by SAIRA BOYLE
Cheryl Cowan’s quarter of a century plus as principal of St Mary’s School, Ellerslie, concluded at the end of the 2016. Mrs Cowan’s 30 years of service and leadership of the school, 26 years of which has been as principal, has been acknowledged with several weeks of celebrations including a parish Mass,
children’s concert, cocktail evening and a final Mass.
She joined St Mary’s in 1987 and became principal in 1992 when the school roll was 150, and now it is 365.
“When I first arrived there was a small and drafty brick building containing two classrooms which were separated with a partition.
“It was a small happy community which has grown over the years, supporting the school to prosper,” Mrs Cowan said.
She oversaw the refurbishment of the administration block, the new library, digital technology infrastructure and the building of an Innovative Learning Environment suite of classrooms — all significant investments for the school during Mrs Cowan’s time as principal.
Another major investment was the two large adventure playgrounds, one of which has recently been extended.
The school community appreciates the establishment of the Christmas Craft Fair, organised by the PTA.
Over the years, the school, under Mrs Cowan’s leadership has been proud to bring home the Catholic Cross Country Cup, the Remuera Zones Speech Cup, The Marist Rugby Cup as well as numerous other acknowledgements, which places the school at the heart of the community.
After Mrs Cowan was widowed in 1991 the school developed as an extension of her family. Her daughter, Charlotte, sister Maree, niece Libby and most recently her granddaughter Quinn all play an integral role in the life of St Mary’s.