Last Saturday, six Form V pupils took part in the second round of the Irish Olympiad of Experimental Science at Dublin City University with four of the six achieving medals. In Biology, Lorne Walsh finished in first place, taking the gold medal while Rachel Shaw came second, receiving a silver medal. In Chemistry, Elizabeth Hart won the silver medal while in Physics Calvin She also took silver. Well done to all the competitors but especially the medal winners who now progress to round 3 where they will compete to make the Irish team for the European Olympiad of Experimental Science which takes place in Riga later this spring.

A report on the recent Transition Year Leadership Day, by Aeladh Bradley Brady.

On Tuesday the 29th of November, the whole of the Transition Year pupils were taken out of the college on a trip as a lovely surprise and to celebrate receiving our Junior cycle results. Throughout the day we participated in many fun-filled activities. Firstly, we went up Larch Hill to a scouting centre to participate in team bonding activities, organised by Branch Out. We completed many challenges such as trying to untie ourselves in a pair, herding “sheep” and mathematical challenges. This helped us utilise many skills such as communication skills, leadership skills and cooperation skills. This is extremely important and useful for many real-life situations and jobs. Finally, the last task and most rewarding task was to build a fire as we made hot chocolate and s’mores to heat us all up. We had to collect firewood and organise specific roles and jobs for team members to fulfil. The Larch Hill trip was great fun and truly an amazing experience. The Branch Out leaders were very helpful and kind to us during our time spent there. 

After this, we went to Dundrum to ice-skating and see a Christmas movie. It was so enjoyable going ice-skating with all of Form IV and it was thoroughly entertaining to see people who had never skated in their lives attempt to manoeuvre about the rink. Mr Jones and Mr Clarke took wonderful pictures of many pupils mid-fall, attempting to stop their inevitable collapse to the ground. The movie was a great way to end the day as we could all sit back, relax and rest.

On behalf of Transition Year, I would like to thank Mr Jones and Mr Clarke for accompanying and planning this truly amazing trip. Everyone loved it! See a collection of photos from the day below.

Senior Play: Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward

a review by Hannah Bergmann, Fifth Form. Photographs by the Reverend Daniel Owen

November 10th, 11th, 12th 2022

As soon as the BSR was filled with pupils, teachers, and parents, you could feel the positive excitement and anticipation of the audience for the upcoming play, the first full production since 2019. The stage had been transformed into an old-fashioned-looking room waiting for the first actor to appear. When the lights were turned off and the first tunes of the music appeared the spotlight was directed onto the centre of the stage, making the audience curious about what was going to happen in the next two hours.

From flirtatious ghosts to flying cucumber sandwiches, it was all there. Blithe Spirit is about Charles Condomine, played by Nikolai Foster, whose ex-wife, the ghost Elvira, (Isabel Warnock) is conjured up by the experienced medium Madame Arcati (Phoebe Landseer). This evoked a very well-expressed jealousy in Ruth Condomine (Emily McCarthy) as the current wife of Mr. Condomine and Isabel, relishing the discomfort she has created coming back from the afterlife. What followed was a darkly funny competition between two women, one dead, one living.

The whole cast showed great acting skills from the catchy “Yes, Madam” of the maid Edith, played by Anna Naumenko, to Emily McCarthy who conveyed the emotions of Ruth very well so that the audience could feel how jealous and outraged she was. But especially Phoebe Landseer captivated the audience. The entire room seem to engage in the play by laughing at the jokes which showed that the whole evening was thoroughly entertaining. One moment everyone will remember is probably the scene where Madame Arcati threw a cucumber sandwich into the crowd which caused great amusement.  Nikolai Foster was a great fit for the central character of the play, Charles Condomine, because the audience could really feel his emotions such as the relief he presented in the end when both women disappeared

The visual aspect was provided by the fantastic costumes which transported the audience back to the 1940s in London. While the women were dressed in beautiful long dresses one of them an elegant black one, worn by Violet Bradman (Diana Doenhoff), the men were dressed up in noble suits such as the one worn by Lorne Walsh who played Dr George Bradman. Towards the end of the play a mysterious scene caught the crowd’s attention as the shutters of the background rattled fearfully. But who had opened and closed them? This will forever be a secret.

