The College, along with our partners Kilmashogue Golf Club, hosted the inaugural ‘Lionel Munn’ Golf Trophy competition for Sixth Class Primary Schools last week and it proved a tremendous success. The day consisted of the complete spectrum of weather conditions ranging from tropical sunshine to a torrential deluge accompanied by thunder and lightning, meaning all players were called off the course. One group managed to play eight holes and all others seven. So the competition was decided on seven holes.

The Best Boy’s prize was won by Aaron Nolan representing Lios na nOg,  playing off a 27 handicap with a very respectable 13 points. The Best Girl’s prize was won by Ana Abom representing Loreto Primary School off a 25 handicap with an equally respectable 13 points. The Team Prize was won by Loreto Primary School represented by Ana Abom and Sophie Considine.

Very well done to all players, parents, schools and the Kilmashogue Golf Club volunteers, headed by Geoff Brooks. It was fantastic to see so many smiling and positive young faces enjoying and playing golf.

On Saturday last the annual Sports Day took place. The College was awash with colour and, thankfully, sunshine as the boys and girls competed in a range of events from traditional track and field to tug of war (and everything in between). In the end, it was the Blue Team that triumphed!

That evening our annual Sports Dinner took place in the Dining Hall, celebrating the sporting achievements of individual pupils and their collective teams. The assembled pupils, staff and coaches were treated to an extraordinary speech from our guest Old Columban Alex Panayotou; Alex is an ultra-endurance athlete whose story is awe-inspiring.

College ‘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. This year ‘Colours’ were awarded to Avouka Assebian (Athletics), Georg Mueller-Methling (Hockey) and Orla Conlon Batey, Helen Crampton, Anna Laurenceau and Valeria McQuillen (all Hockey). Congratulations to them.

The following were appointment captains of their respective sports for the next academic year:

  • Athletics (Boys) – Leo Moreau
  • Athletics (Girls) – Avouka Assebian
  • Basketball (Boys) – Pedro Grimalt
  • Basketball (Girls) – Calina Sacolax
  • Cricket (Boys) – Daniel Swift (Vice Capt Thaddy McKeever)
  • Cricket (Girls) – Eile ni Chianain
  • Cross Country – Shannon Dent
  • Hockey (Boys) – Alexis Haarman
  • Hockey (Girls) – Sophia Cole (Vice Capt Megan Bulbulia)
  • Rugby – Thaddy McKeever (Vice Philip Shekeleton)

Below is a collection of photos from the day’s activities, courtesy of Rev Owen.

The College will host a Gala Fashion Show, Dinner and Auction on Friday, May 10th 2019, in aid of the new social centre currently under construction in Whispering House. Tickets are almost sold out but can be purchased by clicking here. The auction will consist of online items but with the best lots saved for the live auction on the night. The online auction is NOW LIVE and bidding has begun – don’t miss out on these fantastic items including:

#1 Ashford Castle Hotel, 3 nights Dinner, B & B Plus Extras!

#24 Formula 1 – Belgium Grand Prix – 2 Weekend Grandstand Tickets

The College appreciates your support. The online auction is being hosted on ‘Galabid’ and instructions to take part are below.

To Register via SMS
1.       Text: columbas (capitals are not required) followed by your full name – Example: columbas Brad Pitt
2.       To: 353861803764
3.       Follow the registration link you are sent from GalaBid to login and place bids.

To Register via Browser
1.       Visit: galabid.com/columbas
2.       Click on the ‘register’ button
3.       Enter your details and click ‘submit’.
4.       You will then receive a text to your mobile phone with the link to the auction catalogue and a passcode. Use the passcode to login on any browser or click the link in the text to be automatically logged in on the browser on your smartphone. You are now ready to bid!

To bid anonymously: Go to My Account; Edit My Information; tick the box “Make me Anonymous”

We are holding our regular summer term Open Evening on Thursday, May 16th 2019, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, and all are welcome: places may be booked by contacting the Admissions Officer, Amanda Morris via the contact form below or by emailing admissions@stcolumbas.ie.

Visitors are welcome at the Main House from 6.30pm. At 7pm there will be a short presentation by staff on the school, followed by 30-minute tours conducted by Junior pupils.

Register Your Interest

5 + 3 = ?

