The End Of An Era

The End Of An Era


Last night was the P7 “Leavers’ Disco” at Ballykelly Primary School. The theme was “Celebrities” and the girls and boys were the celebrities. Every one of them, as they walked up the red carpet, looked so amazing.

Here’s my ‘celebrity’, looking way more than her eleven years.

imageToday, parents were invited to a farewell event in the school Assembly Hall, followed by a complimentary lunch.

As we gathered, a slide show of the children was displayed on the screen. Pictures of them from Nursery and P1 were displayed on a Notice Board.

Then all of the P7 pupils entertained us by playing three lively pieces on African drums. It was very professional, and all inclusive as every pupil participated.

After this, we went upstairs for a slide show presentation of the P7 trip to Edinburgh, where several of the boys and girls were interviewed about the activities that stood out for them. The pupils who didn’t go to Edinburgh interviewed the ones who did, so again it was all inclusive.

Then we returned to the Assembly Hall for the part that I enjoyed the most. Each child was called forward one by one. We were told their name, what school they are transferring to, what they will miss about Ballykelly Primary School, what they are looking forward to about their new school and what their ambition in life is.


Several want to become famous You Tubers. A few hope to become professional footballers. One boy wants to become a policeman and help in the fight against crime. One girl wants to become famous and take over the world!

Each child was then given a booklet containing a photo of each P7 boy and girl and their answers to these questions, as a keepsake. What a lovely thing to look back on in years to come.


After this, staff, parents and pupils were treated to a delicious lunch. During this time, the P7 pupils were busy engaging in the traditional signing of the polo shirts.


Hunter’s Bakery supplied an amazing cake, which was cut and distributed. It was absolutely delicious.


Then, that was it, we had to say goodbye and walk away.

For me, it was walking away from seventeen years of having children in Primary School. In Ebrington Primary School initially when we lived in the town and then in Ballykelly Primary School since 2002.

All four of our children have enjoyed their primary school years. We have such fond memories of Ballykelly Primary School.

There is of course a little piece of Leah wrapped up in it’s walls too. Saying goodbye to that is hard as well.

Memories of coming to Christmas Concerts and seeing Leah singing her heart out in the school choir.

Memories of seeing written work displayed on the wall along the corridor, when they were asked what they would like to be when they grew up and Leah had written that she wanted to become a missionary.

Memories of Leah’s P7 teacher’s collection of gems for arts and crafts and how excited Leah was when her teacher got a new order of these pretty gems from Baker Ross.

Memories of Leah’s P7 Edinburgh trip and the card she wrote to me saying that she had cried on the Thursday night because she missed me. Some day I will find that card again and there will be more tears.

How blessed our children have been, to have been so cared for and nurtured whilst being educated.

I never wanted what happened this past two years to be my life story, but so many things happen in life that we don’t get to choose. Thankfully God has placed many people in our lives who have supported us and loved us and made this journey more bearable.

The kindness and love shown to Miriam during Leah’s difficult illness and since her death, by the Ballykelly School community, has been enormously helpful. I have never taken it for granted and I will always appreciate it.

The Memory Box bought for Miriam by her classmates after Leah died, will always be a treasured possession and a reminder of the support that she received from them at such a difficult time.


In September Miriam will start at Limavady High School, another school that has completely blown me away by the pastoral care that our older three children have received and with the love that has been shown to our family this past two years by the entire school community.

Thankfully, I know that my daughter’s education is in safe hands.

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