Tuesday 23 January 2018 12:07:53 AM

New Principal Welcomed To St Malachy’s High School In Castlewellan
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As the new school year gets underway at St Malachy’s High School, Castlewellan, staff and students welcome their new school Principal, Mrs Orla O’Neill. The whole school community are very excited at this new appointment and wish her every success in her new post.

The new Principal of St Malachy’s High School Castlewellan, Mrs Orla O’Neill, is pictured with the Student Head Team for academic year 2015/2016, (from right) Conor Bates (Deputy Head Boy), Tierna Moorehead (Head Girl), Miceal Rooney (Head Boy) and Leanne Domican (Deputy Head Girl).

The new Principal of St Malachy’s High School Castlewellan, Mrs Orla O’Neill, is pictured with the Student Head Team for academic year 2015/2016, (from right) Conor Bates (Deputy Head Boy), Tierna Moorehead (Head Girl), Miceal Rooney (Head Boy) and Leanne Domican (Deputy Head Girl).

Mrs Orla O’Neill said she was “absolutely thrilled” to be appointed the Principal of St Malachy’s High School. The former Assumption Grammar School and St Patrick’s Downpatrick pupil studied Biochemistry at Queen’s University before going on to do her PGCE.

She started her first teaching post at St Louise’s Comprehensive College, Belfast, in 1997, moving on to St Colman’s in Newry in 1998 where she spent 12 years on the staff leaving as Senior Teacher to join St Malachy’s as Vice Principal in 2010. She takes over the reins from her predecessor Mrs Joan McCombe.

Mrs O’Neill said it was a privilege and an honour to take on the role of Principal, adding: “St Malachy’s is a wonderful school and I am delighted to be a part of it, it is exciting times in our school following the recent excellent inspection report and this year’s students having achieved the best results in the school’s history.

“I look forward to working alongside the dedicated and committed staff to continue to raise standards across the school.”

 Pictured is Principal, Mrs Orla O’Neill with her predecessor Mrs Joan McCombe.


Pictured is Principal, Mrs Orla O’Neill with her predecessor Mrs Joan McCombe.

Mrs O’Neill said the most rewarding aspect of her role will be watching the students in her care, grow and develop into young adults. She added: “You can never underestimate the positive influence teachers can have on a young person’s life.

“I find it so rewarding to see students flourish during their time here. When students start in first year they are full of apprehension and excitement but by the time they leave us they are confident young individuals, ready to take their place in society, among the best.”

The new Principal said being from the area and having taught at the school was an advantage in the new post. “I already know many of the pupils well having taught here for five years now, so in many ways my transition has been a seamless one.

“Many of the parents are past pupils and it means a lot that former students have entrusted their children to our care.

“It is my hope that we can continue to work together to provide the students of St Malachy’s the best possible opportunities in preparing them to be world class citizens ready to master the challenges of the 21st Century with the solid foundation here at our school.

“The wonderful St Malachy’s staff and I feel privileged to be part of this school family and I look forward to working with students, parents, staff and the wider community in this new and exciting role.”