Following the researchED conference on Saturday 24th September, ticket-holders were sent an online survey, and here are some of the comments (all thrown together in no order). 34% of attendees had been to the event in 2019, so 66% were new to the experience.

General comments:

Thank you so much for a wonderful day of professional development … Excellent day all round. So practical and useful. Well done! … Such a brilliant day. Thank you so much for organizing it … It was a fantastic collaborative, energising experience that blew away some of the ennui generated after the impact of Covid restrictions in our schools. It was lovely to meet so many teachers from all over the country & meet up with old friends again. It was very interesting that this was an initiative led by educators not any of the agencies that impose conditions on how we carry out our practice … Superb event. Thank you …. Thanks so much for everything, including the communication in the lead up to the event … Brilliant. So welcoming. So worthwhile  … thank you for a wonderful and inspiring day … A great event for classroom practitioners … A fantastic experience from start to finish. Well done to all involved! …. An extremely beneficial and necessary experience if you wish to enhance your individual contribution to education in schools. … Superb day on all scores. I’m returning to school tomorrow uplifted and grateful for all … A fantastic day. So well organised and so informative … Well done, super organised, good range of speakers. Food amazing and the venue is special … Beautiful venue, lots of very friendly guides and great speakers. Well done … a perfect conference – well done to all those front of house and behind the scenes! … Buzzing from it. Please host it again. You are really good at it … Thank you for hosting such an exceptional event and I’m delighted to have been a part of it … The atmosphere and organisation of the event was outstanding and very welcoming. The volunteers showed enthusiasm all day – all fantastic. The Research Ed booklet was clear and very informative about each session.

A great day! … Excellent Day – very well organised; super staff. Thanks so much … Wonderful campus for such an event, great organisation and staff willing to give up their time on Saturday is very impressive and a sign of a good working relationship between management and staff … A totally amazing day – Thank you so much … Well run.  Great topics.  Hard to make a choice at some sessions … Thank you for all of your hard work in organising this incredible event. It was like going outside for a breath of fresh air!   … Overall, a really fantastic day which went by so quickly. Left with so many ideas and reflections. This is what professional development should be about. Well done to everyone involved … thank you SO much for organising. It was an amazing community to be part of and to speak to so many other teachers and listen to their experiences … Thank you for such a great day. Far more inspirational than ‘regular’ in-services… Brilliantly organised. Thoroughly enjoyed the day. Thank you for setting it up … Brilliantly organised and venue was very well laid out for all the various talks . Unfortunately couldn’t bilocate so missed some events as so many good speakers on at the same time … Well run.  Great topics.  Hard to make a choice at some sessions … PLEASE run this again! It was the most amazing day. My only complaint is it wasn’t long enough! I absolutely loved it and couldn’t believe we were getting all of these speakers for the price we paid- unbelievable value. Thank you, thank you, thank you! … The food was excellent!!! I couldn’t believe the standard, so impressive … Everything about the day was first class and the best CPD ever Thank you to the whole team … I felt invigorated after it … I am in education for over 20 years and I honestly think this is the best event I have been to by far. The energy and positivity was amazing. I would definitely go to it were it to happen again. Thanks so much to all the organisers.

What were your main takeaways from the day?

Loved Paul Kirshner and Kate Jones … Felt really empowered after listening to others. Aine Hyland’s voice needs to be amplified … My idol Miss Olivia Derwin, legend to all of us biology teachers! … Kate Jones was great – nice mix of theory and practical tips … I thoroughly enjoyed all speakers who delivered their ideas in an entertaining and clear manner. Dáire Lambert was excellent, giving us an honest and realistic insight into his classroom practice … Barbara Oakley was outstanding. So clear and concise and her way of getting her point across was soft but with clarity.  It was amazing from beginning to end … It was amazing to be able to hear such big names such as Barbara Oakley and Paul Kirschner… The whole day was superb … The two main Keynote speakers were excellent and I enjoyed Kate Jones’s presentation on retrieval practice. Generally, the more practical the talk, the more I enjoyed it! It is great to get some ideas for classroom practice … Barbara Oakley was superb: her visuals in her presentation really made a great impact on me … As a Science teacher, my eyes were on stalks: I had lab. envy & I love my own lab. but perhaps not as much as I did before my head was turned by yours!) … The entire event was superb. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Dr Barbara Oakley and Kate Jones. I loved the smaller seminars on spelling and giving boys feedback. Thank you  … There was a strong thread on “how students learn” that ran throughout the whole day.  I found this good as multiple perspectives helped to reinforce the basic science and practical applications … Retrieval Practice by Kate Jones and Junior Cycle Planning by Clare Madden were exceptional … Barb was outstanding. I’m teaching twenty years and she is the best I’ve seen! … Barbara Oakley & Kate Jones were very impressive and informative. One day at researchED would save teachers countless days of CPDs!  …

