Yesterday we celebrated the 175th anniversary of the day when St. Columba’s College actually opened in 1843. At the time there was a Warden and a few Fellows, but there were no pupils at all and the College was located in Stackallan House in County Meath. Things have changed. We had a relaxed and fun day, with a late rising, a special chapel service and the creation of a ‘175’ figure by the pupils on the cricket pitch, photographed by drone. Despite chilly conditions the arrival of an ice cream van after lunch was a major highlight! We finished off with a barbecue and a dance in the evening. (A collection of photos from the day’s activities are below). In the morning I and a group of Columbans, together with Mr. McCarthy and the Chaplain, buried a time capsule behind the chapel, to be opened on 25th April 2118. In it I enclosed a letter to those future Columbans:

Dear Columbans of 2118

I earnestly hope that this letter is being read for the first time on 25th April 2118 and that the box has not been opened in advance of that date.

Greetings to you from April 25th 2018, the year that Ireland won the Grand Slam in the 6 nations rugby and the country was brought to a standstill by extraordinary snow in early March. It has been a long, cold, wet winter and we are longing for the warmth of spring.

St. Columba’s is currently a school of 320 pupils, 75% of whom are boarding, 60% are from Ireland and 40% from overseas. While we have very high academic standards and expectations of our pupils we prefer to be known as a school which has the highest standards of pastoral care, where young people are nurtured and encouraged and where they learn to live together in a caring and supportive environment. Everyone here matters.

As the Warden of this College I have a vision of producing young people who aspire to be successful, while remembering that they are privileged and blessed to be receiving such a good education. They should always try to be servants to those around them at school, at university, in their families and in the jobs they get in the future. The world of 2018 needs unselfish and servant-hearted young people, who will make a positive difference in a troubled world. I am sure your world will be no different.

The Columbans of 2018 are special young people and I believe in them and their future. As the Warden I send my greetings to you, the Columbans of 2118, and urge you all to be true to the Christian values of this great College.

Floreat Columba et floreant Columbanenses!

The College begins its annual Mental Health Awareness Week today with a packed schedule of interesting and varied events highlighting the need to mind your mind. The theme of this year’s MHAW is ‘Walk in my Shoes’ and encourages both pupils and staff to have more empathy for those suffering from anxiety or depression. Some of this week’s events include: the loud yet very active “pound fit” with Carla Roberts; a visit from the Irish Therapy Dogs; visiting speakers from BoydWhys on eating disorders and Stuart Wilson, a behavioural psychotherapist; a ‘poem in your pocket’ day; yoga classes with OC Dylan Stewart; a art display on the theme of ‘walk in my shoes’. On Friday pupils and staff are encouraged to wear odd or mismatched shoes to go outside your comfort zone and highlighting that the stigma over mental health issues must be stamped out. You can follow the progress of the week on Facebook and Twitter over the coming days.

House Singing traditionally rounds off the Hilary Term each year with our pupils, in their respective boarding houses, showing off their singing talents in the most entertaining fashion. This year was another hotly contested competition with the standard of singing, dancing and all-round entertainment extremely high – the noise almost blew the roof off the BSR at one point! Inter-house competitive reaches new heights during House Singing with every house (and secretly every Housemaster) keen to take home the trophy. This year the bragging rights went to Glen, and for the second year running, but there was only 1 point between the top three houses after the judges had completed their adjudications. A sincere thank you to the judges on the night – Mr. Girdham, Ms. Kilfeather and Ms. de Fréin) and to the MCs Mr. Swift and Mr. Jones but the biggest thank you must go to the pupils – each and everyone of them – for their dedication and the incredible spirit and talent on show. Perhaps a special mention to the Form VI pupils who take charge of the organisation in each house, many of them day pupils who stayed long into the night preparing their charges! Here are a selection of photos from last night’s event, taken by Rev Owen, and click here to visit our Facebook page to see Glen’s reprise of their winning chosen song – a version of Breeze Blocks by Alt J. While you’re there why not give us a like!

Antonia Bullrich and Isabelle Townshend write short reviews on recent art gallery expeditions – the Grayson Perry exhibition at the RHA and the Emil Nolde exhibition at the National Gallery.

