Here's to the next 100!

School celebrates centenary in style

PUPILS at Holy Family Primary School have been praised for their exemplary behaviour during the Centenary Mass last Friday.

The school's 42 youngsters joined forces with teachers and community representatives to celebrate the Winchburgh primary's 100th anniversary.

Leading the mass in a full to capacity St Philomena's Church was Archbishop Keith Patrick O'Brien — Scotland's carinal-Elect — accompanied by the pupils who entertained the congregation with songs.

Following the service, community representatives were invited to build a word-brick wall depicting the rich tapestry of organisations working in the village.

An exhibition — organised by a special centenary steering group — was also set up in the chuch hall to celebrate the anniversary and it was packed throughout the weekend.

Holy Family headteacher Theresa Edgar was delighted at the response from the public and was also very proud of her young charges.

She said: "The reaction we've had from the community has been overwhelming. There was a fantastic response to the exhibition with lots of people going along to see it. The mass went beautifully — the church was full to capacity and the entire community of Winchburgh was represented and participated. It was a lovely community mass.

"The cards, telephone calls and gifts we've received thanking us for such a special day on Friday have been unbelievable. We've made a little display of them in the school so that pupils can see how much it meant to people. And the pupils deserve credit too — the Cardinal praised the children for their part in the service and for their exemplary behaviour."

Villagers will be given one last chance to view the exhibition tomorrow (Saturday) between 12 noon and 6pm. The display, co-ordinated by steering group members Mrs Jo Tinney and Mrs Janette Finnigan, contains old school photographs and other memorabilia including the old school bell, a desk and abacus.

Holy Family Primary opened in 1903, although the exact date it opened its doors to pupils is not known. However, its first ever students were taken tours of the school in June of that year so the first centenary event was staged in June of this year when Linlithgow Jazz players presented a festival of jazz, explaining the music's history during the 100-year period.

But the celebrations are not over yet — they have only just begun, according to Mrs Edgar. Other events in the pipeline include an annual coffee morning and sale of work on December 6, when Father Keyes has been invited to say Mass and a nativity play will be staged on December 16 at 7pm with members of the public being invited to attend.

The school board is also hoping to organise a ceilidh in February so parents are being warned to look out their dancing shoes!

And on March 31 next year, a Passion Play will be performed through music, mime and narration. Children from Holy Family and Winchburgh Primaries will mime the play whilst the parish singers from Pardovan, Kingscavil and Winchburgh Church will lend their voices for the music.

Rounding off the celebrations will be a May Procession in the church grounds, after an evening service, and a community concert may also be staged to showcase local talent of all ages.

One additional event which the pupils council is keen to publicise is a time capsule which will be planted along with a tree in the school grounds to mark the anniversary year.

As well as photographs, the time capsule will contain a video documentary compiled by pupils with older village residents sharing their memories, a special song written by pupils and a book of memories. And it is the book of memories pupils need help with.

Mrs Edgar explained: "All those present at last week's mass were issued with a little sheet from pupils asking people to share their memories of the school and village in year's gone by. The pupils are keen to hear from people — the community's contribution is essential in the making of this book so the children will be delighted to hear from anyone who wants to take part."

While the capsule will not be buried until next spring, anyone who would like to share their memories is being asked to contact the school as soon as possible as the children have a lot of work to do compiling the book.

As well as enjoying the centenary events, Mrs Edgar believes they have already helped the school further strengthen community links.

She added: "Some of the parishioners in the church mentioned that they remembered an old school hymn and they're going to give up their time to teach it to the current pupils so that they can sing it at the May procession. We already have great links with the community but the hymn is just one example of how the centenary year has helped us strengthen those links. Hopefully, we can continue to build on that."