SCHULL Community College opened its doors to students of the Mizen peninsula in 1983. Martin Hayes was employed here as a woodwork teacher from the start, initially two days a week from Rossa College in Skibbereen and subsequently in a full-time capacity as school numbers increased. Long before ‘Continuous Professional Development’ became a requisite in teaching, Martin frequently attended inservice training in his subject area and immersed himself in the Techno Teachers Association, acting as National Secretary for many years.
Long before Croke Park and Landsdowne Road agreements were heard of, Martin gave endless extra hours to his students, showing interest in them as individuals, recognising and encouraging talent and always quietly going that extra mile in pursuit of excellence.
On the occasion of his retirement in 2012, one of his Leaving Cert students said of him that he was ‘a genius at the practical side of his subject’.
His obliging nature extended beyond his classroom to endless extra-curricular activities in the college, not least the annual Christmas concert when stage construction and props were in his creative hands. He served as union representative throughout his time in Schull and he was ideal, from both a management and staff perspective, as he had the ability to astutely circumvent controversy.
He served as a teacher representative on the college Board of Management for many years and returned as an active member of same in his retirement. Long before a social committee became the norm on the staff, it was Martin who thought of the next occasion to be marked, the next presentation to be made, the next reason for a night out, thoroughly enjoying all staff social events.
His easy nature made him a very popular colleague and so it was with sadness that we saw him retire in 2012. He, too, was reluctant to leave but he had his forty years served and the time seemed right to focus more on his family and the community in Rosscarbery. When his beloved club Carbery Rangers recently won the senior county title, many of us immediately thought how much Martin would have relished the victory.
As a staff we continued to enjoy his company during Christmas concert preparations and at many social functions. His illness, unfortunately, came all too soon, yet he faced it with his characteristic stoic calmness. There was to be little talk of it and with quiet determination he carried on as normal, for as long as was humanly possible. It was with immense sadness and a huge sense of loss that we learned of his untimely death in April. We were privileged at Schull Community College to have had almost thirty years of his dedication, his talent and his wisdom. It is no cliche to say ‘Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.’
His wife Margaret, his daughters Deirdre and Eimear, and his son Brian, have our deepest sympathy. We missed Martin in retirement. We miss him more now that he has passed from this world. We will always miss him.
May his gentle soul rest in peace.
With fondest memories,
The staff of Schull