The whole performance was a great success and everyone noticed the effort that was put into the production of this entertaining and enjoyable play. Therefore, a big thank you goes out to the cast as well as Messrs Ronan Swift and Tristan Clarke who directed the whole play. It was a great way to spend a Saturday night! 

 

Charles Condomine: Nikolai Foster

Ruth Condomine: Emily McCarthy

Elvira Condomine: Isabel Warnock

Madame Arcati: Phoebe Landseer

George Bradman: Lorne Walsh

Violet Bradman: Diana Doenhoff

Edith: Anna Naumenko

Daphne: Alice McCarthy

Lighting and Sound: Messrs Julian Girdham and Ronan Swift

Backdrop: Ms Lynn Murphy, Ms Derarca Cullen and TY Pupils

Costumes: Ms Elaine Healy, Ms Megan Kilpatrick and Abbey Costume Hire

Props and Staging: Ms Elaine Healy, Ms Megan Kilpatrick and Abbey Costume Hire

Stage Hands: Alice McCarthy, Lexi Hunter and Josefien Hutchinson

Artwork: Georgia Goodbody

Directors: Messrs Ronan Swift and Tristan Clarke

 

It’s difficult to keep up with everything our Transition Year pupils do on a weekly and even daily basis. The fourth year at St. Columba’s is like no other year with the academic work of the pupils complemented by a wide and varied non-academic programme. The opening eight weeks of term have already been jampacked.

The traditional friendship-building trip to Causey Farm was a muddy success with our pupils getting stuck in quickly into sheep herding, bog jumping, rafting, Irish dancing and some traditional Irish baking. We’ve had visiting speakers from Barretstown, John Lonergan (formerly governor of Mount Joy Prison),  Alpana Delaney from the Hope Foundation and representatives from Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal. The pupils have fundraised for these charities also, mainly around the local shopping centres (pictured above, TY pupils fundraising for the Hope Foundation in Dundrum Town Centre). There have been online courses on cookery (Vanessa Greenwood at the Cooks Academy) and careers in medicine and STEM.

A major focus of our Transition Year programme is our Community Involvement Programme (CIP). Over the course of this week, all of our TY pupils have ventured out of the campus to various community projects and charitable organisations across the county. Our pupils have helped out at a refugee centre in Dublin’s James Joyce Street, where they worked on multi-sensory games and art with the children, while some volunteered at the head offices of Multiple Sclerosis Ireland and the Hope Foundation. Others were dispatched to a host of other charities: St. Vincent de Paul, Oxfam, Enable Ireland, National Council for the Blind, My Lovely Horse Rescue Centre, the Irish Cancer Society, the Jack & Jill Foundation and the DSPCA. Some TY pupils volunteered to help at the local Whitechurch National School while others volunteered at St. Catherine’s Special School, litter picked in Marlay Park and helped out at the Rathfarnham Parish Hall – the parishioners were very grateful for the freshly baked pastries.

It’s been a hectic but hugely fulfilling eight weeks and the Transition Year pupils should be mightily proud of their efforts and achievements already. Tonight, they were rewarded with a scary movie and some treats, after they finish carving pumpkins! A big thank you to Ms Kilfeather who steers the TY juggernaut, ably assisted and supported by Ms Lynch and Mr Clarke.

The Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal aims to collect and deliver wrapped and packed shoeboxes, full of toys and essentials, for some of the poorest children in the world. To date, over 2 million such boxes have been handed directly to children all around the world and the College are delighted to have a long standing relationship with this wonderful charity.

Last year, our Transition Year pupils (and ably assisted by Mr Paul Cron) filled over 200 boxes while also volunteering at the Team Hope warehouse, packing additional boxes and loading lorries destined for eastern Europe and beyond. We hope to top that figure this year but need your help.

