It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since the gates of your schools had to close for the first time because of Covid-19. While many of the experts were telling us last March 2020 that restrictions may well last for a year or more, I have to admit that perhaps optimistically, I thought back then that we might get through this difficulty a little quicker.
There is no denying that this past year has been a tough one for everyone – not least, principals, deputies, teachers, school staffs and of course you the students. This year of restrictions has denied you some of the many things you really enjoy most about school – away from the classroom. That might be PE, the bus trips to matches, work experience trips in TY or the enjoyment of singing together with your school choir. It may just be as simple as being able to congregate and having the craic together at lunchtime.
It could be so easy to give in at this stage. But you haven’t. In fact, what you’ve done, is rejuvenated and re-imagined school life. The pages of this Síol are testament to your resilience, your creativity, your compassion and care, your strength and energy during this very, very difficult time.
We had originally planned that we would focus this edition of Síol exclusively on your activities during Catholic Schools Week. But, instead, with the extended period of school closures, we have also focused this edition on the critical importance of well-being, care for each other and for the planet and student achievement. These are important issues for our schools at all times, but never more so than during this difficult and challenging time. Many of you have first-hand experience of Covid-19 personally or within your families and we know that this has added to the challenges of this year.
It is so important that we all keep an eye out for one another, that we check in on our friends by phone, zoom, or whatever way you like to keep in touch, and that we are all just a little more patient and kinder to one another.
And while we have lived through a year of great uncertainty and anxiety, we are also now moving into a period of greater clarity and hope.
We now have plans for the Junior and Leaving Certificate assessment. This will relieve some of the anxieties being felt by the exam classes, although there are still unanswered questions. And of course, we have a range of vaccines coming on stream. Vaccination is already well underway for health workers and more vulnerable and older members of our society. In time, and at even faster pace than now, we will all be vaccinated and protected further against this virus.
These are all things we can be really optimistic about as we face into a new Spring and the re-opening of our school doors once again, gradually and safely. This time, however, I am allowing myself to be just a little more hopeful that they will indeed stay open for good.
Contributors to this Edition of E-Síol
Kilkenny CBS Secondary
Synge St Primary
Synge St Secondary
CBC Prep School Cork
St. Mary's Academy Carlow
ERSS Carrick on Suir
Rice College Westport
Nenagh CBS Secondary
Ardscoil Rís Limerick
North Mon Primary Cork
St. Joseph's Secondary Fairview
Ennistymon CBS Sec
St. Joseph's Secondary Drogheda
Scoil Íosagáin Limerick
Mt Sion Secondary
CBS Primary Doon
Ardscoil na Mara Tramore
St. Vincent's Secondary
Rice College Ennis
The Abbey Tipperary
High School Clonmel
Coláiste Éanna Ballyroan
This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act
justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.
Kilkenny CBS Secondary
CBS Kilkenny Celebrates Catholic Schools Week Despite COVID19.
Celebrating our Christian ethos has always been an integral aspect of school life in CBS Kilkenny. Throughout the academic year, CBS Kilkenny students participate in numerous liturgical events and respond to the call of our founder Blessed Edmund Rice in promoting the vision of Jesus Christ. Once again, Catholic Schools Week was an ideal opportunity for our students to acknowledge this heritage and meet the challenge of living our Christian faith. Despite the difficult circumstances created by Covid-19, a vibrant array of events was held, which celebrated our values through prayer, song and action.
This past year has emphasised the importance of community in all our lives and Catholic Schools Week 2021 afforded us the opportunity to reflect upon the importance of our own Christian community of learners to our lives and to reach out to those who may not be so blessed. Three of our activities this year really engaged with this intention in a meaningful and innovative way.
On Wednesday, CBS Kilkenny promoted the theme Communities of Love by acknowledging the importance of engaging with our local community care facilities. Our local community is a vital part of life in CBS Kilkenny. It has been a long standing tradition for our students to respond to the needs within our community. This can take many forms such as fundraising to support different local charities, participating in the Ossory pilgrimage to Lourdes and engaging with our ageing local communities on a personal level across a variety of settings in Kilkenny.
The importance of Intergenerational Interaction was articulated by Pope Francis when he said:
‘Listening to the elderly tell their stories is good for children and young people; it makes them feel connected to the living history of their families, their neighbourhoods and their country.’
This year, our First Year students took the initiative to further strengthen these connections and our own traditions through letter writing. Our students made contact with the residents of our local community care facilities; sending our love and thoughts at this difficult and worrying time for them and reminding them of their place in our broader Christian community of learners.
On Thursday, Communities of Resilience was the theme. The importance of Christian empathy to fostering this was wonderfully expressed by Rev. Babette Chatman when she said “May our guide be empathy as we journey together as one humanity through these uncertain times toward recovery.”
CBS Kilkenny set our students the challenge of living their Christian faith and brightening someone’s day by carrying out a random act of kindness.
Our celebration of Catholic Schools Week 2021 was brought to a close on Friday through reflection on the themes and experiences of the past few days. Our Senior Cycle students discussed, articulated and submitted their understanding of what hope means and how it manifests in the life of CBS Kilkenny, while also identifying communities of hope in the locality. These rich and diverse ideas were then shared within the school community and beyond. They will no doubt deepen and strengthen our Christian ethos into the future, as well as fuelling and informing our celebration of Catholic Schools Week 2022.
Synge Street Secondary Dublin
The short video above is of the new mural 'We are Community'. It was painted during Catholic Schools week in our school yard by a staff member. Although we weren't physically in school, we came together as a community, remotely to produce something that our students would benefit from when they return to school.
Waterpark College Waterford
This beautiful painting was made by Art Teacher, Bríd Ní Chionnfhaoladh and inspired our student reflections.
Celebrating Catholic Schools Week online has been a very different experience for both students and staff at Waterpark College . We have made It work for us and have had a very spiritually uplifting time.
Teachers posted some nice reflective video clips on our staff WhatsApp and we decided to create a Wellbeing team for our First Years dedicated to CSW. We livestreamed a CSW mass celebrated by Bishop Phonsie and encouraged our students to watch it at home with family, somewhere comfortable with a nice cup of Hot Chocolate! First Years got a break from classes and we were able to go to mass, just as if we were here together.
Students and teachers were asked by our diocesan advisor Declan Browne to contribute some reflections for the Friday day of Hope. Normally We would read these over the P.A. but now they are shared with all the schools in the diocese. Our last thing is to create a lasting memory of the week. We are going to make a small film of student and staff inspirational photos of someplace / thing near our homeplace.
Like we said it’s been different!
Reflection on Communities of Hope
In her native town of Amherst in the state of Massachusetts in the year 1862, Emily Dickenson composed her inspirational poem " Hope is the Thing with Feathers".
She had drawn a familiar image of a bird and placed it in our hearts for all eternity.
This poem is seen as a hymn of praise honouring the human capacity for hope.
When we read her poetry, Dickenson's fragile bird lives within our souls, withstanding the gales and storms, singing in good times and bad.
Lord we ask that our souls be home to this songbird of hope whose wings may lift our community in these times of great need.
St. Mary's Academy Carlow
With the current lockdown affecting our school community greatly our focus on wellbeing for the whole school community has been growing and thriving, with many great ideas coming from students and staff.
One of our TY classes has become very busy creating a podcast on good health and wellbeing. They have just published their first episode which is available to the school community. The podcast focuses on general wellbeing, how to look after your health and wellbeing during lockdown with guest speakers from both the school community and local community joining in on the conversation. The first episode focusses on the connection between mental health and the internet. The students have found it very engaging and enjoyable to see all the different tasks and activities that have to be completed in creating a podcast and have enjoyed the opportunity to still work as a team even from their own homes.
Our student council came up with the great idea of having a Tech free day for all students and staff. They brought their idea to a meeting with our principal who gave the go ahead. We had our screen free day on Wednesday 10th February to aid both students and staff with recovering from the long days spent in front of the screen and in the same chair. It also helped students to have a day to catch up on assignments and aid them in being able to switch off for Mid Term for a well-deserved break. A great idea that was appreciated by all members of our school community.
One staff member had the fantastic idea of setting up a virtual staff wellbeing team on Microsoft teams. This has been a great help to all the staff as there is a wealth of content for inspiration, motivation, pick me ups and something funny to brighten your day, which we are all too aware how much we all need that these days. It is also a place for connecting with staff and being able to check in and have a chat with a cup of tea and unwind from these hectic times.
Rice College Westport
Christmas Jumper Day raises funds for MUH Paediatric Ward
We in Rice College, Westport were delighted to offer MUH Paediatric Ward a Sensational Kids voucher for €850 to go towards the development of their sensory room.
The money was raised by the staff and students from a Christmas Jumper Day on the 17th December 2020.
It was presented to Mrs Suzanne Loughran and Mrs Mary Murphy, Nurses in the Paediatric ward who are also parents to some of our students.
We are very grateful for all you do, and hope this will benefit the children in our community with and without additional needs.
Congratulations to past student Matthew Dillane who was awarded an Excellence Scholarship from NUIG to acknowledge his fantastic Leaving Certificate results.
Well done Matthew from all of us at Rice College.
Congratulations to Brian Mortimer who was awarded a scholarship from Intel Shannon. This scholarship endeavours to help outstanding students throughout their college course through internships and monetary support. Brian is studying electronic and computer engineering at UL. Well done Brian
Feed the World
Rice College Senior Students Launched their Christmas Campaign with their own rendition of ‘Feed the World’
A group of senior cycle students from Rice College Westport had a Christmas wish this year to help those in need in what has been a very difficult year for a lot of families across the country. They had great fun learning this Christmas song for all to enjoy in a bid to raise some money for the less fortunate in the Westport area. Their fantastic efforts raised €1,600 and their song can be viewed on our schools Facebook page, ‘Rice College Westport’
Well done lads!!
LCA Science and the Environment
In LCA Science the boys studied the module Science and the Environment. This module covers topics such as air and water quality, global warming and soil composition and soil pollution.
Throughout the module they also looked into methods of increasing sustainability in Irish farming practices through reducing our carbon footprint.