Barbara Oakley, Kate Jones and Aine Hyland were brilliant to listen to. … Delighted to spend time with other teachers in earnest and substantial discussion of pedagogy (as opposed to much “CPD” in recent years)… Prof Barbara Oakley was an excellent start to the day.  Could have listened to her all day … Really impressed with the high quality programme and mix of topics and speakers.  I particularly enjoyed Barbara Oakley, Mark Roberts and Kate Barry … Barbara Oakley was amazing, John Tomsett really impressed with curriculum discussion also. Oliver Caviglioli, Paul Kirschner and Neil Almond were real highlights … The aspects of the programme that were about research and engaging in research at schools were great – Jenny McMahon from UL and Liam Guilfoyle from Oxford gave real practical ideas for getting involved which were great … Barbara was outstanding- so warm, encouraging, knowledgeable and interesting. That said, all speakers were superb! … Kate Jones was fantastic. I thought Sonia Thompson was inspirational … Really loved Emma Regan’s ‘Why set up a Professional Learning Community’ and the SWOT analysis ..They all impressed me from Barbara to Paul to the discussion with Annie, Simon and Clinton … Really impressed with David and Jennifer Keenahan’s work and energy put into discussing physics textbooks and Paul Nugent delivered an excellent session of effective questioning for students. As for takeaways, elements of Brendan O’Sullivan’s and Barbara Oakley’s speeches stuck with me the most … Barbara Oakley was the most enthralling on importance of retrieval practice. Áine Hyland was excellent on state of curriculum development in Ireland at the moment … Barbara Oakley was very impressive as was Áine Hyland. Good to hear somebody of the stature of Áine Hyland express concerns about the direction of the Irish education system particularly around Senior Cycle Reform and presented in a humorous fashion as well … James Maxwell – inspiration leadership of an Evidence Informed School .. The architecture of the brain and how this relates to learning. The importance of understanding working memory and long-term memory. The necessity of retrieval practice in education … Kate Jones, Claire Stoneman were both great …Still digesting it now – so much information.  Need to think how it can be put into practice in school … All brilliant, but I particularly enjoyed Barbara Oakley and Kate Jones’s practical takeaways … Sonia Thompson and Paul Nugent were excellent …. All good – Barbara Oakley super … Barbara Oakley was a particular stand out. Absolutely fantastic presentation. .. Really enjoyed the keynote speakers, main take-away, not to become complacent – our research informed journey has started but this is for the long term! … Really enjoyed all speakers. I loved Barbara Oakley- learning about her own background and her achievements today. I loved her presentation and feel like her presentation really simplified the learning process for me.   Paul Kirschner was excellent as well. I had so many takeaways from all talks that I will use in my own teaching. I loved Kate Jones as there were so many real life applications and examples from the classroom. I am only new to researchED and some of the buzz words at the minute. I would be honest and say I do not keep up the latest educational research and feel like this day really kick started me back into keeping my teaching methods current. I feel like I lost my ‘mojo’ in certain ways throughout covid and online learning … Paul Kirschner was amazing and brought his book and so excited with all the knowledge that I possess …