Last Thursday, the senior art pupils visited the RHA for the Grayson Perry exhibition. Grayson Perry is a British contemporary artist. He is known for his tapestries, vases and for cross-dressing. The exhibition is called The Vanity of Small Differences and it consists of six tapestries expressing modern life based on classical paintings. Perry is very interested in the emotional attachment we place on objects. The tapestries were hung up in a very spacious white room and each of the colors stood out individually. Each one told a story about the different social classes, and some harsh truths were depicted. As I walked around I realised each tapestry had small details that are hard to notice but they are exceptionally meaningful. When I gave each one of them a second look I noticed one or two new details I hadn’t noticed the first time around. Overall it was an amazing exhibition and we really enjoyed the day.

Last Thursday, the fifth and sixth form art pupils went to the Emil Nolde exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland. Nolde was a German expressionist and at the time (1867-1956) which an attempt to creat a new style of painting. Nolde was so daring for his use of colours and topics that he painted. His paintings have a way of speaking to you in a way that I have never experienced before. For example in his self portrait of himself his piercing blue eyes feel like they are staring into your soul. The gallery was split into five sections ranging from paintings based on his homeland to when he went travelling. The most appealing section to me was called ‘conflict’ in which he painted his view on religious events which would have been really outrageous at the time. My favourite painting has to be Nolde’s interpretation of Adam and Eve, the use of colours and form of Adam and Eve is really interesting to look at. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone.

Last week was ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’ – where pupils and staff celebrated of the Irish language and culture. Below is a short report, as Gaeilge ages as Béarla from our Head of Irish Alison Maybury.

Form II pupils after their bodhrán workshop.

SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE

Cheiliúramar “Seachtain na Gaeilge” sa tseachtain roimh Lá Fhéile Pádraig. Seans a bhí ann do na daltaí a labhraíonn Gaeilge spórt agus spraoi a bheith acu trí mheán na teanga agus bhí deis ag daltaí eile taithí a bheith acu ar chultúr na hÉireann.

Eagraíodh imeachtaí éagsúla sna ranganna Gaeilge. Bhain daltaí an-taitneamh as a bheith ag cleachtadh damhsaí nua-aimseartha (mar is léir ón bhfíseán gearr de dhaltaí ón Idirbhliain ag foghlaim na ngluaiseachtaí don “Dreoilín”!) agus roinnt de na seandamhsaí freisin. Chan siad amhráin, arís idir shean- agus nua-aimseartha, agus chuaigh siad san iomaíocht a chéile le tráth na gceist. Bhailigh daltaí le chéile sa tob-Ghaeltacht ag am lóin i rith na seachtaine chomh maith le haghaidh comhrá agus spraoi. Chuir daltaí ón Idirbhliain isteach ar thráth na gceist Gaeilge agus tá siad ag súil le ticéid a bhuachan don fhéile ceoil “Groove” i dTeach Chill Ruaidhrí.

Bhí fuaim iontach treibheach le cloisteáil ar an Máirt nuair a d’fhoghlaim daltaí ón réamhrang, Bliain I, II agus V conas an bodhrán (uirlis thraidisiúnta) a sheinm le Robbie Walsh ó The Bodhrán Buzz. Ghlac Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin agus Poppy Somerville páirt i gCraobh Náisiúnta Tráth na gCeist Boird i mBaile Átha Cliath an lá céanna. Níor bhuaigh siad ach rinne siad éacht dul chomh fada sin sa chomórtas!

Sa séipéal ar an gCéadaoin, sheinn André Stokes fonn traidisiúnta ar an bhfidil agus chan Emily McCarthy “Siúil, a Rún”. Léigh Kate Higgins agus Cian Slyne na dánta “Sneachta” agus “Mise Raifteirí” agus chan Aurora Higgins-Jennings aistriúchán den amhrán “Your Song” le Elton John, á tionlacan féin ar an bpianó. Chan daltaí ón réamhrang agus Bliain I “Amhrán na gCupán”, le Jamie Green agus Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin ag canadh na véarsaí. Rinne siad go léir éacht!

Bhí seans ag na daltaí sóisearacha a gcuid eolais (nó easpa eolais!) faoi Éirinn agus cultúr na hÉireann a thaispeáint i dtráth na gceist i Seomra Mór na Scoile oíche Dé Chéadaoin. Bhí an bua ag Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson agus Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez.

Bhaineamar go léir taitneamh as imeachtaí na seachtaine agus táimid ag tnúth le Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 cheana féin!

SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE/IRISH WEEK

We celebrated “Seachtain na Gaeilge” in the week before St Patrick’s Day. It was a chance for the pupils who speak Irish to have fun through the medium of the language and an opportunity for other pupils to experience Irish culture.

