is one of four in Ireland who obtained the highest marks in the Higher Level Leaving Certificate Biology Examination 2014.  She received the Institute of Biology of Ireland medal for Excellence in Biology and her Biology teacher, Ms. Moloney, was presented with an Institute of Biology of Ireland Teaching Commendation Certificate.

Special awards were given to Aoibhín Cassidy, for promoting and exampling the school’s ethos, Lorna Doyle who received the Marie O’Neill Award for excellence in Maths and Science, Amy May Freeman who received the Past Pupils’ Association award and Sheena Walsh (former pupil) who received an award for her many achievements during her time in St. Mary’s College.

Niamh Dempsey, Ciara Durkan, Grace Hanlon. Sarah Kelly and Sinéad Robotham received an award for their exceptional achievement in Maths and Science in their Junior Certificate examination 2014, as identified by the State Exams Commission. Meabh Ní Raghallaigh, Brianna Reilly and Niamh Dempsey were honoured with Academic Excellence awards for achieving 10 A grades in their Junior Certificate examinations 2014.

The Ceremony was attended by the recipients of awards and their guests, by members of the Board of Management, the Parent Council, the Past Pupils’ Association and by the Student Council. Present staff and retired staff were all well represented.

On Friday October 24th a whole school  sponsored walk took place to raise funds for school resources.  Staff, students and retired members of staff completed a 5km sponsored walk in fancy dress.  We had a glorious Autumnal day for the walk and raised a phenomenal sum of €10,158.  A big thank you to staff, parents, friends, retired staff members and the wider community who contributed so generously to the event.

It gives me great pleasure as Principal of St. Mary’s College Naas, to welcome you to our school website, which we hope will inform and enlighten you with regards to all aspects of our rich and varied school life. We are an all girls, post-primary Catholic school in the trusteeship of CEIST, and are inspired by the educational vision of the Venerable Catherine McAuley and the Mercy Tradition.  

We at St. Mary’s college have a proud tradition of academic and sporting excellence. This tradition is bolstered by a comprehensive academic curriculum and a vast array of extra-curricular activities delivered by a team of professional, dedicated and committed staff whose goal it is to enable each and every student to reach her full potential. We value education and set our standards high for all members of our school community, to include parents, students and staff alike. Due to this we have a high participation rate in Colleges and each year many of our students go on to become recognized for their academic and sporting achievements through scholarships in third level colleges both at home and abroad.
We also realise what a crucial role the school plays in the life of the student and indeed in that of the wider community. Society is changing at an unprecedented rate and never before has the need for a holistic education become so vital. In an age of increasing materialism and secularism it is our intention to provide our students with a superior level of personal, spiritual and academic support. We aim to not only provide our students with the academic qualifications necessary for personal fulfillment and prosperity but to also foster an innate sense of peace, spiritual awareness and a sense of dignity and purpose which can only lend itself to the holistic development of each student.
Our goal is that each and every one of our students feels supported, respected and valued as an individual within a caring, inclusive and compassionate school environment. It is my hope that as you browse through this website you will discover a vibrant school community, greatly supported by our Board of Management and a very active parents council and characterized by an atmosphere of warmth and vitality where our pupils are active, secure and most importantly happy throughout their educational experience here with us at St. Mary’s College.
Rita McCabe


 St. Mary's College welcomes Cycle against Suicide

Happy Dance     Snapshot of St. Mary's   

You Tube link to CaS video

On Monday 28th April St. Mary’s College will host the first stop of the nationwide campaign – ‘Cycle Against Suicide’.  This is a positive well-being campaign which promotes healthy living and positive lifestyle choices. The cycle will circumnavigate the country over a two week period and it is expected that over 7,000 people will participate this year.  It is not a fundraising exercise – but rather a mission which seeks to promote support seeking behaviour, community involvement and a spirit of hope and optimism – particularly in our younger generation.


We are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this venture and the students at St. Mary’s have been actively involved in many ways in the promotion of positivity through our own campaign, ‘Reach for Resilience’.  This year, our focus has been very much on wellbeing and we have organised classes in “mindfulness” and a variety of well-being talks for our students, staff and parents.


Hosting the Cycle stop on the 28th April will be an exciting and challenging task – we are expecting over 800 cyclists for lunch (including two of our teachers and a number of our students who are participating in the first leg of the cycle).  Our girls will be there to welcome, entertain and look after them for a period of approximately two hours. After a presentation by Jim Breen, founder of ‘Cycle Against Suicide’, the cyclists will set out on the second stage of the day which will bring them to Carlow town and some of our own students will accompany them for a short distance.


Finally, this is a very big undertaking and a lot of hard work has gone into the organisation of the event.  I would like to thank the local businesses and organisations who have been extremely generous in their support of the day and we are all looking forward to welcoming the campaign to Naas.


I would also like to thank Ms. Doherty (Link Teacher) and her team of teachers, administrative staff and students in promoting the ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ event in St. Mary’s College on 28th April.


Rita McCabe,




March 2014


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