In order to ensure the boys work safely on a farm they completed two online safety courses with The Health and Safety Authority. The courses were, Farm Safety with Slurry and an Introduction to Tractor Safety.
Well done on your hard work boys!
Fundraiser for Irish Cancer Society
Transition Year Students from Rice College, Westport Raise Vital Funds for the Irish Cancer Society
Before we finished up for our Christmas break, our TY students participated in ‘Shave or Dye’ to raise vital funds for The Irish Cancer Society & the event was live-streamed to all classrooms. Their efforts raised €2,238 for this amazing charity and we are so proud of our students for taking on this initiative and making it a success.
That same day, Ms. Mannion spoke to Dave on Today FM about her time as a Volunteer Driver with the charity, which she signed up to during the pandemic last March, and her own ‘Marathon in a Month’ fundraiser which saw her complete three marathons in 30 days, whilst raising over €1,300 for the charity also.
Rice College, Westport celebrates St. Brigid’s Day
On 1st February, Saint Brigid’s Day - Lá Fhéile Bríde - we celebrated Ireland’s only female patron saint. Most of us are familiar with the tradition of making crosses from rushes in her honour and memory.
This feast day was one of the most important days of the year for our rural ancestors. St Brigid’s Day was the festival of fertility and marked the beginning of spring in Ireland. It signalled an end to the darkness of winter and welcomed a new season of hope and growth.
Our rural ancestors celebrated the day with a festive meal and a host of customs, all aimed at securing St Brigid’s protection and promise of new life and abundance for the year.
To keep the tradition alive our 2B Religion class was given a little task to complete as they had researched St. Brigid previously.
Using Google Classroom as our remote learning tool, Ms. Mannion posted a video on how to make a St. Brigid's Day cross. Making cross curricular links with well-being, students were instructed to get some fresh air, gather some rushes and showcase the end result in Google Classroom later in the week. For anyone who couldn’t get rushes they were encouraged to use other materials that they may have had around the house.
Here are some of the crosses our boys made. Don’t they look great?
Ardscoil Rís Limerick
The Christmas spirit was well and truly alive in Ardscoil Rís this year! The students, parents and teachers were involved in many initiatives during the Christmas period.
The whole school participated in our annual food appeal for the charity Novas here in Limerick. This collection was given to families all around Limerick in need of help during the Christmas period. The generosity of the students and their families was truly fantastic, and there was a real sense of giving and empathy from the students.
2nd Year and TY students wrote Christmas cards and letters to local nursing homes around Limerick. They also sent hampers for the carers working in these nursing homes.
Peace & Justice Group
Our ERI Peace and Justice group designed a Human Rights display to mark the 72nd anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration.
Catholic Schools Week 2021
Catholic Schools Week was celebrated virtually this year, with a presentation recorded by Fr. Derek Leonard, a past pupil of Ardscoil Rís. Fr. Derek has a very strong connection with Ardscoil Rís and is involved in many liturgical events, as well as speaking to our students on different topics. Each day a reflection and prayer was emailed to the whole school.
1st, 2nd, 3rd and TY students also attended a virtual liturgy that took place in the Limerick Cathedral. The students were encouraged to watch this with their grandparents virtually as it was Grandparents day.
BT Young Scientists 2021
Stuart Griffin, Jacob Alymer and Charlie Goldmith qualified for the 57th Young Scientist 2021 with their project:
“Voting for Change: A comparative analysis of the Irish PR-STV voting system to determine if it contributes to political instability, gender imbalances and absence of democracy”
Our project focuses on 3 different aspects of political science in the Irish political arena. These areas include;
Ireland’s electoral system PR-STV (Proportional Representation- Single Transferrable Vote)
Whether the PR-STV system adversely effects political stability
Whether the PR-STV system also adversely effects gender balance within the Irish Government.
During this project the group studied these areas and elaborated on their effects in the Irish political system. For example they studied and compared Ireland’s electoral system and gender balance to other countries such as the UK and European democracies such as Germany and France. Based on the study the group came up with a number of conclusions based around there findings for what electoral system would be best in Ireland to encourage political stability and gender balance.
St. Joseph's CBS Fairview
Our 1st year students recently took part in a poetry competition aimed at promoting the technical literary skills learned during their English class, while also exploring their individuality and originality of expression.
Their teachers Ms. Dowdall and Mr. Dunne decided to run the competition as a means of promoting written expression at a time when reaching out and connecting with our students has never been more important. While remote learning has had its challenges, the poetry competition gave the students the time and space to write, edit, redraft and refine their work, allowing them to express themselves thoroughly and showcase their talents as young poets.
We received so many excellent entries, a selection of which were displayed across our website and social media platforms over the period of the competition. The winning entries, seen below, are an excellent example of the literary talent and skill among our 1st year students. Each of the poems written by our 1st years will go on to be entered in the 2021 PDST national poetry competition and we wish them the best of luck.
We are very proud of the efforts of all of our 1st year students and we cannot wait to see what they accomplish in the coming years.
Student and Staff Wellbeing
Joey's Walk Route 66
As a school, our goal is to walk the length of route 66 in 28 days. From the 1st of February, we started to walk the 3669.8km that it takes to get from Chicago to Los Angeles. As part of our walking challenge we are linking with the schools World wise global schools (WWGS) programme to target Global Goal 13- climate action.
As we are currently engaging in distance learning. It is so important to keep active for our bodies and our minds. So while we are encouraging students to get active for their wellbeing, we are also promoting walking/running over using cars to target climate change.
Along with this, we are running a competition for junior and senior students. The 2 students with the highest step count will win a fitbit.
While we cannot be together at this time, we can complete this challenge together.
Health & Wellbeing
Everyone in CBC Cork has been very much aware of the impact Covid-19 has been having on the health and wellbeing of members of the school community, keeping communication lines open with our students and staying connected with them.
A series of initiatives were put in place over the past few weeks, balancing the day-to-day classes with other supports necessary to look after the welfare of our students. Our school has made a concerted effort to provide avenues for students where they are consulted and their views are heard.
The Student Council continues to meet every week with Donal O’Mahony, Deputy Principal, and Tom Casey, Wellbeing Coordinator. These meetings have led to the roll out of supports such as live mindfulness classes, held every Thursday morning before school with teacher Catherine Costello. Many students have availed of this class, which gives them a great energy and focus for the rest of the day. The feedback from the students is that they are more focused for the day ahead, and get more work done. We are also hoping to begin online student HIIT classes after the break.
We have been holding regular year group assemblies to help give a focus, keep students connected and to assist them in any way possible. At our assemblies last week, Science teacher Marie Delaney spoke to students about the importance of nutrition. She explained how the food pyramid works, explaining that a good nutritious meal is a lot more beneficial for you while not that difficult to prepare. Over the mid-term break Marie has recorded a cookery demonstration, making brown bread, pancakes and healthy smoothies! This will be shared with students next week.
Another initiative to support the mental and physical wellbeing of all our students was a Student Wellbeing Challenge, held the week before we finished for mid-term. We were thrilled with the level of engagement from First to Sixth Year. We finished classes early and encouraged all our students to engage in an activity for the afternoon. This was an opportunity to enjoy some personal or family time, away from the hustle and bustle of life and screens. Students emailed a picture of their activity and commented that they really enjoyed the initiative. This was a fantastic afternoon, and the weather played its part in allowing everyone to get outdoors! The photos below give a flavour of the variety of activities undertaken: James Fairtlough made a scrumptious lemon drizzle cake. Ethan Wyse took “Gingy” for a walk. Patrick McCarthy approaching the “Shaky Bridge” paddle boarding with family members, along the River Lee and Aaron Sidhu and his Dad went for a lovely walk with “Minty”,overlooking Cork Harbour.
Each class in First Year and Second Year has a Mentor teacher to guide them in these especially challenging times. The mentor teachers, who also teach mainstream subjects to these classes, get to know the boys very well and facilitate invaluable opportunities for them to chat and share their experiences from the past week and to learn strategies for responding to the challenges they have come across. Class activities have included outdoor scavenger hunts and fitness challenges.
We firmly believe that we must strive to understand our students in this changed environment, and continue to keep them at the centre of everything we do. A key goal is to help them to feel that they belong, knowing that their teachers care about them on their journey and that if they can find happiness within themselves, everything else falls into place. To paraphrase our school motto, Certa Bonum Certamen, these goals give renewed meaning to fighting the good fight.
National Debating Competition
Congratulations to Henry O’Riordan, Transition Year, Christian Brothers College Cork, on winning the Grand Final of the Matheson Debating National Mace.
In a hotly contested final, with impressively articulated arguments, Henry was crowned Best Speaker in Ireland, beating 80 students who reached the National Finals.
Henry took the changing format of the competition to an online platform and challenging motions in his stride. Henry debated the motion ‘This House Believes Minister Norma Foley Should Resign’.
The Matheson Debating National Mace is the largest debating competition in the country and being awarded Best Speaker is a testament to Henry’s incredible debating skills.
St. Joseph's Drogheda
School Ministry & Liturgy Preparation Course
Thanks to Aisling Flood, chaplain at St Joseph's, who presented on the ERST/MIC ministry course which has been offered over five nights in Jan/Feb this year. The course proved to be very popular with 147 participants.
Thanks also to Father Eamonn Fitzgibbon from Mary Immaculate College for coordinating this very worthwhile course.
Scoil Íosagáin Sexton St Limerick
Bro. James Dormer, (right), chairperson Board of Management C.B.S. Primary School, Sexton St., Limerick make a presentation to retiring school Deputy Principal, Michael O’Sullivan, on behalf of the school Board of Management.
Michael is also a past pupil of Sexton St. C.B.S. primary and secondary schools.
CBS Primary School Doon
6th Class pupils at Doon CBS Primary School, pictured with the County G.A.A. hurling coach Ollie Coffey, on Ollie’s last official day as hurling coach to the school.
