Harry Oke reports on the debating teams progress this term.
Debating and Public speaking was a highly developed part of extracurricular activities this term and it is really encouraging to see an increasing number of people getting stuck in and taking part in internal and external debating competitions. There have been multiple activities this year such as The Oxford School Debating workshop, European Youth Parliament, House Speeches, Junior Debates, House Debates and finally Concern Debates. This year we chose to take part in new debating competitions and activities such as the Oxford schools debates and the Concern debates. A group of students in 4th, 5th and 6th went for the Oxford schools debating workshop to learn more about a different competition and a completely different style of debating. This was an extremely eyeopening experience and we definitely hope to continue to take part in this competition. The European Youth Parliament was also a great experience. The House Speeches were also very interesting. This entailed a number of the transition year students speaking about topics they were interested in. For many it was very difficult to speak to a large crowd but, nevertheless, they were able to rise up to the challenge and it was a truly exceptional evening.
The major Debating events have been The Concern debates, Junior and House debates. The Concern Debates deals with humanitarian issues and increases awareness of world issues and encourages teenagers to be active members of society and to be a force for positive change. We have taken part in two rounds of these debates, We, unfortunately, lost one round to Tallaght community school on the topic TO END HUNGER, THE WORLD MUST EMBRACE GMOs. The school put forward a team consisting of Jack Stokes as the captain, Catherine Butt, Caoimhe Cleary and myself. It was a good experience but I believe we raised our standards and we faced the competent team put forward by Colaiste Eanna on the topic CHINA IS GOOD FOR AFRICA. We opposed the motion and our team consisted of an African and Chinese citizen which helped us greatly.
Finally, The Junior and House debates. It is extremely encouraging to see younger part of the school taking part in debating and public speaking. They have a lot of gifted speakers and have great potential. The Senior debates remain very important and every year brings a different set of people with so much to offer. Different people have come forward and showed us different angles to one topic and have successfully blurred the lines between right and wrong making the judges’ job very difficult. This year’s finalist has been organised based on a point system. They are Iona and Stackallan and have performed fantastically in the first two rounds. I wish them the very best of luck in the finals.  The debating opportunities do not end with this term and therefore, it is not too late to take part. Debating and Public speaking will always remain part of our Culture and I would especially like to thank Ms. Duggan for her unwavering work ethic and support for Debating and Public speaking in the College.
Junior Debating Team – for UCD Debates included: Raphaela Ihuoma, Ailbhe Matthews, Phoebe Grennell, Elise Williams, Eile ni Chianain, Maybelle Rainey, Charlotte Moffitt. Juniors involved in House Debates included: Tadhg Rane O’ Chianain, Florian Zitzman, Wolfgang Romanowski, Sadie Keogh, Emma Hinde, Caleb Swanepol, Solomon Babajide, Alannah Hassett& Matilda Pringle. Many of these are first formers and it is wonderful to see them sign up for debating in their first term in the College.
Senior Debating Team – this term included Harry Oke-Osanyintolu, Caoimhe Cleary, Catherine Butt, Georgia Keegan-Wignall, Jack Stokes with many more expected to join in the Hilary term.

The Warden’s final blog post of 2017 might also be titled “It’s not all about Santa”…

11th December 2017

I always enjoy Christmas and most things that go with it. I love the music and I love singing Christmas carols. I love the food, particularly the turkey and the pigs in blankets, and I have a soft spot for the much-maligned brussel sprout, although it does need to be cooked right. I love the gathering of the family and I mostly enjoy the games, although there is only so much Monopoly you can play. We have quite a wide selection of family games, which keep us all amused. I am keen on word games. And I love getting presents too…who doesn’t like getting presents? Yes, of course Christmas is over-commercialised, but I don’t let that upset me.

One thing that does annoy me, however, is the prevalence of Father Christmas everywhere. An alien dropping down on the local high street could be forgiven for assuming that the Christian faith is based on an elderly fat man with a long white beard wearing a silly red and white costume, with a sack over his shoulder and mindlessly laughing at everything. Not that I have a problem with Father Christmas per se, just that he isn’t what Christmas is all about.