Both keynote speakers were excellent – Barbara Oakley and Paul Kirschner … Quality of speakers and how ideas that were relevant to the classroom … Really liked how Kate Jones presented retrieval practice and Olivia Derwin on video learning. To be honest, I really enjoyed everyone I went to see, just wish I could have gone to all of them … Barbara Oakley was excellent. Really good explanations of how learning happens … Oliver Caviglioli was really interesting … Paul Kirschner’s keynote was excellent …Daire Lambert was really interesting, funny and directly applicable to the classroom … Barbara was incredible. A great keynote. Plenty to take away from it. Kate Jones is a marvel. Her session was excellent … Jerome Devitt was superb in his talk on the new politics and society LC course … Kate Jones, Clare Madden and Barbara Oakley were very insightful … I was very interested in the discussion on retrieval practice. Barbara Oakley, Kate Barry, Paul Kirschner were great. However, I enjoyed all the sessions I attended … this is what we need to be preaching in universities! Clare Madden brought everything we learned back down to the issues we constantly face… the curriculum. Amazing, realistic approach to learning … Kate Jones- have read lots of her books and she was just as brilliant as I hoped …. Dáire Lambert- really stuck with me and thought he spoke really well! … Good practice comes from evidence and a lot comes from having professional conversations … I was especially impressed by Annie Asgard’s talk about providing for refugee children effectively within our education system … Professor Áine Hyland was brilliant and summarised all the key points about Senior Cycle reform so clearly. Jerome Devitt was also fantastic and I learned a lot about trying to implement vague syllabi in the classroom … I’m from the US, and the fascinating take away for me was the matrix of similarities and differences among our school systems … Ms Oakley was brilliant – but everyone was very good … Professor Barbara Oakley and Aine Hyland were both outstanding … Barbara Oakley, fabulous example of weaving stories into content. Kate Jones – brilliant! … It was a fantastic day, very enjoyable. The workshops were brilliant. Paul Kirschner, Oliver Caviglioli and Barbara Oakley were outstanding.

Back in pre-pandemic times in 2019, the College organised and hosted the first-ever researchED conference in Ireland, a hugely-successful gathering of over 350 educators at the cutting-edge of best practice in teaching and learning. The 2020 conference was cancelled for obvious reasons, but the school was delighted to put on the second event on Saturday 24th September, organised by Mr Girdham and Mr Jones.

Again, the campus was packed (the tickets sold out in May after under 3 weeks on sale), and from 8.00am people arrived from all over Ireland (including a strong showing from Northern Ireland) and abroad. Talks were held between 9am and 4.30pm, starting with the brilliant opening keynote by one of the giants of world education, Barbara Oakley from the United States. She was followed by a mixture of third-level academics and ‘ordinary’ teachers covering all aspects of education, such as leadership, Senior and Junior Cycle, diversity, feedback for boys, the asylum experience, digital content and retrieval practice.

A lovely lunch provided by one of our sponsors, the College caterers Sodexo, was followed by three sessions in the afternoon, culminating in the closing keynote by another legendary figure, Professor Paul Kirschner from the Netherlands. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and the school is proud to have played its part in having a positive impact on Irish education.

Presentations are available here, and the programme and a photo album of the day follow.

One of the highlights of 2019 was the College’s hosting of the first-ever researchED conference in Ireland on October 5th of that year. 350 educators from around Ireland and the world came to hear a top-class line-up of academics and classroom teachers talk about best practice. Of course, it was not possible to repeat the experience in 2020 or 2021, but now we are getting close to the second event, on Saturday 24th September (when the pupils are on Exodus).

Again, all tickets were long-ago sold out, and again there are some extraordinary speakers, including the keynote presenters Professor Barbara Oakley (from the US) and Professor Paul Kirschner (from the Netherlands).

The timetable will be released before long, but for the moment here are the session details, in alphabetical order.

We’ll have more here in the next couple of weeks: meanwhile, here is a report on the 2019 event.

This year’s Transition Year came (almost) to an end on Thursday evening, with the annual Final Presentation and Awards Evening, led by the TY Co-ordinator Ms Kilfeather, who described what a formidably busy year the pupils have had, term by term. She picked out events such as, in the Michaelmas Term, the Causey Farm and Dublin Zoo visits, the talk by John Lonergan, the sleepout on College grounds and the Architects in Schools programme. Elizabeth Hart and Amber Cotton described the many activities that formed the Gaisce programme, co-ordinated by Ms Lynch, and Alannah McKee presented on the F1 in Schools, co-ordinated by Ms Hennessey. 