Electric Ireland Special Recognition Award
Our former past pupil Tomás Lynch has been recognised for all his hard work off the pitch in 2020. Tomás spent 5 years in Doon CBS where he excelled on the hurling field. Recently he completed his transition year experience, outdoors, where he held very engaging lessons with the pupils. A role model for all our pupils to follow and it was great to see a past pupil come back and contribute to his former school.
Design a Jersey
This year, we held a ‘Design a Jersey!’ competition. There was great interest shown and we had over 40 entries. After a lengthy discussion we had narrowed it down to two, but it was extremely difficult to pick a winner! We decided to merge the two designs and ended up with a fantastic jersey. Well done to Ryan Stapleton 2nd and Noah O’ Kelly 3rd for their wonderful creativity. Both boys have designed a school jersey that will be now worn for years and will hopefully inspire those lucky enough to put it on.
Congratulations to Cian Hanrahan, our 6th class pupil, who wowed the judging panel with his Victorian sponge design. Cian based his cake on a sea theme and the final product is eye catching as well as delicious. Cian took part in the ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ competition and won over judges Russ Parsons & Lilly Higgins with his creation. Cian’s prize is a 4-week online cooking course with Lisa Davies of saspansospan.ie. Cian is delighted and we here at Doon CBS are super proud of him. Doon CBS is now renowned for its bakers as well as its hurlers.
This year we ran a highly successful Christmas Cracker. All pupils in Doon CBS sold lines to family, relatives, and friends. Recent All Ireland champion Pat Ryan was on hand to pick the winning card and line. Congratulations to the ‘Mayo Girls’ on the big win.
Picture shows Br Dormer presenting the prize to Mayo Girls representative, Audrey Fox.
Ardscoil na Mara Tramore
Improve Wellbeing Whilst Taking Climate Action
Many of us have turned to nature for solace and respite throughout the pandemic. Spending time in nature is good for our wellbeing and mental health. Evidence suggests that contact with nature can boost our mood and fend off depression by altering chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in our brains. There is evidence that we have an innate need for nature. A concept known as Biophilia, a primal urge to connect with the natural world around us. Any parent who watches their toddler in the garden will see that they are fascinated by the natural world around them. They are captivated by the variety of colours, textures, and smells. They are engrossed by snails, slugs, spiders, bees, and anything that moves. However, as they grow old, they become frightened and disgusted by the very things that once enthralled them. Why? I believe it’s because as parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and teachers we haven’t fostered this love and curiosity of nature. When you don’t encourage an interest, it withers and dies.
Education should be at the heart of change. Never before has it been so important to teach our young people about nature, to value and respect nature. We need to give our young people the education that we didn’t get, so that they can do what we didn’t, protect the natural world. This means that we must not only talk about the natural world but feel it, experience it, every day. Nature should be woven into our curriculum and our school life. This means that we as leaders in education need to revolutionise how we teach. Nature and sustainability shouldn’t be left to an after-school club, once a week, when ‘learning is over for the day’.
‘The world is not as wild as it was. Well, we’ve destroyed it. Not just ruined it. We have completely destroyed that non-human world.’
David Attenborough 2020
David Attenborough’s recent witness statement, ‘A life on our planet’ showed us that we have reduced the remaining wilderness on Earth by half, in just 80 years. The remaining wilderness now occupies 35% of our planet. We are experiencing the 6th mass extinction. We are destroying the natural world. In just 5 decades our planet’s wildlife populations have plummeted by 68%. Aine Lynch, a wildlife ranger in Tipperary, spoke with our TY students this week about how we are starving our wildlife populations because of our intensive land management practices. There has been a 97% decline in the breeding pairs of Curlews. Our Corncrake populations have also plummeted. Across Europe, insect populations have fallen by over 70%. I have observed this in my own life. You have too. When I was driving in the countryside in the summer with my parents in the 80s and early 90s I can remember the spatter of insects that covered our car windscreen and fender. They were so abundant then. Now the windscreen is clean. Speaking with Aine made me, once again, appreciate the power of conversation. Everyone on that call felt energised to do something about this.
Our leadership team launched a whole school Biodiversity Champion Challenge. The students and their families heard their teachers and community leaders talk about this devastating decline in our natural world. We spoke about a simple solution that everyone can take action on, creating a space for nature in our own gardens and community. This may involve letting the grass grow and mowing it less. Planting some nectar rich flowers for pollinators. Students can strive for the bronze, silver or gold award. There will be an overall biodiversity champion, a student and their family, who go above and beyond to make a space for nature in their garden. This challenge will provide nourishment for our souls but also for pollinators. It has the potential to foster conversation, community, wellbeing, awareness and climate action.
We would love to see other schools launching their own Biodiversity Champion Challenge. Student and family engagement hopefully will be higher if the message is communicated by you. Resources are available on our website.
If you would like further information about the Biodiversity Champion Challenge or you would like to become part of a school sustainability network please email email@example.com
The project has grabbed the attention and imagination of many of our students and their families.
Julia Zelazny and her family have taken up the challenge.
Killian a 6th year student, has also risen to challenge and is helping us to get other families and schools on board.
Ceri, a 6th year student has been making a buddleia hedge with her family by taking cuttings. Buddleia is known as the ‘butterfly bush’ as butterflies love it.
Transition Year News
A number of talks/workshops covering different areas of film making have taken place. We had John Kennedy, a cameraman, who has worked on projects like The Young Offenders.
We had a talk from Tricia from Focus Ireland, and we are now trying to get as many TYs involved in our team for walking/running the Virtual Camino in aid of Focus Ireland.
Also this term we had Rory from Rory's stories. He is a comedian who has struggled with mental health issues and is very passionate about sharing his story.
TY Co-ordinator Ms Campbell, sends a random act for the students to do at some time that day or during the week if they are too busy. The entries are absolutely wonderful with 4B winning two weeks in a row and 4D winning last week.
Well done to all students who submitted their work at the poetry workshop with Stephen Murray. The standard of work was superb. Their work can be viewed on this link. https://inspireland.ie/ardscoi...
Students are also engaging with Project One Sky. This project is about their well being and is probably one of the most important programmes to engage in at this hard time.
There are lots of groups working away on challenges such as the F1 in schools and the CIF construction challenge in their own time. Well done to all these students for their self motivation and hard work.
Ardscoil Na Mara is part of a creative cluster of schools and our overall theme this year is Horizons. All TY students are asked to work on a creative writing piece, a photograph or an art piece on that theme.
Young St Vincent De Paul
The regional facilitator of the Young VDeP was in attendance via Zoom recently to coordinate the new committee of the Young St Vincent De Paul
The class elected the following students to lead the Young VDeP this year.
President Heather Breen
Vice President Darragh Walsh
Secretary Filip Stosic
Treasurer: Sinead Hudson
PRO’s Josh Clune ,Ben Murphy ,Dara O Neill, Siofra Slattery
Photographers Roisin Ni Chadhla ,Daniel Keoghan Rory McCann
We wish the committee and the wider committee the best of luck as they continue the work of the previous ASNM committees in raising awareness of the Young St Vincent De Paul within the school and parish community.
Student Council Meetings
All meetings are now taking place online at this time. All Student Council representatives have shared advice and feedback from the year groups on online learning and engagement with the SC coordinator Ms Lonergan and the Senior Management Team .
The digital platform has been invaluable in allowing for staff and students to stay connected and continue to promote the student voice among the school community. Thank you to our representatives from every year group for playing such a valuable role.
Student Council Event
The sixth year members of the Student Council ably assisted by the fifth and transition year Class Presidents had organised for the annual but now socially distant table quiz to take place Christmas Week between staff and sixth year students with the help of digital platforms. The event is postponed for now but all monies raised will go to the Meals on Wheels and local Sea Rescue.
Student Council Competition
The first year representatives Giorgi Herterich and Daniel Andrews organised a Christmas Poster Competition among the first year students . Congratulations to the following winners Aoife McMahon. Tara Colfer, Sophie Power and Ali Preece
Pope John Paul 2nd Awards
Plans are underway for the awards ceremony to take place virtually this year. All are looking forward to this immensely and have completed meaningful reflections on their involvement.
Rice College Ennis
Internet Safety Week
As part of Internet Safety Week, TY 3 Students have designed a number of Phone Screen Savers using key internet safety images and messages to remind users to make responsible online decisions and protect their wellbeing online. Great job guys!
In days gone by, students would have contributed to our Grapevine Magazine, but like Síol we have had to adapt to our new climate. This year TY1 published this terms edition of Grapevine Newsletter. Thanks to all the class for your hard work especially with the added challenge of working remotely. A special mention to the editors Judy Fitzgerald, Alisha Mac Carthy and Rebecca McCarty.
Our very creative and talented Junk Kouture ladies Carla, Eunice and Caitlin had their journey delayed last year but thankfully were able to pick up where they left off this year. We were delighted have tuned into RTÉ 2 to watch their creation ‘Do Your Own Sting’ walk the catwalk. A huge thank you to Ms. Hogan for making it all happen.
The High School Clonmel
Virtual Christmas Show
On Monday the 21st of December after weeks of preparation, the High School’s virtual Christmas Variety show was released online. The show was streamed in sitting rooms across South Tipperary, Ireland and all across the world in places ranging from Poland to Australia.
The show took over eight weeks to plan and film. This was made possible by the whole school community working together in partnership. Staff and students came together, planned, practiced and performed. The vision for the show was to once again demonstrate the talent in the school, both in front of and behind the camera.
Students of all age groups as well as past pupils and staff from all areas of our school took part with performances including singing, instruments, comedy, rapping and dancing. We were also lucky to have such a wonderful recording and editing team.
It was hoped that the show would lift the spirits of the school and wider community and bring some Christmas cheer to homes all around the country. From the feedback we received, we certainly achieved our goals. In fact, the Christmas cheer was brought all around the world to homes with High School connections. The school organising committee for the variety show would like to thank all those who played their part in what was an exceptional showcase of the talent in the high school community.
