Northern Ireland - Head plays it cool on farewells

10th July 2009 at 01:00

The acting principal of a County Tyrone primary school marked his retirement by handing out ice-creams to his pupils.

Sean Callaghan, vice-principal of St Mary's Boys' Primary in Strabane and acting head since 2008, is retiring after 40 years at the school.

He hired an ice-cream van from a local seller and got all the pupils to file out to the playground, one class at a time, so that he could serve a 99 cone to each boy (pictured).

Mr Callaghan said: "When the children and parents heard I was leaving, they were very generous to me, and I wanted to do something for them. Everyone enjoyed it, and besides, I've always wanted to give out ice-cream from a van."

Mr Callaghan came to the school as a newly qualified teacher. His first job was as an art and craft co-ordinator. Since becoming vice-principal, he has been responsible for pastoral care and special needs.

He was also involved in sports and coached the soccer team to its recent Northern Ireland Schools' Cup victory.

Sandra O'Doherty, principal of St Columba's Primary in Newbuildings, Londonderry, will take over leadership of St Mary's in September. mr.

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