Teachers Inspire Ireland 2022
Donna Fitzgerald

2021 Stories

Live life to your potentialTaking on challenges, finding happiness where you are

Donna is known for her saying ‘not all who wander are lost,’ but she also “teaches by her words and actions, (to) live life to your potential, to take on challenges and to be happy in what you are doing.”

Co Clare teacher Donna Fitzgerald is known for her saying ‘not all who wander are lost,’ but to the students of St Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla, she also “teaches by her words and her actions (to) live life to your potential, to take on challenges and to be happy in what you are doing.”

On behalf of a number of students, Conor Gorey told Teachers Inspire that “Donna Fitzgerald made a huge contribution to the school over the last number of years. She has continuously provided a top-class academic experience, helping students achieve consistently high marks in Geography. She didn't just focus on the top students, she ensured that every student was given the chance to reach their potential.”

She started the school mental health awareness program which resulted in a ‘Wellness Week’ in the school as well as a huge effort to support Cycle Against Suicide which stopped in Tulla.

Donna is also known for her involvement in the girls camogie. “It was a relatively small program until Donna, who has never played camogie, took up the role of coach and brought the team to All-Ireland success.”

She is also the school’s Gaisce, The President’s Award, leader for Bronze and Silver participants.

For the adventure activity for Bronze, there is a cycle from Tulla to Doolin and back and for the Silver, they spend three days climbing in Kerry.

“She has turned all this success into an awards night, where the school reflects on and acknowledges the achievements of its pupils. This has done amazing things for the profile of the school and the morale of the students and staff.”

She introduced key note speakers such as John Burke and Joanne O'Riordan “to help inspire the students to push themselves. Through all of this, Donna has inspired not one, but hundreds of students and made a real and tangible difference to their lives.”

“Donna has one philosophy that she teaches by her words and her actions and that is to live life to your potential, to take on challenges and to be happy in what you are doing. Also during the Gaisce Silver adventure challenge it is 'not all who wander are lost!' I have contacted students from the various fields where Donna has had the biggest impact and they would like to contribute to telling her story if selected.”