A new state of the art 600+ pupil post-primary school with an expanded curriculum will open in Callan, Kilkenny in September 2022. This new school will be an amalgamation of two existing second level schools, St. Brigid’s College (CEIST) and Coláiste Éamann Rís (ERST). The new school will merge the two existing secondary schools to form a new co-educational Catholic voluntary secondary school to serve all students from the area. Work is currently underway to make this vision a reality. To keep up to date on the progress, stay linked in with the ‘Coláiste Abhainn Rí’ tab on both schools’ websites.
Working together, the students, staffs and parents have developed a new Mission Statement for the school:
We are a Christian school community of inclusion and care rooted in the Catholic ethos of teaching and learning. We are committed to maximising the potential of each student in an atmosphere of mutual respect. We place our students at the heart of everything we do.
A Project Steering Committee, chaired by Frank Smith, is overseeing the transition to the new school and several task committees worked on aspects such as mission statement, school name, uniform, curriculum and crest.
Coláiste Abhainn Rí
The new school is named after the river which flows through Callan, this name reflects the history of the town as well one of its main geographical features. Abhainn Rí, also known as the Kings River, rises in the Slieveardagh Hills of Tipperary, flowing 70kms, through Callan, on its way to join the Nore at Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. Callan is named after a former High King of Ireland, Niall Caille, who, when leading an army across the river to fight the Norsemen, was drowned while trying to rescue one of his entourage being swept away in the flooded river. It is this incident which gives the river its name and that name has passed to our new school.
Bunscoil Sancta Maria Synge St.
Is í pobal na scoile pobal na foghlama... Bhain na páistí ó Bhunscoil Sancta Maria an sult as an dúshlán seo. Bhí orthu túr a dhearadh as roinnt rudaí sa teach agus é níos airde ná iad féin ... the school community is a learning community - the pupils from Bunscoil Sancta Maria really enjoyed this recent challenge. They had to design a tower using materials around the house and make sure that it was taller than themselves.
Seachtain na Scoileanna Caitliceacha
Seachtain na Scoileanna Caitliceacha faoi lán seoil i mBunscoil Sancta Maria Dublin...... Bhí páistí ó Bhunscoil Sancta Maria ag obair go dian le linn an dianghlasáil ar na mallaibh.
Bhí siad ag déanamh Crois Naomh Bríde as luchair le ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar Lá Fhéile Bríde.. cleachtadh a dhéanann máistreacht!
Catholic schools week in full swing in Bunscoil Sancta Maria Dublin... the children were very busy during the recent lockdown. They made Saint Brigid's crosses to celebrate Saint Brigid's Day.... Practice makes perfect!!
Lá na Seantuistí
Is é pobal na scoile pobal an ghrá! - Rinne na páistí cártaí do lá na seantuistí. Tá siad thar a bheith buíoch as an creideamh a thug siad dúinn agus as bheith cinéalta, grámhar dóibh i gcónaí. ( the school community is a community of love - the children made cards for grandparents day. They are very grateful for the faith their grandparents gave to them and for always being kind and loving.
CBC Preparatory School Cork
January saw the return to learning at CBC Preparatory School, albeit in a different setting. Students and teachers went online after Christmas as they completed their work via Google Classroom. Regular Zoom Classes were also organised with all classes which provided for both the social and educational needs of our students. As with every day in school, each morning online begins with the Blessed Edmund Rice Prayer. The theme of this year’s Catholic School’s Week: Communities of Faith and Resilience was particularly apt given the ongoing challenges faced during the COVID 19 pandemic. Notifications about the topics and activities of Catholic Schools Week were sent to students and their families daily via the school app. We also celebrated St. Brigid’s Day online with our classes. As we returned to remote teaching and learning in January, all teachers were aware of the need for the boys to remain active at home. Mr. Lynch liaised with students from the secondary school and introduced our Staying Active Programme with fantastic videos being sent home to our students with tips from the older boys on how to work on their rugby and GAA skills at home.
Covid-19 has meant that our monthly mass has had to be live-streamed and the picture here shows our boys in Senior Infants participating in the Decembers mass which was celebrated by Fr Tomas Walsh.
Celebrity Speakers at Edmund Rice Centre
The Edmund Rice Centre have been keeping very busy with online zoom classes each day. Students have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with each other and their teachers and SNAs, albeit via a screen. Thanks to the creativity and determination of the Edmund Rice staff, they’ve managed to keep up a varied and innovative timetable. Last week, students were very lucky enough to have celebrity garden designer and TV presenter Diarmuid Gavin join one of its classes. He taught students how to grow pineapples and a cool trick to grow avocados.
Celebrity chef Neven Maguire also made an exclusive appearance in class last week when joined the boys in a baking zoom, teaching them how to make fabulous brownies and answering questions on life as a famous chef. Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children, also visited the school virtually and spoke to staff and students about education, the challenges they face at the moment and some tips on how to stay happy and resilient. Many thanks to Ms Orla O’Connor for organising and to all staff members and students for attending and participating. The excitement levels were high and the visits raised everyone’s spirits.
St Brigid’s Day Celebrations
Lá Fhéile Bríde has always a special occasion in the CBS, and every year the RE Dept. & students come together to make hundreds of crosses! This year, students continued the tradition at home by making St Brigid’s crosses and traditional soda bread, making a cross in the dough before baking. Many thanks to RE teachers for facilitating, and thanks to the students and their families for participating.
Well done to our TY students who are exhibited at the BT Young Scientist earlier this year. It was completely virtual and students had to opportunity to present their projects online to a panel of judge. They found the experience hugely beneficial, and helped develop their confidence in presenting to a wider audience. Well done to Conor Golden, Rodhan Dowd, Eoin McLoughlin, Jack O’Gara and Michael Riley.
Academic Excellence Award
Congratulations to Lokesh Satish who was the recipient of a prestigious academic award . Lokesh was one of six Roscommon students who was awarded a special Entrance Exhibition Awards from Trinity College Dublin last week for achieving academic excellence in their Leaving Cert exam. Lokesh - along with the others – received a 150 book token as a prize.
The awards go to the student accepted into the first year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme who achieves the highest points among Trinity entrants from their secondary school, above a minimum of 500 CAO points.
A huge congratulations to Lokesh for his academic achievements. He is studying Pharmacy in Trinity and we wish him every success with his course and his future career.
Virtual Visit from World Medalist
Transition Year students had a virtual talk last week with Para Cyclist and World Track Medal winner Richael Timothy last week.
She spoke to the year group about elite fitness, nutrition and resilience in the face of all obstacles.
Richael told students about her acquired brain injury that came about after surgery on an underlying condition, Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT).
She told them how she’d previously immersed herself in football, playing for her club St Croans and inter-county football with Roscommon.
Richael described the physical challenges she faced as soon as she came out of hospital, and how it soon became clear to her that she would have to take on a very difference athletic journey and began training as a Para cyclist.
Richael also studied Sport Science degree in Athlone IT, and afterwards set her sights on international competitions such as the World Championships and the Olympics.
She spoke to them about her nutrition when she is training, and how she sustains her energy during long cycles. She also spoke about the difficulty caused by Covid in accessing elite gyms, and in getting to velodromes, as there isn’t one currently in Ireland.
The students really enjoyed her honest, positive and engaging talk and loved the opportunity to ask her questions about elite fitness and training. Many thanks to Richael and to TY CO Ordinator Mr Eimhin Griffith for organising and moderation the talk.
Bridging Worlds Conference
CBS Roscommon recently commenced the Bridging Worlds training programme - an initiative to create learning spaces & educational infrastructure which bridges the gap between formal & nonformal learning environments. Ms. Coyle attended the virtual conference learning about its goal to enhance and reimagine the educational infrastructure around learning spaces for marginalised and disadvantaged learners who typically struggle.
The project – run by NUI Galway and Foróige - specifically sought participation from schools in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon – and the CBS was delighted to get involved. The Bridging Worlds project hopes to work with and provide training for TY teachers who would you like to upskill in new projects that could be interesting and delivered in TY. Online and blended learning opportunities will be provided along with learning more about youth work and nonformal approaches to education provided by Foróige. Many thanks to Ms Coyle for participating and we look forward to rolling out the project in school in the future.
Edmund Rice SS Carrick on Suir
Young SVP ERSS
Members of Young SVP and Student Council ERSS presented a cheque, 742 euro to St. Nicholas Conference, Carrick-on-Suir. This was the proceeds of a raffle, a jersey day and a donation from Student Council.
In November 2020, 5th Year members of Young SVP wrote letters to the residents of the Greenhill Nursing Home ,Carrick -on-Suir.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Young SVP members asked our school community to create homemade care packages for someone special in their home as an act of kindness & thoughtfulness during the current pandemic.
Catholic Schools Week
R.E. Teachers marked Catholic Schools:
Students attended the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore On-line Mass celebrated by Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan on Wednesday, January 27th.
Different themes were celebrated in class and in work students completed throughout the week including poster and poetry displays. Grandparents were remembered, role models for younger people, the best story tellers and most importantly beloved companions.
Around Europe with ERSS Challenge
Keeping active when at home is always important. Students, parents and many members of our local community in Carrick-on-Suir are taking part in this walking challenge. All participants send in the number of kms walked each day and some send photographs form their time outdoors. The total distances walked by all are then translated into where we would have walked if in Europe.
As we anticipate and look forward to the reopening of schools, members of Young SVP are planting seeds in pots at home with the intention of returning to school with their flowers in full bloom thus bringing a little colour and cheer to the school grounds and building in the coming weeks.
All-Ireland Hurling Final 2020
There was terrific rivalry between teachers from the competing counties, Limerick and Waterford leading up to the final. We are already looking forward to next year's campaign.
In Memory of Shaun Hilmi
ON January 2nd 2021, the Nenagh CBS community was rocked by the news of the passing of one of our wonderful men.
Shaun Hilmi, a Fifth Year student at St Joseph's CBS, lost his battle with cancer after fighting so bravely and so positively in the months before. In these incredibly upsetting times of Covid and not being able to attend funerals or comfort families, the staff struggled to come to terms with Shaun's passing or mark the impact this young man left on the world.