There is a magic about the Christmas story and a sense of wonder, which can be lost because of over-familiarity. Christians believe that God came to earth in the form of a helpless baby and that in itself is extraordinary. However the circumstances of that arrival that are equally amazing. In a very conservative society he was born to a young unmarried mother, in squalid conditions, so undoubtedly he would have been the subject of gossip. He was born in a country that was occupied by a ruthless military power and the king, who was a collaborator with the Romans, set off a massacre of young children in an attempt to kill him. His family had to flee into exile to survive, so Jesus was a refugee. When he was born the religious authorities ignored the signs and missed it altogether. There were only two groups of people who came to visit, one a bunch of shepherds, uneducated and simple peasants, and the other a group of weird foreign travellers, who did not share the Jewish faith and relied on astrology to show them the way.

Surely if you or I were making up the story of the birth of the long-expected Messiah we would put him in a palace, surrounded by fanfares and worshipped with great homage by all the religious leaders and political dignitaries. Despite his lowly background, throughout history Jesus has been expropriated by governments and leaders to keep people in their place, yet he is a character to whom, right from his birth, the marginalised can relate more easily than the ‘respectable’: those of questionable parentage, the homeless, the refugee and asylum-seeker, the foreigner, the uneducated…and of course the children, whom later he welcomes when his disciples try to keep them away, along with the sick and deformed who were rejected by society.

Jesus grew up to become a troublemaker, who tipped the social order on its head. He was a nuisance and a revolutionary whom the religious authorities could not handle and whom the military governor had executed in place of a convicted terrorist and murderer. I would suggest that all this makes him still a highly relevant figure and a rather more interesting and thought-provoking character than Father Christmas! I hope I never lose my sense of wonder over the real Christmas story.

Have a great holiday. And I hope that Santa visits you this Christmas.

 

Mark Boobbyer, Warden.

 

 

 

 

 

After the College’s huge success in last year’s pan-european CanSat competition (St. Columba’s were crowned Irish champions and went onto place 2nd in Europe), a new crew of Transition Year pupils want to follow up on the success on ‘Canny Potter’ with their own satellite ‘Can Solo’. Form IV pupil Calina Sacolax reports from a recent CanSat workshop at Dublin Institute of Technology.

Some members of the 2017 CanSat team give some soldering advice to the 2018 hopefuls.

Last Thursday (December 7th 2017) the new Cansat team were invited to a workshop in Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin St. Our successful Canny Potter also attended to speak and give advice to the future cansat teams. On arrival we were given a talk about teamwork and presentation skills and shown tips on how to improve our public speaking and how to make an interesting presentation. Soon after the talk last year’s winners ‘Canny Potter’ from St. Columba’s gave an interesting and informative presentation on their experiences in the European Competition back in June.

The team couldn’t stress enough the importance of teamwork and making plans. They told everyone to get the primary mission working and then to start adding the additional sensors that corresponded with the aims of the project. After their presentation they took questions. Canny Potter was a hit with all the schools and were practically treated like celebrities. Many people want to take a picture with the European runner-ups and asked for tips and ideas from their projects. They were glad to help, shared their experiences openly and meet everybody. Team ‘Can Solo’ know that the pressure is on them particularly after last years’ very successful project.

The team then participated in a soldering workshop. Nobody in ‘Can Solo’ really knew how to solder properly but with the help of the mentors our team learned pretty quickly. Practice makes perfect so we will continue to practise until we become masters at the art of soldering.

We are happy to have made such an educative and helpful trip and look forward to building our satellite in a can next term for the regional competition in March.

 

Thady McKeever evades some St. Michael’s defenders in a friendly earlier this term. Photo by Daniel Owen.

The Senior Rugby Team’s cup run ended on Tuesday last with defeat to Coláiste Bríd Carnew on a scoreline of 17-24 in the quarter final of the McMullen Cup. (The team had comfortably defeated Ardscoil na Trínóide and Coláiste Cill Mhantáin in the previous two rounds). The boys will rue their high penalty count, which gifted Carnew possession and territory for much of the second half, and a penalty try that ultimately separated the teams at the end. However, the boys finished top of their section of the league and can look forward to the quarter final of that competition next term.