In the Hilary Term, there were powerful talks by Patricia Carey and Jackie Fox, the Activities Day, Work Experience (which Oisin Germaine talked about) and Careers in Screen. This term, there have been presentations by Raoul Empey on climate change and Alex Hibbert on his adventure career. The TY Academic Prize evening took place, as well as the English and Modern Languages ones. There was sailing in Dun Laoghaire. Recently we heard that Cameron McKinley was runner-up in the Music Section of the Mary Elmes Prize in Holocaust Studies for Transition Year students from Holocaust Education Ireland, and Cameron accompanied himself on piano while singing his piece.

Ms Kilfeather paid tribute to the nine other full-time teachers who also take on responsibilities as part of the Transition Year team: without them nothing would happen. Before the evening ended with a photo collage of the year, she announced the winners of the academic subject prizes, and of the Spirit of Transition Award:

Music – Lauren Ng

Economics – Michael Onyeka-Patrick

Art – Georgia Goodbody

Irish – Kate Dementyeva

History and French – Elizabeth Hart

PE and Spanish – Hannah Bergmann

Biology and Classics – Rachel Shaw

Chemistry -Daniela Gasull Algas

Design, Physics, Mathematics & joint English – Calvin She

Geography, Business, RE & joint English – Cayden Wong

Spirit of Transition Year: Hughie Casey and Lara Hunter.

FORM PRIZES: congratulations to this year’s winners of these prizes, awarded for academic performance across all subjects. Presentations take place at the St Columba’s Day Celebrations on June 4th.

Sixth Form: Theodora Clare, T.J.Hopkins, Avi Johnston, Marcus O’Connor, Mika Sacolax.

Fifth Form: Tomas Casado, Kamilla Murphy, Fiona Noack, Isabel Warnock.

Fourth Form: Hannah v Bergmann, Elizabeth Hart, Rachel Shaw, Calvin She, Lorne Walsh, Wong Cheuk Yin.

Third Form: Oleana Cowan, Edith O’Brien, Alison Wang, Lucas Weber.

Second Form: Stella Borrowdale, Grant Fabian, Johnny Leonard, Safia Walker.

First Form: Josefien Hutchinson, Marianne Lee, Jack-Francis McKeon, Alberto Sanchez Nistal.

In October 2019 the College held the enormously successful first-ever researchED event in Ireland, with 350 visitors on the campus throughout the day listening to a series of stimulating presentations on best practice in education. Read a report on that day here.  Check out the short video below.

The 2020 event had to be cancelled due to Covid-19, but now plans are advanced for the second event in Ireland, on Saturday 24th September.  Again we have a truly excellent line-up of speakers: see the conference page.  Tickets are just €40, including lunch, and can be purchased there, or directly from the Eventbrite page. In 2019 tickets went very quickly, so get in early…

researchED Dublin from St Columba’s College on Vimeo.

Congratulations to the following pupils on receipt of one of the Senior Art Prizes.
Senior Photography Prize.
‘Blurred Time Series’ by Alice Letort, Form V.
Senior Craft Prize.
‘Finite Infinity’ by Antonia Ladanyi, Form V.
Earl of Meath Art Prize, Senior.
Time and tide wait for no man’ by Georgia Goodbody, Form IV.

The Model United Nations is a fantastic extracurricular schools programme, involving schools participating from all over the world. It challenges students of all abilities to develop skills and improve confidence. The Model UN simulates the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, assigning countries to individual schools and asking them to speak and work on behalf of that country, usually on a specific issue e.g. climate change. Recently, the College Model UN team (supported by Dr Robson) took part in an online Model UN Assembly. Form V pupil Kate Higgins reports:

Last Friday January 28th 2022, our team of 12 delegates and 3 research assistants logged into a zoom conference modelled after the COP26 climate change conference that was held in Glasgow last November. Schools from countries all over the world, such as Australia, China, and the UK, joined us each assigned to represent countries other than their own. Our team was assigned China and, over the period of 3 weeks, we met after school to research China’s approach to climate change and formulate our responses to the various resolutions that had been put forward.

