Religious Instruction at Lochcroistean

Joseph L O’Hara was headmaster at Lochcroistean School from 10 January 1894 to November 1899. He was popular with the pupils and well liked by the community, but when asked to remain, he replied that not even if Loch Croistean were full of whisky and Ollashol made of tobacco would he stay on in Uig. From these entries in the school log it seems he was very industrious in religious instruction:

4 July 1894

Report on Religious Instruction, June 1894

Singing is taught with success. Memory work was well done by the pupils, and the questions put answered fairly well. The range it too limited and it would in m opinion be of advantage if either the Association or other Syllabus were adopted.

The children speak out well and if the beginning made by Mr O’Hara who has not been long in charge is an index of what may be expected the school by another year should make a good appearance.

27 Dec 1895

Mr Macdonald Inspector for Religious Knowledge gave in to the Society for the Lochcroistean School last August. There were 19 prizes in all – beautiful books 0 which are a great stimulus both to teacher and taught. Mr O’Hara while I was present put the children through lessons in Bible Knowledge and Music which reflect great credit upon his earnestness and accuracy in that department of his school work. Some of the parents who were present on the occasion expressed their high appreciation of the days proceedings. I think it indicated the beginning of a new era in the religious instruction of the children of this district.

Nicol Campbell

2 March 1896

Report on Religious Instruction 1895

Here Singing is a special feature and the teacher, who knows music well, takes great pains with the children and with much success. In Catechism a number answered admirably but the younger children were rather stiff. The historical portions most knew well and the answers were prompt and on the whole accurate. Repetition of Psalms I found on the whole good, and a few, six or eight pupils, had gone over an almost incredible amount of memory work, including eleven passages of scripture, some of them long, and eleven separate Psalms. These they repeated, along with the Catechism questions, with an accuracy that surprised me. Indeed I am of the opinion this portion of the work was overloaded and that not so much should be attempted another year. The Special Syllabus was amply sufficient for a year’s work.

16 October 1896

Here Singing continues to be a special feature and Mr O’Hara has succeeded in infusing his own enthusiasms into the school.  In addition to the prescribed work the senior pupils learned a large number of Psalms and passages of Scripture, making memory work occupy a large place in the examination.  The results as brought out by examination were very satisfactory. Last year the Junior Division was weak. This year the lower Standards answered questions put with great facility, and the upper Standards quite maintain the position of last year.