Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Jack's lifetime of dedication at Crumlin Integrated College to be remembered at school anniversary

One former principal will be missing when Crumlin Integrated College celebrates its 50th anniversary on Friday night with a trip down half-a-century of fashion with parent Bronagh Maculey as the narrator.

John (Jack) Morris, who was the head teacher at the seat of learning for 24 years, right from the time the school was officially opened in 1963 as Crumlin High School, has died aged 87.

"We have decided to carry on with the event, which is aimed at raising the profile of the college and raising funds," says another parent, Joan Ward. "That is what Mr Morris, who retired in 1986, would have wished."

In this vintage picture, taken the day the school opened for lessons just over half-a-century ago, Jack Morris is fourth from the left in the gown in a group walking past a line-up of the first pupils through the door.

Those girls are long grown up now, of course, and probably grandmothers in their own right. Who are the others in the picture? Names please.

Jack Morris is survived by his wife of 58 years, Margaret, and their children Catherine, David, Evelyn and Peter, as well as five grandchildren.

"We were married in Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church and he was devoted for nearly a quarter of a century to the school," says Margaret.

"It is appropriate that he will be remembered at Friday's function."

Jack Morris spent his childhood in Carrickfergus and was a pupil at Carrick Model and later went to Methodist College in Belfast, before going to Stranmillis College and then Trinity College, Dublin.

He took up his teaching career first of all in Ballycarry Public Elementary before graduating to Glenwood Secondary and then becoming vice-principal of Dundonald Secondary.

It was in 1962 that he took over at Crumlin High, when the building work was still being completed in time for the opening the following year.

Tributes will be paid on Friday night to the former principal, who is still held in some affection in Crumlin.

On the catwalk, the models will be teachers, parents, friends and children, showing off the fashions of the Astonishing '60s, the Flowerpower '70s, the Electronic '80s, the Nifty '90s and the styles of the present day.

The highlight of the show will be 150 designer dresses, with Sid Greene of London and Schubette of London the labels which Bronagh Maculey bought up 30 years ago from a smoke-damaged shop in Belfast.

"They have been stored away almost forgotten ever since," explains this parent, who is into collecting fashion with a history. "So I decided to get them out for this 50th anniversary.

"This is an occasion mixed with a lot of sadness, because of the death of a principal who did so much for education in south Antrim.

"We are hoping that former pupils and staff will turn up on the Friday night to celebrate his many years at this school, which is now an integrated college under acting principal Philip Smith."

In the summer, the college is hoping to repeat the Crumlinwealth Games, which it promoted last year when the P6s of eight local primary schools took part is coaching sessions and events.

And in August there will be a full-scale reunion of past and present teachers and former pupils to celebrate that 50th anniversary.

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