We wanted to pay our respects both to Shaun and his family, with Craig, his older brother, also being a past pupil. In the last few days, the school staff took the opportunity presented to them by Milford Care Centre to do just that.
Every January, Milford Care Centre hold their annual 10k Run/Walk fundraiser. As a result of Covid and not being able to hold street collections, etc, MCC are relying more than ever on the generosity and goodwill of people and the involvement in events such as these.
We answered the call as a tribute to Shaun and knowing we were doing it in his memory and to make sure his name was on everyone's lips sent us all out on the roads, running tracks, footpaths, and GAA centres to walk or run 10k last weekend.
We did it for Shaun. We did it for his family. We did it for the school staff community. We did it to help the grieving process.
And in the process, in excess of €4,000 and the figure is rising. If you would like to support the great work Milford Care Centre undertake for families in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary, you can donate on our Just Giving fundraising web page.
We were reminded that weekend 29th -31st January, as Catholic Schools Week 2021 concluded, more than ever that life is precious, time with family is precious, time with friends is precious. While Shaun may not be with us in our school community, he will always be remembered in the school photos on its walls and in our hearts as his school staff.
RIP, Shaun. Forever Young.
North Monastery Primary School Cork
Creative Schools Initiative
The North Monastery Primary School received 5.1K funding from a Creative Schools open competition at the end of last year. The initiative was instigated by the Arts Council of Ireland (ACI) to promote the Creative Arts among students in both primary and secondary schools. The Scoileanna Ildánacha/ Creative Schools is a pilot initiative which aims to put the arts and creativity at the heart of children and young people’s lives. The long term aim is for every school to be supported to fully embrace the arts and creativity, ensuring a positive experience and strong outcomes for children and young people. The art forms funded by the Arts Council of Ireland includes: Architecture, Circus, Dance, Film, Literature, Music, Opera, Street Arts and Spectacle, Theatre, Traditional Arts and Visual Art. Children and young people are to have a central role in this process.
The North Monastery Primary School was guided through a process to assess the needs of the pupil and the school. Our Creative School team designed a SWOT analysis and surveyed pupils, teachers, Board of Management and parents. The results guided us to select an initial focus for the Creative Arts in the school and to celebrate arts/ creativity by recommending and establishing a range of collaborative opportunities both locally and nationally. We have developed an action project to celebrate our engagement with the arts with the assistance of a Creative Associate (Naomi Cahill from Bespoke Productions). The plan develops and strengthens the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure within which we operate. The plan has changed and developed to account for the restrictions of Covid-19 by using more online resources. Even during lockdown, the Creative Arts are to the forefront of remote learning and well-being in the North Mon. The generous funding will enable us to implement our plans to engage with the arts and with local and national artists over the school years 2020–21 and 2021–22.
To date, we have had numerous ‘Creative School’ initiatives around the theme of Superhero (via remote learning) encouraging pupils to explore, draw and then create their own superhero outfit. We have also benefitted from resources from National Gallery of Ireland including the ‘Curator’s Mondrian Tour’ which was the artist focus for February. The pupils also designed a ‘Mondrian inspired’ cloak for their Superhero. Another Superhero activity was a study of the school mural painted by a local artist Alan Hurley, celebrating our past pupils; Terence McSweeney, Tómás MacCurtain, Seán Óg Ó h Ailpín ,Rory Gallagher, Jack lynch and Niall Tóibín. Each week, the Creative School’s team sets or co-ordinates an activity which feeds into creativity in the North Mon.
Miriam Cotter; Creative Schools’ Co-ordinator
Coláiste Éamann Rís Cork
Br. Ben Cusack CFC has been named as Cork Person of the Month for February 2021.
Br. Ben has made an extraordinary contribution to educational leadership, youth mentoring and formation in Cork, for four decades. Originally from Waterford, Br Ben has been living in Cork since 1980.
He was Principal of Sullivan’s Quay C.B.S. for 25 years between 1981 to 2006. In 1981, he founded the Edmund Rice Youth Club, which celebrates forty years this year and is still going strong. The Club's future has also been secured with the purchase of a new prefab at Coláiste Éamman Rís, Cork City.
Celebrating four decades this year, many generations, in some cases of the same families, have grown up with and attended the youth club, including members of bands such as The Sultans of Ping FC and The Frank and Walters.
"Br Ben Cusack has many friends and huge support in the educational and sporting community here in Cork, particularly among past students and parents of Sullivan’s Quay CBS and all those associated with his famous youth club," commented awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan.
"Bro" as he is affectionately known as, is deeply involved in the educational and sporting life of Cork City and he continues to volunteer support to Coláiste Eamann Rís, Greenmount N.S. and St. Joseph’s N.S., Mardyke.
In 1994, Br Ben received an honorary master's degree from University College Cork (UCC) to mark his contribution to young people and to education.
He was also the recipient of a Lord Mayor’s Award from Cork City Council, which he received in 2005.
His latest accolade seeks to recognise his contribution to education and youth mentoring over the past 40 years in Cork.
THE L.E.A.F. PROJECT was very happy to nominate Ben to the Cork Person of the Year Awards Committee. That nomination was accepted and news has been released to local media that Ben is Cork Person of the Month for February! A great achievement for a Waterford man!
A very modest person, Ben attributes the success of all his endeavours to the team of generous volunteers and support people he has gathered around him.
Since the Christian Brothers community house in Fairhill closed, Ben has stayed with the Presentation Brothers Community, Mardyke House, forging another link between the two Congregations. Comhghairdeas Ben!
We congratulate Ben, and the community of people associated with the Youth Club on this honour. We wish him happiness and health as he continues his great work.
A word from the Chairperson of the CER Cork Board of Management and former student of Bro Cusack
Colaiste Eamann Ris can trace its origins to 1828 and Sullivan’s Quay CBS and it’s great to see one of that school’s most respected principals, Bro Ben, acknowledged for his 40 years of service to the young people of the city.
I was in Bro Cusack’s first class in The Quay in 1980 and although they say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, I had him again in 6th! He was and still is a hurling fanatic and it rubbed off on all of us. The fact his famed Club is still going strong 40 years on is really a salute to the man who for me typifies the spirit of Blessed Edmund Rice...his life has been a true vocation.
We will slag him, of course, for being a ‘Cork’ person of the month winner, so proud he is of his Waterford lineage but we can lay claim to him after 41 years.
It is a great honour for me as chair of the CER board to congratulate the Bro on such a selfless contribution to the evolution of the school from its past and looking ahead to a bright future...a mighty man, ‘togha fir’.
Ennistymon CBS Clare
A Virtual Wellbeing Wednesday in Ennistymon CBS
To ensure a healthy balance between work and play in the students’ lives at Ennistymon CBS, the Wellbeing Team organised a hugely successful ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ the week before mid-term break.
Regular academic Microsoft TEAM classes finished at 11.00 am and all students and teachers were offered a wide range of virtual classes which included Origami, Cooking, Yoga, Pet Circle, Meditation, Photography, Open Mic, Workout and Crafts and Cards. Any student from any class could join the workshops so this guaranteed great varieties of ages and year groups in the classes.
In the Origami class students developed their skills in learning how to make three different kinds of paper aeroplanes. This was a popular class among our first- and second-year cohort who produced some lovely pieces.
Students had the opportunity to join one or two cookery classes. The first cookery class involved a demonstration on how to make chocolate brownies and the second was on how to make healthy energy balls. Both classes proved popular among all year groups and judging by the pictures sent in new skills were developed and perfected.
Pet Circle was another very popular class which was very well attended by students and their pets. There were sheep, lambs, cows, calves, dogs, puppies, hens and rabbits. Students spoke proudly about how they care for their precious pets.
In the photography class students were introduced the fundamentals of photography and features found in mobile phone software. Students demonstrated an appetite for getting the maximum from their camera as well as learning the elements of an excellent photograph. This class was a big hit and is an idea for a lunchtime club when the school reopens.
Open Mic attracted the many musicians and singers of the school as well as those who enjoy an uplifting tune. Here students were given the opportunity to express themselves through music and songs. A wide variety of ages joined in mixed with lots of instruments and the result was a highly entertaining hour for everyone.
In the Craft and Cards class students were instructed on how to make colourful creative homemade cards on a budget. A demonstration was also given on how to make bookmarks.
The Meditation class gave the pupils an opportunity to learn and practice some simple meditation and breathing techniques which will be of great benefit in supporting a positive emotional wellbeing.
Yoga was another popular class among a range of year groups. Here students practiced Hatha yoga while focusing on breathing and relaxation techniques and gentle stretches.
In the Workout class the instructors delivered a class with a difference. They took the traditional movements that students were familiar with from GAA practice and fused them into an introduction to CrossFit.
In the afternoon students were given the option to walk 5km, run 5km or cycle 12km. All their times were submitted to the Strava app which was set up to record and clock up the kilometres.
Feedback from all the classes was positive and many who participated felt it was a great opportunity for students to meet up, broaden their hobbies and experience a sense of normality in these strange times.
A big thank you goes to Ms Griffey, Ms Brown, Ms Rynne and Mr Dillon who organised the events.
Midleton CBS Cork
Cork Penny Dinners
Students from Midleton CBS made a delivery of food, clothes and toys to Cork Penny Dinners over Christmas. There was a fantastic response from our school community to our appeal and a group of our Transition Year students helped to organise and pack the donated goods. They filled our school minibus before taking it to the Cork Penny Dinners distribution depot in Cork City. Well done and thanks to all who contributed to the success of this venture.
€1,500 raised for St. Vincent de Paul.
Our Student Council presented a cheque for €1,500 to Denis O' Shea from Midleton St. Vincent de Paul following our Christmas collection. Our Transition Years also assisted St. Vincent de Paul with the distribution of 2,000 Charity Envelopes to homes throughout the Midleton area during early December.
School of Sanctuary
We have begun our journey to become an accredited School of Sanctuary with the national organisation. We submitted our formal pledge of commitment last November which was signed on behalf of our Board of Management, Student Council, Parent Council and Staff Representatives. In doing so we became the first school in Cork to pledge our commitment to the accreditation process and the second ERST School to do so after Mt. Sion in Waterford who have just recently been officially accredited as a School of Sanctuary. Congratulations to them.