Over the half term we would greatly appreciate if you could make up a box/boxes or collect some fillers for the boxes or even empty shoeboxes and bring them back to school after the break. All completed boxes or fillers can be brought to the collection point in Gwynn or left at the staff common room. You can also donate online via the Team Hope website.

Five simple steps to follow:

Get a shoebox, wrap the box and lid separately with Christmas paper (we have already wrapped 150 boxes, so if if this is too much hassle fill one of our boxes)

Decide to whom you want to give your gift (boy or girl) and what age: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

Fill the box = use our 4 W’s as a guide (Wash, Write, Wear, Wow – more details below)

Close the box with an elastic band – please don’t seal with tape as the contents of each box have to be checked to comply with regulations.

Please include the €4 for transport in your leaflet envelope either on top of the gifts or taped to the inside of the lid.

Our Bullying Awareness Week provides an opportunity to reflect on how we build and protect relationships across the College. Our theme this year was a simple one – friendship – the cornerstone of any good anti-bullying strategy. Last week, our pupils took part in a wide range of activities with friendship at the centre of the conversation. There was a poetry competition on friendship, won by Delia Brady in Form III while a gratitude tree stood proudly in Whispering House, inviting submissions from every passerby, friendship-themed movie nights, friendship-building games and even an ice-cream van. Fourth Form painted jam jars while Sixth Form spent an evening in Larch Hill doing some friendship and team-building exercises (photo above, more here).

It wasn’t all fun and games though, with plenty of time for the serious conversations around bullying too, in particular online bullying. We were thankful for a series of excellent targeted presentations from Internet safety expert Pat McKenna on “friends online”, reminding everyone of our need to stay safe when using the Internet. Also, we were delighted to welcome Clinton Wokocha who spoke with our younger pupils about the power of words while our Prefects spoke in chapel every morning about the College values and why they matter in the bullying conversation – we even learned a new song in chapel, written by Form V pupil Cameron McKinley.

Many thanks to everyone who took part in a great series of events, reminding us how to be good friends to each other. A particular thanks to Ms Maybury for coordinating the week’s programme.

Congratulations to the following pupils who were elected to represent their year groups in the recent Pupils’ Council elections.

Form VI – Kai Yuan Shi, Elena O’Dowd.
Form V – Cheuk Yin Wong, Ebah Assebian.
Form IV – Euan Flanagan, Constance Chambré.
Form III – Anna MacManus, Johnny Leonard
Form II – Jason Wong, Josefien Hutchinson.
Form I – Jan-Christian Dijkstra, Eloise Drouillard.

On Friday we are officially launching the new Foundation of St. Columba’s College, with a look to the future development of the College. This is a fresh start, with a fresh emphasis and a new direction.

Development is usually seen as building: a new set of classrooms, new boarding houses, a new Astro, or, as recently, a new social centre. I could not be more happy about the way that Whispering House has turned out and I cannot now imagine St. Columba’s without that fantastic space in the middle of the College.

But what is next? What new project are we planning? It has actually been quite a challenge to work out the direction of our development as we go forward and we have spent a considerable amount of time batting around ideas, many of which have seemed initially to be just what we needed, only for enthusiasm to wane. I confess that it was frustrating that we could not fix on the big plan or the big idea as quickly as I would have liked, a project that seemed to fit in terms of the needs of the College and the finances that we could realistically raise or borrow. However, perhaps that period of reflection was necessary as, through that process, we moved towards a plan that now does seem to make sense.

So this is where we are now, as we plan for the future. The main thrust of where we want to head in the next few years is towards a much more sustainable campus, one where we are much less reliant, or not at all dependent, on fossil fuels. It would be great to be carbon-neutral and able to create much of our own energy and that is why we want to invest in an energy system that is run on wood chip and solar power, decommissioning our old gas-powered boilers. We plan to install a new heating system near the Sports Hall and lay new pipes throughout the College, while we also have plans to put solar panels on the roof of the Sports Hall and in the field behind.