On the day itself, the zoom conference had almost 150 people logged on, and the conference started at 10am for us here in Ireland. First up were talks and introductions from various speakers along with an opening speech from a delegate from each school. Ours was delivered by Wong in TY who even got a special mention from one of the chairmen after the debating and is definitely a very talented speaker.

It was then around 11 o’clock when the debating began. We were divided up into 3 break-out rooms depending on which resolution would be debated. Within my break-out room, we were speaking about the phasing out of coal and subsidies, while the other 2 were about carbon tax and the protection of vulnerable communities. Two hours were to be spent in these break-out rooms debating anywhere between 8 and 12 clauses, however, within my own break out room we spent the entirety of the two hours only the first 4-5 clauses and ran out of time to finish the rest, showing how dedicated every delegate was.

Each break-out room group had their own successes, my fellow delegates and I successfully argued for the removal of the 2nd and 3rd clauses, these clauses penalised low-income countries and made no allowance for historically differentiated carbon emissions. Our proposed amendment to the 4th clause was adopted, this made allowance for lower-income and developing countries to maintain strategically important fossil fuel subsidies while they progressed towards phasing out coal. We were also commended for our positive contribution and strong arguments with a special mention in the General Assembly for Cheuk Yin Wong for his commanding contributions. In the second break-out room, dealing with carbon tax, the delegates successfully amended the 1st clause of the resolution which embedded a higher and incrementally increasing rate of carbon tax contributions for countries based on the length of time for which they have been industrialised. These delegates were commended in Plenary Session (General Assembly) for their substantial and positive contribution. In the final break-out room, discussing climate finance and the protection of vulnerable communities, the delegates were initially thrown by an unexpected vote to delete clause 4 which was their primary target for amendments. They stuck to their task and collaborated very impressively in the ongoing debate, and successfully amended clause 8, concerning sanctions for non-compliance with climate funding commitments.

After these break-out rooms, we had a 20-minute break during which there were pastries, sandwiches and hot chocolate which was very kindly brought to the BSR by the kitchen staff. After our break, we returned once more to our various devices for feedback from the break-out rooms and a word of thanks from each school taking part; our thanks was relayed brilliantly by Elena O’Dowd, Form V. Our entire team consisted of 3 TYs (Cheuk Yin, Elizabeth & Lorne) and 9 Form V pupils (Elys, Isabel, Nikolai, Elena, Georgie, Kamilla, Florian, Monty, and I), then, of course, we had 3 Form V pupils helping with research in the lead up and on the day itself who can’t go without mention, MacKenzie, Elle and Tadhg. Of course, none of this would have happened without the brilliant planning and coordination of Dr Robson and a huge thanks is in order, it truly was a brilliant experience.

Many congratulations to last year’s Sixth Form, who today received their Leaving Certificate results. They had a very difficult year, and their studies were repeatedly disrupted, so it is greatly to their credit that they completed the year so strongly, and that their results were excellent.

Due to the unique mixture of the accredited grade process and the altered examination system, it is is impossible to make valid comparisons with previous years, but an average points score of 511 out of 625 is most pleasing.

Candidates can see the official process for appeals and viewing of scripts here.

FORM PRIZES 2020-21: congratulations to the winners
• First Form: Stella Borrowdale, Naoise Bradley-Brady, Grant Fabian, Felix Jellett, Grace McCarthy.
• Second Form: Carlotta Castagna, Oleana Cowan, Edith O’Brien, Alison Wang, Lucas Weber.
• Third Form: Kate Dementyeva, Elizabeth Hart, Rachel Shaw, Calvin She.
• Fourth Form: Nikolai Foster, Kate Higgins, Emily McCarthy, Kamilla Murphy, Isabel Warnock.
• Fifth Form: Thea Clare, TJ Hopkins, Avi Johnston, Nathan Kutner, Marcus O’Connor.
• Sixth Form: Sinead Cleary, Gioia Dönhoff, Stella Jacobs, Aiyuni O’Grady, Kaspar Twietmeyer.
We wish the best of luck to our F1 in Schools Team (Marco Trolese, Caleb Owen, Monty Walsh, Carl Krenski, and Florian Zitzmann) who take part in the Virtual National Finals this weekend. The competition is broadcasting on the F1 in school YouTube channel from 7PM on Thursday the 20th of May, Friday 21st of May, and Saturday the 22nd of May.