Open Evening Poster 2019

Emma Hinde, Form III, reports on her experience of participating in this year’s Art Prize and on the prize giving evening, held last weekend. Emma won the Junior Art Prize this year with her painting above.

The Art Prize was different this year. It used to be just drawing or painting any picture or making something within any theme for the craft. But this year there were set themes: Journey and Identity. We also had to make a mind map relating our artwork to the chosen theme. This meant that fewer people entered fewer pieces of work, but also made it easier for our visiting artist, Conrad Frankel, to judge.

On Saturday evening, he came in to talk about his work and announce the prizes. The talk came along with a slideshow, which showed some of his paintings and how they had evolved over time. Inspirations change. He mainly paints landscapes now. We were given lots of useful tips for painting. I will tell you some of these now:

“The sky is light and the Earth is a shadow,” “Shadows are cold” and; “the best colour you can make is unnameable.”

He also told us how he started his paintings; beginning with the sky with a palette knife, looking at what he is painting with his peripheral vision to get the outline, and then blocking a silhouette of the land.

It was a very interesting talk, and then the prizes were announced. Jeanne Levesque won the Earl of Meath Senior Art Prize, Tania Stokes won the Senior Craft Prize, Verlaine Bolger won the Photography Prize, Isabel Warnock won the Junior Craft Prize, and I won the Junior Art Prize. When I heard my name and saw my paintings on the screen, I felt like I could almost have jumped up and down in joy. It was an amazing feeling.

Amelie Buzay , Form IV, reports on her experience of the recent print workshop with Debora Ando.

During Arts Week on Thursday, March 28th, Form IV and V had the opportunity to take part in a print workshop. Debora Ando, who is a specialist in printing visited St. Columba’s for this day to teach us how Intaglio Drypoint printing works.

Firstly, she showed us some examples of her work so we could see what this type of printing is about. There were many different kinds of prints in different colours and sizes. Secondly, she showed us how the actual printing works; firstly, you need to have an idea of what you want to print. If what you want to print is a photo you need to print it out first, on the other hand, if what you want to print is an idea you have in your mind you need to draw it with pencil on a sheet of paper. Once that is ready, you need a small plastic plate that is placed on the drawing. You need to use a tool called a drypoint (a wooden handle with a hard metal tip) and you scratch with it on the plastic as you were using a pencil. The lighter you scratch, the lighter the print. Once you are finished you put the chosen colour of ink on the plastic plate and spread it into the scratched image with a small piece of cardboard. After you finished that, you place the plastic plate in the printing machine. On top of this, you place a wet piece of printing cotton paper. Finally, you run your paper and plate through the print press. This called pulling a print.

We all tried doing our own piece and the results were wonderful prints. It was really interesting trying something new and we all had great fun with this workshop.

Sveva Ciofani (Form IV) describes her recent visit to KennardPhillipps exhibition ‘Finnegans Woke’ at Rua Red Arts Centre, Tallaght; this was an Arts Week event.

Unique, fun and interesting are the words that I would use to describe our Art trip. It was a sunny Wednesday and my art classmates and I took the bus with Ms Cullen to the Finnegans Woke exhibition in Tallaght. We arrived around 3pm we entered a small building  I wasn’t expecting to see a lot of interesting pieces of art in such a small building! A really pleasant man explained in detail some of the pieces and all of them had a really deep meaning. My favourite piece was the first one that we saw: a skyscraper with a background of polluted soil that represented pollution spreading nowadays. The reason why I highly appreciated this piece is that lately, we heard a lot about global warming, pollution and strikes around the globe. Another reason why I like the piece is because it wasn’t actually a painting but a photoshop, a type of art that I find really interesting because it’s related to technology and not to the typical use of markers, paint and pencils. We also saw other pieces, for example, we saw a piece that played with the shadows and represented multiple things; in all pieces, there were various meanings. In general, I thought that all pieces were really controversial and unique, they all dealt with very important themes: racism, war, pollution. These are all issues of which we need to be aware. In fact, I strongly believe that this exhibition is made for opening people’s eyes, to make people aware and most importantly to actually do something about it, so I invite everyone to go visit it.

