Sunday, 16th May 2010
ANNUAL REPORT 2009 / 10
The President and Governing Body of the Rockwell College Union are pleased to present the 85th Annual Report of the Union.
2009/10 was a very successful year for the Union, with the hosting of a number of very well attended events. Significant work was carried out on improving and upgrading the Union Website following its launch in May 2009. Our membership base has continued to increase, notably amongst our younger past pupils, while the online payment facility that we have now included on the website has facilitated much easier payment options for both Membership and for any Union events.
The 84th Rockwell College Union AGM was held on 11th May 2009 in Rockwell College. Liam Flynn (1982) was elected as President, Mark Smyth (1990) was elected as Vice President and Paul Marren (1978) was elected as 2nd Vice President. Kieran McCarthy (2007) was elected as Honorary Secretary, Tom Madigan (1983) was re-elected as Honorary Treasurer and Brian Cooney (1983) was elected as Hon Membership Secretary. The following Honorary Members were recognised:
Fr Sean Broderick CSSp.
Governing Body Members
2009 / 10 reflected a very active and energetic Governing Body with Conor McEvoy returning from his studies in Madrid to support a variety of activities from development of the web site to enhancing Union membership numbers.
More recent graduates of Rockwell College have continued to play a very important role on the Governing Body throughout the year. In particular Conor Lawlor; Conor McKeon, Emma Jane Morrissey, Cathy O’Donoghue, Michael Doyle, Paul McEvoy and Morgan Pierse have been steadfast in their support of the Union.
Prize Day – 2009
As President of the Union for his first function, Prize Day, Liam Flynn attended Rockwell on 15th May 2009. The Guest Speaker was Mr Aidan O’Brien. The event was held on a beautiful early Summer afternoon in the School Hall and attended by the many prizewinners and their parents. The College and Grounds looked magnificent. The hall was buzzing with excitement and anticipation as the prize winners were confirmed.
Prize day was opened by Father Jack Meade, President of Rockwell. The Principal of the School Mr. Pat O’Sullivan, then spoke, and proceedings began. Some 150 pupils won prizes in a wide range of endeavours, from academics through to sports and debating. The various prizes were presented by Liam Flynn. Half way through proceedings, a short but most enjoyable recital was given by the School Choir, under the baton of Fr Peter Raftery.
Liam Flynn then spoke briefly, about his time in the College, the practical role the Union could play in the lives of past pupils, particularly younger members and how the current Governing Body had a vibrancy that was in no small way associated with the support of members who had left Rockwell in the last 10 years. Pat O’Sullivan then hosted a Question and Answer session with Aidan O’Brien during which Aidan emphasised the importance of always trying your hardest and making the most of the talents each person has.
The evening concluded with a meal in the Dining Room, attended by previous, as well as current, teaching staff. Thanks to Fr Jack Meade, Pat O’Sullivan and his team for hosting a most impressive event.
The winners of Union prizes included:-
Aidan Burke - Student of the Year Gold Medal
Sarah Long - James Joyce Senior Debating Medal
Daniel Binchy - Thomas McDonagh Literary Award Gold Medal
Paul McEvoy - Jerry McCabe Award.
Rockwell Graduation Mass and Dinner
Mass for 6th Year pupils and their parents was held in the School Chapel and celebrated by Fr Jack Meade on May 29th 2009. Liam Flynn attended on behalf of the Union. The Mass was also attended by many teaching and administrative staff. Most of the leavers were given an active part to play in the mass and it was a most inclusive and enjoyable occasion.
After Mass a dinner was held and Liam Flynn was given the opportunity to meet graduates and parents, to speak about the Union, acknowledge and thank both parents and students for the considerable number who had signed up for 7 year Union membership. A special thanks to Mrs Kathleen Smyth for her help.
The 2009 Rockwell College Union Business Lunch was held on Friday 20th November at the Conrad Hotel, Dublin. It was an extremely well attended event, with 95 guests on the day. This year’s speaker was Rory Godson (Class 1980) founder of Powerscourt Media, a London Based Public Relations Company.
Rory gave a very humorous account of his years in Rockwell moving on to give a concise and insightful account of his experience in Public Relations and about the challenges and benefits that successful media relations can bring to a business.
There was a great atmosphere at the lunch, which ran into the early evening.
An overall profit of €5,681.00 was raised on the day. The Lunch’s main sponsor was Ulster Bank (Robert Gallagher and Liam Flynn). Dublin Crystal (Martin Taylor) donated a beautiful combative piece which was presented to Rory Godson. The Union would like to thank Ulster Bank and Dublin Crystal for their support on the day.
As our overall coordinator of this event Mark Smyth’s tireless work on the Business Lunch was very much appreciated by all concerned. Mark was supported by a committed sub committee, which included younger members Conor McEvoy, Doireann McMorrow, Eoin Delahunty, Conor Lawlor, Morgan & Arthur Pierse and Cathy O’Donoghue.