The Junior Squad unfortunately lost their first round cup match, against Ardscoil na Trínóide in Athy. It was a close run affair but a late try from the visitors meant they advanced on a scoreline of 12-14. Earlier this week they lost to Kings Hospital JCT B team on a scoreline of 19-0 but it was an excellent game and the boys played very well – the scoreline perhaps flattering the home team a little.

The Leps and Ducks have been had a busy period since half term too and are really showing signs of improving. The Leps defeated St. Paul’s 38-15 with some of the boys new to the sport really excelling. The Ducks have continued their fine form too defeating arch-rivals Headfort in a typically great game and last week they comfortably defeated St. Pauls 28-7. The future looks bright!

The Form I girls hockey team warm up before their tournament.

The Girls Hockey Senior 1st XI unfortunately lost their cup match (0-2) against Loreto Beaufort recently. The girls played extremely well, with some phases of really great play in the first half, when there were chances to score. They soaked up a lot of pressure defensively in that first period too, which ended 0-0. Unfortunately Beaufort took their chances when they came in the second half, scoring two good goals. They left disappointed but happy that they gave a good account of themselves too. The Junior Girls played their first round cup match on Wednesday last but were well beaten by a well drilled Wesley side, 7-0. The Form I Girls took part in a League Tournament on Wednesday against Sutton Park & Drogheda Grammar, defeating Sutton by 2-0 and drawing with Drogheda 2-2.

The boys’ hockey leagues are almost wrapped for Christmas with only a few re-fixed matches to be played.  The Seniors have got themselves back on track with a narrow 3-2 win over St Kilians and a draw against Mt Temple. They have one league match left against Wesley B’s and a win will earn them a spot in the Senior B League semi-final.
The Juniors have performed well with wins over Mt. Temple and Wesley B as well as a draw with St Kilians.  Their fixture against Newpark would determine the rest of their season, the prize of a win would be a place in the A-League Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, on the day of the match, we had a number of players unavailable and we ended up losing 1-3.  Perhaps with a full strength team things might have been different but congratulations to Marco Trolese and Bruno Marti Jimenez in first form for making their debut on the Junior team.
The U-14’s s are battling away in their league where they have a shot at making the semi finals.  They have also progressed through to the second round of the minor cup with a win over Newpark on strokes.  The U-13’s are starting to find their feet and they have put in some fantastic performances lately.  Their first win of the season came against a strong St. Kilian’s team and they also managed a draw against the more fancied Newpark team.  They have a lot of potential and are a team to watch in the future.

Pupils participating in the annual Christmas Basketball Blitz.

In basketball the Cadette A’s reached the East Region Semi-finals , which unfortunately needed to be played during the exams. The team traveled to Pobail Scoil Setanta in Blanchardstown and though they gave a spirited performance, the height and strength on our opponents was too much on the day with the final score at 32-24. They are still involved in the south Dublin league and will play their quarter final in the new year.

The senior boys have had a very busy and exciting few weeks. They continued to perform well in the East Region League and progressed to the playoff stages. They met Collinstown CC in the quarter final on Nov 22nd and won a closely fought match 63-54 with good performances from team captain Tiernan Mullane, Tobias Voelsgen and Jakob Habsburg. The following week, again during the exams, they played their semifinal against Old Bawn CC, who boast an Irish U17 international in Okoko Ogbe. Though the game was close Old Bawn were in control of the game and ran out easy winners in the end.

Although out of the East Region League they still had a opportunity to reach the All Ireland Play-off’s with a re-match with local rivals St. Michael’s last week – it was an exciting and riveting game. The defensive strategy really paid off and the team controlled their key scores for most of the game. The lead changed hands several time in a very tense match. With less than a minute to go Columba’s were trailing by two and a last minute well executed play saw the final basket clinch a draw and overtime. Despite all efforts, some unforced turnovers gave St. Michael’s the edge and they won by the narrowest of margins in this heart breaking loss. The following day the team received news that they still had a chance to reach the All Ireland’s  and will compete in a further playoff against a Midlands team Heywood College in the new year.

