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Our unsung heroes

Celebrating your amazing work, creativity, resilience and dedication

It’s hard to believe that we are nearly at the mid-term break.

When the schools opened in September it’s probably fair to say that there was more than a little apprehension and nervousness in most principals’ offices, staff rooms, corridors and homes. The recent RTE Programme  One Week in September so brilliantly captured the joy and the concerns of both schools and families that first week back.

One big difference since those first days in September is that we are now all living with level three restrictions, with that constant niggle about whether we will have to move to further restrictions to keep people safe.

It is an enormous credit to each and every one of you that schools are continuing to remain open as vital centres of learning, support, and friendship throughout his most unique time. As the outside world grapples with what to do next, it is so fantastic that our students – for whom so many other outlets like sport have been put on hold - can keep just one part of their daily lives as normal as possible.

But, we know that this resilience in schools has not come about by chance. During the summer months, the task of ensuring your schools could re-open as safe places for staff and students required a massive and creative whole school effort. Up and down the country, PE halls were redesigned, furniture was moved out, extra rooms were leased, in some cases marquees were erected and school yards were roofed to make room for safe pods of students.

And that amazing work and creativity continues. Teaching and learning with masks and visors isn’t easy. Re-arranging class plans to suit pods of students, providing imaginative tuition online for those who have to self-isolate, ensuring social distancing in corridors and school yards are just some of things that have become everyday in our new normal world.

During the first lock-down, we all celebrated our frontline heroes - our health care workers. We will continue to do so as they face into the winter months.

But, we at ERST want to loudly celebrate our school leaders, staff and of course our students, who continue to come to school, to learn, to have fun, to study for exams, to be together, albeit with social distancing.

You have perhaps been the unsung heroes over the last six months. The role you have all played on the education frontline and continue to play every day has meant that our schools remain open when many other parts of our lives are closed down. We salute your tenacity. We salute your creativity. We salute your determination. Thank you.

Gerry Bennett, CEO

Edmund Rice Schools Trust

St. Mary's CBS Portlaoise

"All of the best stories have one thing in common, you have to go against the odds to get there.’

Covid-19 has tested all of us, but the stark statistics and the dire warnings have monopolised the media for long enough. Amidst all the bad news it is important to focus on the good news stories, the ones that bring a smile to our faces. If one good thing has come from the global event that is ‘coronavirus outbreak’, it is an appreciation of what we can achieve when we work together. Community was never more important.

The staff of St. Mary’s CBS would like to thank their community in Portlaoise for making it possible to honour their Leaving Cert class of 2020 with the age-old tradition of graduating from second level education. Having worked with these remarkable young men for 6 years, their teachers were unwilling to see the boys leave the CBS without a proper send off.

There are countless tales nationwide of communities coming together to make the best of a bad situation and the school community in St. Mary’s CBS have a unique one of their own to add to the archives. The graduating Class of 2020 will always be able to say that they graduated in style becoming the first group to graduate in the stadium of O’Moore Park on 24/9/20.

In a year filled with uncertainties, the CBS boys can rest assured in the knowledge that their school will go above and beyond to see that their students get the best, because that is what they deserve. The ‘best’ came in the form of Laois GAA’s crowning jewel – O’Moore Park. Without the cooperation of the officials in O’Moore Park, in particular Mr. Niall Handy, it would not have been possible to host the event. To add to the sense of occasion ‘Midlands Party Supplies’ provided a balloon arch in the CBS colours for the boys to pass through, symbolic of the end of their time in St. Mary’s.

The organisation of the event was no mean feat but as they say ‘where’s there’s a will there’s a way’. Martina Murphy (speaking on behalf of the graduation organising committee) explained that ‘Finishing secondary school is a developmental milestone in a young person’s life and the Covid-19 pandemic took so many other key moments from the lads, we didn’t want them to be robbed of graduating too." Strict social distancing measures were enforced, national public gathering restrictions adhered to and while the face masks can’t be described as a cutting edge fashion, they didn’t stop the gentlemen of the CBS looking dapper in what one can only imagine was the best dressed crowd to grace the stand in O’Moore Park for a while!

It was a very enjoyable evening during which words of wisdom were exchanged and tales of the good times spent in the CBS recounted. The prestigious awards were bestowed upon deserving recipients; Thomas Dunne, Sean Okoye and Dylan Kerry. William Oxley amused his peers with an entertaining speech in which he noted it wasn’t a common occurrence for a Timahoe man to be addressing the crowd in O’Moore Park. Cian MacGearailt sang the Class of 2020 out to the moving lyrics of ‘High Hopes’ by Kodaline.

The CBS spirit was alive and well that Thursday evening in O’Moore Park and these young men will hopefully carry that forward with them as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

It was regrettable that the parents could not attend the event on the evening, due to Covid restrictions, but if they had been present they would have witnessed a group of resilient, hard-working, good-natured, well-mannered young men gather together for one final laugh.

Miss Murphy said ‘Sometimes the real value of education can be obscured by exam results. At the CBS we applaud our boys on their exemplary results and we want our students to appreciate that while the school work is important and the homework has to be done, they will learn so much more from their time with us than could ever be written on a test paper. It was a privilege to work with the lads and see them grow and develop over the course of their secondary school careers.’

The teachers in the CBS would like to sincerely thank everybody who made the graduation a success and all those who sent well wishes to the lads. They have the following message for their graduating class of 2020 ‘Don’t ever forget the days you had in the CBS. Remember the laughs you had, the matches you won, the loses you overcame, the songs you sang and the teachers you challenged! Above all remember how lucky you were to have made good friends, and make the effort to stay in touch. It’s true what they say, the school days are the best days of your life, and the CBS will always be there for you!’

Congratulations to St. Mary’s CBS, and the Class of 2020, who like many other schools got to celebrate this momentous occasion this year with a difference. It is a great story the students will be able to tell others for years to come. Against all odds they succeeded. It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good thing down!

‘Tough times never last, but tough people do.’

Coláiste Éanna Ballyroan

Coláiste Éanna Student encourages young people ‘to do the right thing’.

