On Thursday 1st June in the Big Schoolroom, Old Columban Alex Panayotou will talk to all V, IV, II, I and Primary (those in exam Forms are welcome too).

A motivational speaker based in Spain and Greece, with an extraordinary story in extreme-long-distance running, Alex’s talk will be called “Dare to Dream – Dare to be You”.

Alex will based her talk on some of her own experiences, and focus on personal excellence, self-esteem, knowing yourself, accepting yourself, finding your passion and path, trusting yourself, empathy and team spirit, and emotional intelligence.

Alex left the College thirty years ago (she is in Dublin for her thirty-year reunion at the weekend, a close bond that has persisted over the decades), and has kept in close touch since. She knows the importance of  being part of such a community, and the fact that this is not the norm in most schools. The synergies and relationships that are created here are truly unique, and can help us all moving forward in our lives.

Alex also contributed a testimonial to our new prospectus:

“”St. Columba’s helped shape me into who I am today – my inner strength, my passion for sports, adventure, the arts, learning, and interpersonal relationships were nurtured through the unique curriculum, and helped enormously in the development of my career. My home away from home: the pupils and staff were my family.”

Check out her website, including videos, here.

Yesterday 15 candidates were confirmed at the Ascension Day service in Chapel on a gloriously sunny day by the Archbishop of Dublin, Most Reverend Michael Jackson, assisted by the Chaplain, Reverend Daniel Owen. Pictured, the group after the service.

We are holding our regular summer term Open Evening on Thursday 18th May, 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 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.

There is a tremendous variety of activities on show in our annual Arts Week, which this year runs from Monday 20th to the evening of Sunday 26th. See below for a day-by-day outline.

Monday 20th March

Look Up, Look Forward, Look Out with James Shone 8.30 am (pupils) and 7.00pm (for parents and friends) with James Shone. Venues: BSR in the morning and the Drawing Room in the evening

11.45am: Dancersize, Sports Hall, 11.45 am Form IV

1.20pm: everyone and anyone, including staff.

6.30pm  French Theatre for Schools, BSR, I/II/III.

 

Tuesday 21st March

10.30am : Instituto Cervantes trip for Form IV Spanish pupils.

3pm:  Primary Schools Choral Day concert, Chapel (P, I, II).

Emily Archer workshop, Art Centre, Second Form art pupils

6.30pm  (Drinks and Dinner);  8.oopm  Lecture (VI, V art pupils). Opening of Hector McDonnell exhibition, Whitehall & Lower Argyle.

7pm,  Flamenco Dance Workshop, BSR, Fourth Form.

 

Wednesday 22nd March

8.10am, Art and Social Conscience with Hector McDonnell, Chapel

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Second Form Actiontrack drama workshops, BSR, during class-time.

Morning: Art Workshop with Hector McDonnell for Form V and VI, Art Centre

Lunchtime:  Speaker’s Corner, Chapel Square

8pm, Guitar Recital with Shane Hennessey, Chapel

 

Thursday 23rd March

Morning: Poetry Slam with Jasper Bark (pictured) (different times for P, I/IV), Library. [CANCELLED]

Morning: Photographic Workshop with Erin Quinn, Art Centre

VI and V art pupils to exhibitions of Caravaggio at NGI and Lucien Freud at IMMA.

8pm, ‘William Trevor Remembered’, BSR, with Joseph O’Connor and Julian Girdham – talks and readings. Reception in Whitehall for visitors afterwards.

 

Friday 24th March

Morning: Poetry Slam with Jasper Bark (different times for P, I/IV), Library. [CANCELLED]

7pm, Poetry Slam Competition Final, BSR (P to IV) and performance by Jasper Bark [CANCELLED]

 

Saturday 25th March

8.15pm, Art Prizes Evening  with Mick O’ Dea, president of the Royal Hibernian Academy, BSR.

 

Sunday 26th March

8pm: Music Recitals and Music Prizes Evening, BSR, with adjudicator Margaret O’Sullivan Farrell.