The term ended with the traditional Christmas Basketball Blitz with staff and pupils showing off their skills, getting in the festive spirit and having fun at the same time.

The first edition of the new-format magazine called The Submarine is now out. Check it out here, or look at it in ‘flippable’ form on the English Department site here.

Caoimhe Cleary was Editor; Tania Stokes illustrated; and there were impressive contributions made by many other pupils, both artistically and as writers. You can see the video ‘Missing You‘ by Tiernan Mullane below.

The launch of the College’s Development Office and 175th Anniversary Celebrations took place on Thursday evening in Whitehall, with details of the activities and projects which will commemorate the 175 years of excellence in education. The newly formed Development Office, headed up by Sonia Young, will focus on garnering philanthropic support for the College’s future growth. It will manage a series of funds including the Old Columban Society Bursary Fund (which provides financial assistance to sons and daughters of former pupils to attend the College), the College Bursary Fund (proving financial bursaries to pupils with no previous connection to the College), the Annual Fund (which will direct money to various capital projects within the College) and, finally, the 175th Anniversary Fund (which will support the College’s ambitious plans for 2018 – the new Social Hub, pictured below). For more information on the Development Office please visit the new dedicated webpage here.

The new Social Hub will be located in the Warden’s Garden (opposite the library) and will transform Whispering House into a vibrant social space for pupils.

In addition to the launch of the Development Office the College’s 175th Anniversary Microsite went live last night. The new site details the all the various events taking place during the year, more detailed plans and images of the Social Hub, 175th anniversary news, articles on the evolution of the College since its 150th anniversary and a detailed history of the College in the earlier years. The 175th Anniversary celebrations will centre around the June Bank Holiday weekend in 2018, traditionally the St. Columba’s Day celebrations, and will include a gala ball, invitational cricket & hockey fixtures, a family barbecue, a golf outing and much much more. Visit the microsite here (175.stcolumbas.ie).

Last week, Transition Year pupils from the College hosted a workshop on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) with pupils from Nøtterøy High School in Norway. This was the fourth time Nøtterøy High School have visited the College in as many years and each year a new area of science is explored and debated using a collaborate approach to learning.

The day began with the pupils being divided into nine teams, with pupils from both schools on each team. A few icebreaker challenges allowed the teams get to know one another before the real work kicked off. Our first such challenge was a construction activity where each team had to suspend a plastic cup in the air, hanging from a structure made only from straws and tape.

The pupils were given a short presentation and shown a video about genetically modified organisms, learning about the positives and negatives of GMOs. Later the pupils participated in a variety of collaborative activities which helped them learn about different types of GMOs, and the advantages of each.

After lunch, each team had to design their own GMO, and present and pitch their new product to the group. There were some very creative ideas, such as chocolate with added iron, and a Crale (mix between a crab and a whale) which filtered microplastics from the ocean. The winner of this activity was the Pineango, a mix of genes between a pineapple and a mango, allowing people to absorb vitamins more easily from their food and reduce teenage acne. In all it was another highly successful and enjoyable collaboration between two very different schools, once again organised by Ms Hennessy. One pupil remarked:

This was a very beneficial experience and we learned a lot about collaboration and teamwork, as well as some interesting facts and information about GMOs.

Abigail O Brien, Transition Year, reports on the upcoming Art Exhibition of the work produced for the Junior Certificate 2017

Last year 23 pupils in 3rd Form completed the Junior Certificate Art Project. Each of us had to put together a number of finished art pieces. The  themes we worked on ranged from sharks to space travel. However, a major part of the project also required that we show our preparatory sketches and brainstorming, alongside explanations of our individual thought processes.

The course is pretty straightforward – we had to make a 3D construction or sculpture, a painting or graphic design, and an optional third craft piece (calligraphy, puppetry, batique, a lino cut, and a host of other things). The challenge came in trying to complete all of this work in the time frame and to a standard which was strong enough.