 Coláiste Éanna, adhering to Covid-19 protocols, reopened on August 26th. Since reopening the school leaders and staff have been encouraging students to live the ERST charter in promoting a caring community – following the guidelines and endeavouring to protect all our community, families and friends from the Covid-19 virus. One of our sixth-year students, Jack Edge, has demonstrated excellent leadership in promoting this message. Jack contracted the Covid-19 virus last April and was hospitalised. Prior to his admission to Tallaght University Hospital, Jack had no underlying health conditions. Over the coming days he battled to survive, which included spending twelve days on a ventilator in the ICU to help him breathe. Thankfully, with his courage and determination and the support of his family and friends, Jack is progressing on the long road to recovery. This involves over two hours daily of physio in learning to walk again. When school reopened for sixth years on August 28th, Jack requested to speak with his peers. In recounting his battle with the Covid-19 virus, he encouraged them ‘just to do the right thing’. In a further effort to encourage other young people to take the disease seriously and adhere to the guidelines issued by Government and Health Service, Jack shared his personal journey in an interview with Philip Bromwell (RTE News), which was broadcast on RTE News bulletins and on the RTE News website throughout Friday, October 2nd. Muintir Choláiste Éanna are very proud of the courage that Jack demonstrates in returning to school and the leadership he is showing in raising awareness of the dangers and debilitating long-term effects of Covid-19 for young people. If you wish to view or share Jack’s message/interview, the link is: https://www.rte.ie/news/2020/1...

Coláiste Mhichíl Limerick

JP McManus' Scholarships awarded at Coláiste Mhichíl

Despite the postponement of this year’s Leaving Cert examinations, eight students from CBS Sexton Street have each received JP McManus Scholarships. The scholarships, which are each worth €6,750-a-year, were awarded based on the results of examinations which were held in Coláiste Mhichíl over the summer. The examinations, which were ​set and corrected externally, were based on the Leaving Certificate syllabus and took place in the school over two weeks in August. Having studied throughout the summer, a total of 19 students sat the exams and the top eight – Jack Shanahan, Kingsley Ikeh, Eoghan Moore, Ebrima Dumbuya, Séamus Madden, Eddie Chumo, Kacper Ostrowski and Cillian Hickey – will now be able to progress to their 3rd level course of choice. Among the courses which they will study are Biological and Chemical Sciences, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Engineering and Electronic Engineering and Computers. One of the 2020 recipients expressed his delight on hearing the news by stating: “I can’t put into words what this means to win this prestigious award. It helps out my family and I more than you could ever know.” Another said: “In these uncertain times of Covid-19, the scholarship provides a source of stable funding”. Principal Denis O’Connor says he’s glad the scholarships were awarded. “Given the disrupted nature of their Leaving Certificate studies these scholarships are especially welcomed by the award -winning students who studied over the summer to achieve their scholarship goal,” he said. Since the JP McManus scholarship scheme were established 24 years ago, 193 past pupils of CBS Sexton Street have received scholarships towards their third level education at a cost of around €3.5m. The scheme, which costs around €200,000 to run every year, is administered by four trustees: Gerry Boland, Noel Earlie, Eddie Fallon and Pat Hartigan, on behalf of JP McManus, who is a past pupil of CBS Sexton Street. Many past recipients have gone on to enjoy high-profile careers around the world. Because of Covid-19 and the associated restrictions on gatherings, the annual gala dinner to honour the eight scholarship recipients cannot take place this year. Despite the postponement of this year’s Leaving Certificate examinations, eight students from CBS Sexton Street have each received JP McManus Scholarships. The scholarships, which are each worth €6,750-a-year, were awarded based on the results of examinations which were held in Coláiste Mhichíl over the summer. The examinations, which were ​set and corrected externally, were based on the Leaving Certificate syllabus and took place in the school over two weeks in August. Having studied throughout the summer, a total of 19 students sat the exams and the top eight – Jack Shanahan, Kingsley Ikeh, Eoghan Moore, Ebrima Dumbuya, Séamus Madden, Eddie Chumo, Kacper Ostrowski and Cillian Hickey – will now be able to progress to their 3rd level course of choice. Among the courses which they will study are Biological and Chemical Sciences, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Engineering and Electronic Engineering and Computers. One of the 2020 recipients expressed his delight on hearing the news by stating: “I can’t put into words what this means to win this prestigious award. It helps out my family and I more than you could ever know.” Another said: “In these uncertain times of Covid-19, the scholarship provides a source of stable funding”. Principal Denis O’Connor says he’s glad the scholarships were awarded. “Given the disrupted nature of their Leaving Certificate studies these scholarships are especially welcomed by the award -winning students who studied over the summer to achieve their scholarship goal,” he said. Since the JP McManus scholarship scheme were established 24 years ago, 193 past pupils of CBS Sexton Street have received scholarships towards their third level education at a cost of around €3.5m. The scheme, which costs around €200,000 to run every year, is administered by four trustees: Gerry Boland, Noel Earlie, Eddie Fallon and Pat Hartigan, on behalf of JP McManus, who is a past pupil of CBS Sexton Street. Many past recipients have gone on to enjoy high-profile careers around the world. Because of Covid-19 and the associated restrictions on gatherings, the annual gala dinner to honour the eight scholarship recipients cannot take place this year.

Roscommon CBS

Roscommon CBS Mosaic Project

Students in our Edmund Rice Autism Centre worked in collaboration with local artist Flin Keane to produce a mosaic for our school garden. Students worked under Flin’s guidance to learn all about mosaics from initial concept in the design stage to working with the various materials used in this project. The design included student's handprints around the world with the caption, "it’s in our hands ". The project commenced last September 2019 and official unveiling was planned for last March. The Ombudsman for Children was to perform the unveiling. Alas this was not meant to be due to Covid-19 and school closure.

This project was a holistic art experience encompassing students in each phase of the journey. We are very thankful to Flin for his dedication to this project and Roscommon County Council for their support. We are looking forward to working with Flin this year on our new adventure.

CBS Roscommon All Ireland Senior Colleges Golf Champions 2020

CBS Roscommon representing Connacht, claimed the Irish Schools Senior Championship for the second time in three years in Macroom on 18 August.