Activities that will be running through the week

WE ARE UNIQUE – drop into the Science Lab and create your unique handprint for display.

Fifth and Sixth Form  art pupils will reconstruct a figurative painting of their choice from their course work which will be photographed and displayed during the week.

The most distinguished Old Columban writer, William Trevor, died in November 2016, aged 88. The College will celebrate his achievements in an event during Arts Week which is open to all-comers. We are delighted that the novelist Joseph O’Connorwho is also the Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick, will read from and comment on Trevor’s work. There will also be a short talk by the Head of the English Department and Sub-Warden Julian Girdham on William Trevor’s connections with and writings about St Columba’s.

All are welcome to attend this event, in the Big Schoolroom on Thursday 23rd March at 8pm, and to join us for a glass of wine afterwards. There is no charge for entry.

We are delighted to annouce details of St. Columba’s College’s second Mental Health Awareness Week, beginning next Monday February 13th 2017. We have a jam-packed programme of events, centred around the theme ‘Mind Your Mind’. Pupils and staff will get an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities including yoga, mindfulness, stress management workshops, sound baths (well worth a Google), movie nights (with a positive mental health message of course), a fun run and a phone free day. We also have some visiting speakers including Joseph Dixon from the Cycle Against Suicide – a fastastic chariable organisation who raise funds and awareness in the area of suicide prevention. The school will also participate in their #SchoolsGoOrange awareness day, where pupils and staff will be invited to wear orange instead of their normal school uniform.

We hope that our Mental Health Awareness Week will help everyone in the school community realise that it’s ok to not feel ok but to seek help when needed. Follow the College Twitter feed for photos and updates of the week’s events. To see the full programme of events click here.

The ‘Phil Speaks’ Debating Competition 20th /21st January

Harry Oke-Osanyintolu reports:

The Phil Speaks competition 2017 was nothing close to what we imagined; it was much better. We arrived at Trinity College, Dublin at around 9:00 am before the first round. We had to register our names and our school’s name and then came the hard part, we had to talk to other people or else we would stand out as being socially awkward individuals. This was easier for some of the members of the team because they knew some people but for me, it was harder than the debates. They announced the first topic which saved me from embarrassing myself in front of strangers which was ”  this house would abolish monarchism”. This was an unfamiliar topic to me but not for my better half, Jack Stokes who knew exactly what he was saying. There was a twist in this round because we had to go against our other team made up of Sophie Matthews and Marie-Pauline Bleyl. Both of them were capable opponents and lived up to expectation. I felt we debated this topic well by mentioning how monarchism led to patriotism and also mentioning aspects of monarchism that led to our present civilization. We mentioned the Oyo kingdom as a form of monarchism that brought music, art, architecture and other aspects of development into Nigeria and other countries in Africa.

Our opponents mentioned King Nero as a form of bad monarchism but we were able to use the fact that King Nero closed the Amphitheater for 10 years to ensure the safety of the people of Pompeii. We came second and our other team came third. This was a great first round outcome especially for our third team made up of Emily Devereux and Abraham Lozano who came out on top even though they thought they were supporting the motion while they were opposing it for the first minutes of the debate which I found outstanding.

The next round took it up a level, we were against people who were at our standard and the topic of “this house believes that  feminist icons such as Beyonce and Taylor Swift and others like them have contributed positively to the feminist movement”. The moment we saw this topic our jaws dropped and we knew we had to bring out our inner feminist to ensure our victory in supporting the motion. This was very difficult but  we used our fire and ice approach which was Jack would be calm and I would heat the place up by show of enthusiasm. We came second again but our other  teams both came fourth which was a surprise because they thought they performed  better.

As an event we were invited to, we felt it would be of a low standard but the truth is that it was far from it, We were served pizza which we all loved and also enjoyed spending time with different people who shared our love of debating. This concludes our first day.

