The history of St Patrick's College
Over the past half a century, the pupils and staff of St Patrick's College have celebrated many a mile stone in their being. Those who enjoyed the major celebration, marking 45 years of academic and extra-curricular success, will have been in their element as 2009-10 brought one on a much larger scale- the school's 50th birthday.
It was back on September 8, 1959, that the new St Patrick's Voluntary Secondary Intermediate School was officially opened by His Lordship Most Rev Dr Mageean, Bishop of Down and Connor Diocese.
Built at a cost of £130,000 on a seven acre site within the grounds of Hugomount, it sought to cater for "the education of intermediate pupils from Ballymena, Ahoghill, Glenravel, Dunloy, Loughgiel and the Braid".
Breaking the mould of its secondary level type in the area, St Patrick's opened with eight special subject rooms, eight classrooms, gymnasium-assembly hall, server and dining hall, staff rooms, changing rooms, shower rooms, playgrounds, exercise area, and substantial ancillary accommodation.
Headed by principal, (Master) Seamus McCracken, supported by vice-principal, J J Devlin, it had a staff team of around a dozen teachers, many of whom continued to work at the school until they reached retirement age.
A number of building programmes in Ballymena in the 1950s and 1960s saw a rapid rise in the town's population and this created the need for expansion in the school's capacity very quickly.
At first this was dealt with by the provision of mobile classrooms and then in 1977, a large two-storey building was opened which included classrooms for specialist art, woodwork, metalwork, science rooms, a library, a large sports hall and offices.
Alterations in more recent times have added a more modern suite of art studios and a pastoral centre.
St Patrick's first principal, Mr McCracken, retired in 1981, although he continued to play an active role in the board of governors well into the 1990s.
He was succeeded by Mr P O'Hagan (Principal until 1986), Mr M McCrory (1986-1989), Mr D Gillan (1989-1993), Mr L Raven (1993-2004), Mrs Catherine Magee (2004-2017) who was replaced by the current head Dr Martin Knox.