Having seen off the challenge of local Cork side Colaiste Choilm from Ballincollig in the morning semi-final, they overcame formidable opponents in the Royal Belfast Academy Institute in the final.

The team are brothers Alan Connaughton (18) and Kevin Connaughton (17) from Roscommon town, 6th year and TY students respectively; 6th year student Michael Corcoran (18) from Kilteevan; TY student Thomas Higgins (17) from Ballybride; TY student Fionn Hoare (17) from Golf Links Road; TY student Cian O’Connor (17), Knockcroghery and 6th year student Simon Walker (19) from Roscommon town.

Fiona Gallagher, principal, CBS Roscommon, said “I am very proud of our team and the passion and dedication they have shown in reaching the final of this very high-profile Championship. I especially want to thank my fellow teacher Mark Hodgins for all the hard work that he has put into managing the team. The entire school will be wishing them the very best!”

Mark Hodgkins, golf co-ordinator in CBS, was delighted afterwards and credited the success of the team to parents and Roscommon Golf Club.

“There’s a big sporting tradition in the school, between football and lots of other sports,” he said. “This has come on a long way in the last few years and obviously golf has become really successful in the school over the last four or five years. We have to credit the parents really and the local club for the success that the team has had.”


Francis Street CBS

Francis Street

All of the boys and staff in Francis Street CBS are delighted to be back in school!

Thanks to the wonderful work of our Green Schools Committee and our 4th class teacher Julie, our school was selected to be a designated school zone. The boys and their teacher did a “walkability” survey of the area around our school identifying some of the positives and some areas of concern.

Our Green Schools Committee worked in conjunction with the NTA, DCC and the Green Schools initiative to design a designated school zone which was aimed at enhancing the visibility of our school as a traffic calming measure. We are all delighted with the finished product and love our new yellow pencil bollards!!

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, attended the official opening of our School Zone and the last Friday to celebrate our new zone, News2day came to visit us and we had an ice cream van visit our school!!

Some more amazing news is that our school corridors have been illuminated with sensory trails designed by Halls of Fun and sponsored by BAM Ireland. We now have two ASD units in our school, sensory trails and a cubbie. Everyone is delighted with these new additions to our school.

Wishing all our fellow ERST school a safe and happy year!

Scoil Iognáid Rís

Scoil Iognáid Rís, An Daingean

Seo chugaibh griangrafanna do Kay Uí Shúilleabháin a chaith 27 bliana ag múineadh i Scoil Iognáid Rís Daingean Uí Chúis agus Míchéal Ó Conchúir a chaith 37 bliana ag múineadh ann leis.Tháinig Míchéal ar scoil ar rothar agus é mar dhalta ann é féin i 1967 agus d'fhág sé an scoil i 2020 i BMW le "soft top".Le srianta Covid ní fhéadfaimis céiliúradh ceart a dhéanamh ar na mblianta geala a chaitheadar sa scoil, ach faraoir geallaigh an lá agus geallaigh na buachaillí sprid an Daingin nuair a chuaigh banna ceoil na scoile timpeall an Daingin ina mboilgeoga agus scaradh soisialta leis ag seinmt ceoil . Fuaireadar beirt an t-aitheantas a bhí tuillte acu.Guímid saol fada sláintúil orthu beirt agus súil againn go mbainfidh siad sult agus taitneamh as an dtréimhse ar scor.Gach rath oraibh Róisín,Seán,Michelle,Mary, Ita,bord,buachaillí agus tuismitheoirí Scoil Iognáid Rís.


Mount Sion CBS

New E.A.L Room for Mount Sion C.B.S.

Mount Sion CBS has recently created  a designated English as an Additional Language  (EAL) room operating from the Ship Room in the Edmund Rice Centre. It is a true place of sanctuary for the boys who need it. Ms. Byrne has done an excellent job setting up the room and ensuring it is a welcoming, inclusive space for all. The home language and culture of every nationality are visible in the welcome wall, flags, library, displays, and through the boys' artwork.

Mount Sion C.B.S. opens an A.S.D. Class.

In September 2020 Mount Sion CBS Secondary opened its first ASD class called the Homeroom. The Homeroom is a bright, spacious and welcoming room which is used by many of our students whom are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is a neurological disorder where the person diagnosed processes information differently to many of their peers.

The Homeroom is a space where students with ASD get academic support. Along with academic support the students who access this room also gain social skills, life skills and communicative skills. Some of the students who access the Homeroom participate in activities such as Art, Yoga, Fitness classes, Cooking, Gardening and Music. The students also learn and develop techniques and strategies which help them deal with stress and anxiety.

The L2LP is completed by some of the students who access the Homeroom. Through L2LP the students learn and develop their life skills. Trips and outings are an essential part of the Homeroom as it allows students to gain confidence in dealing with day to day tasks such as buying items in the shop and banking. The facilities attached to the Homeroom are a kitchenette, sensory room, a social area and one classroom.

St. Joseph's Drogheda

St. Joseph's Secondary School, Drogheda

Culture Week

Culture Day is celebrated across the world on May 21st each year. It is a time to come together to share the things that make us different but also what we have in common. An annual effort is made in St. Joseph’s CBS to recognise the diversity in the school during Culture Week. Although circumstances are unexpectedly different this year, it was no exception. Teachers and students got creative under the theme ‘We Are the World’ and found ways online to celebrate the 37 cultures present at our school. Students created artwork, composed poetry, shared delicious traditional recipes and so much more. Although we usually have a vibrant school gym carefully decorated, there is no doubt that the teachers at St. Joseph’s helped their classes share their hard work and exceptional creativity on online platforms. ‘We Are the World’ is a theme that resonates with us all during these hard times, but with the huge efforts made by those who got involved in Culture Week a strong sense of community was formed. Culture Week is an opportunity to be unified by pride in our culture and heritage and to celebrate all the richness and benefits we have from being such a diverse community.


Culture Week

By Ciaran Devine

In our school we have lots of nationalities,

And we all know how to accept all their personalities.

We know to forget our differences,

And strive to have the best experiences.

