The staff at Kildanagan National School, Puckaun, have spoken of how “proud” they are of Molly Sterling’s EuroSong success.
The 16-year-old who will represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision in Vienna, is a past pupil of the school.
“We are so proud of her achievement,” said teacher Elaine Kirwan, who taught Molly in first and second class. “She is an engaging person but when she was here we would have said she was quiet. To see her new-found confidence is amazing.”
Ms Kirwan said she still has pictures that Molly drew while she was her pupil, along with letters she wrote as part of her school work.
“She was a very bright girl with a wonderful facility for language and words. I would have seen her more as an author than a songwriter,” said Ms Kirwan.
The Kildangan National School pupils made a banner wishing her good luck at EuroSong, but, unfortunately, is was too big for the RTE studio. However, when told it was going to Vienna, Ms Kirwan said the school was delighted to hear that.
“It was just our expression of saying: ‘Hey! We are thinking of you’,” she said. “It is a huge thing for this whole area.”
Ms Kirwan recalled the first time Molly’s talent came to the surface was before a sixth-class concert when pupils were asked if they would like to perform.
“Molly said she would. She had taught herself the keyboards and played her own compositions. The place fell silent. I looked at her mother and I’d say it was the first time she realised that music was going to be part of Molly’s life,” said Elaine.
“She is such a modest girl. I hope she can make her way in the world of music and that nobody will knock her down,” said Ms Kirwan.
She said that the Molly had never lost contact with her primary school friends and had to come back to sing at school concerts and in class with the school’s autism unit.
“They just love Twinke, Twinkle, Little Star and she has played that for them in class,” she said. “Molly has a good heart. She has a gracious and generous spirit.”
Ms Kirwan said that watching Molly triumph was “almost emotional. We recall that little girl, we remember that quiet, little lady.”