Even though I’ve long since given up teaching,and my children have moved on to university, for me, September will always be back to school month. That’s why today I’m remembering Daisy, the wonderful principal of my old secondary school, Regina Mundi.
In 1961, Daisy bought an old house and founded Regina Mundi, with 33 students and four teachers. By the time I went there the school had grown much larger, but it still had a homely feel, (maybe because Daisy actually lived there!)
Like most young people, I took my school for granted, and I have to admit that much of my time was spent hanging out with friends, and eyeing the boys walking out of their nearby school. Back then, Daisy was a scary figure, who could silence even the bravest girls with her steely stare. It was only when I went to college, and met girls from other schools, that I understood what a great educator Daisy was, and how very far far ahead of her time she managed to be. I was horrified when I learned that many girls schools didn’t offer science subjects and honours maths. I was speechless (in many languages) when I learned that ours was the only school that insisted we learn French, German and Latin as well as Irish and English. We were the only ones who had regular trips to art galleries and ballets and operas. Daisy gave us sex education classes, complete with lots of graphic illustrations on the blackboard, and while they were excruciatingly embarrassing, I now appreciate how brave and committed she was to do this.
Schooldays are supposed to be the best days of your life, and thanks to Daisy, mine definitely were!
(Pics are from Ann-Marie Desmond’s book about Daisy.)