Celebrating Coleraine High School

editorial image

Founded in 1874, Coleraine High School is the second oldest girls’ school in Northern Ireland.

A new book, released this week, ‘Changing Times’ celebrates the achievements of the Lodge Road school, as it prepares to merge with Coleraine Inst to become Coleraine Grammar School this September.

The hard backed book, is the brain child of current Principal, Mrs Anne Bell.

Compiled by numerous school departments - The Old Girls’ Association, The Friends of CHS, Mrs Nicky Smyth, MIss Duffin, Mrs Hutchieson, Miss Mills, Heads of Department and Mr Arnold who supplied photographs, the book will provide a step back in time, raking up many memories for former High School girls.

Speaking ahead of last week’s launch, Mrs Bell told The Times: “The book can be purchased for £20 from the school office, and all profits from the book will be going to the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s.

“This centre is at the forefront of research into Breast, Ovarian and Prostate cancer. I choose the centre as my best friend Jayne McCollum, a past pupil of the school, contracted breast cancer over 15 years ago, and I want to celebrate her continuing wonderful zest for life and to ensure that all possible support is given to the excellence research work which is being carried on in QUB.”

The book traces the history of the school which started out as ‘Gordonville Ladies School’ in 1874.

In 1908 ‘Coleraine High School’ was formed, and from the early 1920’s the pupils began to wear a uniform - the colour and style of the blazer to this day has remained unchanged.

Through the book, we learn of the efforts of the pupils’ during the war - how the girls knitted socks, and sent food parcels to the prisonsers of war, and how the high standards instilled into those early pupils are still carried on to today’s young women, thanks to the school motto ‘Virtue et labore’, which means by strength of character and diligence.

The memories of former pupils are detailed in the book, and we learn of former principals, and their recollections of the school.

The strong link The Honorable The Irish Society, and the achievements of pupils in education and in an array of sports including hockey, rugby, football, badminton and althetics are highlighted through copy and photographs.

Filled with pictures and testimonies from current and past pupils, this book will bring back many fond memories for Coleraine High School ‘old girls’.

In the conclusion, written by Mrs Bell, the nineth Headmistress of the Lodge Road school, she says: “When you come to the end of one chapter in a book, you turn the page with a mixture of anticipation and excitment, eager to see what the next chapter will bring.

“And so it is with Coleraine High School - as we end this stage of our history we move forward into the future knowing that we have the traditions of those who have gone before to give us the strength and wisdom to face what is ahead.”