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We were delighted to feature in our local papers School Spotlight on January 28, 2005. The article was written by our past pupil Jennifer Long.

Bright days ahead for Portlaw NS
Pupils flying the Green Flag
Website serves as a model for others
What do you want to be when you grow up?

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Bright days ahead for Portlaw NS

By Jennifer Long

Radical changes since the early 90s have made Portlaw National one of the countyıs most modern schools and with the ongoing development of Portlaw the future looks just as bright.
With an array of awards and achievements under its belt and a firm focus on extra-curricular activities as well as academic excellence, the quality of education on offer at Portlaw NS is now a significant lure in its own right to city people wanting to re-locate to a country area.
Hundreds of houses are expected to be built in the Portlaw area over the coming years and so itıs natural the school will have to adapt further to facilitate this growth.
Already plans are in the pipeline for at least one extra classroom and a much-needed PE hall for the existing 196 students which, subject to the nod from the Dept. of Education, will result in the third major building project at the school since 1991.
At the same time, plans are in the making for a special unit for children with hearing impairments on the grounds of Portlaw NS to serve the Waterford and South Tipperary area, a facility which it is anticipated will be integrated with the existing school.
"The growth of Portlaw is astounding; the face of the village is continuing to change hugely with new people joining the community now on a constant basis," says principal Michael Curran.
"Of course this will effect the school but there is actually a demand at present for things like a PE hall as the students have no indoor facility for sports. Also one of our two resource teachers is using the staff room at present which is not suitable either."
The first programme of works at Portlaw came in time for the amalgamation in 1991 of the neighbouring Boysı National School and the Mercy Convent (the sisters of which educated Portlaw girls for over a century).
Two new classrooms were added while the boysı school, which was in poor condition at the time, received a complete overhaul.
However, it was late in 1996 that a real new chapter began for Portlaw NS with the completion of the second major building programme and the old convent school was vacated.
A unique aspect of the changes at Portlaw NS through the years has been the contribution of a family from Los Angeles as a result of a chance encounter back in 1987.
While on a school trip to Fishguard the fifth and sixth class boys and the staff struck up conversation with four members of the Hamrock family from Whittier and the foundations were laid for a life-long friendship.
Ed Hamrock and his family regularly sent money and gifts to the school until his death from an illness in 1991.  The final request of the man with the big heart ‹ which was honoured ‹ was that in place of flowers at his funeral, money would be sent to Portlaw NS.
"It is an amazing story when you think that it all happened as a result of a chance encounter," said Michael Curran. "We lost direct contact with Edıs family after he passed on but weıre delighted that since weıve set up our Internet homepage contact has been re-established. The contribution of the Hamrocks will never be forgotten."
Since those days, Portlaw NS has made huge strides. Academically, the young students whoıve passed through the doors are well recognised while in terms of sports (victory for the boys in the U-11 and U-13 hurling and the girls in the INTO Sevensı Football) and other initiatives like the Green schools, it has enjoyed major success.
As it grows, no doubt there are further exciting times ahead.
"Portlaw is a rapidly expanding area with a lot to offer people, located as it is just as short drive from the city. Obviously, the school will grow with it but our immediate priority is to get facilities in place, like the PE hall, for the students that we already have and who deserve the best."


Pupils flying the Green Flag

By Jennifer

Website serves as a model for others

By Jennifer Long

ITıS bright, itıs cheery, itıs absolutely jam-packed with information about the school, the town of Portlaw and photographs of students old and new and, above all, itıs multi-award-winning.
If thereıs a school website to serve as a model for others, itıs
Not only is it a brilliant resource for the Portlaw NS pupils who update it on a regular basis themselves but it has also become something of a reference point for those from far off shores eager to find information on Portlaw ancestors.
Just to prove the point, a quick look at the siteıs extensive guest book reveals an entry from last Wednesday (Jan. 19).
The author is a man called Brian Kiernan whoıs writing from Denver, Colorado. "Itıs quite amazing," he writes, "to be sitting here in Colorado and be able to bring up so much information on Portlaw."
He said heıd found details on the site of his grandfather who owned a pub at Bridge St. in Portlaw in 1883Šand of his three sons who died at an early age.
The Portlaw NS website guestbook is filled with compliments like Brianıs ­ and with good reason.
The extensive site has 283 pages bearing a wealth of information about school activities ­ green schools, sports, awards, pupilsı work, school news and class photos going back to the 90s, but thatıs still only the tip of the iceberg.
Una & Richard1.jpg (54750 bytes)On Portlaw itself, thereıs an ABC of interesting features while a history section on the town includes research work by the pupils but also published work by different parties on everything from the Malcomsons and Curraghmore to the Cotton Industry and the Tannery.
Other special features of the site include a virtual post office you can send virtual postcardsı from Portlaw over the net. A bits and bytesı section containing everything from jokes to games, links, an archive section, a virtual nature trail and much more.
Testament to the brilliance of the website ­ which has only recently achieved a address making it much more accessible  is the high number of awards and accolades it has received.
Going back to 2000, it won the School Zone School Site Awardı, the Gigglepotz site of the weekı while since then has also received site of the week awards from the Educational Website, Learning Alive as well as Beamıs Cool Site Award 2001.
"The pupils take great pride in the site and indeed, weıre all proud of how well it looks and how well it is doing," said principal Michael Curran.
"It is updated constantly because there are always new things happening in the school and new achievements. Itıs important that the site keeps up to date with all those."


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Eden Little (9)
3rd class
I want to be either a vet or a teacher. I want to be a vet because I absolutely love animals but I hate when they die. Thatıs really sad so I want to save them. When Iım older Iım going to join the ISPCA. I have three dogs at home and Iım getting a new greyhound. If I was a teacher though Iıd meet lots of people. I canıt decide.

Caitríona Dineen (11)
6th class
I want to be a beautician because I really like make-up and stuff. I often play around with make-up at home and itıs great fun.
I think being a beautician would be a very glamorous job to have and youıd always look good. Iıd be able to meet a lot of people as well which would be nice.

Erin Furlong (6)
1ST class
I want to be a builder because my father is a builder. Builders make houses, shops and all different things.
I donıt mind what I make. Iıd just like that job. It would be great. Iıd like to be building things.

Nicky Kiely (8)
3rd class
I want to be a garda nothing else. I want to be able to drive fast cars. Iım not bothered about the rest of the stuff. If I had to arrest a friend of mine, I wouldnıt mind. Iıd give them 10 penalty points.
I always wanted to be a garda so Iım definitely going to do that job. You can help people too if you want.

Brian Coffey (10)
5th class
I want to be an engineer; itıs a cool job. You get to work in offices but also with metal which would be fun. I like making stuff anyway.
If Iım going to be an engineer Iıll probably have to go to college but I wouldnıt mind that. Itıs something I always wanted to be.

Emily White (8)
2nd class
I donıt know what I want to be when I grow up. Itıs hard to know. I donıt think I would like to be a teacher, I donıt know what else.
Iım too young now anyway so Iıll decide for definite when Iım older, probably when Iım in secondary school.

Aidan Delaney (13)
6th class
I want to be a physiotherapist. I just want to be one because I like health stuff and I like science too. Iım also interested in sports.
I have a Lionsı rugby video at home which shows physiotherapists. Thatıs where I got the idea. I saw it and thought Iıd like to be one of those.



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