By Sean Ryan - 28 May, 2017
A famous Catholic secondary school which was due to close earlier this year due to falling student numbers is now offering student scholarships under a number of schemes thanks to the generosity of a number of former students.
Last February it was announced that the 112-year-old Cistercian College Roscrea (CCR) on the Tipperary–Offaly border was to close.
After a meeting in the County Arms Hotel in Birr, however, an action group was formed and a number of former students and parents put together a rescue package which saw the boarding school for boys, which counts former Taoiseach Brian Cowen amongst its illustrious alumni, remain open.
The Save Cistercian College Action Group put forward a rescue package that involved raising €1.5 million, which was pledged by donors for capital investment to develop facilities at the school.
The rescue package also included the introduction of day boarding for the first time, as well as the introduction of five-day boarding alongside the traditional seven-day boarding.
The action group set up an online survey, and has received over 500 expressions of interest from new pupils planning to enrol at the school.
The scholarships announced this week will be awarded for excellence in academics, music, hurling and rugby, and are available to potential seven-day, five-day and day boarders. The value of the awards can be as much as 50 per cent of the annual fees, and applications are being accepted at present.
The chairperson of the admissions sub-committee Inez Heenan, whose son Manus is a third year student in CCR, says that her son’s love of the school is what drove her to become involved. She said: “Manus has fallen in love with CCR. He plays for the school’s Junior Cup Rugby team, is a member of the orchestra and he has also been a part of the school’s musical production every year. But above all it is the other boys, the sense of community and the commitment of all the school staff that has made this such a wonderful experience for him.”
Speaking about the scholarships, Ronnie Culliton, chairperson of CCR Board of Management, said “there is something really special about this place. Something about the ethos, the togetherness and the constant activity that makes boys want to be here. A wonderful by-product of that is the fact that it allows boys to become the very best version of themselves.”
Applications for the scholarships can be obtained by contacting Seamus Hennessy at [email protected].