History

Early Days
The present school building was largely constructed in 1956. Prior to this, the original school building was found to the left of the present entrance to the school. Indeed, the very first school in the area was opened in 1870 and could be found at Sooey crossroads, between the Hennessy and Kearns residences. Unfortunately, it was an inauspicious beginning as the roof fell in during a storm in 1881!
A new school was constructed in 1883 and opened for use on July 9th of that same year. It is this building which can be seen on the cover of our school book ‘Sooey National School: A Celebration’. By the late 19th Century, there were no less than 5 National Schools in the parish of Riverstown and Sooey school would have been the largest of these.

In the 1990s
By the 1950s this school building had fallen into a state of some disrepair – a leaking roof was one of the problems listed – and it finally closed its doors in 1955 and was demolished to make way for the construction of the present school building. During construction of the present day school building, classes were moved to the neighbouring parish hall where classes recommenced in the Autumn of 1955. Classes were held there for one year whilst the school was being built.
The new school building was completed in May, 1956 and teachers and students moved to the school on June 1st, just prior to the summer holidays. The official opening ceremony was held on November, 1956 and was reported on in the Sligo Champion dated November 17th, 1956. The official name given to the school was ‘Scoil FreastΓ³gΓ‘la na Maigdine Muire’ which means ‘School of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary’ and was taken from the name of the nearby parish church.

Threat of Closure
Enrolment figures throughout the 1960s and 70s remained strong yet by the early 1980’s numbers had started to decline steadily. This reflected the situation in rural Ireland at the time as many people left the country seeking a new start in England or America. In 1985, the school lost a teaching post and became a one-teacher school, which it remained as for the next 14 years.

By 1996 student numbers had declined as low as 11 and the school was facing the very real threat of imminent closure. But for the efforts of the Board of Management, the Principal, Leo Kearns and the small group of parents, the school would undoubtedly have been closed. By the late 1990s, as the country prospered, so too did Sooey N.S. By September 1998, pupil enrolments rose to 16 which meant that the school was, once again, entitled to a second teacher. This was the beginning of a new chapter in the Sooey N.S.

A New Beginning
Ironically, given the fact that the school was about to embark on a new chapter, it was also to bid farewell to Principal Leo Kearns (R.I.P.) who had served for 42 years in Sooey N.S. Leo retired on June 22nd, 2000 as the longest serving teacher to have ever taught in the school. Mr. Gately joined the school as the second teacher in September 2001.
Student numbers continued to rise steadily and by 2003, there were 43 children enrolled in the school. By 2004, for the first time in the school’s history there would be sufficient pupils to necessitate the employment of a third teacher.
This, in turn, meant the need for a third classroom. Sooey N.S. was one of only 20 school to be chosen under a national pilot scheme run by the Department of Education designed to reduce the amount of temporary accommodation required in Primary schools.
Ultimately, this resulted in the construction of the present third classroom at the rear of the school. Building work commenced in May 2004 and was completed in time for the new school year in September 2004.

Onwards and Upwards
2006 was the 50th anniversary of the present school building and a book was published to mark this significant occasion. The book was entitled ‘Sooey NS; A Celebration’. It is fitting that the book was published at a time when the school continues to flourish. In September 2008, student enrolment figures reached 95 which meant that the school became a four-teacher school – Mrs. Aiveen Scanlon was appointed. Again, this necessitated the acquisition of further school accommodation.
This facilitate this, the old water tower – constructed in 1956 with the present school building – and the school shed were demolished and replaced by a spacious pre-fabricated building which currently houses 5th and 6th Class. Today the school is home to 127 pupils – a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

Growing all the time

2013 saw some significant changes to the school. A new extension was completed at the rear of the school which features a new classroom (home to 3rd & 4th Class this year), a Resource Teaching room, an office and a new staff room. We now also have a new playground area beside the new extension which gives the 127 pupils more room to enjoy themselves.

More recently, in September 2016, school enrolment reached 127 and Sooey N.S is now a 5-teacher school. Our newest extension at the rear of the school is home to 1st & 2nd Class and Miss Tuohy.

30 responses to “History

  1. tara mc laughlin

    i never knew the school was so old,or that it had such an amazing history.

  2. bronagh

    What an amazing history.I agree with Tara.Its amazing how it went from
    only 8 pupils to 106 Today!!!!

  3. bronagh

    That is an astonishing history.I never thought it could go from
    8 pupils to 106!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. bronagh

    And for some reason I remember the water tower!!!!!

    It was HUGE!!!!!

  5. Danielle McGovern!

    DANIELLE OCTOBER 17,2011 AT 5:30PM
    Our school looks so different now then what it was like in the last photo on this page!

  6. Conor K

    cool how it has changed.

  7. I agree with danielle !!!

  8. Conor K

    i rember the water tower

  9. leah

    amazing really amazing Tara ha ha

  10. dylan m

    i agree with you conor

  11. bronagh

    Loads of people left comments on the school history.Have you guys seen the pasta pictures,the green schools committee pic and the video of so we all get home safely.

    Bronagh

  12. bronagh

    who are you me too?
    nobody knows.Happy Halloween everybody!

    bronagh

  13. aoibhin

    conor what is a water tower?

    Aoibhin

  14. bronagh

    has everybody seen the home page?Theres like no comments.I’m gonna leave 1 now.

    Bronagh

  15. bronagh

    The history of the school is so amazing that I nearly thought it was a joke when I first saw it.

    bronagh

  16. Aoife

    I never thought that the school had so much history.I think the school was open even before my grandparents were alive and thats old.

  17. bronagh

    congrats to all who did projects! the people who did our school probably knew all this when they looked at it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.bronagh

  18. bronagh

    hello im bronagh’s friend Eala your school is cool.I go to a school in castle baldwin.my school is cool to but its got bigger grounds.its got six courts
    i heard about you play sounds pretty cool.do you have a bus?how many poeple are in your school?does your scool have a girl only court?

    Eala bronagh holmes’s friend;];];];];];];];];];]

  19. Danielle McGovern

    Hi Eala!! No we don’t have a bus …. Theres around 107 people in our school πŸ™‚ No it doesn’t have a girls only court 😦 …. How many people are in your school ..?.. πŸ˜€

  20. bronagh

    I know how many people are in Eala’s school.I think there is around 120.a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    bronagh

  21. bronagh

    whoever me too is they have not left anything since.who are u me too?

  22. leah

    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ 😦 😦 😦

  23. bronagh

    Leah.Are you me too??????????

    bronagh πŸ™‚

  24. i think leah is me too

    jassie πŸ™‚

  25. Alison Pulis/ Killoran

    I am trying to trace some old classmates of mine& my brother 1976 to1979 is there any way you can help me out

  26. Aoife Murphy

    I can remember back in junior infants when we had the shelter and I can remember the jungle book mural

    D1andonly,
    Fifi πŸ™‚

  27. The grass is better than the tarmac πŸ”¨πŸ€

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