This week Castletroy College lost its founding father Mr Martin Wallace. Words can not convey my great sorrow at such a young life being taken in such an untimely manner. However, his legacy will live on. Castletroy College is a fitting monument to this giant of education.
Martin was the epitome of a simple and honest to goodness public servant. A down-to-earth person and man of goodwill. A man of integrity and dedication. He truly cared about children, staff, education and the school itself. He wanted Castletroy College to have a reputation in excellence. Castletroy College is an amazingly different and inspiring school because of Martin. He was the greatest leader you could ever hope to have.
How good a leader was he? Martin Wallace built Castletroy College. However, his legacy is not just bricks and mortar. He left an indelible mark in the staffroom, the classrooms and every corridor. His finger prints and footprints are everywhere to be seen. He has been instrumental in building the strong foundations of this great school.
As the principal Martin set the tone for Castletroy College from the very outset. Only the best was good enough for his ‘baby’! Castletroy College that is. Martin himself never did anything in a half-hearted fashion. If something was worth doing it was worth doing it right. His unbelievable work ethic inspired his staff to do the same. He expected the highest standards in every facet of school life.
It wasn’t long before Castletroy College started to make an impact locally, nationally and internationally. His primary goal was that both staff and students would excel and that they did. In order to ensure that this would take place Martin as our leader ensured that nothing would get in the way of students and staff achieving their full potential.
Martin was always very proud of his students and staff when they succeeded. He was interested in academic, sporting and artistic successes. He was always so proud when people succeeded and fulfilled their potential in all areas of the school community. Who can forget 2008 when only in its infancy Castletroy College won the Senior and Junior Cups in rugby. He really enjoyed and celebrated that success. He was only too delighted to go on the intercom and celebrate the successes of his staff and students.
Personally, Martin hugely shaped my view on life, education and many other things. I have never met someone as impressive, intelligent and grounded as Martin. His dedication, enthusiasm and drive was infectious. It made Castletroy College a wonderful place in which to teach and work. His high standards inspired me to give my students the very best.
Afterall, he did give me my first major job in teaching. He was the type of man I didn’t want to let down. While we were initially brought together for academic purposes, I soon began to learn from his views, perspectives and wealth of knowledge and wisdom. These will always be fundamental to my understanding of the world.
There are some people in life who cross your path and leave an indelible mark on you. Martin is one such man. It was a privilege to work alongside Martin and I will always remember him for his strong sense of moral purpose and his passion for his staff and students.
Personally, I will be forever indebted to Martin for instilling in me the importance of having the highest of standards, being passionate about what you do and most importantly having the best interests of your students at the centre of everything you do.
The words of John Quincy Adams spring to mind when I think of Martin: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
By Mr. David Loughrey