IT was history in the making and, appropriately enough, Letterkenny student, Alison Dowling, was in history class when her name was drawn out as one of ten students from the local Loreto Convent school who would be travelling to Dublin for the inauguration of President Michael D. Higgins on Friday.
Four weeks ago while canvassing in Letterkenny, the then Presidential candidate, had met with representatives from a number of schools in the locality. Consequently he issued a personal invitation to have the Loreto represented at his historic inauguration as President at Dublin Castle.
“It was really memorable. He shook hands with us and said thanks for coming,” said Alison who hails from Manorcunningham and who, at aged 13 years, wasn’t even born when Mary McAleese was inaugurated as President beginning what would turn out to be a fourteen year term in the prestigious office.
“When my name was drawn out, I just couldn’t believe it,” Alison maintained.
“It was a great day, definitely worth missing school for,” she quipped. “His speech was so inspiring.”
Along with teachers, Mary O’Brien and Sena McCreanon, the ten students from 1st and 2nd classes in the Convent school watched the ceremony on a big screen video link in the conference room at Dublin Castle along with other specially invited guests including representatives of the six other schools on the new President’s invitation list and the eight schools throughout the country selected by the Department.
“The kids created a great atmosphere - there were more cheers in our room than there was in the main hall,” laughed Sena.
Added teaching colleague, Mary: “We felt so honoured to have been invited. It was a wonderful occasion despite the weather.”
The students and teachers from Letterkenny were each presented with a Presidential pack that included a book, documenting the history of Aras an Uachtarain.