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Popular Kells teacher to be remembered in road naming

Story by Ann Casey

Wednesday, 4th April, 2012 4:55pm

Popular Kells teacher to be remembered in road naming

The late Jim Brunnock.

Kells Town Council is to honour the late Jim Brunnock on Easter Monday when they name the road up to the community school 'Jim Brunnock Road'.

Jim Brunnock was an extremely popular teacher in Kells for over 40 years and passed away in October 1999, doing what he loved - teaching in room three in the community school.

The cathaoirleach of Kells Town Council, Cllr Brian Collins said he was delighted that Mr Brunnock would be honoured in this way.

"He was a neighbour, friend and a great teacher and educationalist," he said.

Cllr Collins said that when the motion to name the road after him came before the Town Council, it emerged that he had taught six of the nine councillors!

"He eptmomised the true vocation of teaching and understanding young people. It is right that we name the road after a teacher who served the town so well," he said,

Jim Brunnock arrived in Kells in 1959 to begin the first of forty years teaching in the town. From a small farm in Araglen, on the Galtee mountains in Co Tipperary, he was one of eight children. He was taught by the Presentation Brothers in Cork and studied in UCC and taught in Cork and Bray, before he began teaching in Kells.

In his 73 years, he influenced and touched the lives of many people positively, both in and out of the classroom. Over the years, hundreds of pupils have been touched by his ability to see the potential in all.

James Allen, local businessman, remembers Jim coming to the town originally as being a "fit, sports enthusiast that loved life" - "He used to run around the GAA park to keep fit and was ever encouraging, always pleasant - he never distanced himself from his students and believed that you had to look at life and see what it has given to you, and be grateful for all your successes, big and small".

He treated students with the respect as young men rather than kids. Outside the classroom he had a great love of sport particularly rugby, hurling and Gaelic football, representing Kells in his early teaching days. He was involved in coaching rugby in Navan, Athboy and Kells.

His success as a teacher was based on the premise of mutual respect in the classroom. He would pepper the Maths lesson with interesting stories to keep the lads interested. Local Businessman, Cathal McEntee remembering his days in school said that "Jim had time for everyone - he was one of us - he had the capacity to discover the potential within each individual student - he saw them inside and out."

Jim had a humble outlook, saw beauty equally in a well-solved equation, well-grown vegetables or well-drilled scrum. He was confounded by the workings of a car and confused by the mechanism of a golf swing.

He could chuckle uncontrollably in good company, listen and observe intently to whoever he was with, making them feel like the most important person in the world.

What made him wonderful as a teacher was his patience, respect and ability to instill self-belief. Students always felt solving something was a collaboration rather than instruction. He would guide them and trust their decisions.

This trust made people want to do better and see themselves differently. These are also the qualities that made him great as a husband, father, uncle, brother, teacher and friend.

The Brunnock family would like to thank the Brian Collins and the rest of the council and people of Kells for this huge honour.

"It is a tribute to the town that the road would be named after a teacher and I think in this regard, Jim is a representative of all those teachers who dedicated their lives to teaching and unlocking potential in our young people," said his daughter, Mari.

The ceremony will take place at 1pm on Monday.

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