Our commitment to becoming a school of sanctuary encompasses a broad range of students within our care. These include refugees, migrants & asylum seekers, students with special educational needs and members of the LGBTI+ school community. A recent initiative which supported these groups was a School of Sanctuary Poster Campaign run by the Art Department.
Also, our Guidance & Counselling Department ran a LGBTI+ Awareness week. The school ran a number of initiatives and Midleton CBS was proud to display the Rainbow Flag as part of National Stand Up against LGBTI+ Bullying Week. National research shows 73% of LGBTI+ students experienced bullying or harassment in school and we are committed to making Midleton CBS an inclusive environment for all. Students & staff wore Rainbow Colours on Friday November 20th to show their support for LGBTI+ members of our school community.
As testament to the commitment of Midleton CBS to the EREBB Global Schools Initiative we will participate in a Virtual Immersion Programme for Edmund Rice Schools during the last week of March 2021. Since 2002 our school has participated in a bi-annual immersion experience in Kolkata, India. In February 2020 before the world was transformed by the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic a group of our students and teachers visited India to participate in their Immersion experience based at St. George's School in Kolkata, "The City of Joy".
During the current Covid-19 crisis, the needs of the world's poor are greater than ever and Brother Steve Casey, an American Christian Brother, working among the poor on the hills surrounding the city of Lima in Peru has invited schools to participate in a Virtual Immersion experience with him. Usually, Edmund Rice Schools from North and South America participate in this Immersion programme on the ground and engage in building houses for the poor as part of their experience. This year they have been invited to do it virtually, by raising funds and sharing in a Zoom experience with the families for whom houses will be built with the funds raised. As it is an online initiative this year, Midleton CBS have agreed to participate in this exciting venture and our Transition Year Students will spearhead the fundraising once they return to the classroom. We are very much looking forward to seeing how this develops over the coming weeks.
Mt Sion Secondary Waterford
Mount Sion Choir
The Mount Sion Choir featuring Ronan Keating, is releasing its version of the single ‘This is Your Song’ on March 5th to raise vital funds for the Marie Keating Foundation’s national cancer support and survivorship services. Collette Kearney, the founder, and the choir were featured on prime time RTE News on Sunday last and everyone involved in this project must be immensely proud of their achievements.
This performance of the song was recorded as part of the Concert4Cancer, which was broadcast last Summer and went on to raise more than half a million euro for cancer services.
The story of Mount Sion Choir is remarkable because of what has been achieved in its short eight years in existence. The students have performed in many prestigious venues, but the pandemic caused their Carnegie Hall in New York performance to be cancelled. Typically, instead of allowing this disappointment to get to them, they used their time to get involved in the Concert4Cancer project and help raise funds for cancer support services.
Congratulations to Collette and the choir and continued success to all of you and your school.
School Of Sanctuary
Mount Sion CBS Secondary School in Waterford has become the first school in the Republic of Ireland to be awarded the status of School of Sanctuary.
The school was assessed by a team from Places of Sanctuary Ireland (PoSI), which includes people active in refugee support work, refugees and asylum seekers.
They classed Mount Sion as “outstanding” for its activities for welcoming and including young people from a refugee or asylum-seeking background.
PoSI is an all-Ireland network of groups who work to promote a culture of welcome and inclusiveness across every sector of society, so that people seeking sanctuary in Ireland will feel safe and equal, and have opportunities to be involved in all community activities.
PoSI team leader Andy Pollak, a former Irish Times education and religious affairs correspondent, said:
“Mount Sion CBS is a model for other schools in its outstanding portfolio of work to welcome and support the young men and boys from 37 different nationalities who are students in its school. We were enormously impressed by the wide range of initiatives: providing multilingual and multicultural flags, signs, booklets and graphics throughout the school; ‘own language’ tours for students and parents; celebrating religious festivals from the various countries, setting up a ‘sanctuary room for reflection, counselling and discussion; inviting asylum seekers in to give talks; students making videos of their sanctuary activities and sharing these activities with other schools.
“Last year the school made a highly regarded presentation on its sanctuary work to hundreds of students and their teachers at the Edmund Rice Schools Trust annual student conference in Croke Park. Through this wide range of welcoming activities, Mount Sion is providing a shining example to other Irish schools by offering refuge to those many young people who need it and equipping its students with intercultural skills and the ability to have compassion in what is, for many, a turbulent world”, said Mr Pollak.
Narrell Byrne, EAL Coordinator, who is leading the initiative, said:
“Mount Sion CBS is very proud to be recognised as Ireland’s first School of Sanctuary. Our uniform brings a very diverse student body together on the same journey. We are one, but we are many. We pledged to create a school culture where every student feels safe and accepted; a school where cultural diversity is valued and celebrated. Schools of Sanctuary helped us make this vision a reality”
O'Connell's Primary Dublin
Bloody Sunday 1920 History Competition
Congratulations to the 5th and 6th Class students whose entry in this national competition has come out on top in the country.
It's well worth 12 minutes of your time to view their winning entry below.
St Vincent's Secondary Glasnevin
Keeping the Connection
It has been a hard few weeks working remotely, motivating our students and keeping them engaged while also balancing our personal lives, caring for small children or elderly parents. It is equally hard on a social level working in isolation jars with the very essence of what teaching is.
During lockdown round one we in St. Vincent’s created a weekly staff newsletter, Learning In Lockdown, to help keep our connections alive and well. We have rolled this out again for this current school closure, it contains weekly information from school, including pieces written by staff about how their role has adapted during the lockdown. The newsletter runs a weekly competition for staff, one where they vote for a student who is working exceptionally well and another fun competition for staff to get involved in! Both competitions include weekly prizes which are a nice treat to receive in the post! Where possible we post information that may be useful for staff such as websites, links or instagram pages that may be useful. It has been a positive tool to help us all connect while staying apart.
We have also set up voluntary coffee mornings to give staff a space to log on for a chat during break time, seeing each other is a nice change and helps you to feel we are all in this together.
This academic year has been challenging for everyone, especially during remote learning from January until now. It has had a huge impact on our lives and how our school operates. We have had to think outside the box and get more creative with our lessons and extra-curricular activities. One new extra-curricular activity that was born in these strange times was our school’s Photography Club, coordinated by Ms Redmond.
From September to December, students of the photography club met at lunchtime on a Monday every week, and even this had a strange format with senior students in one room and junior students in another. Despite this distance, students still shared their beautiful photos, their ideas and their skills. Students were given a theme every week, the students submitted photos until early December. Their best photos were chosen and displayed on a gallery wall in our school for the whole school to view, as well as featuring on their school Photography Club website and their Instagram
During lockdown and remote learning, The Photography Club continued to take photos every week and post them on their Instagram. In order to involve the whole school community, the club is running a Photography Competition for the month of February for both students and staff with prizes for best photos up for grabs.
Two weeks into our competition and our community has gotten really involved and unveiled some hidden talents amongst staff and students. Some beautiful photos have been submitted - photos that give them hope, show their happiness and shine light in some otherwise duller times. It’s important to try and stay connected with our community, as now more than ever, we need each other's support.
When this storm that we’re in passes, the sun will shine again - Ms Whelan.
THe Abbey Tipperary
BT Young Scientist Success for Abbey TY Students
Transition Year students, Shane O’ Connor and Liam Carew from The Abbey School Tipperary Town, were one of the many hundreds of groups to enter the 2021 BT Young Scientist. Their project entitled “Assessing the Impact of Second Level Education on Key Aspects of Adolescents’ Life and Development” was chosen to get through to the finals of the competition which occurred virtually this year with judging going from the 6th-8th January. After 3 rounds of judging, they were awarded 1st Place in the Social and Behavioural sciences category.
As the boys came to the end of their Junior Cycle journey last May, they began to reflect on their time spent in Secondary School. In assessing their education experience to date, both boys felt they had developed well and grown exponentially. They were aware however, that some of their fellow students had differing experiences to them. From this curiosity emerged the question: “How does Second Level Education impact on students?” The successful project began from here.
On acceptance into the competition in October, the boys set about formulating a plan. The initial stage was to develop a survey. This survey would be distributed to students in secondary schools of varying social and gender mix. Advice was sought from NUIG lecturer Mr. Bernard McCarthy in creating the survey. With the help of their supervising teacher, Ms. Eavan Ryan and school principal Mr. John Kiely, their survey was distributed amongst students. Over 600 responses were received.
A series of interviews where then undertaken to develop their qualitative data. Mr John Kiely, Principal and Limerick Senior Hurling manager was interviewed to gain his view on student experiences along with Guidance Counsellor, Mr. Conor Hayes. Irish Second Level Students Union Education Officer Alicia O’Sullivan in her interview shared her experience with the ISSU and as a student activist. Others who were interviewed and provided invaluable information were Deputy Chief Inspector at the Department of Education and Skills Padraig MacFhlannchadha, Senator Joan Freeman and Professor Selina McCoy, Research Professor with the ERSI. Some of the conclusions the boys arrived at as a result of their investigations were:
• “Being with Friends” and “Socialising” were the two most reported positive elements of second level education for students.
• For students who felt that second level education had not had a positive impact on their social development excessive homework and exam pressure were the two main reasons given.
• Students indicated that COVID-19 had negatively impacted all key aspects assessed.
• 29% of students had dropped the majority of their physical activities outside of school since starting second level. 86% of these students dropped their activities during Junior Cycle.
They produced a project book of over 105 pages containing all of their findings. Shane and Liam were delighted and honoured their project claimed first place in the Social and Behavioural Sciences Intermediate Group category at this year's BT Young Scientist Competition. Shane and Liam’s win continues a successful tradition that The Abbey School have with the BT Young Scientist Competition. In 2017, Tadhg Carew and Jack Quirke represented the school in the BT Young Scientist. Their project won third place in their category.