Cultures are intriguing and deserve to be respected,

As many we know, like to be represented.

By their families, practices and especially countries

And we learn about who they are in social studies.

This could include Poland or India,

Spain, France, Denmark, Israel or Syria.

It’s great to learn what makes them, them

And to know that they are a gem.

The “Lockdown” Experience – The Students Perspective

When the announcement came back on March 12th that schools would close that evening there was an air of disbelief and uncertainty around. Lots of us were unsure what was going on and we thought that we would be off for a couple of weeks and back into school in plenty of time for summer term.

It was not to be and week one very soon became several months – months when life as we once knew it has changed so much.

Like young people everywhere students at St Joseph’s have had to cope, to adapt, to learn new ways of doing things, to face challenges and to hope for better days.

We asked a number of our students to share some of their experiences of “lockdown” with us – Words that emerged included – Long, boring, chilled, relaxed, worried, nervous, lonely, afraid, angry, ok, aware, uncertain……it becomes clear that this experience has been many and varied. And for most of us we have had our good days and our bad days.

Students whose parents and family work in frontline services are proud of their family members but are also understandably worried. A first year student whose dad is a doctor writes “my dad comes home from work and straight into the shower, he eats in a different room from us and spends half an hour with us in the evening in the garden at a distance”

Luke Flood in fifth year has two uncles who are HSE paramedics, an aunt working in a nursing home and a cousin nursing in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. He describes a time of uncertainty with tough days. But Luke is also a reason for us to be proud of our young people at this time. Along with his dad and sister he is a member of The Irish Red Cross. During this pandemic they have acted as auxiliaries to the ambulance service by doing patient transfers, collecting, and dropping food and medicine to vulnerable people within the community.

Darragh O Gorman in first years Dad travels to work in Dublin airport every day, one of many essential workers keeping the place open to allow for essential deliveries of medicine and PPE from abroad.

Students whose parents are guards spoke of their concerns – a second year puts it best when he writes “I worry every day about my Dad especially when I hear about guards being spat at and coughed at. My dad does not talk much about his work, but we can see that he is struggling some days”

Darragh misses his Nana and like so many of us cannot wait for the day when we can visit our Grandparents. He was relieved when cocooners were allowed out for a walk because he knew that his Nana was at home alone and indoors for weeks. Seán, who is in second year, has grandparents in Dublin and Laois and faces many more weeks before he can visit them. He described missing his Granddads 80th birthday - Facetime is great but it is not the same. He also reminds us that friends have lost loved ones and have had family sick with covid19. Sean says that it was hard not being able to attend his friend’s grandad’s funeral or call over to his friend’s house to offer support.

But there have been some good moments…...

Keane Kavanagh Smith of the student council here at St Joseph’s describes how he found the early weeks hard. But he says he changed his perspective and it helped – having initially struggled with missing friends and socialising he saw it as an opportunity to get closer to his family and enjoy time together. He also began to write – something he says that he had pressed pause on and the time at home has allowed him to restart.

Keane’s neighbours found a novel way to get together – a movie night outside projecting movies onto a white sheet with everyone sitting in their gardens viewing. Keane said he has gotten to know his neighbours better as a result of the lockdown. Others have found themselves sharing Tik-Tok videos with their dad in the kitchen or in one student’s case with the postman in the front garden. Adam describes his sisters 21st birthday with a drive by from her friends and a socially distanced singing of happy birthday.

Luke Flood is baking and watching the Rookie, Friends and Chicago PD. Our TV and Netflix tastes are as varied as the experience – students listing Safe, Family reunion, Line of Duty and even re-runs of Dublin’s five in a row victory.

Several students spoke about news briefings on TV and news via social media – some said it became extremely hard to listen to daily figures of those who have died and those who have tested positive for Covid-19. In some households, families have a no phone hour when everyone switches off from the world of social media. A student wrote of the anxiety he feels every time his Nana’s nursing home rings – there is the fear of bad news but then there is the relief when another day passes, and everyone is ok.

Sport is missed. Darragh mentions hurling, Gaelic, soccer…. the training, the friendships, the matches. Stuart Kinch in second year reminded us of the value of a hobby or a skill – baking, a musical instrument, exercise. Something perhaps to replace the hobbies we cannot do at the moment.

Time at home has been a new reality and many students spoke of family doing things together that they usually could not. Eating together, walking together, things we often do not do when lives are busy. Many students have found themselves working online alongside a parent who is working from home. Some students wrote of the importance of giving everyone space – even at the best of times we all need time alone.

Perhaps the biggest challenge we all face is the uncertainty about what lies ahead – and as one student wrote “nothing to look forward to this Summer and not knowing if this will ever end”. Darragh enjoyed a family holiday to Portugal last year and speaks fondly of the marina and nights out in restaurants. There will be no holidays abroad this year. Sixth years have had to postpone so many of the rituals we associate with this time in their life – Graduation, Debs, post leaving cert holiday and a certain electric picnic….but perhaps what Keane said about pausing things is the best perspective we can have on this time- Life has changed not ended. Life has paused not stopped altogether. Keane writes “when times aren’t great, hope will get us through it”

So, as we face into a quite different Summer holiday let us remember those we have lost and those who are sick at home and in hospital.

Lockdown is a new word in our vocabulary – but let us also remember the other words that have become so important at this time – Family, Friends, Frontline, Community, Charity, Care, Recovery, Remembrance…..and perhaps most of all – Gratitude – Thank you.

Drogheda Men’s Shed to the Rescue

Every school in the country has had to adapt to the new normal, and made extensive changes to the school buildings and system to ensure the safety of all students, staff and families of those who attend the school.

Some schools have come up with invention ways to make social distancing easier, and St Joseph's CBS in Drogheda enlisted the help of the Drogheda Men’s Shed to help out.

'We are blessed in the Joey’s to have extensive school grounds that we were able to adapt and develop over the summer in order to create designated external spaces for each of our year groups,' explains Deputy Principal Ms Jenny Kelly.

