Two young businesswomen have turned precious memories and celebrations into a successful company in a short space of time.

St. Columba’s College TY students Rachel Bonner and Laura Whelan have unearthed decades of photographs from the school community history to launch a unique calendar for 2018.

Following a busy Chrismas, the young business partners’ St. Columba’s 50th Anniversary calendars are on display in over 500 homes in the north-west and around the world, including New York, Brisbane, London and Tokyo.

Rachel Bonner and Laura Whelan selling their St. Columba’s College 50th Anniversary Calendars

Creating the 2018 calendars led the girls to discover the rich history of the Twin Towns secondary school. With the help of Principal Mr Rowan and past-principal Sr. Anne Mc Loone, they trawled through thousands of images from the school archives to make their product.

It was an interesting journey for Rachel and Laura to see the memorable moments and talk to customers and past-pupils, they told Donegal Woman.

“It really opened our eyes to the changes over the years and what a difference 50 years can make! We loved hearing all of the old stories from the old school day to the size of the much smaller buildings and the changes in the uniform,” Laura said.

The girls worked around the clock (or calendar!) to make their business a success before the New Year, selling calendars at craft fairs, and going out on their own to sell at Christmas fairs, Costcutters, McElhinneys and SuperValu. Dedication and following their own initiative ensured their stock was all sold in time.

Rachel Bonner and Laura Whelan selling their St. Columba’s College 50th Anniversary Calendars

Rachel said: “There is no doubt that if we hadn’t worked so hard and put our hearts and souls into it we would never have sold as many calendars. There was an awful lot of work involved in getting our calendars ready for print and this meant that we didn’t have our calendars to sell until the middle of November.

“This drove us to work really really hard to shift all of our stock in the short last six weeks of the year. We knew well that there would be very few sales from January onward.”

Rachel adds: “I really think that many of the people who bought our calendars admired our “get up and go” philosophy and our initiative in seeking out opportunities to sell off our own bat. We knew we had a great product and we felt very confident selling it.”

Rachel and Laura spent all their weekends up to Christmas out selling and generating a gross profit of over €4,500 euro. They then shared their success with the community with two generous donations to local charities.

Out of their profits, which were all from sales, the girls donated €504 each to St. Vincent de Paul and Cúnamh.

The next step of the business journey will take the team to the Student Enterprise Competition on March 14th. They continue to work hard on commemorative projects, by serving as members of the 50th Anniversary school board and by working on an anniversary book.

“We would like to hold reunions as well to celebrate the school’s 50th Anniversary,” Laura adds.

There are just 30 calendars left on sale, and they will be sold at €3 each with all proceeds going to charity.

If you would like to buy a calendar, you can contact Rachel and Laura via Facebook at St Columba’s 50th Anniversary Calendar or email us at You can also contact the  school directly.