For Shane and Liam, the experience of competing in the 2021 BT Young Scientist has been the highlight of the Transition Year programme and they would recommend it to all schools and students. Since the competition, the boys have worked hard to develop their project. On a school level, Shane and Liam have joined the Abbey’s Wellbeing Team as Student Leadership Representatives. As part of the schools’ Wellbeing Initiatives the boys created a poster on their recommendations to help students stay motivated and resilient along with a presentation on cyberbullying for the Junior Years. Through presentations, they have met with members of the PDST Wellbeing Team to help inform the work of the PDST. Later in the month, they will present their findings to the Junior Cycle for Teachers Wellbeing Committee. Shane and Liam have also had their work published, on the Education Matters website and will be featured in the NAPD’s Quarterly Leadership Magazine in March. They have also been invited to join a group of 30 students to take part in the annual BT Young Scientist Bootcamp. This prestigious event will teach Shane and Liam how to further develop their project. Shane and Liam have also been invited to the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin to meet with researchers carrying out similar projects. They hope to develop and improve on their project to enter next year's BT Young Scientist competition.
Abbey Wellbeing in Lockdown Series
The school wellbeing team met online at the start of term. It appeared teaching and learning was going to be taking place exclusively online for the foreseeable future. The team decided that it was important to support the students during the current lockdown in ways other than through the curriculum. From this the idea of four weeks of wellbeing related activities, which would lead us into midterm break was born. Each week was themed
18th – 22nd January: Land Art and Nature Photography
25th – 29th January: Sport and Physical Activity
01st – 05th February: Nutrition and Healthy Eating
08th – 12th February: Motivation and Resilience
Land Art and Nature Photography – 18th – 22nd January
Week 1 had nature at the heart of the activities and was led by Ms. Clara Ryan (Art Teacher) As we are aware, since the global pandemic began last March, many people have engaged with nature and the outdoors for recreational activities and exercise. It also helps to promote a positive mindset and headspace. This was a whole school community activity. All interested were encouraged to go and photograph visually interesting things or one had the option to respond to the environment by creating a sculpture. Animals, trees, flowers, leaves, shadows, bugs, insects, rivers, lakes, stones, twigs, and more were documented in the entries which we received. The response to this campaign was phenomenal with entries received not only from students and staff but also many family members of students, past students, and other members of the community. There were prizes for the top three entries. Judging was difficult for the team involved due to the quantity and quality of entries received. The project had a major positive impact on our school community and beyond. The theme of nature emerged with those of faith and resilience for Catholic Schools week which commenced on 24th January. 1st Year Wellbeing students led by Ms. Niamh McCarthy and Mr. Conor Hayes explored how to stay connected within their communities to enhance faith and resilience in COVID-19 times. Students from both of the 1st Year class groups submitted digital posters, where nature was married with their communities of family, friends, school, parish, and clubs as important for staying connected during lockdown.
Sport and Physical Activity – 25th – 29th January
The activities for this week were led out by Mr. Conor Sweeney and Mr. Michael Hanley, both members of the school wellbeing team. There was a challenge for each day of the week. Monday commenced with HITT circuit 30-minute session from the Bodycoach, Joe Wicks which could be accessed through a video link at a time convenient to those participating. Tuesday included a 10,000 steps challenge. This daily recommend target can be more difficult to achieve in lockdown. Steps could be tracked using a variety of phone apps or a Fitbit/Garmin watch. Wednesday was a push up challenge which many students in particular invested in. Thursday heralded the most popular activity of the week with students having an opportunity to re-create a favourite sporting moment from any sport and send in a video. This could be a penalty, a goal, a save, a free kick, a sideline, a flick, etc. Inspiration coming from 2020 Football All Star, Mr. Conor Sweeney’s last-minute equaliser against Limerick in the Munster Semi Final, Sergio Aguero’s last minute winner or Maradona’s Hand of God from 1986.
A virtual 5km run/walk launched on Friday and continued all weekend was a whole school initiative led by the school wellbeing team. An online fund-raising page was set up for Pieta House as part of this activity. The support from the school and wider community was heart-warming, considering the times that we are currently living. Over the weekend as a school community, we clocked 1,029km with €1,245 raised for Pieta House. This was well in excess of our target of 600km and €600. A great team effort from all that got involved with some healthy competition achieved was evident throughout. Transition Year were the most competitive group by far, with only seconds between the top four places. Conor Martin won out at 19:18, followed closely by Orrin Jones at 19:22, third place was Ben Ryan at 19:52 and Stephen Dee in fourth position at 20:04. 1st year students contributed the largest amount of student kms, bringing in 140km of 406km from the students, Abbey staff had a final tally of 396km while the parents and wider community contributed 227km. Thanks to everyone involved, it is a fine example of how we can combine our efforts, even in lockdown, to get active, raise awareness and get together by staying apart as a community.
Nutrition and Eating Well – 01st – 05th February
This week was coordinated by Science Department and wellbeing team members, Niamh McCarthy, Eavan Ryan and Michael O’ Dwyer. Food diaries were the feature activity to get the week going with students and staff encouraged to track their food intake for the week by documenting all meals and snacks consumed. Sharing a recipe that you enjoy with family and friends was ongoing for the week which included ingredients, a method, and a picture. Following Irish foodies on social media that encourage us to consume Irish foods and joining Daniel Davey (elite athlete performance nutritionist) where he discussed how we can incorporate Irish foods into all meals was very insightful. Match day meal recipe by Tipperary Football Captain, 2020 All Star and Abbey Teacher, Conor Sweeney, and match day snack by 2020 Hurler of the Year, Limerick’s Gearóid Hegarty were welcomed by many, especially our student athletes who are all trying to manage individual fitness regimes in the absence of team training during lockdown. The highlight of the week for most were cookery demonstrations from 5th Year Students, Seán Gubbins and Conor Farrell, who are members of the successful Abbey Angus Team. Seán and Conor demonstrated how to cook Irish angus steak and burgers, respectively. The outlined traceability of the meat from farm to fork, while detailing nutritional value and sustainability also. The response from their contribution was very positive from all who engaged with their video content which highlighted the benefits of Irish Angus beef to both the consumer, farmer, and the school community.
Motivation and Resilience – 08th– 12th February
This theme was purposely left for the week leading up to midterm as we envisaged students and staff may need some encouragement and positivity after a short but challenging half term, learning and teaching remotely. Events this week were organised by Ms. Julie King and Mr. Conor Hayes, Wellbeing Coordinator at The Abbey School. Each day had a designated theme this week and within this theme, there was a video message from a member of the school community, or somebody associated with The Abbey.
Monday’s motivational message came from former Abbey student and teacher and legendary Tipperary hurler and manager, Nicky English. The content of the video resonated with all in some way and offered plenty of positivity regarding staying active and connected for anybody who may be finding lockdown challenging. All senior students participated in an online study skills and motivational workshop in the morning with a “Parent Pep Talk” in the evening by Ray Langan of Rayse The Game. Ms. King shared study tips with all students and a Spotify resilience playlist was shared with all. Students were then encouraged to submit a song or an artist that motivates them, which we will compile for an Abbey playlist.
Tune In Tuesday
The contribution today was from Mr. Conor Reale who is a History and Geography teacher at our school but is currently seconded as a Parliamentary Education Officer at The Oireachtas. For Conor, it was a way to check in with staff and students, which was very welcomed in these times but also had some powerful advice for our students and staff. He used the analogy of motorways having service stations to come off when to refuel and refresh, to convey how important it is for our minds to do the same especially as this pandemic and current lockdown tests us mentally. Tune In Tuesday was appropriately chosen to coincide with Internet Safety Day. A plethora of resources were shared with students. Digital Wellbeing and Safety was featured, and a digital poster competition established with junior students during wellbeing class. Two student members of the wellbeing team, Liam Carew and Shane O’ Connor designed a presentation on the subject area, which will be presented by them to students after the midterm.
Our video contribution for “Wellbeing Wednesday” came from Dublin Footballer Shane Carthy. He advises having a daily plan is key to getting through this lockdown period. Shane recently appeared on The Late Late Show and spoke candidly about his own personal struggles and how he has overcome them. His book “Dark Blue - The Despair Behind The Glory” was published on February 01st. Shane documents his journey over the past five years frankly and eloquently, without over dramatizing, the downward spiral, which days after producing a man of the match display in Dublin’s 2014 Leinster under-21 final win over Meath, saw him wake up in St. Patrick’s Mental Hospital. He also explains what ultimately brought him back to where he is now, discovering a path, where life is worth living. We thank Shane for being so giving of his time with us here in The Abbey and look forward to him working with our TY students on March 12th, in an online workshop. His work with schools is exemplary. Shane hopes that through his words and actions he can show people that there is a way out when they are feeling overwhelmed or struggling.
Time Out Thursday
Thursday was about taking a time-out to reflect on the journey you have come through especially over Christmas and through this lockdown period. Niall Breslin or Bressie as some of you may know him, has been very open about his struggles with his mental health and has published a podcast aptly called "Where is my mind?". This episode really stood out to us not only because of its theme of self-compassion, but also because of the short, guided mediation which some of us may need, just to check in with ourselves. Our video input for today comes from within our talented teaching staff, Ms. Brenda O’ Donnell is an English teacher and Year Head to our 1st Years. As we get close to midterm break, it is important to take stock and be grateful for all we have achieved this term, in difficult times. Brenda reflected on the challenging year had by all members of The Abbey School Community and their families. However, she also documented all that we have to be grateful for, as we continue through 2021. It is an authentic and thought-provoking piece and echoed all that is embedded in our caring school ethos.