Not only does it seem the right thing to do, but it is also something that the pupils themselves feel very strongly about. And understandably so. This is a move that will make a difference to the College for generations to come and I hope that future Columbans and parents, and even future Wardens, will look back and be grateful that we decided, at this time, to invest in the future sustainability of the College rather than launch into some magnificent new building project.

It may be an investment in the future, but I believe that we will start to see a return very soon from the savings that we will make, through the reduction of our use of fossil fuels. And there is also a spin-off that will be more concrete, for, by recommissioning our main boiler, we will be able to create a new classroom space in the middle of the College, next to Whispering House. That will be entirely carbon neutral and, once that has been done, we will be able to remove the old pottery shed in the lower yard and put more classrooms there too. In other words, the mission to make the school far more sustainable has a direct benefit for our teaching and learning. It is much better to be reusing old buildings than to be building from scratch on a new site and I am sure that the new teaching area has the ability to be an iconic space near the heart of the College.

There are other elements to our Foundation too, mainly to do with widening access to the College through raising more money for bursaries, but, whether through bursaries or through doing our duty to reduce our energy usage, sustainability and investment in the future is the driver behind the vision that we have. I hope it strikes a chord with you. It is certainly a direction with which we feel very comfortable and one which will leave a legacy for the future of the College.

The St. Columba’s College Foundation was officially launched on Friday, September 23rd 2022 at an event in Whispering House. The Foundation is the new body, with a broad mission to engage the wider Columban community and help secure the future of the College. To do so, they aim to make the College more accessible, more sustainable, to improve its teaching & learning facilities and enhance its campus.

The Foundation’s mission is founded on four distinct but interlinked pillars:

Sustainability: the desire to transform our energy usage and make the College far more environmentally focused.

Classrooms: there is a need for some new classroom development and this will be able to take place as a direct result of our mission to become more sustainable and the subsequent reattribution of space in the middle of the College.

Bursaries: these will broaden access to the College for families who cannot currently afford to send their children here.

Campus enhancement: we need to enhance the entrance and the approach to the College, as well as upgrade certain areas within the campus.

For more information on the ST. Columba’s College Foundation visit our dedicated webpage or download the Foundation launch brochure here.

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Notice concerning the admission process to St. Columba’s College, for entry in 2023

Please be advised that, according to the admissions policy of the College, drawn up according to Department of  Education guidelines, the timeline is as follows:

● The school will commence accepting applications for day places on October 1st 2022.

● The school will allow three weeks for applications to be received, the last date being October 22nd. 

● Parents will be notified of the result of their application in the week beginning November 6th. 

● Parents of children who have received offers will have three weeks to accept the place.

Full details on the admissions process & current admission status can be found here.

Please find the College’s Admissions Policy here.

Admissions Notice:

Please find the application form here.

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Last week, while our Form III and Form VI pupils sat down to begin their Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate examinations respectively, pupils from the other forms participated in a series of trips across Ireland and Europe.

The most adventurous trip saw forty three Form I and II pupils, accompanied by five staff members, brave the airport queues and fly off to the south of France. While basking in glorious sunshine, they visited Montpelier, Nîmes, Aigues-Mortes, Arles, Pont du Gard and Avignon. It was an extremely successful trip and many thanks must go to Mr Clarke for his impeccable organisation. The Form I and II pupils who didn’t travel to France participated in a series of “local trips” which included Tayto Park and Dublin Zoo.

Closer to home, our Transition Year pupils returned to Achill Island in County Mayo for their traditional end-of-year outdoor adventure. Four days of surfing, orienteering, camping and other challenges topped off a brilliant year overall

The pupils of Form V also headed west; our Geography pupils travelled to the Burren in Co. Clare for field work and fun, while the remaining members of the form ventured to Belmullet in Co. Mayo for outdoor (and weather-enforced indoor) physical and team-building activities. There was even a sneaky (and windy) game of golf in one of Ireland’s best golf courses for some of the keen golfers in the group – Carne Golf Links.