We felt confident after our first day and our other teams were ready to rumble and our topic was that “this house believes that we should not trade with countries that have bad humanitarian records”  This was a closed debate therefore, we don’t get our results but we felt confident that our fire and ice approach worked its magic. The next round was an,other closed debate but the first  two debates on this day would dictate whether we earn a spot in the semi finals. after this round they served us nice warm crepes which were delicious and after this was the qualifying round. The topic was “this house would remove social media as a news source for younger people” We were in support of this motion but we felt we didn’t reach our fool potential but we kept our faith. We had our diner which was a burger and fries which was also great. After this was the moment we all had been waiting for, they announced the teams but when they said our college it sounded like they were saying something completely different but we did it but sadly only we made it, not our other teams. We knew that the level would be raised even higher. Our topic was that ” this house would ban politicians who don’t believe in climate change from seeking office”. We were against this and we tried our best to win it  but our best was not enough when we found out we didn’t make  the finals.

Ciara Murray reviews last Saturday’s debating final.

Saturday nights riveting Senior House Debating final ended in victory for Gwynn’s Douglas Boyd-Crotty, Henry Carroll and Ivan Moffit. Hollypark is delighted to have made it to the final and, despite being understandably disappointed with our loss, recognise that Gwynn was deserving of their win. Unlike last year’s house singing competition, we are not claiming to have been “robbed”.

Douglas’ engaging, humorous and powerful speech earned him best speaker. His teammates Henry and Ivan gave similar deliveries, ruthless in their evaluation of Obama’s presidency and bold in their statements, such as that he was the ‘worst ever American president’. While this may be true, it’s no secret that Dr Banister has a soft spot for Russia, making it likely that Gwynn’s references to the improvement in American/Russian relations may have won them a few extra points?

The Hollypark team were equally as strong in their performance, questioning the reliability of Gwynn’s sources and quick to retort to points of order. As mentioned by the Hollypark team of Ciara Gumsheimer, Courtney McKee and Ciara Dempsey, unlike Obama, Trump has the advantage of becoming president during a period of economic growth. Being an American and a loyal supporter of Barack Obama, Courtney was particularly passionate in her opposition to the motion that ‘Donald Trump will introduce better policies than Barack Obama did’.

There was a clear divide in the audience, with evident loyalty from the girls and boys houses. Points of order were heated and when questions were taken from the floor junior pupils were keen to participate; there were even a few questions strategically planted in the audience! As Hollypark’s team was composed solely of sixth years, we would encourage younger students to take part in debating next year as it is a really enjoyable and beneficial experience. Mr Brett was critical of those who read directly from their scripts, pointing out that it is essential for debaters to engage with the audience; bear this in mind future debaters!

Yesterday on Remembrance Sunday, the Chaplain, Rev Daniel Owen led the service broadcast from the RTE studios. The Chapel choir, directed by Mrs Malone Brady, played a major part singing Hewson’s ‘Let us now praise famous men’, Bach’s ‘Sheep may safely graze’ and Hutchings’ ‘We will remember them‘ plus several hymns. The service may be seen on RTE player here.

The Reverend B.W.N. Walsh Memorial Concert was held last night in the Chapel to mark the Walsh Fund for restoring the organ. It was a superb evening of high-class music-making, particularly by the ‘headline act’, the Old Columban Colm Carey.  Click here for some photographs.

The large audience was welcomed by the Sub-Warden, Julian Girdham, who thanked all subscribers to the Fund, including the Walsh family, who were well-represented. Then former Chaplain Michael Heaney gave a tribute to his predecessor ‘Bert’, a much-loved long-serving colleague, who as well as being Chaplain and a teacher of Religious Studies was a distinguished Head of the Irish Department.

