Obituary - Kevin Cooney, principal teacher of history at Aboyne Academy

24th April 2009 at 01:00

Kevin Cooney, principal teacher of history at Aboyne Academy, died on March 13, aged 56.

Kevin had worked at Aboyne for 23 years, having joined in 1986, initially as a teacher of history before being promoted to principal teacher in 1993. He soon established history as a very popular subject in the school. This was largely down to his enthusiasm for the subject and to his engaging and thought-provoking teaching style. Many generations of pupils studied successfully and enjoyed history in the positive atmosphere of Kevin's classroom.

He always wanted to give pupils the best opportunity to succeed and was an early adopter of Intermediate courses in S3-4. He felt this would offer a better educational experience and also that it would enhance his pupils' chances of exam success.

He valued young people, always spoke up for the pupils of the school and considered it a privilege to work with them.

Many former Aboyne pupils will have great memories, not only of Kevin's classes but also of his regular Easter break trips to the battlefields of Europe. These were not just school trips, but were genuinely inclusive cultural experiences which will be a warm and lasting memory of school for many Deeside pupils.

Kevin played a full part as a member of the staff team at Aboyne. He was a much appreciated and supportive colleague and was committed to the concept of collegiate working. There were few staff meetings where he did not express his opinion or share his views. He was the kind of practitioner who enjoyed talking about teaching; a conversation with Kevin was invariably interesting.

Kevin was also a long-time Educational Institute of Scotland activist at school, local and national level. He was an ever-present and loyal member of the union's Aberdeenshire executive committee and highly thought of by fellow members as a colleague and as a friend.

He had a commitment to supporting the rights of teachers and was well- versed in the details of the teachers' agreement, serving on the EIS national council.

Outside education, Kevin had a range of interests, not least his lifelong support for Celtic football club.

Kevin was a dependable and committed teacher who enjoyed his work. He will be hugely missed by many, but there is no doubt that his legacy will be the impact he had in shaping the enquiring minds of many young people.

Raymond Jowett, rector, Aboyne Academy.

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