The College now joined Instagram  (to complement our current suite of social media platforms which include Facebook,  Twitter and LinkedIn). The Instagram account will aim to share posts and stories about life in the College through images and short videos. Visit www.instagram.com/sccdublin and give us a follow! Our first post is below.

Well done to Editors Elizabeth Hart and Isabella Treacy on the final edition of ‘The Submarine’ magazine this school year. It can be read here in flippable form.
 
The cover is by Alexia Fantacci, and other artwork is by Tabitha Larke, Safia Walker, Iona Chavasse, Daniel Moran, Isabel Warnock, Alison Wang and Antonia Ladanyi. On the writing front, there is an entertaining interview with Mr Duffy, Edna Johnston’s ‘What is Mars was made out of a Mars Bar?’, Zining Wang’s artist profile of Sixth Former Iona Chavasse, an interview with the author Richie Conroy, an account of the talk on race by Clinton Wokocha, and an untitled poem by Anna Rose MacManus.

It’s been another frenetic term in the life of our Transition Year pupils (and their teachers) as they continued to work extremely hard both inside and outside of the classroom. The final term provides further opportunities to experience new opportunities, explore their strengths and weaknesses but gives the pupils a chance to take stock of their academic and extracurricular achievements over the year.

Some of the highlights of this term include our Environmental Awareness Week, with guest speakers OC Raoul Empey and Arctic explorer Alex Hibbert. Pupils constructed a leaf composter on-site, under the watchful eye of Mr. Ryan, and aided local primary school, Whitechurch National School, lay the foundations for their outdoor classroom. There was fundraising for Irish Oesophageal Cancer Fund, the Hope Foundation and the Peter McVerry Trust, and a day of sailing and kayaking in Dun Laoghaire.

A few weeks ago, six TY pupils took part in the Transition Year Academic Prize – an event which allows pupils share their research into an area of their choice. The winner, adjudged by former teacher and current Fellow of the College Alan Cpx, was Hannah von Bergmann with a brilliant presentation on ‘cultured meat’.

There have been other opportunities recently too, to share and reward the academic achievements of our TY pupils. Last week, the Transition Year Modern Languages evening took place with the Sarah Alyn Stacey Cup presented to Jimena Reques Tovar for her achievements in languages this year. Similarly, the Transition Year English Evening saw nine pupils present their creative work in English to their peers and the TY Art pupils exhibited their work in Whispering House to a large crowd. Last night, the final Transition Year Presentation Evening took place with prizes awarded to the top pupil in all subjects and, significantly, the awarding of the annual Spirit of Transition Year. For details of this event click here for a separate post.

Next week, many of our Transition Year pupils will travel to Achill Island next week, signing off the year with a week of outdoor adventures. Many thanks, once again, to Ms Ann Kilfeather and her team for all their work in organising such an amazing, jam-packed programme throughout the year.

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.

For many, the annual Sports Day is the highlight of the year. The College bristles with colour, energy, fun and (usually) sunshine! This year was no exception as our pupils embraced their competitive team spirit and competed in a range of sporting activities. These ranged from the traditional track and field events to cricket throwing, penalty kicks, tug of war and more. The day’s events culminated, in traditional fashion, with the ‘cloister dash’ – won this year by Thea Clare and Mika Sacolax. Many thanks to Mr Havenga, who coordinated the day, but to all the staff who helped make it such a wonderful occasion. While it isn’t necessarily about winning, the White Team (pictured above) took home the traditional ice cream trophies!

