St Patrick's Classical School
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|St. Patrick's Classical School
Scoil Clásicach Naomh Pádraig
|Moatlands, Navan, County Meath|
|Motto||In Christo Confido
Latin for "I trust in Christ"
|Principal||Mr. Colm O'Rourke|
|Chaplain||Mr. Mark Donelly|
|Number of students||c. 879|
|Patron||The Most Reverend, Dr. Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath|
St. Patrick's Classical School is a prominent Roman Catholic-run school for boys in Navan, County Meath. It has produced a number of prominent politicians, journalists, Irish sports personalities, broadcasters and two winners of the famous Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe.
St. Patrick's Classical School was founded in 1930 when the Diocese of Meath's seminary, St. Finian's College, which had previously been the main provider of denominational education for boys locally, moved from Navan to the new diocesan capital, Mullingar in County Westmeath. The school's patron is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath. The school was previously located in a small architecturally distinctive building on Academy Street in the centre of the town, but in 1970 it moved to a new campus at the outskirts of the town.
As its name indicated, it placed heavy emphasis on the teaching of the classics, Latin and Greek, rather than vocational subjects. Until the granting of free education by the Irish Minister for Education, Brian Lenihan, (his predecessor who proposed free education, Donogh O'Malley died before he could implement the plan) the school operated as a fee-paying school. Its education is now free. Though predominantly Roman Catholic, the school attracts many pupils from other religions and none. It particularly attracts members of the local Islamic community.
Although the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath remains the school patron, the school has long been under lay control and the last member of the clergy that was principal of the school was Fr Michael Sheerin in 1988. Following the decline in numbers of people entering the priesthood in Ireland, the school no longer has any priest on its teaching staff.
On 27 November 2009, President of Ireland, Her Excellency Mary McAleese visited the school.
The Board of Management of St. Patrick's Classical School implements an admission policy that conforms with the Education Act 1998, the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Equal Status Act 2000.
In March 2013, the Irish Independent Newspaper said St. Patrick's Classical School is the town's most prestigious secondary school, which runs a waiting list of more than 200 students. In 2015, the school completed the construction of several new classrooms and an additional storey. These rooms were specifically designed to accommodate the Science, Woodwork, and Music classes.
The school has produced many prominent figures in Irish politics, business, the international media and comedy. Among its most prominent ex-pupils are James Tully, the Labour Party Deputy Leader and Irish government minister in the 1970s and early 1980s; Jim Fitzsimons, a longtime Fianna Fáil Member of the European Parliament; Jim Duffy, a journalist; Simon Cumbers, a prominent broadcast journalist killed by al-Qaeda in 2004; David Beggy, a Gaelic football star turned successful rugby player; David Gough, that sport's first openly gay elite referee; Dylan Moran and Tommy Tiernan, both winners of the famous international Perrier Award for Comedy at the Edinburgh Festival who had award-winning comedy shows on British television; London West End star Willy Byrne; Irish radio and television presenter Hector Ó hEochagáin. The school was also attended by the successful trance DJ and producer John O'Callaghan.
One teacher, Mr. Kevin Mallon, became a Gaelic games radio and television commentator, while another teacher, and the current school principal, Mr. Colm O'Rourke, became famous throughout Ireland as a prominent member of the longtime successful Meath senior Gaelic football team, before becoming one of the main panelists on Gaelic games coverage on RTÉ, Ireland's national broadcaster.
Sporting facilities at the school include two full sized Gaelic football pitches, one full size astro-turf pitch, a sports arena, a state of the art sports hall, a table tennis room, and a fully equipped weights gym.
Sport has been played at St. Patrick's since the foundation of the School; the school believes that it complements academic life.
The Senior Gaelic football team has won the Hogan Cup (All Ireland Schools "A" competition) three times, in 2000, 2001 and 2004. The current coaches include Mr. Colm O'Rourke. The Juvenile Football team won the North Leinster Juvenile Championship 2011 against St Mary's School in Mullingar, and the Junior team also clinched a "Leinster Junior A Title" in 2011/2012.
In the 2012/2013 season the Senior team won the Leinster final and in the All Ireland Final in April, 2013 in lost to St. Patrick's of Maghera.
In 2010, the Junior Rugby team won the Junior Duff Cup against Skerries Community School. In 2012, The Junior Rugby team won the Division A league and Junior Duff cup for the first time.
The U-19's and U-16's basketball teams both made it to the north-east regional finals in 2011/2012. The U-19's won their final but were knocked out in the qualifiers for the All-Ireland. The U-16's lost their final but were able to advance to All-Ireland qualifiers but were knocked out.
- St Pats Tribune, 14 March 2014, Volume 6, front page