The Annual Mass in memory of deceased past pupils took place on Thursday 19th November 2009 in Rockwell College. This was a break from recent years where the mass had been celebrated in St Marys College Rathmines. Fr Jack Meade was the celebrant on the night with Liam Flynn representing the Union. The Rockwell College Choir was present and their singing was a wonderful contribution to the Mass. Equally impressive was the ‘lighting of the candles’ ceremony which students from each year participated in.
In keeping with tradition, the President’s Dinner was hosted at the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club on 8th December 2009, and was attended by 21 Governing Body members, which included 11 Past Union Presidents. Our thanks go to the Immediate Past President, Joe Barrett for organising a most enjoyable evening.
The 2010 Union Diary was sent to all paying members of the Union. It was also sent to the staff and community at Rockwell. The diary is a most effective way for the Union to communicate to its members, and to provide useful information such as contact details and information about Rockwell and the Union. 33 advertisements were placed in this year’s diary (20 black and white; 13 colour). This was very satisfactory given tightening market conditions over the year. The Union has also agreed to give the advertisers from the diary a free web advert on the new website. Thank you to Joe Barrett and Applegreen for paying for the postage of the diary. The Diary made of profit of €1,104.
Paul Marren did sterling work on the 2010 Diary and we thank him most sincerely for all his efforts here.
Christmas Eve Mass
Fr Jack Meade celebrated mass on Christmas Eve to a full attendance and it is anticipated that in the future the Union will use this time to support a local event for recent school leavers.
Rockwell Reunion Lunch, Paris
Francis Cristiani (Class of 1946) and his wife Ana Maria acted as our very gracious hosts in their elegant apartment in the 16th district of Paris, prior to the Irish – French rugby match on February 13th.
A superb meal with copious wine was served up by Ana Maria. Fr. Aidan Lehane and Fr. Noel Redmond were present. Many reminiscences of Rockwell days were, needless to say, exchanged.
There were three from the class of 1957 present, Peter Linehan (London), Barry Mahon (S. of France, and formerly of Luxembourg) and Cathal Cavanagh of Luxembourg. Fr. Lehane remembered that 1957 was his first year in Rockwell, which proved to be the most difficult year he ever experienced!
David Bolger (1980) from Gorey, with his son and daughter, having driven over from Ireland and Joe Walsh from Cahir, Tipperary were also in attendance. The co-organiser of the event, Fergus Ahern, was unfortunately not able to be present due to illness.
Fr. Redmond put us in the match mood with a very melodious rendering of “The Fields of Athenry” but alas even that did not work the necessary magic on the field of battle in a snowy Paris.
The hospitality of Francis and Ana Maria knew no bounds, even to the extent of providing transport to the metro station to enable guests to proceed directly to the match.
The Eleventh London Reunion Dinner was held on 26th February at the Radisson Edwardian Mountbatten Hotel, Covent Garden. Attendance was well up on previous years, with a total of 60 attending, including a good contingent from Ireland.
Guests of honour were the President of Templeogue, Father Aidan Lehane (deputising for the President of Rockwell) and the President of the Union, Liam Flynn. Jim Holmes, 2007-2008 Union President also attended. Another distinguished guest was 2007 Past Pupil of The Year - Walter Swinburn, who was persuaded to give a brief impromptu speech at the evening's end.
Before Pat Mulcahy introduced the speakers, he expressed his gratitude to the hotel staff, in particular Mike O Connor (1967), Operations Director for the Radisson Edwardian Hotel group in the UK. He also alluded to the great support he got from the Union with Liam Flynn, Conor McEvoy and Jim Holmes receiving special praise. Pat thanked everyone for their attendance and urged them to support the good work of the Union. Finally, as always, he took some time to remember those who had died since the last dinner. He singled out Stuart Mangan (2002), Tadhg Houlihan (1961), John Moroney (1963) and Tom Cahill (1950) for special mention.
The toast to Rockwell was proposed by Union President Liam Flynn, who in an excellent and humorous speech highlighted the work of the Union and general developments at the College. This included reports on the rugby teams' progress in the Munster Cups; news of which is always eagerly received by the “exiles”. At the end of his speech, Liam presented Pat Mulcahy with a pair of silver Rockwell cufflinks as a small token of gratitude for the tremendous work Pat has done in single-handedly organising the Union's London Reunion Dinner for the last number of years.
The response by Father Aidan Lehane, who had spent many years at the college, was an entertaining journey down memory lane. It included many anecdotes relating to life at Rockwell from the late 50's to the early 70's and was well received by the assembled company.
The evening ended with a raffle and a rousing rendition of the College anthem.
The 2010 Annual Dinner was held on 19th March 2010 in the Conrad Hotel, the night before the Ireland Scotland Rugby International. There was a very strong attendance again this year with 245 guests. The evening’s sponsors were Applegreen (Joe Barrett 1984); BNP Paribas Real Estate (Partick Curran 1975); Martin E Marren Solicitors (Paul Marren 1978 and Enda Marren 1953) and State Street (Willie Slattery 1973). The Union is extremely grateful to all our sponsors.
A video of the school was shown prior to the dinner and a slide presentation with old school photographs from the feature years interspersed with current photographs of the College ran over the course of the meal.