'Principal Mr. Paul Savage got in contact with the Men's Shed to explore the possibility of them supplying us with 50 picnic benches. They were amazing and no job was too big. Over the space of two weeks we were supplied with 70 robust and durable benches that I have no doubt will be in place for many years to come'.

Like almost every school in the country, they were also in a situation where they had to replace their double desks with singles and with huge demand, supply of these desks nationally was limited.

'Once again, the Men's Shed came up with a solution'. 'They are currently in the process of converting up to a hundred double desks into singles in order for us to be able to lay out our classrooms in a safe and socially distanced way'.

Drogheda CBS win Senior Hurling Shield Final 2020

All roads led to Abbotstown on the 10th of March where St. Joseph’s were aiming to take home their first piece of hurling silverware. Lusk CC provided the opposition in an enthralling final. John O’Connell opened the scoring with a goal in the early stages to set the tone for the St. Joseph’s outfit. Mark Holohan then took over scoring duties and proved that the next two years of hurling in St. Joseph’s are in safe hands. St. Joseph’s were solid at the back with superb performances from Neil Boylan and Eoghan Ryan, in their final games for the school. St. Joseph’s won out 3-6 to 1-2 winners. To the delight of Mr. Ryan and Mr. O’Connell, Eoghan Ryan lifted the cup to cap off a great year for the senior hurlers.

Team: 1. Paddy Keane 2. Caelum Dolan 3. Eoin Hackett 4. Neil Boylan 5. Stephen O’Reilly 6. Eoghan Ryan 7. Alex McLeer 8. Shane Reilly 9. Leo Kelly 10. Eoin Murphy 11. John O’Connell 12. Ben Savage 13. Zack Lennon 14. Mark Holohan 15 Luke Matthews 16. Steven Vilalba

Woodbrook College Bray

TY Media and Communications

Jesse Smith, a first-year student at Woodbrook College, Bray amazed staff with an outstanding media piece this week! He took it upon himself to create a video explaining how to use the new Microsoft TEAMS app for students.

Jesse realised from day one that his peers were struggling to use the new technology introduced to both staff and students at Woodbrook College, Bray. Recognising and understanding their struggles, he set himself the task of designing a one minute, student friendly video to allow all students access this remote learning approach to teaching! Jesse thought it was important to do this because ‘I had the resources to help people so I wanted to make this tutorial clip to make it easier for everyone to understand’ .

Creating this video has allowed the students to sign up, log in and navigate their way around the new App. In turn, this allows teachers to set both class and homework on an online forum.

If we are faced with another lockdown, all students and staff can use this forum to continue both teaching and learning! We know we are in safe hands with Jesse Smith! Well done Jesse!

CBC Preparatory School Cork

CBC Preparatory School, Cork

The Junior Infant Class of 2020 have settled in very well to the routine of school life. The teachers are very impressed to see all of the boys walking in to their classroom on their own each morning with a smile on their face. In previous years parents would accompany the boys to the Junior Infant classroom but due to COVID 19 restrictions the boys have been asked to become more independent and walk in by themselves and each of them has risen to the challenge beautifully. Well done boys!

Morning assemblies at the Prep School look a little different this year due to the fact that we cannot gather together as a large group but Dr. Jordan and the teachers were determined to continue the long held tradition of the whole school praying together each morning. Each class remains in their classroom with the doors to the corridor open as we pray with the other classes on our corridor.

Monthly mass, celebrated by Fr. Tom is a special event on the Prep School calendar. This year our masses will take a slightly different format due to social distancing requirements. September’s mass was hosted live in the 6th Class classroom with all other classes attending virtually. It was a hugely successful and meaningful ceremony that all at the Prep School were delighted to take part in.

Naas CBS

Naas CBS’ Direct Provision Awareness Week

In the last school year, the Naas CBS’ Amnesty group launched their first campaign involving the issue of Direct Provision. We aimed to have a week in our school highlighting the issue of direct provision.

The campaign included multiple guest speakers, who took time out of their days, to come in and inform the group about the details of Direct Provision and the current problems around the issue. Our first guest speaker was Deirdre Walsh, Youth Activism Officer in Amnesty Ireland. The Amnesty team along with Class 2F, learned about the direct provision system in Ireland. Deirdre’s talk elevated our unIIderstanding of the issue. She brought us through the horrific circumstances that some of the people endure before entering Ireland and then detailing the conditions which they are living in now. After the talk, we wanted to do something about this issue.

After much deliberation, the group set out on organising a Direct Provision week in the school. We felt that this was a relatively unknown issue and wanted to raise awareness of this system which had been in the country for the past 20 years. During the first week of December, the Direct Provision Week was in full swing in the school. The Amnesty team had constructed a display in the assembly, for information about our campaign. We also created a lesson teaching our fellow students about the issue, which we gave to the Religion and CSPE departments.

During the week we had two other guest speakers to present to multiple classes. One of these speakers was Rory O’ Neill, Integration Projects Manager from the Irish Refugee Council. His presentation was excellent and described his organisation’s role in this issue. During the latter half of the week, Mavis Ramazani who lives in direct provision held multiple talks. She is an activist and educator working with Amnesty International. Mavis detailed her own experience in South Africa before she was forced to move to Ireland and talked about the direct provision system. Her story was truly inspirational and thought-provoking.

On the Thursday we held our main action for our campaign, a bake sale in the assembly. The class of 2F ran the fundraiser with all proceeds going towards buying gifts for the children living in the Newbridge direct provision centre. We had gotten into contact with the centre in Newbridge and wanted to give Christmas presents to the 33 children at the centre. The bake sale was a resounding success! Along with this fundraiser, we collected signatures from students to sign a petition for the government, urging more action to be taken on this issue. The Amnesty team sent these to Amnesty Ireland, to give to the government.

During the last week of school before Christmas, a small delegation from the Amnesty Team visited the direct provision centre in Newbridge. We had wrapped a selection box for each of the children, and also had a card from the team accompanied with a €40 gift voucher for Smyth’s Toy Store. The visit was a festive celebration. We had arrived during their Christmas celebration with a clown performing and a visit from a Santa Claus. The visit was truly insightful, to visit the centre where multiple families are forced to live and are doing their best with their circumstances. The staff were heart-warming and kind, they organised a trip to Smyth’s Toy Store for the parents to use the gift vouchers.