Various activities were organised in Irish classes. Pupils really enjoyed learning modern dances (obvious from the short video of pupils from Transition Year learning the moves to “The Wren”!) and some of the old dances too. They sang songs, again both old and modern and they competed against each other in quizzes. Pupils got together in the pop-up Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) at lunch time during the week for conversation and fun. Pupils from Transition Year entered an Irish quiz and they hope to win tickets to the music festival “Groove” in Kilruddery House.

A wonderfully tribal sound was to be heard on the Tuesday when pupils from Forms Primary, I, II and V learned how to play the bodhrán (a traditional instrument) with Robbie Walsh from The Bodhrán Buzz. Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin and Poppy Somerville took part in the National Table Quiz Final in Dublin the same day. They didn’t win but they did great to go so far in the competition!

In Chapel on Wednesday, André Stokes played a traditional air on the fiddle and Emily McCarthy sang “Siúil, a Rún”. Kate Higgins and Cian Slyne read the poems “Sneachta” and “Mise Raifteirí”. Aurora Higgins-Jennings sang a translation of “Your Song” by Elton John, , accompanying herself on the piano. Pupils from Forms Primary and I sang “The Cup Song” with Jamie Green and Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin singing the verses. They all did really well.

There was a chance for junior pupils to show their knowledge (or lack of knowledge!) about Ireland and Irish culture in a quiz in the BSR on the Wednesday evening. Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson and Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez won.

We all enjoyed the week’s events and we are looking forwards to Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 already!

Yesterday Primary to Third Form had a fascinating morning with fantasy fiction writer Ruth Long (pictured with Jean our Librarian). It was a real insight into the mind of a writer and the process that a writer goes through to create a novel.

In the afternoon senior artists were treated to a visit to the Stoney Road studio in Dublin (see photos from the visit on our Facebook page here). It was a chance to observe the incredible skill involved in the print making process. Head of Art, Mr Watts is certainly now considering taking up print making in his retirement.

Today we have had both poetry workshops and electro pop workshops. Old Columban, Caroline O’ Neill, together with Cian spent the day working with a group of Fourth Form on producing their own music digitally. They shared the loops they had created at the Open Mic night. Mr Swift kicked off the evening with a song he had written followed by the talented James O’Connor also singing one of his own works.

Jasper Bark, performance poet and novelist surprised pupils in chapel with an unexpected promenade performance of one of his own poems. He went on to spend the morning first with second and then fifth form working on performing either poems they had written or ones they had chosen in preparation for the Poetry Slam competition on Friday night.

All in all a busy day.

Arts week kicked off yesterday with Thibault Loiez (former French teacher) returning to spend the afternoon doing caricatures of pupils. These will be strung up across the dining hall from tomorrow.

Sadly the opening of the Guest Artist exhibition scheduled for Monday night had to be cancelled as the snow meant no-one could get up to St Columba’s to hang the work on Thursday and Friday. We hope to put the exhibition on in May instead.

Today we had a fantastic day. Primary and First Form spent part of their morning with artist and astronomer, Deidre Kelleghan, learning more about the Apollo moon landing. Then on black paper with chalk pastels and using a couple of images as inspiration, they produced some wonderful drawings.

While this was going on we had eighty children from four primary schools arriving to take part in the Primary Schools Choral Day. They spent the day learning various everything from Shosholoza (a song in Zulu from South Africa) to a ‘mash up of some well known pop songs! The day finished with a fabulous concert featuring the visiting schools, our Junior Choir, Sine Nomine, various soloists and our male staff a capella quartet. A big thank you to Eunan MacDonald.

Our Fourth Form art students students enjoyed a workshop with one of the Stoney Road print makers.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we host fantasy author Ruth Long who will share her work with Primary, First and Second years. We have the rescheduled concert with Mr McCarthy on the piano and Mr Finn singing in the Cadogan at 6.30pm. There is also a visit for senior pupil artists to Stoney Road print studios during the afternoon.

Despite the snowy weekend which put a bit of a dampener on the start of Arts Week things have definitely revved up!

Below are a selection of photos from the week’s events, which will update frequently as new photos are added.

