Girls at St. Conleth’s

Mr. Kelleher has been at St. Conleth’s almost since its founding in 1939 and he has witnessed the school changing with the times yet remaining true to its original purpose and calling.  One change for the better began over forty years ago when girls were first admitted into Fifth and Sixth Year in the Senior School.  Ostensibly it was just so girls could avail themselves of the Science subjects not taught in their schools, but soon the chemistry between Conlethian girls and boys was undeniable and the ‘fairer’ Conlethians were clearly here to stay.  Now, decades later, we have made the next leap and enthusiastically welcome girls into all classes at St. Conleth’s, from Junior Infants through Sixth Year. Considering the vibrant contribution which girls made to the school in even limited numbers from 1974 through 2014, we can’t wait to see how even more dynamic St. Conleth’s will be, as every year and class in the school benefits from the special chemistry that is born of well-nurtured co-education.

Last April, Ms. Sheppard and Mr. Kelleher welcomed back forty years worth of women alumnae to celebrate their profound effect on the history of the school. It was incredible to witness how strong the bonds between these women still were and how overwhelmingly positive were their memories of St. Conleth’s. The night revealed what many of us always suspected: that special bond which all Conlethians share with their school, is even stronger for the girls.  And just last September, we welcomed our first co-ed class of Junior Infants. Within days it was quickly and clearly apparent that going fully co-educational was the best move for St. Conleth’s and the girls and boys themselves. Fittingly, 2015 also marked the first time in St. Conleth’s 75 years that a girl, Hannah Collins, was elected School Captain.

Take a look at our photos to see our girls in action and our other pages to see our full range of subjects and activities, but here is a short-list of those which may be particularly interesting to girls thinking of joining the St. Conleth’s family.

  • ‘Small enough to care, large enough to challenge’: close, nurturing attention but also many opportunities to explore
  • Art and Music Classes from Junior Infants through the Leaving Certificate
  • Co-Educational PE Classes and Sports Teams and those especially reserved for girls
    (Basketball, Athletics, Tennis)
  • Attractive Ballsbridge location and a campus specifically re-designed for co-education
  • A varied and challenging curriculum for both the Junior and Senior Schools (including LCVP and the options of taking both French and Spanish and/or Biology and Chemistry and Physics)

Two alumnae describe their experiences of St. Conleth’s:

In contrast to the school I previously attended, where it seemed that in the quest of education, my individuality was an obstacle to be overcome, St. Conleth’s saw it as something to be cultivated. This feeling of being validated and recognised cannot be underestimated as it becomes the fertile ground upon which real education, personal development and learning happens. When I reflect on what I came to learn and value during my time in St. Conleth’s, two words come to mind: ‘respect’ and ‘responsibility’. Being respected by your teachers for your individuality, work ethic and aspirations makes a meaningful difference in one’s education and self-confidence, and from that flows respect for others. The small school size, the student-teacher relationships and the quality of education, offered, what felt like, a personalised educational experience. I have only positive memories of my time in St. Conleth’s College, in particular the friendships I made and the warmth and humour of my teachers and fellow students. by Sorcha Woods

At the Past Pupils’ Dinner, I did get a memorable glimpse of the different generations of Conlethians, mixing with grace and ease. The girls, or should I say- women, were part and parcel of it all. One particular woman cornered me, looked me in the eye and said the best decision she ever made at my age was to come to St. Conleths. Having spent two years here I can now sincerely share her sentiments. It feels like yesterday that we arrived in the school trying to figure out where we were. We all came from different schools, different cliques, even different countries. Despite all of us being new, we immediately felt welcomed. The principal had an interview with each one of us to get to know us and our personalities. I was really surprised because I wasn’t use to such a family-like atmosphere at school, with such attention from the principal and from each teacher: always encouraging us to give our best and take part in everything. In these two years, the school’s attitude towards us has allowed us to mature in our own personalities, and each one of us regardless our differences found quickly a place. And for this reason I commend the school for its uniqueness.

This is an excerpt of the text of Elena’s Girls’ Captain’s speech at her Graduation ceremony. Both her full speech and Sorcha’s article can be found in the book, accessible from the front page of this website.