The exhibition does not just teach us, but also involves the viewer.  In the middle of the room, there was an enormous raft made up of all the posters that were made by the visitors. I think that the raft brings to the world some hope. The posters represented a good vision and awareness of the issues, and all of us made some posters. The poster that Ana and I made was about the gap between rich and poor and how this expands every year. It was about over consuming items and about bad lifestyles. We decided the divide the paper into two different parts, a colourful one and a dark one, because we thought that gave a strong visual impact.

My other classmates made posters about other important issues: for example body shame, inequality, racism and the acceptance of the LGBT community. All of the pieces expressed creativity and a sense of awareness, that is a positive thing in my opinion, because our generation is going to be next one, and if all of us are tolerant, educated and aware it is going to be positive for our society.

We had a good time and I think it was worth the trip.  Apart from learning a lot of things, it was also a way of changing our normal routine and try something new. We also had the opportunity of spending some time together, to work in pairs and to think about how privileged we are to have access to some things.

Below is a gallery of photos taken all the events during Arts Week, including the visit to Finnegan’s Woke.

The Art and Music Prize events took place over the weekend, on Saturday and Sunday nights respectively. These events traditionally bring to a close our annual Arts Week.

On Saturday evening we welcomed artist and Old Columban Conrad Frankel to speak with the whole school on his journey as an artist and, of course, to judge the entries for the prize. After a fascinating and humorous talk, Conrad announced the winners in each category. The prizes went to Jeanne Levesque (Senior Art), Tania Stokes (Senior Craft), Verlaine Bolger (Photography, one of her photos featured above), Emma Hinde (Junior Art) and Isabel Warnock (Junior Craft).

The Music Prizes Concert was held on Sunday, March 30th; the adjudicator was Mr Jonathan Browner. He is currently headmaster in Educate Together School in Bray, but was previously Director of Music in Sandford Park School. It was a very entertaining evening with performers from 1st to 6th Form. He gave a very good adjudication and especially praised the high standard of singing in the College. Prizes were awarded to Harry Oke Osanyitolu, Toby Green, Alexandra Murray Donaldson, Alex Russell, Andre Stokes and Songyon Oh.

Well done to everyone involved in a hugely entertaining and engaging weekend, but especially to the prize winners!

Arts Week 2019 kicked off with a morning of fun and magic tricks for Form I pupils. Magician, Jack Wise, kept them highly entertained, but also taught them a thing or two about how some of the tricks work. In teaching them, however, it became clear just what skill is involved in being able to perform convincingly.

Tuesday switched up a gear with Eunan McDonald training about 150 primary school children, from seven different schools, to perform in fabulous concert in our chapel in the afternoon. Parents of many of the primary school children came to watch and were treated to our own choirs singing as well. It is a wonderful way of encouraging singing, but also of showcasing the wonderful choral tradition at St. Columba’s. It was great to hear both St. Columba’s and the visiting primary schools singing a song from New Zealand – a tribute after recent events there.

Depending on which pupils you spoke to, there would be all sorts of different highlights from the rest of the week.

Transition Year pupils art pupils had the opportunity of visiting the Finnegans Woke Exhibition which centred around artwork as a symbol of civil resistance and the struggle for a better future. Sveva Ciofana writes on her experience here.

A first for this year was the opportunity for Transition Years and Form VI to learn new dance moves as brother and sister, Luise and Ferdinand von Waitz from Germany, taught the pupils how to jive German style with Friesenrock! Thursday night the BSR was rocking as about 50 pupils crammed in to give it a go, finishing with an informal competition for best German couple, best mixed (German and non-German) couple and best complete beginners. Congratulations to all involved! Thursday also saw the art room being taken over by print making with a fabulous teacher Debora Ando. Again, a pupil report will follow shortly.

The Guest Artist Exhibition went ahead on a stunningly sunny evening this year. Those here last year will remember we had to cancel because of the snow. We were treated to a wonderful evening with work displayed by Sarah Langham (landscapes) and William Nathans (portraits). Sarah combines painting with amazing craft skills too and, as well as her landscapes, she displayed beautiful handbags made from old kilm rugs, tweed and recycled leather. Both artists inspired us all in completely different ways, Sarah as a self-taught painter and William describing his passion for passing on what he has learned by talking through each of the works exhibited. These events for parents and friends of the Columban community are great opportunities to meet and mingle as well as to learn something new.

