Blackwater Community School, Lismore is a state of the art educational establishment that boasts a modern school building on a Greenfield site. The school is an amalgamation of 3 Catholic Voluntary Schools with Mercy, Presentation and CBS traditions. Since opening in September 2003, we have been very much conscious of being innovators and not so much imitators. We are proud of the fact that we have exceptional facilities that have been continually maintained and extended since 2003. Additions over the years have included a classroom extension of 6 classrooms, the purchase of the County Library and County Council offices which have provided an additional classrooms, and parking spaces.
With all classrooms equipped with interactive while boards and 4 Computer Rooms, we are well resourced in the area of IT. A further €13 million extension is planned which will see our school physically double in size to keep pace with our continued increased enrolment.
This attention to innovation and enterprise is something we try to instil in our students. We provide a personalised form of continuous assessment, which incorporates individual attention to student mentoring and a positive behaviour system that reinforces positive action creating a harmonious and co-operative atmosphere within our school.
However, as I often remind our students, the building and facilities we possess are one thing but what goes on within them is what really matters. We are very pleased that an excellent work ethic exists among our students. We are delighted that this is reflected in our results. Our academic progress is due to the hard work and committed efforts of the staff in terms of class teaching, the provision of extra help and tuition after school and individual attention in the area of special needs, the organisation of a successful study programme which incorporates after school, Mid-term and Easter time.
In the area of extra-curricular activities, BCS has quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with in sport, drama, choir and enterprise. At county levels, we have won titles in all sports at all levels. At provincial level, we have become a dominant force capturing Munster titles in hurling, camogie, badminton, cross country, track & field athletics, volleyball, basketball, drama and choir. At national level we continue to attain All-Ireland titles in volleyball, Young Scientist and Technology, choir, drama and track and field athletics. Our school has established an International reputation in the area of Science with a combination of Silver & Bronze Medals at the World Science and Engineering Fairs. Our students furthermore get the opportunity to represent us on an international stage in debating at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and on student exchanges to Germany and France. Our students get to experience foreign tours and engage in history trips abroad also.
It is admirable at our students respond so positively to the constant encouragement of the staff. It certainly gives expression to the seanfhocail ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí’.
Our student body representatives have been very proactive in the school in the respective roles of Cairde (Mentors of First Year), Student Council and in mentoring fellow students. Our Parents’ Council, like our Student Council, is actively involved in policy-making and very energetic in co-ordinating Junior Cert and Leaving Certificate Graduation ceremonies, in various fundraising ventures and study skills seminars. Parents compliment BCS as being a ‘listening school’ whereby their requests and concerns are welcomed and responded to. Our Board of Management is extremely positive and supportive to all school activities. Our Trustees play an active role in supporting school related developments, events and activities.
As Principal, I am tremendously proud of the efforts and achievements of all at BCS including staff, secretarial staff, caretakers, cleaning staff and canteen staff in such a short time in our new school. It is the sense of team work generated at BCS by all its inhabitants that makes our school such a vibrant and energetic place to be.
At BCS our Mission Statement expresses that we are ‘committed to Quality Education’. We can assure parents/guardians that no stone is left unturned in our pursuit of excellence and in the delivery of quality education to the young people of East Munster. We feel that it is refreshing to be part of an educational establishment that places as much emphasis on the journey as well as the destination. We are all focused on the ultimate requirements of excellent Leaving Certificate results as the end product or destination. However, 5 or 6 years in school is a long journey, so why not enjoy the scenery and our innovative process of education along the way.