After 37 years working at Mount Lourdes Grammar School, 14 of which she was principal, Maureen McKeever is retiring from a school she has loved from the first day she arrived due to the “respectful relationships” it nourishes.

Mrs. McKeever started working at Mount Lourdes in 1982 as a PE teacher. She said: “I’ve spent all my teaching career in Mount Lourdes. I became principal in 2005 so I’ve been principal for 14 years, before that I was vice principal for seven years and before that I was a senior teacher for five years.”

She continued: “I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my career throughout. Since I arrived at Mount Lourdes, right through, I’ve just loved it.”

Originally from Donegal, Mrs. McKeever noted that it was her “now husband” who saw the PE teacher position advertised in the newspaper and he phoned up to get her an application form.

“I didn’t even know where Enniskillen was,” laughed Mrs. McKeever. “It was chance that I arrived here and I was lucky enough to get a job here.”

She continued: “They say that if you find a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Not only did I get a job that I loved, I also got a place that I loved. We love Fermanagh, I just love the area. I suppose that if you’re happy in your work, and I’ve loved my work, that’s a big part of your life.”

When asked what she will miss most about working at Mount Lourdes, Mrs. McKeever said: “I’ll miss everything about the school but I’ll particularly miss the pupils, because the pupils make the school.”

She continued: “That’s why we’re here. I will really, really miss the girls. The girls are so co-operative, they’re hardworking, they’re good-humoured, their behaviour is exemplary, they smile at you in the corridor, they open the door for you, they are just wonderful young people.”

As principal of Mount Lourdes, Mrs. McKeever commented that she has been inspired in her role by the Sisters of Mercy who founded the school in 1909. Sharing that she has the “utmost respect” and “adoration” for them, she added: “They had a vision to educate the young women of Fermanagh and that vision would still guide the work of the school today. I admire and have respect for the sacrifices they made in order for this school to be built and they are responsible for the foundation, the growth and the success of the school over the years.”

She continued: “I think it’s the ethos in Mount Lourdes that is special and that it’s a mercy ethos and that has manifested itself in the respectful relationships that are formed at all levels throughout the school.”

Noting the support of parents and the wider community during her time as principal, Mrs. McKeever added that she has been “blessed” with the staff she has worked with right through her career.

“They go the extra mile with the pupils. Their generosity of spirit with which they do everything is to be commended and they are so hard working and they are doing it for the girls,” said Mrs. McKeever.

“I was supported by the Board of Governors, I was supported by a very good senior management team and then I had a very hard working, co-operative, supportive staff. I am from Donegal, so Donegal has just won the Ulster Championships and they needed a back room team too and I have a really good back room team in my senior leadership team and in my staff and in the support staff. I had a good back room team and that’s what made my job easy,” Mrs. McKeever concluded.

Sinead Cullen, a past pupil of Mount Lourdes and former student of Mrs. McKeever, is the incoming principal. Mrs. Cullen said: “I am honoured to be given the opportunity to serve the school community as the principal and I am looking forward to working with the students and their parents, with my colleagues and the staff and indeed the wider school community.”

She added: “To basically maintain and build upon the high standards that are already in place.”