What a treat we had on Friday night as nineteen juniors and seniors shared the poems they had written during the workshops on Thursday and Friday. Our thanks to poet Dave Lordan whose mission is to inspire young people in the art of story-telling and performance poetry. The starting point for them all was rooted in Ancient Greece and the work of Homer. The quality of the poems written and performed was outstanding. All work was completely original and as Dave impressed upon us, it had not existed the previous day. Another pupil report will follow shortly.

Form IV and V music pupils spent Friday making and recording music using iPads. “Simply Music” introduce students to the new and emerging software used in the music industry.

Old Columban, Conrad Frankel, a painter of national and international repute, arrived on Saturday and spent the afternoon taking in all the work that had been produced for the Art Prize Competition. This year saw a new format with students being given a brief and entering the prize competition; all pieces were exhibited in the BSR. On Saturday night Conrad addressed the whole school in BSR and all listened attentively as Conrad took us through the influences that inspired his own work and then a look at his own previous and current painting. We had a great back and forth with plenty of questions from pupils before the prizes were presented. The winners of this year’s Art Prizes were: Junior Art Prize – Emma Hinde, Junior Craft Prize – Isabel Warnock, Photography Prize – Verlaine Bolger, Senior Craft Prize – Tania Stokes and the Senior Art Prize – Jeanne Levesque (her winning painting featured above).

Jonathan Browner, principal of North Wicklow Educate Together School and previous Head of Music at Sandford Park School, had the daunting task of judging our Music Prize entrants. We had a fabulous line-up of singers and a wide range of instrumentalists, from the violin to trumpet to accordion and drums. Jonathan’s feedback was appreciated by us all as he described why he had chosen each of the six winners and those who also were also given a special mention. The winners of this year’s Music Prizes were Alexandra Murray-Donaldson, Alex Russell, André Stokes, Toby Green, Harry Oke-Osanyintolu and Songyon Oh.

A big thanks to all those involved in making Arts Week such a success. Below is an album of photographs from the various events that took place.

Arts Week 2019 takes place from March 25th to 31st and kicks off with a little bit of magic for Form I! Jack Wise (pictured) is a  Dublin based magician, who has performed at festivals worldwide, and he will be teaching our Form I pupils a few tricks of the trade. This will be followed on Tuesday with the Primary Schools Choral Day.  This year it will be attended by seven schools and over one hundred and fifty children. Eunan McDonald will be working with our massed choir culminating in a performance at 3.00pm in the chapel.

On Wednesday all Form III will spend part of their morning in the Art Department with Ms Cullen and Mr Horgan.  In the afternoon Form IV Art pupils will have a trip out to the exhibition, Finnegans Woke at the South Dublin Arts Centre in Tallaght. In the evening there will be a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ for all Form IV, but those in Forms V and VI can also sign up for the event.

Thursday is a particularly busy day. Dave Lordan, writer, poet and performer will be working with aspiring poets (Thursday and Friday mornings) from Form I to Form IV preparing them for the Poetry Slam event on Friday evening where they will perform to an audience from the same Forms.

“Dave Lordan is a multi-genre writer, performer, editor, and educator. He has been described as Ireland’s most vital and courageous poet, and a performer of electrifying intensity. He provides a portal to the inspirational power of the spoken and written word, and is currently one of Ireland’s leading educators in creative writing.”

For Form IV and V art students, Debora Ando will be running a print studio workshop on Thursday. Debora Ando is a Brazilian artist, originally from Sao Paulo but currently based in Dublin. Since 2013 she is a part-time lecturer in the Print Department at the National College of Art and Design as well as part of the Visitor Engagement Team at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.  She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. In the afternoon there will be a chance for all Form VI pupils to let their hair down, after their mock exams, by trying out their dancing skills! Luise and Ferdinand von Waitz will be running a Friesenrock Dance Workshop and Competition.  Many of our German students know all about Friesenrock, but this is a chance for the rest of the year group to learn a bit more about rock n’ roll too! That evening, we will be hosting the official opening of our Guest Artist Exhibition.  We are grateful to Sarah Langham, Irish Landscape artist, and William Nathans, Portrait Painter, for loaning us so many of their wonderful paintings.  Do come along and meet the artists themselves as they talk about their work.

On Friday Forms IV and V  Music pupils will be treated to a Melody Maker iPad Workshop combining their musical skills with today’s digital technology. In the evening Dave Lordan will be back to host the final of the Poetry Slam competition.  We hope to persuade him to perform some of his own work too!

