It’s difficult to keep up with everything our Transition Year pupils do on a weekly and even daily basis. The fourth year at St. Columba’s is like no other year with the academic work of the pupils complemented by a wide and varied non-academic programme. The opening eight weeks of term have already been jampacked.
The traditional friendship-building trip to Causey Farm was a muddy success with our pupils getting stuck in quickly into sheep herding, bog jumping, rafting, Irish dancing and some traditional Irish baking. We’ve had visiting speakers from Barretstown, John Lonergan (formerly governor of Mount Joy Prison), Alpana Delaney from the Hope Foundation and representatives from Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal. The pupils have fundraised for these charities also, mainly around the local shopping centres (pictured above, TY pupils fundraising for the Hope Foundation in Dundrum Town Centre). There have been online courses on cookery (Vanessa Greenwood at the Cooks Academy) and careers in medicine and STEM.
A major focus of our Transition Year programme is our Community Involvement Programme (CIP). Over the course of this week, all of our TY pupils have ventured out of the campus to various community projects and charitable organisations across the county. Our pupils have helped out at a refugee centre in Dublin’s James Joyce Street, where they worked on multi-sensory games and art with the children, while some volunteered at the head offices of Multiple Sclerosis Ireland and the Hope Foundation. Others were dispatched to a host of other charities: St. Vincent de Paul, Oxfam, Enable Ireland, National Council for the Blind, My Lovely Horse Rescue Centre, the Irish Cancer Society, the Jack & Jill Foundation and the DSPCA. Some TY pupils volunteered to help at the local Whitechurch National School while others volunteered at St. Catherine’s Special School, litter picked in Marlay Park and helped out at the Rathfarnham Parish Hall – the parishioners were very grateful for the freshly baked pastries.
It’s been a hectic but hugely fulfilling eight weeks and the Transition Year pupils should be mightily proud of their efforts and achievements already. Tonight, they were rewarded with a scary movie and some treats, after they finish carving pumpkins! A big thank you to Ms Kilfeather who steers the TY juggernaut, ably assisted and supported by Ms Lynch and Mr Clarke.