Students of Crescent College Comprehensive were told by President Mary McAleese that they carried with them an ‘imprint of Jesuit education, a character which doesn’t change’. Speaking at a closing ceremony in the College to mark 150 years of Jesuit education in Limerick, on Thursday 21 January, she thanked the staff for investing in their young people. She also praised the Jesuits who, along with other religious organisations, had played a role in building a bridge from poverty to prosperity in an Ireland which is ‘confident, vibrant and dynamic,’ a different Ireland to that of her own schooldays. The President and her husband Dr. McAleese recieved a warm welcome from staff, pupils and the Board of Management at the Crescent College special school assembly. The event marked the final celebration in the Crescent of the sesquecentinary of Jesuit education in Limerick. Many significant events took place during the year, including musicals, concerts and an inter-school talent competition.
The visit to the school of the Fr. Superior General of the Jesuits, Adolfo Nicolás S.J. in September was also a highlight and was the subject of a short film by former Crescent pupil and founder of Lastlight Films, Liam O’Cathasaigh.
President McAleese addressed the full school Assembly, unveiled a commemorative stone plaque, a new foundation stone, and looked forward to many more years of Jesuit Education in Limerick. She encouraged the pupils, telling them that they had within themselves every possibiltity to be whatever they wanted to be.
‘Former pupils of Crescent have shown leadership after leaving their Alma Mater’, noted President McAleese, many of whom she met on ‘days of high tension when they were representing Ireland or Munster in rugby games’. She left the school with a poignant reminder of the importance of what is done there. ‘The answer is always the same – education is the bridge’.
A commemorative book, The Crescent: Sacred Heart College Comprehensive SJ 1859-2009, edited by Tony White with contributions from former pupils such as Bill Whelan and former Minister Des O’ Malley, was published by Messenger Publications to mark the anniversary.