Then the concert began. Currently Master of Music of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London, Colm Carey started his career on the organ as a teenager in our Chapel under David Milne and Chris Jenkins, and has gone on to an impressive performing and recording career. His complete mastery of the instrument was obvious from the opening piece, a spectacular delivery of Egil Hovland’s Toccata, ‘Now thank we all our God’.  Angela Hicks (soprano) sang exquisitely throughout the concert, including a stunningly controlled version of Schubert’s Litanei auf das Fest ‘Aller Seelen’ and the engaging love song ‘Sweeter than Roses’ by Purcell.

The choir, who in December travel to Amsterdam to perform in several venues, gave us Bach’s ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’, and Mozart’s beautiful ‘Laudate Dominum’ in support of Angela Hicks.

Colm Carey’s virtuosic skills were in evidence in a wonderfully varied programme, the rest of which included pieces by Locklair, Hakim and Karg-Elert, and a memorable Durufle ‘Veni Creator’, with plainsong intervals by Angela Hicks.

The concert concluded with the choir’s resounding rendition of George Hewson’s “Let us Now Praise Famous Men'”. The standing ovation for organist and soloist at the end was thoroughly deserved. It was a superb evening, and a deserved tribute to Reverend Walsh, and is now memorialised by a new brass plaque on the organ casing.

Refreshments and chat were enjoyed by all in the Big Schoolroom afterwards.

Every year around this time in September the European Day of Languages is celebrated. It is an ideal occasion to raise the awareness of modern languages and the department has organised many different activities for all age groups. There are treasure hunts and quizzes, bake-offs and songs, menus and videos all highlighting the wide cultural variety contained in languages. Douglas Boyd Crotty won the sixth form quiz, Ms Smith’s TY group won the fourth form prize and Edna Johnston won the first form treasure hunt.

We are delighted to annouce details of this year’s Junior Cultural Trip to London.  The trip will take place over the January Exodus (Friday Jan 27th to Monday 30th Jan) and is open to pupils in Forms II, III and IV, but is strictly limited to 45 places. Places will be allocated on a “first come, first served” basis and the closing date for applications is Tuesday October 11th 2016. The estimated cost of the trip is an all-inclusive €450, which includes:

  • Return flights from Dublin to London.
  • All bus, rail and underground transfers.
  • Three nights luxury hostel accommodation in Baden Powell House, South Kensington (adjacent to the Natural History Museum), with breakfast, packed lunch and evening meals.
  • Tickets to the Lion King on the West-End.
  • Ticket for Leicester Square cinema.
  • All entry fees & tours for museums and attractions including: The Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, Tower of London, London Aquarium, Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum.

There is a jam-packed itinerary for the pupils, catering for a wide array of interests, and is a great way to experience London and see all its major attractions and museums.

To secure a place for your son or daughter please complete the permission slip (on the right of the page) and return it (either in person or by emailing it to hjones@staff.stcolumbas.ie), with a copy of his or her passport, and a deposit of €250 (cheques made out to St. Columba’s College). Alternatively, the deposit can be lodged directly into the College bank account (details in the permission slip document attached). Please reference LONDON TOUR on any transfers.

If you require more information please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Jones or Mr. Finn. Again, please note the closing date for applications is Tuesday October 11th 2016 (immediately after the October Exodus weekend).

We look forward to welcoming pupils to the College for the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

Wednesday 7th September

12pm: Prefects meet Warden and Sub-Warden, Dining Room.

2.00-2.30pm: new pupils and their parents arrive, and go straight to Houses to leave luggage and meet House staff, followed by

Tea in the Dining Hall and Lower Argyle.

3.30pm: Warden addresses new pupils and their parents in the Big Schoolroom.

4pm: House meetings for new pupils and their parents (various locations).

5.30pm: Parents leave.

6pm: Supper for new pupils.

8.30pm: Returning pupils report to House.

Thursday 8th September

8.55am: First Chapel bell. Warden’s Assembly, followed by Chapel seating arrangements and then Chapel.

11.30am: Form administration classes, followed by lunch.

2pm: First classes (to 3.30pm).

3.35pm: Day pupils may leave.

Friday 9th September

Full school day.