The team put in a great performance on Thursday evening at the time trials and you can watch their race in the video below.

On Saturday the 22nd of May, the winners of the following awards will be announced:

Best Engineered Car,

Fastest Car,

Best Social Media,

Best Newcomer,

Best Enterprise & Pit Display,

Innovation Award,

Women in Motorsport,

Best Team Identity,

Best Verbal Presentation and

Best Communicators.

On Sunday the 23rd of May, the televised National Finals will be broadcast on TG4 at 8:30PM where they will be announcing the National Champions 2021.

Bebras is an international initiative aiming to promote informatics and computational thinking among school students at all ages. It is run in over 50 countries and takes place every November. The aim is to get students all over the world to get excited about computing. The challenge introduces computational thinking to students where they are required to solve interactive tasks. These tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about computational thinking.

Forty two pupils from Forms II, III & IV entered the Bebras Computing Challenge in November 2020 in their respective age categories. Of there, nine pupils, listed below, have succeeded in gaining entry to the Bebras National Final based on their score from November. This is a fantastic achievement considering there was close to 6000 pupils who entered the competition in these two age categories. The finals will take place on Tuesday 20th April 2021 as part of Tech Week 2021. The pupils who made the final are:

Cadet Category (12-14)
Alexander Fought
Sean Lang
Manuel Montez Perez
Elliot Warnock Cadet

Junior Category (14-16)
Alison Coogan
Leonid Mylvaganam
Elena O’Down
Tyrone Shi
Ella Taylor

Táimid ag ceiliúradh Seachtain na Gaeilge ar aon leis an tír go léir. Ar ndóigh, caithfear na gníomhaíochtaí go léir a bheith déanta go fíorúil. Tá súil againn go nglacfaidh gach duine páirt – ní gá Gaeilge a bheith agat!

We are celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish week”, it actually lasts for two weeks!) along with the rest of the country. Obviously, all activities will have to be carried out virtually. We hope that everyone will take part –  you don’t need to know Irish!

  • Comórtas póstaeir: tarraing póstaer a leiríonn seanfhocal /
  • Toraíocht Taisce: faigh na rudaí ar an liosta agus déan colláis astu / Treasure Hunt: find the things on the list and make a collage from them.
  • Dialann Sheachtain na Gaeilge: tabhair faoi deara na focail agus nathanna nua a fheiceann tú, a fhoghlaimíonn tú, a chloiseann tú, a deir tú, a deir daoine eile, a sheolann tú / Seachtain na Gaeilge Diary: note down the new words you see, you learn, you hear, you say, others say, you send.
  • Focal an lae (15 Márta ar aghaidh): focail Gaeilge a choistear sa Bhéarla in Éirinn / Word of the Day (15 March onwards): Irish words that are heard in English in Ireland
  • Tráth na gCeist (sna ranganna Gaeilge idir an 1 agus an 17 Márta) / Table Quizzes (in Irish classes between the 1st and 17th March)
  • SCC Gaeilge ar Instagram: leathanach nua atá bunaithe againn chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn mar theanga bheo, spraíúil, thaitneamhach, nua-aimseartha. Lean muid! Beimid ag lorg ealaíontóirí a bheadh sásta pictiúr próifíle a dhearadh dúinn le linn Sheachtain na Gaeilge. / SCC Gaeilge on Instagram: a new page we have set up to promote Irish as a language that is alive, fun, enjoyable and modern. Give us a follow! We will be looking for artists to design our profile picture during Seachtain na Gaeilge.
  • Among Us as Gaeilge: Beidh daltaí na tríú bliana ag cur liosta foclóra le chéile ionas go mbeidh sibh ábalta ‘Among Us’ a imirt trí mheán na Gaeilge / Among Us in Irish: Third Year pupils will be putting a list of vocabulary together so that you will be able to play ‘Among Us’ through Irish.