  • Eoghán Kelly, Coordinator

Amnesty team 2019/2020

Eoghán Kelly (coordinator), Eoghan Casserly, Spencer Flanagan, Eoghan Stynes, David Murray, Cameron Doyle, Adam Doran (secretary), Gabriel Plop, James Codd, Wayne Wickham, Ms Kearns, Ms Prendiville and Mr Coy.

Scoil Mhuire Fatima, Cork
CBC Monkstown

Students & Parents Supporting LauraLynn– Ireland’s Children’s Hospice

In May 2020, during the pandemic school closure period, our school’s Student Council became aware of the difficulties facing many charity organisations in Ireland. Charities could lose out on fundraising worth between €400 and €500 million this year alone. Since the lockdown began in March 2020, many charities have been unable to raise money and unable to hold fundraising events. The general economic downturn is also affecting the public’s ability to contribute to the coffers of Ireland’s 10,000 registered charities. The scope of the challenge for the sector was highlighted in a recent survey published by the Charities Regulator. Two-thirds of respondents said services were already restricted and 54 per cent say they may be unable to continue providing services for more than 6 months.

Faced with this quite stark statistic, a number of our Student Council members decided to act. They set about organising an event in the school that could help a local charity in a manner that was safe, socially distant and pandemic-proof!

Every year in our school, items of school uniform clothing and sports-gear gets mislaid, left behind in changing rooms and unclaimed. Indeed quite an array of items including school jumpers, shirts, ties, trousers, coats, jackets, jerseys, track-suits and shoes have accumulated over the past two years in our school’s ‘Lost and Found’ area. The idea was that if these clothes could be cleaned, they could then be offered for sale (at greatly reduced prices!) to other students who would use them. All the proceeds of the sale would then be donated to a local charity.

The Student Council decided to donate all the proceeds to the LauraLynn organisation which is based on the Leopardstown Road in Dublin 18. Also known as Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, LauraLynn provides a community of care that delivers personalised services to children and young adults with palliative care needs, complex care needs and complex disabilities, while also providing family support services and a home to their residents where quality-of-life is paramount.

In August 2020, all the items for the sale were collected, sorted and dispatched to a professional dry-cleaning company in the city centre. Upon learning about the CBC project, this company were more than happy to clean all the items at a greatly reduced rate. They also packaged each item of clothing in an individual wrap of protective covering and labelled the size on each item. This made it easier to see the actual size of the clothing item and eliminated the need to handle the item prior to purchase.

At this stage, the hard-working parents of the CBC Parents’ Council took over the operation of the project and set up the school hall for the sale on a Saturday morning in mid-August. Clothing rails were installed and tables were also set up. No fittings were permitted but sizes and prices were displayed on each item.

Against a back-drop of strict social distancing, face-coverings and queueing, a most successful sale of our school’s ‘Lost and Found’ items took place. Everything was sold out within the hour and €800- was raised in aid of LauraLynn. Many thanks to the members of our Student Council for the initial idea and ground-work and thanks also to the fabulous CBC Parents’ Council for organising and hosting this event.

Photo Caption: Alan Jones, Chairman of the CBC Parents’ Council (right) hands over a cheque for €800 raised by the sale of lost and found uniform items in CBC Monsktown to LauraLynn Ireland’s Childrens Hospice with Liz Quinn from LauraLynn (left).

Doon CBS

Doon C.B.S. Primary School are very proud of their two past pupils who have been chosen to captain Limerick hurling teams in 2020.

Adam English will captain the Limerick Minor hurling team. Adam is pictured wearing the Galway colours with Aogan O Fearghail, President of the G.A.A., when he played in the I.N.T.O. / G.A.A. mini sevens in Croke Park in 2015.
Adam played on the Limerick minor hurling team in 2019 that won the Munster minor hurling championship. He is currently a student at Scoil na Trionoide Naofa, Doon.

Jack Ryan will captain the Limerick Under 20 hurling team. Jack is pictured wearing the Kilkenny colours when he played in Croke Park in the I.N.T.O. / G.A.A. mini games on All-Ireland Hurling Final Sunday in 2012. Jack played on the Limerick Under 20 hurling team in 2019. He is a student at U.C.C.

It is a great honour for both players, their families, Doon C.B.S and Doon G.A.A. club to provide two captains for Limerick hurling teams in the same year.

Coláiste Rís, Dundalk

Coláiste Rís Advocacy Committee

Our newly established advocacy committee has been meeting regularly to make plans and set targets for the year ahead. Last year we commenced a project to look at what parts of the world our students came from. Our members were involved in surveying the student population. We plan to display our findings on a world map in the school this year. We looked at ways we could reduce our carbon footprint in the school. One idea discussed was the introduction of reusable plastic drinking bottles for all students. This idea was brought to the stage of design and pricing before we had to close. We have many more ideas that we hope to develop further this year.

Some of our plans for last year had to be shelved because of our early closure but this did not stop our committee members being advocates in their own local communities. Our members showed true community spirit in helping to deliver shopping to the elderly, baking for grandparents, looking after younger family members and helping with local clean and tidy ups.

Our students also created jars of hope during the Covid 19 lockdown as a way of reaching out to others and letting the light shine through the darker times.

Our students also composed their own prayers during the lockdown as a support for our extended community and to help those who were in need. The prayers were sent out on our school App.

Our upcoming event is a Halloween face mask day on Wednesday 21st October to raise funds and awareness of our advocacy committee in the school. We will also be organizing a number of guest speakers.

