a Music tuition has been available at the Waterford Institute of Technology’s Music  School for over thirty years, eighteen of which have taken place under the  attentive eyes of school secretary Catherine O’Brien. During these years, Catherine  has witnessed enormous changes at the school, not least the progression from  student to teacher of several of WIT’s most exceptional protégés.

“I started in September 1996 through a FAS/ CE scheme and a job arose out of that  so I’m nowgoing into my 18th year. When I started first there was about 300  students and probably about 15 staff. There’s currently about 800 students and 30  staff and a good 6 or 7 teachers at the moment are former BA students at WIT,  which is lovely to see. Likewise there are students who came from the music  school and are gone into the BA programme. There’s one guy there who started when he was 4 and he’s a post graduate student now.
“My role when I started first was very basic, I didn’t even have an office. The school itself had moved into the Good Shepherds in 1994 but it was still very much a work in progress so I was based in a staff room and I spent most of my time literally writing out timetables, checking rooms, that kind of thing. Slowly over the years my responsibilities grew and these days I’m pretty much doing everything bar teaching the music itself.
“People presume that because you’re working in a school, you have the summer off but I actually work right through the summer. Because we’re dealing with youngsters, it’s important that we have someone in the office at all times, to deal with anything that might arise. Plus, this is actually my busiest time of year, getting ready for the new term in September.”