St. Joseph’s CBS Whitaker Alumni
Proud of our past, passionate about our future, helping unlock our potential.
The Whitaker Alumni Association will be an engaging and mutually beneficial lifetime link between St Joseph’s CBS and its community of past and current pupils.
The aim of the Whitaker Alumni is to build on Dr. TK Whitaker’s example from the past to inspire the future – to humbly and objectively use our individual skills to help the next generation of students achieve their potential, whilst at the same time staying connected to our fellow colleagues who share a rich past as students of St Joseph’s Drogheda.
We aim to facilitate these connections in a manner that is reflective of modern society.
We recognise the importance of education to the development of society in general and to each student who passes through the doors of the school.
We envisage the Alumni contributing proactively to the development of the school.
We believe that retaining a connection with friends and fellow past students during our lifetime can have many positive benefits.
· To connect with fellow past pupils.
· To speak to senior students regarding career advice.
· To facilitate work experience for senior students.
· To support the school in its endeavours to provide extra-curricular activities that will aid the development of students.
The Whitaker Collection and the relaunch of the St. Joseph’s CBS Whitaker Alumni:
Speech read by 5th Year student Neil Holcroft on the occasion of the unveiling of the Whitaker Collection and the relaunch of the St. Joseph’s CBS Whitaker Alumni:
We are here tonight to commemorate a man without whom we probably wouldn’t be sitting here at all, in a country that is both prosperous and economically strong. A statesman who has been hailed “the man who made modern Ireland”, but a man who you may have quite easily never heard of. Dr T.K. Whitaker’s success may make him seem worlds away from all of us here tonight, but in reality the origin of that success was nurtured here in St. Josephs, just like it was for all of us, pupils past and present. A nurturing that became crucial both in T.K.’s life and for the development of our country.
For most of us, however, this is nurturing is little more than a nuisance. A common complaint of students is the immortal phrase, “sure I’m never going to use it anyway”. It’s probably something T.K was thinking when he was in school here. But he stuck at it. He would even come to school a half an hour early every day to learn French from Peadar Mc Cann, another Joey’s legend and the inspiration for our end of year awards. Later in his life, TK would go on to help negotiate Ireland’s entry into the EU or the EEC as it was at the time. This involved a meeting with the then French President Charles de Gaulle in 1962. De Gaulle was known to be very proud and would often insist on speaking French despite being fluent in English. Little did he know TK spoke perfect French, culminating from his time in St. Joseph’s.
T.K would go on to serve the island of Ireland, both north and south, faithfully right up until the end of the century.
There’s something about us Irish, we have a compulsion to take excessive pride in anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes on the island of Ireland. Moneygall are still trying to convince us that Barack Obama was one of the Founding Fathers of Offaly. Its baffling to me that we don’t look a bit closer to home for a bit of inspiration. You only have to look as far as Paradise Cottage on William Street.
When you’re stuck in here seven hours a day, five days a week, you can lose sight of the bigger picture. It becomes difficult to think about anything other than what maths homework I’ve due for tomorrow. You might forget why we’re coming here in the first place. But when you look at a man like T.K. who was probably asking himself the same questions, but went on to be a man who had a vision for a better, more developed Ireland. An Ireland looking out into the world, not stuck looking. A man who laid the foundations, through his revolutionary ideas and innovative policies for this Ireland that he believed in so dearly. It gives all the sraithpictiurs and poems a purpose. There aren’t many students in Ireland, or indeed who can go to school every day in a building where the man who saved their country turned the first sod. A man truly deserving of the title ‘Statesman’. To paraphrase the seanfhocal, ‘an duine is annamh is iontach’, a saying that captures the exceptional talent, ability and character of T.K. that all of us Joey’s lads try to achieve.
– Neil Holcroft
Unveiling of the Whitaker Collection
Relaunch of the Whitaker Alumni
The Official Unveiling of the Whitaker Collection in St. Joseph’s Secondary School took place on the 15th of January, 2018. The Whitaker family were in attendance and Dr Whitaker’s son David performed the unveiling. The Board of Management are deeply indebted to the Whitaker family for entrusting St. Joseph’s as custodians of the Collection. It includes certificates, diplomas, degrees and doctorates, cut crystal, musical records and Irish books. The documents include his Leinster School of Music Junior first year grad examination in Pianoforte in 1927 to “Irishman of the 20th Century” in 2001 and Greatest Living Irish Person in 2002. His achievements in his lifetime are unequalled.
Dr. Whitaker was the chief architect of Ireland’s economic path from protectionism to free trade. He is widely considered as the most influential public servant in the history of the Irish State. Through his long and esteemed career he dedicated his life to the civil service and promoted a better life for all the people of Ireland. Dr Whitaker sat his Intermediate Certificate in St Joseph’s in 1931 and his Leaving Certificate in 1934. He gained top marks in all his Leaving Certificate subjects. To recognise Dr Whitaker as one of its greatest past pupils, the school’s Past Pupils Union on its 60th anniversary is being relaunched at this event as St. Joseph’s CBS Whitaker Alumni.