On Tuesday January 23rd eight Transition Year pupils attended the 9th annual DLR ECO Conference in Dun Laoghaire Town Hall. The conference is run in conjunction with ECO-UNESCO and Stillorgan College of Further Education, and aims to influence young people to become stewards of change both in and outside of their school communities.  Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Dean Eaton who passionately explained the need for the sustainability and the awareness of the sensitivities of our environments in our world today. Our pupils actively engaged with other students present through activities such as the World Trade Game and Food Miles Workshop, they also attentively listened to talks from Rebecca Doyle of The Native Woodland Trust, Veronica Ryan of WECREATE and finally Ji Hynn Kim of ECO-UNESCO. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all the pupils involved, and we return to St. Columba’s better prepared to become stewards of change without our community.

A number of our Transition Year pupils recently took part in a Trinity College Geoscience Week. Shannon Dent reports on a challenging but exciting week’s events.

Geoscience week was organised to engage students into geology and the importance of this science in our daily lives. I went to this event with two other students in Transition Year in St. Columba’s, Calina Sacolax and Sam Lawrence. Apart from us there were 12 other students from different schools that also showed an interest to science and geology. The activities ranged from lectures to museum visiting to a day on the beach analyzing rocks and entering a small cave. We had 3 lectures and the one I enjoyed the most was one focused on seismographs and looking at earthquakes. The museums were also great fun. I have always wanted to visit the Book of Kells and the Old Library, and I was able to do it! It was a beautiful library and the book itself was crafted so intricately that I can understand the reason for its popularity. We also visited that Natural History museum which is packed with exhibits. Among the museum category we visited an art and science exhibition. These were a lot of fun and there was one specific piece that caught my eye, which was a DIY science kit including its own microscope that was made entirely of materials you can buy at local stores. During the beach day my friend Sam and I were picking at a rock and a shard-like piece fell out. We looked at it and decided to build a sort of spear with it, which sounds dangerous but was actually just for gags. Later on Shane told us about the micas (which are the shin bits in rocks, more specifically in granite) you can find in that specific rock and the layers of age in the rocks. Overall Geoscience was a really enjoyable activity and I definitely do recommend it for all Transition Year students who are interested in looking at the world through a scientific and curious point of view.

(Please note that this event has been switched to the Big Schoolroom at 10.30am on Thursday 25th, since Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers will also be attending).

The Parents’ Association is delighted to announce that we have arranged an informative presentation for our parents which will take place next Thursday, 25 January 2018 at 10.30am in the Big Schoolroom. Our guest speaker will be Professor Donal O’Shea, HSE Clinical Lead for Obesity.

Professor O’Shea is a consultant endocrinologist and physician based in St. Vincent’s University Hospital and St. Columcille’s Hospital. Qualified from University College Dublin in 1989, he moved to Hammersmith Hospital in London and was awarded a Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship to study how the brain controls appetite. Since 1999, he has been the lead clinician for a hospital-based multi-disciplinary obesity service that includes bariatric surgery.  In recent years he chaired the health impact assessment group on the potential benefits and harms of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks and co-chairs the Royal College of Physicians Policy Group on Obesity. He is a regular commentator on the importance of preventing overweight and obesity, advocating for changes in how nutrient poor, energy dense food is promoted and marketed to children and young people as well as the need to re-engineer regular physical activity into everyday life.

As Clinical Lead for Obesity, Professor O’Shea works with the HSE Healthy Eating Active Living Policy Programme. A key focus of the role is the development and integration of evidence based models of care that strengthen prevention, early intervention, treatment for overweight and obesity across primary care and acute services for both children and adults.

The talk will be followed by a Question and Answer session and then our regular Coffee Morning will take place in the Lower Argyle, giving parents the opportunity to chat and catch up before collecting their children for the Exodus weekend.

We are very pleased to have been able to secure Professor O’Shea as a speaker and really hope to see a good crowd there to listen to what he has to say. We are confident it will be an extremely informative event.

Janine Jamieson, Chairperson of the Parents’ Association.

This year’s Staff and Pupils’ concert on the evening of Sunday 21st January featured slightly fewer performers than previously, thanks to the ‘bug’ which had depleted numbers in the school. But it was a real tonic for the spirits, with ten performances of high-quality musicianship. Mrs Malone-Brady in her introduction pointed out that duets featured strongly this year, and that playing with someone else was a great way to learn, while having fun in the process.