The Abbey CBS Tipperary

Abbey Weaves Way With Wellbeing

Staying Well Week, an initiative only in its second year at the school took place from Monday 02nd March to Friday 06th March 2020. Wellbeing is now an integral component of the school curriculum. We also know that the mental health and wellbeing of our students is critical to success in school and in life. Schools play a vital role in the promotion of positive mental and emotional health in students. Our feature event of the week took place on Wednesday March 04th in a packed school PE Hall of over 400 people. “Maximising Your Potential – Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing” was a symposium where motivational leaders in various fields related to health and wellness gave powerful presentations not only to our school community but to other schools who attended - St. Anne’s Secondary School, Tipperary and Cashel Community School in addition to other members of the Tipperary town and hinterland communities. Our first speaker was local lady, Dr. Breda Lonergan who delivered a very thought-provoking and informative session in relation to physical and sexual health. Inspector James White from An Garda Síochána was equally as energetic when he spoke about a phenomenon which we hear all too often about in the media – “One Punch Can Kill” – James asserted the dangers of getting involved in altercations especially on a night out and very frankly described his first hand experience from being involved in the law enforcement side of tragic cases and how they have devastating consequences for all involved. The subject matter of the penultimate speaker was of a lighter nature and Daniel Marsh from Health and Fitness Ireland conveyed a very important message in relation to sports nutrition and diet. In a school, steeped in sporting tradition and prowess, this was well received by all and we look forward to welcoming Daniel and his team back to The Abbey to work with TY students next year. Our keynote speaker of the session was Senator Joan Freeman. Joan is an Irish psychologist, mental health activist and an Independent Senator. She is the founder and former CEO of Pieta House, a national mental health services charity established in 2006. In 2008, Joan founded the annual fund-raising event Darkness into Light in aid of Pieta House. Begun with 400 participants, approximately 200,000 people worldwide participated in the event last year which is held in May. She helped form, and now chairs, Ireland's first Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare. She is also a member of the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs. Joan touched on subjects which are close to the hearts of many people of the Tipperary community, including online bullying and mental health and suicide awareness. Her message to the young people of Tipperary was to “Be Kind” and she promised to be back again in the near future to work with them.

A plethora of other events were carried out throughout the week, kicking off with a 5km “Walk and Talk” event on Monday morning. At 9am, the whole school community got involved in a 5km walk around the town. In the afternoon all 1st Year students participated in a soccer tournament which was organised and run by their senior Transition Year peers. Being active was the theme of the day and it is fair to say that all within the school got involved in some way. Tuesday 03rd March activities included TY students participating in a road safety workshop and some senior students went on a site visit to Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in Limerick. This was organised in conjunction with local man Anthony Collins who is the Technical Apprentice Lead at the company. On Wednesday morning, our 2nd Year students visited nearby St Ailbe’s School for an engineering workshop. Thursday heralded exam classes from the school going to the canteen for tea, scones and a chat for one 40 minute period. This was to commend all the effort they are making with exam preparation and to ensure that they see the value of taking a structured break. These breaks help to maintain and augment top study performance and can actually increase focus and reduce stress, inducing better retention of information learned. It was a great success while also allowing the teachers and students to interact outside of class time and give the students the opportunity to just sit and talk with their peers. On Friday, some senior students took learning out of the classroom and on to the farm and field with a trip to Kildalton Agricultural College Open Day which was very insightful. Acknowledgment to the staff wellbeing committee along with TY students for leading out the planning, organisation and execution of such a valuable experience for the whole community. Recognition and appreciation also to Anne Bradshaw (HSE Disability Services) and the local Gardaí for all of their assistance and smooth operation with the planning and implementation of events throughout the week.

Wellbeing matters in the here and now. It is important because all students have a right to feel cared for in our school. That said, we also know that students who have higher levels of wellbeing tend to have better cognitive outcomes in school. ESRI research found that ‘children with higher levels of emotional, behavioural, social and school wellbeing had higher levels of academic achievement subsequently (at ages 11, 14, and 16)’. Therefore, wellbeing and learning are inextricably connected. Wellbeing is an going initiative and process and this week highlighted the importance of it and the involvement of all school stakeholders. We hope to build on it for the next school year.

Welcome our new Principals
Primary

St. Vincent's Primary School, Glasnevin - Danny Reilly

My name is Danny Reilly and I was recently appointed Principal Teacher in St. Vincent’s Primary School in Glasnevin. Our school is a vibrant school located in Glasnevin, while also serving the communities of Finglas and the north inner city. We have this year become a co-educational school for the first time in our long history. We have a wonderful, friendly and dedicated staff, nurturing and supporting the well-being and talents of all of our children and it will be a pleasure to lead them into the future. I graduated from St. Patrick’s College in 2005, taking up my only teaching post in St. Vincent’s, where I have worked up until now as a mainstream class teacher and more recently as a SET teacher over maths. I’m a past pupil of the school, and I’m a son and grandson of a past pupil also. As a result, I am steeped in the St. Vincent’s tradition and was brought up in the Edmund Rice Ethos.

Secondary

Coláiste Éamann Rís, Callan - Majella Gleeson

Majella Gleeson is my name and I was appointed as Principal in Coláíste Éamann Rís , Callan .Co. Kilkenny in January 2020.

“I’m privileged to work with such an excellent staff here in Coláíste Éamann Rís who care deeply about their students and providing them with the best educational opportunities”.

I was deputy principal in the school prior to my appointment and before that, I  taught Geography and Religious Education in Edmund Rice Secondary School, Carrick on Suir, Co. Tipperary.

Secondary

CBS Charleville - Andrea Murphy

CBS Charleville welcomed their new Principal Andrea Murphy, previously Deputy Principal in Waterford, and a former teacher of English and Music.

Andrea received a warm welcome from students, staff and the Board of Management since joining the school. ‘It is a privilege to work with such a dedicated staff, working together to ensure our students will grow in confidence, personality and character. We believe that every student has special gifts and talents and that by working together as a team we can nurture their confidence, create high expectations and support them to achieve their full potential.’

Secondary

St Joseph's CBS Fairview - Sean Stack

I move into this new role having been Acting Deputy previously. I was teaching  English in the school for the past 8 years. It is a really exciting time to be taking on the position, not least because of the new challenge that this year has brought. But more importantly, Joseph's is looking at a new phase in its long history as we lead the way as one of the founding schools for the Pathways in Technology (P-Tech) programme in Europe. Outside of school life, I am heavily involved in the GAA as an inter-county hurling referee. And whatever moments I can spare are spent with my wife and new daughter!