The current COVID-19 restrictions have meant the Transition Year Co-ordinator and her team have had to be more imaginative in their organisation of the year’s various activities. The Transition Year at St. Columba still places a strong focus on academic work but, like many other schools, there is a greater focus on community outreach, physical exertion, building a service culture, team building and extra-curricular activities. Catering for these activities is a challenge in the current climate, but not impossible.

We were delighted that our annual TY team building event at Causey Farm was still able to go ahead, with the Causey Farm team putting strong procedures in place to protect our pupils and staff. Elys Walker wrote a detail report on this last week which can be read here. Another great team building activity was the drone video where the Transition Year pupil paid tribute to the work of health workers across Ireland and Europe. It’s been viewed over 18,000 times on our Facebook page – click here to see it.

Another whole year event was a recent hike to Fairy Castle, the peak of the nearby mountain complex. Kate Higgins writes this report:

We left at 8:30 that morning and the mist was so heavy that it was difficult to see. We were lead by Mr. O’Shaughnessy, Miss.Lynch and Mme. DeFréin and left the College through the front gate. We turned left up Kilmashogue lane and walked up the surprisingly steep hill towards Ticknock. We were then on a forest trail and the trees looked eerie in the morning light with the heavy mist. It wasn’t too cold or windy when we were walking in the forest but once we got out into  the open to walk towards Fairy Castle it was freezing. The wind was  strong and the mist was still too thick to see very far. We came back down on a slightly different route over a path of rocks. Once we got back into the forestry we were sheltered from the wind again. We then made our way back to the college after a very fun and enjoyable walk on the mountain right at our doorstep. Many thanks to those who organised it and joined us. 

We were delighted to once again welcome John Lonergan, the former Governor of Mountjoy Prison, to speak with the Transition Year pupils recently about drugs, crime and his time in the prison. The pupils enjoyed John’s gentle tone in what was a wide-ranging talk. We thank him for his time.

Nikolai Foster reports on the recent series of litter clean-ups undertaken by the Transition Year pupils, who are taking part in the Gaisce challenge series.
As part of the community involvement for Gaisce, we went litter picking. We went down the back entrance and into Marlay Park. We litter-picked along the paths as well as in the bushes, where a lot of stuff is dumped. We continued out of Marlay and went along the road, finding crisp packets and beer cans along the way.”
We are grateful to the Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council for donating litter picking equipment to the TY.

Academic work continues but there is greater freedom to explore aspects of tradition subjects. Verlaine Bolger reports on an interesting activity in her Spanish lessons recently.

Today in TY Spanish class we made “chocolate con churros”. We decided to research Spanish recipes and make this popular Spanish dessert. We split up into three groups, as we had to socially distance. One group started by melting the chocolate in the simmering cream, the second group weighed the flour, butter and mixed this with water and an egg, while the third group were taking care of heating the pans and adding the oil etc…. We ended up with the dough and then piped it into the hot oil. It quickly took shape and the final result, deliciously freshly made sugary churros!! We dipped the churros into melted chocolate and everyone really liked them. The churros were a great success, everyone participated and had a great time! This was my first time making churros and I was very proud of my efforts“.

There have also been opportunities to try new subjects this year, including our new formal lessons in Mandarin.

In summary, it’s already been a busy time for the Transition Year pupils and we have been delighted with their efforts to engage with the various activities, despite the challenging environment. Well done!

Below is a photo album of all Transition Year events which will be updated as the year progresses.

The following pupils have been awarded Form Prizes based on the quality of their work throughout the academic year (including the ‘remote’ learning this term).