Arts Week will conclude at the weekend with the final highlights.  Saturday evening we are fortunate to host, Old Columban painter Conrad Frankel, who will talk about his work and then adjudicate and present the Art PrizesThis is a whole school event and is also open to parents.

On Sunday evening the Music Prizes will be awarded to those who have put themselves forward to compete.  This is always a wonderful showcase of Columban musical talent and will be adjudicated this year by Jonathan Browner.  Jonathan is principal of North Wicklow Educate Together School.  He taught music for 25 years at Sandford Park but has also lectured at both Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Again, this event is open to all pupils and parents.

For the full Arts Week Programme click here.

Dmytro Kasianenko, Form V, reports on his experience at the Model United Nations event in Wesley College last week.

As our team was registering for the Model United Nations, I, honestly speaking, didn’t expect much from it – just another debating competition. But, as it turned out, Model United Nations was one of the best experiences in my humble debating career. It happened at Wesley College on Friday and Saturday the 8thand 9th, about two weeks ago.

In regards to the structure of the debates, it was quite simple. First of all, each debating team was given a country to represent. In our case it was Canada. Secondly, each team member was assigned to a certain committee and was to represent the views of Canada on given topics. For example, I was in the political committee and one of the themes discussed was “Chinese neo-Colonialism in Angola”. Since all delegates in one committee had researched the topics beforehand, the argument for and against the motion was absorbing. Thirdly, each person in the committee had to use certain language structures, as for representing the country as a whole. For instance, we used the pronoun “we” instead of the pronoun “I”, or “delegate” instead of the pronoun “you”.

After committee work was finished, each team participated in the General assembly. In it, we had to debate all the clauses for the unseen resolution, which were written by all teams beforehand. At this stage of the MUN, we had to work as a team on the same problem. Interestingly, at the General Assembly, there was an ability to collaborate with other teams via passing notes from table to table. The note passing was done secretaries, who were walking around the room hastily.

Another thing worth mentioning was the organisation. All the organisation was led by Form VI pupils in Wesley College. They had put in place a lot of work to make that competition possible. It is somewhat like a tradition whereas many pupils as possible from Wesley participate in making the competition happen. They have set up a website, sent out the invitations to schools, decided upon the themes of the debate and even printed out the MUN newspaper. It was very enjoyable to participate and we felt welcomed since the age difference between all the people who participated in it wasn’t that big.

In general, it may initially seem like the UN style of debating is very rigid and disorganized. Although, it is the only known way to keep a respectful debate with many other countries. Nevertheless, even though this competition wasn’t particularly successful for us, in the next one we will know what to do better.

Finally, the big idea behind the competition is just to: have fun, make friends and debate along the way.

This year’s Guest Artist Exhibition will take place on Thursday 28th March 2019 @ 6:45pm in Whitehall (the main building). The exhibition features two completely different artists and is one of the main events of the College’s annual Arts Week.

William Nathans is a classically-trained portrait painter and will be exhibiting work ranging from portraits in oils to charcoal sketches.  He will be available to take commissions on the evening.  Sarah Langham is a current Columban parent and draws her inspiration from the Irish landscape.  Her work will be for sale at the exhibition. We are fortunate to be able to showcase these artists and both of them will speak about their work on the evening.

Tickets for the exhibition are €20, including drinks and canapes, and can be paid by cheque – made out to St. Columba’s College – or, alternatively, the amount can be placed on your school account. To book your place please fill out this online form here.

All enquiries should be sent by email to Cathy Boobbyer at cboobbyer@staff.stcolumbas.ie.

On Friday, 15th February, in support of the Schools Mental Health Awareness week, the Parents Association organised a parent walk in the hills above the school. An early morning start, on a gloriously sunny clear day, the parents were transported from the School car park up to the starting point of the walk. A local authority on the area joined the group giving an informative talk during the walk. There was also a viewing of a Cairn located just above the school car park. Following the walk, the parents retired back at school to enjoy a hot cup of tea and coffee in Whitehall. The Walks in the area above the school are superb. For Parents that are not familiar with the region or may enjoy the great outdoors , we encourage you to join us on our next one.

