Rathmore Grammar School
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|Rathmore Grammar School, Belfast Scoil an Rátha Mhóir, Béal Feirste|
|Kingsway, Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland|
|Motto||Ut Vitam Habeant (That they may have life)|
|Religious affiliation(s)||Roman Catholic|
|Closed||July - September|
|LEA||Belfast Education and Library Board|
|Principal||Mrs. Thérèse Hamilton|
|Age||11 to 18|
|Number of students||1269|
|School Years||Year 8 - Year 14|
|Vice Principal||Dr Arthur Donnelly|
Rathmore Grammar School, normally referred to simply as "Rathmore", is a Catholic grammar school in Finaghy, Belfast, Northern Ireland. The current principal is Thérèse Hamilton who succeeded Sr. Ursula Canavan as principal at the beginning of academic year 2009/10. It is one of the leading grammar schools in Northern Ireland and is one of the top four over subscribed schools in the country.
Rathmore is situated in Kingsway, Finaghy, Belfast, behind the St. Anne's "campus", consisting of St. Anne's Primary School, Parish Church, and Parish Centre. It is hidden from view from the nearby Upper Lisburn Road.
Rathmore Grammar School is paired with the Nicolaus-Cusanus-Gymnasium in Bonn and Colegio de San Jose in Madrid.
Rathmore began as a stately home, built by Belfast businessman Victor Coates for his family, but the house was passed to the local Bishop who in turn sold it to the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. The RSHM used the house as a convent, where they began a school for girls. Sometime later, a major development project surrounded the convent with school buildings.
More recently, a new school building was designed by a past pupil of the school. The new building was completed in time for the school year beginning September 2005. This project included the restoration of the convent, which now houses History, Politics and Religious Education.
With the new building, a new C2k computer network was installed, along with interactive whiteboards in every classroom. Each member of staff and pupil has their own user account with email, and can access their personal files and email from home, via the C2KNI.net website. It is a Promethean Centre of Excellence, one of two in Belfast.
In 2015, it was awarded the 'Sunday Times School of the Year' award. It was the first year that the school had entered the competition.
Rathmore has a rich history in Gaelic games, winning the All-Ireland senior C title in 2006/7. Within Ulster, Rathmore has competed in the McLarnon Cup in Gaelic football and the Casement Cup in hurling, winning both in 2008 and 2012 respectively. In 2010, Rathmore 4th years won the Leopold Cup in hurling, defeating Belfast neighbors St. Malachy's in the final.They have also tasted success in basketball with the u16 boys winning the Northern Ireland Cup in 2012 and finishing 2nd place the previous year.
In October 2006, past pupil Maeve Kilpatrick won the UK multimedia presentation category of the DYP 2006 competition, with her Microsoft PowerPoint presentation about her art campaign in the school the previous year. The presentation incorporated pictures, music and dialogue which she performed herself. Maeve and Mrs Keag, the art teacher who oversaw the entry, went to Brussels in November 2006 as part of their prize.
Rathmore has also had significant success in the Sentinus Engineering Education Scheme working with local company Phoenix Natural Gas and run by Physics teacher Mr Kieran Doherty. In 2005, the team composed of Caron Malone, Daniel Evans and Barbara Fleming swept the Seagate young innovators competition winning, most notably, the Intel award of excellence and going on to win a trip to the United States to represent Ireland in the next stage of the competition - Intel ISEF. They also had success in 2006, winning the Young engineers for Britain competition for 17- to 19-year -lds.
From September 2007, Rathmore closed its Amnesty International branch. In April 2007, Amnesty International changed its stance on abortion from one which was neutral to one supporting access to abortion in cases of rape and incest, and when the life or the health of the mother might be threatened. Amnesty claim that they "do not promote abortion as a universal right" but "support the decriminalisation of abortion". The principal of the School, Sister Ursula Canavan, acknowledged and appreciates the great work that Amnesty does but feared that continuing to support Amnesty conflicts with the school's Catholic ethos. "I could not continue as a school promoting life and, at the same time, encourage the pupils to be involved in Amnesty." The school's motto states "I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the fullest".
It was revealed in March 2009 that Sister Ursula Canavan would step down from her post. She was succeeded by vice-principal Mrs. Hamilton who assumed her role as principal of Rathmore in August 2009. Sister Ursula Canavan was the last of the nuns from the Sacred Heart of Mary to have been principal of the school.
In April 2010, the school debating team (Conor Heaney and Davin Clarke) won the Northern Ireland Schools Debating Championship, defeating the team from the Royal Belfast Academical Institution in the final at Stormont. It was the first time a team from the school had reached the final of the competition. They spoke in Opposition to the motion 'This House Would Welcome Being Part of a European Federal State'. In 2012, another debating team (Brendan Kelters and Christopher Matthews) progressed to the semi-finals, with Brendan nominated for the competition's Best Speaker award. Christopher was nominated the following year and was placed runner up.
In March 2013, Rathmore hosted a world record attempt for the most people simultaneously wearing paper hats. This was held in connection with the school's annual Trócaire campaign.
Notable former teaching staff
- Bairbre de Brún, Sinn Féin MEP
- Davy Hyland, Former Sinn Féin MLA
- Maire Hendron, Alliance Party politician and current Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast
Notable former pupils
- Ian Pearson, BT Futurologist
- Jonathan McAnulty, former Roman Greco Wrestling Champion, 1994
- Mairéad Farrell, (1957 - 1988) - IRA volunteer, killed in Gibraltar in 1988 by the British SAS as part of Operation Flavius
- Vivian Campbell (b. 1962) - rock guitarist with DIO, Def Leppard, Sweet Savage, Trinity, Whitesnake, Riverdogs, Shadow King, and as of 2010 Thin Lizzy
- Mairtin Crawford (1967 - 2004) - writer
- Roger McMorrow (b. 1975) - medical doctor and Everest Summiteer
- Claire Hanna (b. 1980) - politician
- Laura Donnelly (born 1982) - actress
- "BT Ulster Colleges". Match Report.
- "SF candidate: Bairbre de Brun". BBC News. 2004-05-18. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Northern Ireland Assembly - Biography - Davy Hyland
- "Ian Pearson, Futurologist". Archived from the original on 2012-07-22.