As the last ever Head Boy and Head Girl of Coleraine Inst and Coleraine High School, Lara Millar and Oliver McDowell are creating a little bit of history.
This week, as the pair prepared to leave their schools ahead of their A Level examinations, The Times caught up with them to find out their thoughts on their respective schools merging.
Lara (18) from Portstewart, who is hoping to move on to Glasgow to study law and politics, looked back on her year in office describing it as ‘enjoyable’ and as a ‘great experience’.
Lara’s was assisted in her term by deputies Eva Lennox, Gemma Whitmarsh and Rachael Aitchinson
“My organisational skills have been tested,” she joked.
“I have had our annual formal to organise, prefects meetings and the ‘final fling’ for upper sixth pupils and teachers. It’s been a busy year.”
Speaking about the amalagamation of the two well-known Coleraine schools, as they become Coleraine Grammar this September, Lara said that there was a ‘sadness’ around the school.
“I have no doubt that the last ever day of Coleraine High School as we know it will be very emotional for all the pupils and indeed the staff.
“Everything will be different come September, but I am pleased that the pupils had an input in to the new school at every stage.
“I know my year group are ready to move on, most to university to further their education, however I would like to be a fly on the wall come September to see the changes.
Lara’s counterpart at Coleraine Inst, Head Boy Oliver McDowell described his year as ‘unique’.
“As well as the normal Head Boy duties, I have had the added duty of being involved in the production of this new school, so I guess that makes my year a little bit different to other Head Boys,” said the 18-year-old, who hopes to study Chemical Physics and Bristol.
“Just this week we had a vote about new honours blazers, and I think it’s good that although my year group won’t be at the school next year, we are being invovled in the planning for it.”
Oliver went on: “I have no doubt that it will be strange for the pupils returning to Inst next year - to go from an all boys school, to one with new teachers and girls, will be challenging for both sets of staff and pupils.
Oliver thanked his Deputies, Ben Taggart, Daniel McAllister and James Irwin for their support over the past year, he also paid tribute to his teachers.
“It will be the calling of time for some of the teachers at Inst, as they retire or move on to new schools,” said Oliver.
“Coleraine Inst has exceptional teachers, and I have no doubt that as the two schools merge, the combined force of teachers from Coleraine High and Inst will have a positive impact on local pupils.”
Lara added: “I think it’s important that I too pay tribute to the teachers at Coleraine High School.
“They are helpful, hardworking and they go beyond the call of duty. We have benefited from additional classes and revision help, when we know that the staff could be at home with their own families, that just shows you how much the pupils of this school means to them.”