Celebrating our Golden Jubilee of Co-education at Dominican College, Portstewart.

Celebrating our Golden Jubilee of Co-education at Dominican College, Portstewart.
By Sr. Lucina Montague

In September 1968 Dominican College became co-educational, an enormous change for a small day and boarding school for girls. It was a rocky start, as those who were here at the time and in the succeeding years could tell you. A favourite debating subject, “ This house is on the rocks” was all too symbolic. It was difficult for all concerned – a huge change for those already here, a challenge to attract boys to what had been a girls' school for 51 years, and of course a financial challenge to provide at least the basics of suitable extra accommodation in days when our finances were precarious, to say the least.

The transition took time and patience, as well as commitment and faith in what we were doing. Happily DCP, and its students, male and female, thrived, and became a very special part of Dominican educational provision.

To celebrate this Golden Jubilee is important, but after a year of celebrating the centenary of the school something different is demanded. One very appropriate idea emerged – could we form a link with a co-ed Dominican school in a very different part of the world, who could benefit from our annual fundraising, as we and our present pupils could mutually benefit from broadening our horizons through our contact with them and another country and culture?

Through the mother house of the Dominican Order in Rome, we are now in touch with a small school in Mandalay, Myanmar, which may be young in years, but has so much in common with DCP. It is small now , as we were back then and, like us, it is co-ed, welcoming pupils from different traditions, Catholic and Buddhist. It is struggling, as we did for so long.

The official name of the school is Dominican, St Martin de Porres’ Boarding School, founded in 2014. At present there are 103 students, in four levels, 44 boys and 59 girls, approximately half Buddhist and half Catholic. The pupils are 14+ years old. These pupils go to government schools during the day, and to Dominican at night, where 10 teachers help to prepare them for university and other higher education. The final grade, which is essential for university admission, is very difficult to attain. While we expected hard work from our students in DCP, we did not have to go to school in the evenings as well!

Pupils in this school in Myanmar pay what they can towards their education, but the needs are great, and more students could come if the accommodation expanded. Also, sponsorship of students would be a tremendous help, as there is real poverty within the whole community.

Dominican College were delighted to announce the Dominican school in Myanmar as one of this year’s school charities along with the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and the SVP. Acknowledging those in need and reaching out in support continues to be a vital part of our Dominican ethos.

As a Golden Jubilee suggestion: could we suggest that DCP past pupils make a one-off contribution, however small, towards our sister-school, and thus make our jubilee memorable for so many young people who also would benefit so much from Dominican education?

Please send what you can to Dominican College, Portstewart in support of Dominican Mandalay.

Every contribution will be acknowledged, and we will keep you up to date through the website and social media.

Watch this space for other Golden Jubilee information!!

We're raising £1500 to help a Dominican school in Mandalay, Myanmar, which is similar to DCP. It is co-ed and welcomes pupils from many different traditions..
Please donate to my JustGiving Crowdfunding Page and help make it happen:
Thanks for your support

Sincere thanks in advance.

Sr Lucina.