Secondary

St. David's Artane - Mick Nally

I feel extremely honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead this wonderful and unique school community in Artane. After completing my Leaving Certificate in 2000 in Colaiste Mhuire CBS Mullingar, I attended UCD to study Animal Science. In 2004 I returned to Colaiste Mhuire to complete my H.Dip and then started teaching in St. David’s CBS in 2005. I have really enjoyed teaching Maths and Science here for the last 15 years and now look forward to working with our students and staff in continuing the great work that has been done by Padraic Kavanagh over the last 20 years in his role as Principal.

Secondary

Coláiste Éamann Rís, Cork - Aaron Wolfe

Aaron Wolfe is the new Principal of Coláiste Éamman Rís, Cork City (formerly Deerpark CBS). He was acting Principal last year, and Deputy Principal since 2016. Before that, Aaron worked in Douglas Community School since graduating from UCD in 2004. In a former life, Aaron wrote the Christmas pantomimes for the Cork Opera House and Gaiety Theatre. Aaron is a representative of the ASTI's Principal and Deputy Principal Committee.

Secondary

Coláiste Rís, Dundalk - Noilín Ní Dhulaing

Nóilín Ní Dhulaing is the newly appointed Principal in  Coláiste Rís Dundalk Co.Louth. Originally, from Carlow I went to secondary school in St.Leo’s Mercy convent. I have very fond memories of my school days there. I still love to visit Carlow where I have family whenever I can. I went to Sion Hill in Blackrock to study Home Economics and Irish. On graduating, I arrived in Dundalk in 1989 to what was then the C.B.S. secondary school. I taught Home Economics and Irish and Home Economics through Irish in the Irish stream. At that time, the school was predominately a boys' school and we only accepted girls into the Irish stream. I arrived at a time when the Christian Brothers were preparing to depart Dundalk. The school then became Coláiste Rís. I became Deputy Principal some years later and remained in the role for 13 years. In that time the school’s population grew from 300 pupils to in excess of 600 pupils as a co-educational school. I was in the role of acting Principal last year and I was appointed Principal in June of this year. One thing I have learned; never say “I think it will be a quiet day today”.

Secondary

Woodbrook College - Henry Hurley

A late convert to teaching, Henry Hurley had spent 20 years working in the Manufacturing Industry sector in Ireland. Prior to his appointment on the 6th of January, 2020, Henry had worked in a number of schools in Wicklow, most recently Temple Carrig School in Greystones. In his previous schools he was involved in several roles, in areas such as Special Education, Finance, Facilities and Discipline. His decision to move to Woodbrook College was based on a number of factors, - a faith school, co-educational and a strong extra-curricular involvement of students and staff. Involvement in Sports and the Arts have played a very big part of his life for many years. Woodbrook College has not disappointed as it is an exceptional example of an ERST value led school with strong emphasis on promoting partnership, leading teaching and learning, creation of a caring community and inspiring transformational leadership.

Secondary

Coláiste Eamann Rís, Wexford - John Hegarty

John Hegarty was appointed Acting Principal on September 1st 2020.

Previously, John was  Deputy Principal  for 10 years

He is a former Intercounty Footballer and now enjoys coaching the next generation of players.

John is looking forward to building on the positive, professional and progressive atmosphere in Wexford CBS.

Secondary

Midleton CBS -Niall Ahern

Niall Ahern took over from Maurice Keohane on September 1st, previously he had been Deputy Principal in the school for a number of years.

Niall started his teaching career in St Finbarr's College, Farranferris.  When the school was closed down he was redeployed to Midleton CBS in 2006. Niall was very involved in extracurricular activities notably hurling and the school trip to New York annually.

‘Taking over from Maurice is a very big challenge and especially in the times we have now, but the support from staff and parents has been incredible, so I am looking forward to the challenges ahead."

Secondary

ERSS Carrick on Suir - Anthony Leahy

Anthony is a graduate of Mater Dei Institute of Education (2ooo). He began his teaching career in Rathmines in Dublin, at St. Mary's College CSSp. In his fourteen years in Mary's, as well as teaching RE & history, Anthony began to develop his school leadership skills as an AP1 and AP2, as well as being nominated to the Board of Management. In 2014, Anthony departed Dublin to take up the role of Deputy Principal at Ardscoil na Mara, in Tramore. As a newly amalgamated school, initially under the joint trusteeship of the Religious Sisters of Charity and ERST, Ardscoil na Mara opened its door to one thousand and fifty students on its first day. The school has since been divested to ERST and has gone from strength to strength. In October 2020, Anthony took the next step in his career development with his appointment as Principal to Edmund Rice Secondary School.

EREBB
ERST, ERST NI and Edmund Rice England at a recent meeting.

We are excited about the prospect of rolling out a new Student Leadership programme.

EREBB Seminar

Leading during Covid-19

School leaders- Principals, Deputies and Chairpersons, of Edmund Rice schools from all over the world were recently invited to an webinar to share experiences of leading during Covid-19. The keynote speaker was Rev Mpho Tutu -educator, peacemaker and faith leader - whose address was entitled “ Hope leadership in Education during the pandemic”

At the conclusion of the address by Rev Tutu, Gerry Bennett of ERST thanked her for her inspirational thoughts, feelings and words. He remarked that Rev Tutu had shone a light on the challenges and realities facing our school communities but that Covid has also given us an opportunity to reaffirm our Edmund Rice values. Gerry noted that Rev Tutu asked us to constantly listen to God, as educators. The message of hope she gives us, as educators, is that God is calling us to be listeners, constantly discerning, constantly listening to the voice of God – that God’s voice is really a lantern for our work. Gerry concluded “ My prayer today is that in a message of hope, we work together as educators, in schools, universities and in our communities, in a spirit of sharing, to help sustain our colleagues, our students, our communities, and everyone we meet in our lives.

Beir bua agus beannacht ar gach duine san Iontabhas Éamann Rís. God’s blessing on everyone in our Edmund Rice communities”.

Edmund Rice Schools Trust

Meadow Vale, Clonkeen Road, Blackrock, Dublin A94 YN96
Ireland

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