However, solos started and ended the concert. The first was from Sixth Former Hector Wright, who sang the perennial South Pacific favourite “Some Enchanted Evening”, followed by singing teacher Edel Shannon’s version of “Till there was you” from The Music Man. Her confidence and expressiveness were a good example of the value of pupils learning from their teachers how to perform for an audience. Two pupils followed: Charlotte Klingmann (IV) played Danzi’s Variations on Mozart’s “La ci darem la mano” with lovely consistency of tone, and Aurora Higgins Jennings (III) accompanied herself singing ‘Wishing You Were Here” from The Phantom of the Opera with a great sense of mood.

Then the duets took over, starting with Edel Shannon and another singing teacher, Anna Brady, who delivered the popular “Flower Duet” by Delibes with aplomb. The Transition Year group had been hit by illness, but Alan Grundy on the guitar accompanied Charlotte Klingmann, Josepha Westphalen and Sakhile Khumalo (with a particularly pleasing light voice leading the line) for “Horse with No Name”. Mrs Malone-Brady then explained piano duets, and with Anna Brady gave familial performances of Schubert’s “Serenade” and a Hungarian dance by Brahms. The final duets featured Alan Grundy (by far our longest-serving music teacher) with Ann Murnaghan in a guitar/’cello combination, including a ‘world premiere’ performance of Alan’s own lively piece named after a Homer Simpson quotation: “This is not my fault. It was like that when I got here”.

The finale was provided by Anna Brady, with an hilarious performance of Adelaide’s aria from Jonathan Dove’s 2006 opera The Enchanted Pig (“I want shine! I want bling!”) – an excellent way to polish off another highly enjoyable concert.

This week at St. Columba’s there are a range of events to mark national ‘Science Week‘. Every day this week our beloved ‘Daily Notice’ will feature a science fact to engage the brain and encourage our pupils and staff to #StopAndAsk (which everyone is encouraged to do on social media). Our library has an excellent display on the best science books, both fiction and non-fiction, within the 15,000 volumes on the shelves. The pupils can take part in a Science Photo Competition or Science Joke Competition (a live mic for the best jokes is scheduled for Friday). Every year group will have a Science Kahoot Challenge at lunch time and Transition Year will have a science themed movie night. There are also a series of art in science projects in all labs and some lunchtime demos, including live dissections in the biology lab.

Please follow the events on the College’s social media platforms – Twitter & Facebook – and #StopAndAsk. (The video below was created especially for Science Week 2017 to kick start the #StopAndAsk initiative).

This week in the College pupils and staff are participating in our annual Bullying Awareness Week with this year’s theme being “All Different, All Equal“. The series of events celebrating our differences kicked off on Wednesday morning with an assembly led by the pupils. Some staff shared why they are different – Mr. Finn revealing that he cannot burp and Ms Maybury finally admitting in public that she cannot drink tea from a cup without a white centre!

Other events planned over the next week include:

  • A library display of books on bullying and diversity (shown above)
  • A poetry competition is being held (winners are now published on our English Department website)
  • There are a series of talks for all pupils – from Mark Robinson (TCD) & Monica Rowe (ISPCC)
  • There are a series of short films with discussion around the topic of bullying
  • An art project.
  • A special SPHE programme.
  • A special chapel programme.
  • A music concert from Simon James (postponed due to the recent storm).

Stayed tuned to Twitter, Facebook and the news page for updates on our Bullying Awareness Week events.

A large crowd of 120 people gathered at the College Chapel yesterday evening for a guided tour of the College – our contribution to the nationwide series of events to mark Culture Night 2017. On a beautiful, crisp autumn evening our Sub-Warden, Julian Girdham, led an extremely interesting tour of the campus’s many beautiful and architecturally significant buildings. The tour began at the William Butterfield designed College Chapel, where Julian outlined when, where and why the College took residence at its current site. The tour then moved onto Chapel Square (to admire the view) then to the Big School Room (or BSR) where Julian spoke of the fire than nearly destroyed the College (but for “an act of God”) in the late 19th century. The tour then moved through the main thoroughfare of the College, passing the library (designed by John Somerville-Large), towards the modernist Robin Walker-designed Science Building. This building was refurbished only last year and the visitors were extremely impressed with the bright, modern and unique laboratories. The tour then moved back to the main College building, Hollypark House – a Georgian building dating from the late 18th century – where the tour concluded to generous applause for the guide.

It was a wonderful evening and we were delighted to welcome so many guests, most of whom were visiting the College for the first time. Some of these first time visitors had extremely interesting links to the College’s history while one couple were visiting from Mexico. Many thanks to all who contributed to a wonderful evening and especially to the organiser and tour guide Mr. Julian Girdham.