Pizza and movie night in Tibradden Junior Common Room. Housemaster, Scott Crombie recently sent us a photograph of the students enjoying their new sofa’s and 55inch television set which were donated by the Parents Association. An enjoyable new addition to the house. Beginning to look a lot like home. They’re the envy of the other houses.

Upcoming Events

Friday, 15th March is the final coffee morning for the Parents Association for this year. It would be wonderful if as many parents as possible would join the PA for tea/coffee and eats in the Drawing Room in Whitehall from 11h30 onwards.

Rev Owen will be holding a short prayer service in the Chapel at 11 o’clock before the coffee morning.

The 2nd Hand Uniform shop will be open from 11h45 to 12h45 for those parents wishing to purchase any 2 Hand items or cricket uniform.

Elizabeth Hart, Form I, reflects on her experience in this year’s Junior Play.

The Junior Play this year was called The Happy Journey by Thornton Wilder. Emily McCarthy, Kate Higgins, Cameron McKinley, Wolfgang Romanowski, Malachy Murphy and I were the actors. Emily played the part of the mum, Cameron as the dad, Malachy as the son Arthur, and I played the daughter, Caroline. Wolfgang was “the stage manager” and Kate was Beulah, my big sister. This play was about a family going on a trip to visit the older sister in a neighbouring state of the USA. Later we learn Beulah had given birth to a baby, but the baby had died soon after it was born.

The Happy Journey operates as a play within a play (almost), so we all pretended to be actors performing. At the start we pretended to be preparing for the play and Wolfgang was telling us all to get ready. The only props we had in the play were four chairs which were our ‘car’. The rest were imaginary so we talked to imaginary people, pointed at imaginary billboards and Cameron turned an imaginary steering wheel.

We had about 3 weeks to prepare for the play and, at the start, it felt kind of relaxed. As the days went on, it got more serious as we got our costumes and learned the script by heart. Near the night of performing it became tenser and the practices became a lot longer.

On Thursday a couple of people came to watch the dress rehearsal and it was the first real audience we had. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but we didn’t mess up our lines or any stage directions.

Friday came and we were all nervous. When people started to come in there was loads of noise and suddenly I got really nervous. When I walked out on stage my legs were shaking and it was more muscle memory than anything else that got me through to the end. It is a short play so it passed by very quickly. The actual performance only felt like 5 minutes!

Saturday night came and I wasn’t as nervous as before, but I wasn’t exactly relaxed. We went through the play and when I said my last line and ran off the stage it felt really good. When Emily and Kate came off, we went to the front of the stage, took our bow and we had finished the play completely.

Being in the play was a very good experience as it made me more confident in speaking in front of a crowd and was a bit of fun. Our thanks to Mr Swift and Mr Jameson for directing it.

Below are a series of photographs, taken by Rev Owen, from the performance.

Our annual Mental Health Awareness Week officially begins today with another full and varied programme of events scheduled – the theme this year being “This is Us”. There are a series of hikes for all age groups (including the one up Kilmashogue Mountain yesterday), visiting speakers (including Tom Tate from Why Mind and Stuart Wilson from ZestLife), yoga with Old Columban Dylan Stewart and a ‘sound bath’ relaxation experience for Forms III and VI. The Transition Years will be out of classes on Tuesday for an activity day in Stillorgan while Wednesday is a designated “screen-free day”. The prep schedule is altered slightly too with an evening of board games for TY on Tuesday evening. There is a trip to nearby Ballyroan library for a talk on social media and stress for our younger forms while Thursday evening is a designated “movie night” for all junior forms (with a MHW spin of course). There is even a Valentine’s Day surprise – watch this space – and an art project (under the umbrella). Many thanks to the Cúram Team for their hard work putting together this extremely exciting programme of events – we all hope you enjoy the week ahead. Be sure to follow the week’s events on Twitter and Facebook.

Finally, the Chaplain has put together a Spotify playlist for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week and you can listen below…

Shannon Dent reports on the final round of the senior debate, which took place last week.

The idea of completely getting rid of religion over time seems like an impossible task with a lot of issues at hand. It is a very difficult motion to lean to one particular side. There are pros and cons to each, and listening to this debate was a very intriguing experience and well done to all of those to took part in it.