Make yourself a priority. You are your longest commitment. Stay safe and stay well
As we came to the end of the first half of this term, having exclusively engaged in remote learning, it was important we stay completely focused on our efforts to contain the Covid-19 virus. Dr. Breda Lonergan who is a parent representative of our school and a GP in the local Kylecourt Clinic, took time out of her busy frontline role, to outline the importance of remaining steadfast in our approach to reducing the spread of the virus by engaging in social distancing, good hand hygiene, keeping with 5km of your home and more. She had some valuable advice for our exam students and most importantly, hope for the weeks and months ahead as the vaccine is rolled out within the community. We have also shared a poster made by Shane O Connor and Liam Carew (Student Wellbeing Team) which conveyed the message of this entire wellbeing initiative over the past number of weeks. The series drew to a close with an uplifting and motivational video with captured many aspects of school life both during and before lockdown. It was supported by the background music of the extremely talented Dermot Kennedy’s “Giants” and closed out the school term with the message of “Stay Focused, Stay Safe and Stay Well”
This wellbeing series became the success that it was due to the people that invested in it, students, staff, parents, and the wider community. While we may not have as focused a campaign of wellbeing initiatives after midterm, it is an area we are constantly focused on. We will launch a school Biodiversity Challenge which is cross curricular in nature and links us with other schools and the community, in the coming weeks. Our Wellbeing and Science Departments are eager to get going on this, especially as spring has sprung and the days become longer.
Coláiste Éanna Ballyroan Dublin
Rhythm Challenge in Coláiste Éanna
Don’t break the skill and don’t break the rhythm!
Leading up to the midterm break, Ms. Niamh Farrell, of Coláiste Éanna’s Music Department, organised a ‘Rhythm Challenge’ for students and staff. The basic aim of the challenge was for the participant to complete a skill's challenge whilst keeping in time to the rhythm of the music. Suggestions included the use of jump ropes - skipping to the beat, using footballs - doing ‘keepy uppies’ to the rhythm, using a hurley for ‘puck ups’/’roll lifts’/’jab lifts’, or bouncing a basketball to the beat of the music. Ms. Farrell enlisted the assistance of some well-known sporting professionals to demonstrate the challenge:
Congratulations to our past pupil, Niall Scully, on receiving his GAA Football All-Star Award 2020. Niall was one of nine players from the All-Ireland Champions, Dublin, to receive the award. He is a member of Templeogue Synge Street GAA Club and attended Coláiste Éanna 2007-2012.
Skype a Scientist
On Thursday, 11th February, first year science students, along with their teacher, Ms. Aoife O’Reilly, participated in a Skype Workshop with Éamonn Harvey, an Irish physicist and astronomer, who is currently based in Liverpool University. Éamonn, who studied Physics and Astrophysics in Galway University, specialises in stars, nebulae, spectroscopy, telescopes and robotics. He gave the students a brief and fascinating talk on the history of star discovery and how Ireland’s contributions have shaped so much of the knowledge we now possess. During his presentation on the Irish contribution to Astronomy, he shared many interesting facts, including the history of the Leviathan located in Birr Castle, which for about seventy years was the largest telescope in the world. Students were shown pictures of star nebulae, along with explanations from Éamonn about their beautiful colours and shapes. The Q&A session brought an inspiring and thought-provoking conclusion to the students’ module on Celestial Bodies and Space Travel.
Oatlands Primary School Dublin
Since Christmas, we have been really focused on how we can foster kindness and well-being at Oatlands Primary School. Given the challenging times that we find ourselves in, the school has been focusing also on gratitude and thankfulness to God, for the many blessings that we do have. Many teachers, in their online work, have been encouraging this aspect of gratitude in their tasks. Children have been drawing depictions of the many things that we are grateful for, on our new learning platform, 'See Saw'. Students have also been doing lovely kind deeds at home, to help busy parents and guardians, to navigate the many tasks at hand, during this challenging time.
Simple elements of our lives, such as warmth in our home, nice food, shelter and a cosy bed, are things to always acknowledge, in the moments when we may feel sad or fearful. They help us to stay grounded, and to push forward, in a more positive mindset.
We have had some very uplifting and light moments of late - from doing a Jerusalema Dance at our Friday zoom Assembly, to Ms McDonagh's Virtualtour of the Oatlands Garden – reminding us that Spring is here ! We could see that there were definitely signs of Spring emerging, giving us that hopeful and joyful feeling, of better things up ahead. The plants, trees and flowers are coming along so well, which we were all so happy to see.
We also remind ourselves that St Brigid 'brings the Spring', which was heralded on her Saint's Day of February the 1st. We are so greatful to see shoots and buds beginning to grow, and evenings are getting longer and days are brighter. Children have been going on Spring nature walks, and reporting back on their zoom classes, that daffodils are beginning to peep out and snowdrops have also been spotted. Students also participated in a Zoom 'Spring Quiz', testing our knowledge of Spring nature, and of plants, animals and weather patterns.
We are hopeful of all seeing eachother very soon, when it is safe to do so. For now we will thank God for the great blessing of connection with our school community online. We love meeting our 'Oatlands Family' every week, at Assembly, and we are looking forward to seeing eachother back at base in the near future.
John Paul II Awards
Congratulations to John Paul II award winners, Coilín Campbell, Liam Quinn-Berger and Peter Cowley, seen here with principal Ben Travers.
Coilín Campbell - Gold Award 2020
My Experience of JP II
The JP2 award is a great way to get involved with your local parish by participating in small activities and events. The work I have carried out to achieve my gold award was completed through small tasks such as giving readings at mass, collecting donation money and giving out leaflets after the service, and also by attending the youth group that was on every two weeks. Normally at the end of every year you can go to an event called ‘Move’, which is a four day event at Clongowes wood college where other youth groups from around the country and some other parts of the world do fun activities such as sporting events and music. I found the work very rewarding and fun as you help out a lot in the parish, meet lot’s of new people, and gain lots of experience from reading to large numbers of people.
Peter Cowley - Gold Award 2020
My Experience of JP II
JPII for me was an experience that I am glad I took part in and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to do more for their community. As you are taking a hands-on approach to your involvement, you can see first-hand the results of your work. This drives you to do even more, instilling a sense of resilience and motivation that is very useful when progressing into the Senior Cycle. These skills are guaranteed to be of great assistance in the workplace, no matter what your chosen profession is. The project allows you to help others while also improving your own mental health by seeing the benefits of what you are doing. People of all ages are much busier in modern times, but JPII helps to revitalise their faith by providing everyone with the opportunity to see the dedication of young people, filling them with admiration, reminding and encouraging them to go back to their faith and do more for their religion. You will also be boosted by the understanding that you have done something to keep both the Church and the Catholic Faith alive giving you a steadily increasing sense of self-worth and confidence. Your future employer will also be impressed when he/she discovers that you have bettered yourself and your fellow man and this will give you an advantage when putting yourself forward for a job in later life.
Liam Quinn-Berger - Silver Award 2020
Liam is currently participating in the JP2 programme award in Naas CBS. He is hoping to achieve the Gold Award in 2021. He is also acting as Mentor to new students involved in the The John Paul II awards.
St. Brigid's Day at Naas CBS
February 1st marks the first day of spring, and is also known as Lá Fhéile Bhríde, Saint Brigid's Feast Day. She is often referred to as ‘Brigit of Kildare’, and was said to be the founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare. She is also associated with perpetual, sacred flames, and there is also a shrine dedicated to her in Kildare. We always celebrate her feast day in Naas CBS and our students make St Brighid’s Crosses, one of the most common traditions.
Celebrating Catholic Schools Week 2021
During Religion classes we emphasised the key values around Catholic Schools week of Love, Hope, Faith and Resilience.
Here are just some of the posters that our very talented students in First and Second Year completed as part of Catholic Schools week.
News from the ERST Office
Edmund Rice Education Beyond Borders
EREBB was inaugurated in May 2014 when leaders representing Edmund Rice Education gathered in Nairobi Kenya to establish an inclusive international network of Edmund Rice educational communities.
The leadership team comprises members from our international community, including Gerry Bennett and Wayne Tinsey in Australia has been the chairman of the project.
For the next two years, Gerry Bennett will be chairman of the team and we are looking forward to pulling out all the stops to showcase Edmund Rice education in Ireland through the EREBB network.
We will consult with our schools in relation to possible themes and projects that are of interest to our schools and explore the possibilities for international dimensions that involve collaborations with our Edmund Rice schools around the world.
We will be in touch with you later this year but are very conscious of the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
Student Leadership Course
In conjunction with ERST NI and Edmund Rice England, we have developed a Student Leadership Certificate Course which is designed to be delivered as part of RE in TY or Senior Cycle but is also flexible enough to be introduced to younger students and taught over a number of years. There are different levels of awards, depending on the number of modules covered by the students and the quality of the action projects undertaken.
The course was introduced at the RE Conference, our meeting of Link Teachers and at our network meetings of principals and deputies and two schools have undertaken to pilot the course with their students this year.
Patrick Kirwan in Ardscoil na Mara introduced us to his biodiversity challenge through a webinar on Tuesday 16th February. It was thought-provoking and stimulating and is central to our Charter values in promoting care for the environment. We feel the project has great potential for all our schools and are exploring the possibility of setting up an eco-network of students in Edmund Rice schools.
Patrick has kindly offered to do another presentation for teachers from our schools who are interested in being part of the project.
School of Sanctuary
All our schools have received information on Schools of Sanctuary and the project has been outlined to principals, deputies and link teachers. We hope that all our schools will join Mt. Sion in becoming schools of sanctuary.
There is nothing new that any of our schools need to do as we are certain that all our schools are welcoming and inclusive. We need to heighten awareness among members of the school community of our values and ethos.
Full details of the process to attain school of sanctuary status have been sent to your school but is also available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Worldwise Global Schools
WorldWise Global Schools (WWGS) has worked with 350 schools nationwide, aiming to integrate Global Citizenship Education into all aspects of teaching and learning at post-primary level. This is done by providing a comprehensive range of supports and interventions for schools — including grant funding, training, events, resources and personalised support.
Global Citizenship Education (GCE) is a powerful vehicle through which we can better understand the world we live in, and take action to change it as informed global citizens. It equips both educators and learners with the knowledge, skills and values to act ethically and sustainably in a world that is both complex and highly interconnected.
Many of our schools are already involved in the programme. A grant of up to €600 is available for first-time schools and a grant of up to €1200 for schools that have a successful track record in GCE.
We encourage you to go to www.worldwiseschools.ie for more information. Applications for grants for next year will open on 12th April and will remain open until 15th May.