Congratulations to:

Form I

Keelin Bradley-Brady
Carlotta Castagna
Alexander Fought
Lucas Weber

Form II

Ekaterina Dementyeva
Elizabeth Hart
Noah Kutner
Rachel Shaw
Calvin She

Form III

Kate Higgins
Emily McCarthy
Cian Slyne
Isabel Warnock

Form IV

T.J. Hopkins
Avi Johnston
Edna Johnston
Marcus O’Connor
Nelly Ploner

Form V

Sinead Cleary
Gioia von Doenhoff
Éile Ní Chianáin
Oscar Yan

Form VI

Megan Bulbulia
Sophia Cole
Camila Garcia Herrera
Dmytro Kasianenko
Eliza Somerville
Tania Stokes

 

Though the campus is closed, subject teachers will continue to make 2020 Prize Awards (a lot of prizes have already been awarded in the Michaelmas and Hilary Terms). This post will list those who receive prizes this term (some will wait until June, when pupils will have a chance to spend more time on some remaining subjects).

Many congratulations go to:

  • Tania Stokes: Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry
  • Raphaela Ihuoma: Geology Prize
  • Eliza Somerville: Willis Memorial Prize for Shakespeare
  • Hannah Swanepoel: Junior Poetry Prize
  • Keelin Bradley-Brady: John Bevan Classical Studies Prize
  • Eliza Somerville: Physics Prize
  • Poppy O’Malley: Agricultural Science Prize
  • Elys Walker: Junior Science Prize
  • Sophia Cole: Economics Prize
  • Arizona Forde: Senior Earl of Meath Art Prize
  • Nikolaus Wachs: Senior Craft Prize
  • Sveva Ciofani: Photography Prize
  • Georgia Goodbody: Junior Earl of Meath Art Prize
  • Alison Coogan: Junior Craft Prize
  • Songyon Oh: Business Prize
  • Sam Lawrence: Biology Prize
  • Sakhile Khumalo: Senior Drama Prize
  • Ellen Homan: Fry Prize for Stagecraft
  • Zofia Cannon-Brookes: Junior Geography Prize
  • Zofia Cannon-Brookes: Technical Graphics Prize
  • Eliza Somerville: Senior Geography Prize
  • Emily McCarthy: Junior Drama Prize
  • Coco Xu: John Jenkins Music Prize
  • Emily McCarthy: Junior Music Prize
  • Songyon Oh: Senior Music Prize
  • Sakhile Khumalo: Senior Music Prize
  • Marcus O’Connor: Aroti Sisodia Music Prize
  • Cosima Schilling: Sandham Willis Prize for Music
  • Tania Stokes: Senior Music Prize (instrumental).

 

 

Last Friday the Warden held an online ‘Assembly’ for Sixth Formers and their teachers, since all academic work has now finished for them.

During Assembly he announced the winners of the 2019-2020 Form Prizes, based on work done since September: Megan Bulbulia, Sophia Cole, Camila Garcia Herrera, Dmytro Kasianenko, Eliza Somerville, Tania Stokes.

Prizes for other Forms will be announced in June.

Every year, during the annual Sports’ Dinner, ‘Colours’ are awarded to those who are deemed exceptional in every way in their sport: ability, attitude, commitment on and off the playing field, consistency, reliability, character and courage. Last Friday, during a virtual assembly with Form VI pupils, Director of Sport Liam Canning awarded ‘Colours’ to the following leavers:

  • Boys’ hockey: Andrew Pollock, Alexis Haarmann, Till Schultheis
  • Girls’ hockey: Sophia Cole, Cato Oldenburg
  • Rugby: Alexis Haarmann, Peter Keogh, Thady McKeever, Philip Shekleton, Sakhile Khumalo.

Congratulations to all the Form Prize winners and those who have been awarded Colours.

Our English Department is organising the first ‘English Meet’ on the evening of Thursday 23rd April (Shakespeare’s birthday). This is an evening for teachers of the English Leaving Certificate course to share ideas. It will be held from 7pm to 9pm, and will feature practising classroom teachers presenting for 10 to 20 minutes each on different aspects of the course. There will also be plenty of time for discussion. It will be a convivial and, we hope, helpful event.

Several teachers from schools in and around Dublin have already signed up, and more are welcome: just email sccenglish@stcolumbas.ie with your suggestion.

Tickets are available here.