The debate was between our two finalists, Glen and Hollypark. Glen supported the motion while Hollypark debated against it. William Zitzmann was the very first speaker. He talked about the general issues that have been caused by religion. He didn’t just mention events of the past but also mentioned acts of violence because of religion today! He even played with the thought that Jesus was actually anti religion. William gave a introduction to what Glen believed the motion meant. Their main idea concentrated on how religion and faith are two very different things. The first speaker from Hollypark was next and that was Georgia Keegan Wignall. Georgia gave a very articulate speech about how religion was part of human rights, and how we should be able to decide to follow religion or not. She talked about how religion actually brings people together and helps people deal with the very scary concept of death. Georgia, just like William, gave us the main idea for Hollyparks argument.

Ji Woo Park was next as the second speaker for Glen. He gave eloquent and understandable argument that definitely drew everyone in. He further explained the main argument for Glen; religion and faith are two different things and he gave us some differences between the two. Ji Woo even quoted the Bible and showed us how there are many examples of immoral ideas, such as misogyny. He said that people can be faithful and not have to follow all the rules of religion. He also went on to talk about the vast differences of the world back then and the world now. The second speaker for Hollypark was Catherine Butt. She opened up her speech by asking the audience to imagine what life would be like without religion. She even acknowledged the problems religion has caused but how they didn’t necessarily have to be linked back to religion as these people are extremists. Another very valid point that Catherine brought us was the one of charities and how most of them have been built up by religion. She said “Religion teaches the art of giving and this is not just christianity”.

In Glen’s closing argument, given by Harry Oke, they wrapped up and reiterated some of Glen’s strongest points. He brought the debate back to him and showed us a personal view on it all. He talked about faith and religion once again and he even related back to Catherine’s point of charities and he said that charities would continue as they are built by faith, not just religion and the church. He finished off by saying “A person can be good without religion them to be”. Then Alexandra Murray Donaldson wrapped up by talking about how some people need religion to have a good life. It is comforting and a tradition. She also said that people cannot be restricted from religion, they should be able to follow religion if that’s what they want. She finished off by saying “Religion is part of a person’s family and soul. How would it even be possible to get rid of it”.

In conclusion, the debate was summarized by Mr. McCarthy, one of the judges. He announced the winners, Glen, and the best speaker, Ji Woo Park. He gave a bit of his opinion on the verdict as well as some comments to all the speakers. Thank you to our judges (Mr McCarthy, Ms Morley and Mr Brett), the audience members and to all of those who took part. Finally a big thank you to Ms Duggan for co-ordinating the debate throughout the year.

On Friday, December 14th 2018 forty-five pupils, from Forms II to VI, along with six members of staff will head off to Copenhagen for the weekend on a short choir trip. The party consists of 27 girls and 18 boys, singing in a four-part choir.

The highlight of the trip will be a concert performance in St. Ansgar’s Cathedral on Saturday December 15that 6pm. The programme is an entertaining mixture of Irish folk songs, popular songs, spirituals and madrigals. On Sunday morning the choir will sing a Mass by Palestrina at the 10am service in the same cathedral.

The trip will also include a Canal Tour of Copenhagen, a visit and dinner at the famous Tivoli Gardens, and a visit to the renowned National Aquarium. There will also be time to savour the atmosphere of the Christmas Markets in Copenhagen. The choir have been rehearsing very hard since September, and we hope it will be a memorable trip!

Today marks the beginning of Bullying Awareness Week in the College and, as per usual, there is a wide range of activities planned for the next seven days. There was a Prefect-led assembly this morning (Monday), around the theme of RESPECT, which kick-started the programme of events. On Tuesday the College welcomes Pat McKenna from Childwatch Ireland who will speak with senior pupils about online bullying and safety. On Wednesday the dram group Humourfit bring their excellent one-man show The Mighty Bully Brady for junior boys. Pupil are also encouraged to wear odd socks on Wednesday to recognise the diversity amongst us all. On Thursday we welcome Dianne Morris to speak with Junior Forms about the value of friendship and on Friday, another play, Hero Starts With Her, will be performed for Junior Girls. Next Monday Form V pupils will visit the Abbey Theatre in Dublin to see a performance of Asking for It. There are also a series of movies in the evenings, a special chapel theme for the week, an anti-bullying logo competition, a display of related books in the Library and a special programme for SPHE lessons has been developed. Look out for photos and updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages – the album below will be updated throughout the week also.