A PRINCIPAL in Limavady is overjoyed this week after receiving prestigious recognition at the recent Families First NI Education Awards.
The award for Best Principal in County Derry was won by Mrs Caroline Clements from Rossmar Special School in Limavady.
Additionally, the local school finished as a runner up for 'Best School' in the County Derry/Londonderry category.
The renowned ceremony was held at Titanic Belfast on February 7 with Pete Snodden from Cool FM presenting the awards.
Speaking after the ceremony, delighted Limavady principal, Mrs Clements told the Northern Constitution:
“The awards mean so much to us all as a school.
“Rossmar is a Team and we work hard with our pupils, staff, parents and all allied professionals and members of the community to ensure all our pupils achieve their potential.
“We are fortunate to receive such widespread support and are indebted that all work with us each day to ensure that 'Together, we grow, learn, succeed.'
Mrs Clements went on to praise the support the school has received from parents and staff within the local community.
She continued:“For me personally, I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the comments and support I have received from taking up post in Rossmar.
“We have a busy few years, campaigning for our new build to include a five classroom extension and without the support of our local councillors, BOG and parents this wouldn’t have become a reality.
“We have an excellent 'Friends of Rossmar' group who have organised inspirational fundraising initiatives for playgrounds and sensory equipment. “Presently they have raised over £130,000 which is an exceptional amount of money and will ensure that we can provide these vital resources for a school.
“If they didn’t fundraise our playground equipment, we wouldn’t have these resources for our pupils which in this day and age is simply not good enough. “We are all looking forward to moving into our new build by January 2021.”
Following the nominations, parents and staff associated with Mrs Clements posted comments of praise and appreciation for both Rossmar School and the 'outstanding principal' herself.One local parent described the local principal as “a breath of fresh air” who is “fully committed” to making sure both the school and the children are the absolute best they can be.They went on : “her drive and determination to ensure the new school is built is outstanding, she knows every child inside out and always makes me feel welcome every time I visit the school and my two sons Oisín and Cahír absolutely love having her as their principal and to quote Cahír 'you can have good craic with Mrs Clements.'
Another parent described Mrs Clements as “a passionate warrior” for kids with additional needs who “fights tooth and nail for her school” and “someone who openly and unashamedly cries with joy for her pupils, her school and her staff.”
A fellow staff member and colleague of Mrs Clements also shared her praise for the much loved principal saying: “Although Caroline is new to the school in the short time she has been with us she has been absolutely nothing short of amazing! “Her vision for our kids are for them to be treated the same as every other child their age!
“She has introduced so much for example the first ever school formal, something we as parents never thought we would see or our children experience. “She is kind and caring and knows them inside out which isn’t easy.
“Her main priority has always been what is best for her pupils and has brought a breath of fresh air with her!
“I honestly am in awe of this woman and all she has done for us as a school and for us as parents. “You have given us parallel education for our children like the mainstream schools.
“I know she will do great things as principal of Rossmar and she is such an asset to the school.”
The staff at the Northern Constitution would like to extend their congratulations to Mrs Clements on her wonderful acheivement.