Adamstown principal tells of school’s growth

By Brendan Grehan

“IT’s a happy school, the kind of place where pupils and staff can feel confident and safe.”

Des Newton is speaking to The Echo on one of his last days as Principal of Adamstown Community College.

The former Roscommon and Donegal footballer has spent the last 38 years of his life in teaching, the last 10 of which were spent as Principal in Adamstown CC.

Adamstown Inter Cert 08 1

Des Newton retires as Adamstown Community College principal

Des said: “I started here on March 1, 2009. The school was still being built. We took in our first intake of students on September 3, 2009. We had 69 students starting in first year. We now have 930 students in the school. There is an intake of 180 students each year.”

Des says he is happy that the school is now a focal part of the community.

He remembers that when the school opened it was at the height of the economic crash.

He said: “The economic crash was at its peak when we opened so activity in the local area stopped for a while. The school has become a focal part of the community with Adamstown Community Centre now on the school’s campus.”

Now ACC has had five Leaving Cert classes. Over the last decade, Des says that the school has a number of successes both on the academic side and in the sporting realm.

He said: “Our boys have won two All-Ireland Basketball championships and we have had some success in the Young Scientists Competition”.

He says the school has developed its range of extra-curricular activities.

He said: “ It is very important that each student in the school participate in at least one extra-curricular activity. This is critical for building their confidence, allowing them to engage with others in an informal way outside the classroom, as well as building a positive identity with the college.”

Des spent 20 years teaching in Cardonagh Community School in Donegal before spending nearly eight years as Deputy Principal in Moville Community College also in Donegal.

He said: “So in 2009, I left Moville to go to Adamstown. In Moville, we had 1,750 pupils and I went to 69 pupils in Adamstown. Both were greenfield sites and It has been great to see both schools grow and develop. That has been exciting.”

He added: “Not to be too pie in the sky, but it is rewarding to see pupils developing from childhood into adulthood and developing the skills that will prepare them for adult life and to be good human beings. I know that Adamstown CC is a school were parents can be confident that their children will be able to develop their potential”

Des won’t be leaving education completely as he intends to help out as a tutor on NUIM’s teacher placement programme. He will also continue to work with the DIT football team who compete in the Sigerson Cup.

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