Our Guest of Honour as Rockwell Person of the Year was Kevin Roche (1941). Kevin unfortunately was unable to travel from his home in the US , however Hilary Healy and Barry Sheehan ensured that the depth of Kevins achievement as a world renowned Architect was accurately reflected, aswell as an amusing account of Kevins time in Rockwell. Dublin Crystal (Martin Taylor) once again donated a beautiful piece of crystal which was presented to Fr Meade on behalf of Kevin Roche as our Person of the Year.
There were many attendees from the feature years and thanks to the various organisers in each of those years. There was also 60 younger Union members, i.e., ten years or less out of Rockwell, the largest such group ever to attend the Annual Dinner. This was most heartening and a good barometer of the strength of the Union.
The total profit from the night was €5,057.00.
The Union would like to thank very much Hilary Healy and Barry Sheehan for their assistance with the Person of the Year presentation, Brian Cooney & Conor McEvoy for the audio visuals and the remainder of the Governing Body team for their hard work in organising the Annual Dinner.
New Rockwell Union Website and Database Upgrade
The Union website is a vital communications tool for members and would-be members. They can be updated on the Union’s activities and events, keep up to speed with news of other past pupils, and be updated on news about the College. Over the last year, thanks to the hard work and commitment of Brian Cooney and Conor McEvoy, the Rockwell Union Website, RockwellUnion.com has been greatly enhanced. This is a very important step in the on-going development of our Union and of its membership base.
Evidence of the success and power of the website was clearly demonstrated in the increased attendance at the annual dinner and the relative ease of using on line payment facility and the Munster Schools final where in both cases Conor McEvoy was able to garner attendance via Facebook and email.
The Union would like to thank sincerely Brian Cooney and Conor McEvoy for their hard work and on-going commitment to this project. Their endeavours here are most appreciated.
2009/10 saw a significant increase in Union members, thanks to the steps taken to offer recent school leavers with a seven year discounted membership. A special thanks to Pat O’Sullivan for his assistance in this regard.
The Easter Retreat at Rockwell was lead by Fr. Silvestre who coordinated a series of thought provoking talks and services throughout the week. The Retreat was attended across Holy Thursday and Good Friday by a small number of past pupils, which included four past or future presidents of the Union. The welcome and hospitality extended by the community in Rockwell was warm as ever and will add to the fond memories of those in attendance. The Union thanks the College for this annual opportunity for past pupils to meet with staff and community in a spiritual setting.
A special thanks to Ex-Officio Jim Holmes who represented the Union and the Rockwell community for their hospitality during the retreat.
Careers Discussions Evening
A careers discussion evening is planned for September 2010 for senior cycle students under the stewardship of Aidan Byrne.
Other Events in 2009/10
The Union was represented at a variety of events/functions throughout the year.
A number of Governing Body and Union members attended the Munster SCT Final in Limerick in March, when Rockwell College played with great spirit against a very strong PBC side. Rockwell was defeated but we were all very proud to be cheering on the Alma Mater that day.
Liam Flynn attended the Annual Dinners of Past Pupils Unions for other Holy Ghost colleges, St Michaels, St Marys, Templeogue and Blackrock. Attending these events is a very useful way to keep links between our peers in the Holy Ghost schools. It also serves as a conduit for keeping the Holy Ghost community spirit alive, long after people have left their schools.
2009/10 was a very satisfactory year for the Union, and profits were made on the Union’s main events and the Union Diary. Sponsorship of the November 2009 Business Lunch (Ulster Bank – Robert Gallagher and Liam Flynn) and the Annual Dinner in March 2010 Applegreen (Joe Barrett 1984); BNP Paribas Real Estate (Patrick Curran 1975); Martin E Marren Solicitors (Paul Marren 1978 and Enda Marren 1953) and State Street (Willie Slattery 1973), were critical to the success of both events. The Union is extremely grateful to all our sponsors. Raffles held at both events also contributed to profits and thanks goes to the College for providing match tickets and to other donators of prizes.
The Accounts for the year ended 31st December 2009 recorded income of €26,895 and expenditure includes donations of €15,000 to Rockwell.
€1,500 was also presented to Principal Pat O’Sullivan to support the transition year trip to Calcutta.
The Union also continued the upgrade of its website and database system, and €4,882 is included in these accounts.
Our sincere thanks to Fr Jack Meade, Fr Pat Downes, Fr Aidan Lehane and Mr Pat O’Sullivan for their continued support for the Union throughout the year. Their presence at Union events and meetings is much appreciated.
2009/10 was an excellent year for the Rockwell College Past Pupils Union. Our membership base has strengthened considerably in the notable increase in younger members. We saw an example of this trend in the notable number of younger members in attendance at the Annual Dinner.
Our enhanced Rockwell Union Website is a powerful way of reaching out to existing and potential new members. The Union also recognises the importance of regular timely updates to keep the Website current and relevant and this is reflected in the confirmation of our Web Site Development Secretary for the coming year.
The Business Lunch, London Dinner and Annual Dinner were very successful events. Hard work was required to make them the successes they were, and in the end the Union was delighted with the overall success of these events.
The President wishes to record his sincere appreciation and thanks to all Governing Body members, for their hard work and commitment throughout the year.