Below are some photos from the event from our Flickr page.

We are holding our annual major Open Day this year on Saturday 30th September, from 10am to 1pm. All prospective pupils and their parents are welcome to attend without further invitation: just drive into the College and you will be looked after. Senior pupils will take tours around the campus, and you will be able to see our major facilities, including the Chapel, Dining Hall, Big Schoolroom, Library, Science Block and much more.

Staff and current parents will be available to answer queries in the reception area (the Lower Argyle).

If you have any questions about our Open Day, please contact our Admissions Officer, Amanda Morris, by email, or by phoning 01-490 6791.

St. Columba’s College, being a seven day boarding school, organises a wide range of Saturday evening and Sunday events for their boarders (and indeed day pupils) and last weekend was no exception. On Saturday the College welcomed Old Columbans who left the College in 1997, for their 20 year reunion. It was great to see so many familiar faces back in the College. On the games field the Senior Boys Development Rugby XV took on Wesley’s equivalent, in their first game of the season. All members of the squad played during the fixture but, alas, the visiting Wesley side took the win 29-20, after two tries apiece from Max Hopkins & Hector Wright. Later that evening classical guitarist Pat Coldrick performed an excellent concert for pupils and staff in the Big School Room (BSR). It was a wonderful event, with the BSR’s excellent acoustics making Pat’s music sound wonderful.

On Sunday morning a small but dedicated group of Transition Year pupils joined Mr. O’Shaughnessy and Mr. Coldrick for an early morning walk to the Hell Fire Club – an infamous ruin at the top of Moutpelier Hill in the Dublin Mountains. Normally walkers are treated to a stunning view of Dublin City but, unfortunately, early morning fog ruined the view but did add to the eery feeling in one of Dublin’s most famous haunted houses. Later that afternoon over twenty Transition Year pupils (pictured above) joined Ms. Hennessy for the annual ‘An Taisce Clean Coasts‘ beach clean, on sunny Seapoint Strand in South Dublin. The pupils picked up and recorded the litter on the beach while enjoying the mid-day sun.

Many thanks to all the pupils and staff who contributed to a great weekend of activities. For some more photographs of the weekend’s activities visit the College’s Facebook page.

Congratulations to all our pupils who received their Junior Certificate results on Wednesday. The overall results were excellent, including a set of straight A’s from one of our pupils. In all, 84% of all examination papers were taken at Higher Level with just under 20% of all exam results an A at Higher Level. 50% of all grades were either an A or B at Higher Level with a total of 72% of all papers sat achieving an A, B or C at Higher Level – tremendous results.

This was also the first year the JCSA (the successor to the Junior Certificate) was examined, albeit only in one subject so far, English. The grading is completely different to the Junior Certificate, and so cannot be compared. 88% of our candidates took the exam at Higher Level, and 89% of them achieved one of the three highest grades, ‘Distinction’, ‘Higher Merit’ and ‘Merit’. They also undertook (as all pupils will eventually do) Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) in oral presentations and a writing portfolio, and the results of these will be presented on the Student Profile of Achievement. Other subjects, starting here with Science and Irish, are now moving onto this system, with the dual-system ending by 2022.

The pupils celebrated their success with a full class trip to Causey Farm in Co. Meath, where they got to trudge through the mud, milk cows, bake traditional Irish soda bread, had a céilí (an Irish dancing session) and much more.

See some photos from the trip below.

Last Friday, September 8th 2017, saw the inaugural All-Ireland Senior Prefect Leadership Conference at St Columba’s. The College welcomed forty three pupils from fourteen schools across Ireland, both the north and south.  This is a first in Ireland. The response from attendees was tremendous. By the end of the day a network of senior prefects across Ireland had been set up and there were requests for a follow up conference at some point during the year. “The Unreasonables”, a group of inspirational young men and women from the UK with a passion for entrepreneurial leadership, facilitated the day.

We were also joined by Rosy Temple, an Old Columban and former St. Columba’s College Senior Prefect (now Irish Sales Manager for Rebel Kitchen) challenged the attendees to be their own person and to step outside of the box. Pupils were encouraged in their understanding of themselves and what holds them back, in personal branding – how the world views you as opposed to how you want to be viewed – and in public speaking – all essential skills for quality in leadership. We look forward to the year ahead and all that these empowered young people have to offer in their schools.