A big part of the project was to show how our ideas developed over time. The big difference between this project and sitting a one hour portrait exam is that your ideas have a lot more time to evolve and grow. Despite drawing inspiration from a common theme throughout the three pieces, many of us were surprised at how varied the results were. In addition to the project we had to do a drawing exam.  We had a model sit for us  while we drew them and we also had to choose an object from a set list to draw. We were given an hour for both.

All of us worked well over the year and were all happy with our results. I think it was a very good experience and an opportunity to express our ideas.

This coming Sunday December 10th, there will be an opportunity to view our work as it will be displayed in the BSR for all to see after the evening Carol Service. We hope that you can make it!

Here are a small selection of pieces on display.

Portrait paining by Abigail O’Brien

Poster design by Andrew Kim

Batique craft by Sophia Cole

Saturday 9th December

  • 8.15pm: Christmas Concert, BSR (parents are welcome to attend).

Sunday 10th December

  • 10am: Matins
  • 7.30pm: roll-call for VI, V and choir before the Carol Service.
  • 8pm: Carol Service, followed by reception in the BSR.
  • 9pm: exeats end for boarders not at the Carol Service.

Monday 11th December

  • Special late rising due to Convention.
  • Day boys and girls report by 10.25am (they may come earlier)
  • 10.30am: First Chapel bell.

Mr. Ryan reports on the Senior Rugby team’s recent success.

On Tuesday last the Senior Rugby XV continued their winning streak as they packed down against a dogged and physical Coláiste Cill Mhantain side on home soil. The game was only a mere seven seconds old when SCC’s flanker James Wilkinson was very harshly shown a red card for what the referee deemed to be a dangerous tip tackle, sending SCC management and fans into a state of turmoil. What management and fans did not realise was that this was the catalyst which sparked what was to undoubtedly become one of the finest displays of never say die rugby ever witnessed here in SCC.

Cill Mhantain struck first with a converted try following a penalty inside the St. Columba’s twenty two, their advantage was doubled eight minutes later with a breakaway try from a gathered lineout inside their own half, the scoreboard now read 14-0, but things were about to get worse.

Cill Mhantain raced into a 19-7 lead, however, SCC’s opening try from Kosi Emmanuel – Anyim with the conversion by centre Hector Wright added some stability to the home sides’ endeavours. SCC struck again following a break inside their own half with a fabulous kick for the line by Ivan Moffitt who was now beginning to dictate the ebb and flow of the Columban back line. The lineout was won and brought down for the SCC forwards to drive for the line. Tipperary’s Joseph Gernon rolled over the line with the conversion being sweetly slotted by Thady McKeever, the score now read 19-14, SCC were on the march.

The passion and sheer determination of the SCC pack was infectious with students and parents dotted around the sidelines roaring their approval. A lineout inside the Cill Mhantain ten metre line was collected by Adam Murphy who was escorted over the line by a fantastic forwards pack, Thady McKeever stepped up to take a conversion at what many would call an impossible angle. However, the acuteness and pressure of the kick completely unfazed young Thady who nailed the conversion much to the delight of the vocal crowd. Somehow the scoreboard now read St. Columbas 21, Cill Mhantain 19, but SCC were not finished yet.

Thady McKeever’s touchline conversion bisects the posts to put SCC in the lead for the first time in the match.

A kick over the top bounced sweetly for the rampaging Moriz Boyen who was taken out by a sweeping leg from the Cill Mhantain outhalf stopping a certain try, but Seán Cooper darted to collect the ball and with great poise dove under the posts for SCC’s fourth try of the game, which was complimented by the trusty boot of Thady McKeever who pinged the ball between the posts to end the game 28-19 in favour of the SCC side.

Not only did Columbas play the entire game with 14 men, they had to endure two sin-binnings in either half which left the side reduced to 13 men for a total of twenty minutes. This game was a privilege to witness as the likes of it are rarely seen at an international standard let alone schoolboy rugby. Confidence is high within the SCC camp and rightly so, but there is more to come from this dogged side and we eagerly look forward to our upcoming game in Gorey RFC against Carnew on Tuesday December 12th.