The fun and festivities of Sports Day were followed by the more formal and serene setting of Sports Dinner, our annual celebration of sporting success in the College. Senior pupils who marked themselves out as fully committed to our “Traditional Team” sports are invited to this dinner and award ceremony because they participate fully and contribute above the norm. We were delighted to welcome Old Columban Thomas Chamney as our special guest. ‘Tom’ represented the Irish Athletics Team from 1999 to 2001 at every schoolboy age group. He set new College records at Hill Running, the 800 metres where he won the gold medal in the Leinster Championships in concurrent years and an All Ireland Silver medal in 2002. He was awarded his Athletics Colours in  2000, 2001 and 2002. The year he left school he was awarded a full Athletics scholarship to the University of Notre Dame Indiana 2002-2007 where he studied English and film. During his time there he was honoured with three All American titles for Athletics and All American award for Academics as his grades were in the top percentile and he held Notre Dame’s All-time 800 metre record until very recently. He represented Ireland at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, competing in the 800m event (the last Columban to attend an Olympic Games). Tom spoke of his time at the College and gifted the College a framed singlet that he wore at the games. He then presented the pupils with ‘colours’ to pupils for their outstanding contribution to sport in the College.

Nathan Kutner – Rugby

Matteo Tafi – Rugby

Jack Hayes – Rugby

Akin Babajide – Rugby

Andrew Maguire – Hockey

Rory Flanagan – Basketball

Evie Pringle – Hockey

Thea Clare – Hockey

Mia Deutsch – Hockey

We are also very proud of various individual successes beyond our school teams. 

  • Tom Larke, who represented the Ireland U18 Clubs during the year
  • Ryan Ovenden, who has been selected for the Leinster U16 Metro squad.
  • Abbie Murray represents the Ireland U17 Netball team and her sister Holly Murray is on the Development Squad.
  • Johannes Pabsch won Leinster and Irish indoor hockey men’s titles with Three Rock Rovers, meaning he has a chance of playing against the top German, Dutch, Belgium, English and French teams in Europe next season.
  • Harry St. Leger Captained the Leinster U16s and the Irish U16 hockey team in a five-nation tournament.
  • Isaac and Sebastian Dijkstra on Leinster U15 cricket team.
  • David Chukwueke and David Cron were selected for the Leinster u14 teams that played in an Interprovincial blitz against Ulster and Munster.

The evening was rounded off with the appointment of captains for the 2022 / 2023 season … well done to everyone on their excellent contribution to sport in the College and to Mr Canning (Director of Sport), Mrs Johnson (Head of Girls’ Sport), Mr Havenga (Head of Boys’ Sport) and all the individual Heads of Sport for the amazing sports programme at St. Columba’s.

The 28th Transition Year English Evening took place last night in the Big Schoolroom, compèred by Mr Jameson, after its two-year hiatus. The guest of honour was the author Richie Conroy, whose comments on the individual pieces are in italics below

Nine members of the Fourth Form read out pieces of writing: Phoebe Landseer opened up with a piece on her first home, in which we were transported by the power of words, followed by Zara Chohan (‘The Watcher’, a piece of fiction, which was gripping with lots of tension), Isabella Treacy on the joys of books (read by Raicheal Murray, a superb piece that made us feel we were in a second-hand bookshop), Daniel Murray (on censorship, an effective piece), Lara Hunter with a fictional piece which was superb, Georgia Goodbody (on her grandmother and her home, now sold, an amazing picture), Belen Olea (on the oldest person she knows, a fine piece which showed how important it is to pay attention to the older generation), Lily Boyle on learning poetry in primary school (a lovely window into the past) and finally Alannah McKee on her last day at primary school (a real journey in her piece, and a really powerful ending).

Mr Jameson presented the annual trophy to the editors of The Submarine magazine, this year Elizabeth Hart and Isabella Treacy. He then handed over to Richie Conroy, who used his experience of running the Dublin City Marathon for the first time to give the pupils important advice about writing. We all have a voice in our heads (for Richie, ‘Kermit’), which discourages us, but we need to say yes to new experiences. No experience is wasted. Reading is so important. Richie handed out writers’ notebooks to the presenters and advised them to jot down ideas, characters, good lines, dialogues. He spoke funnily, accessibly and with great encouragement to all the young writers in the audience.

Finally, the following were congratulated as winners of Premier Awards this year: Hannah Bergmann, Lily Boyle, Alison Coogan, Elizabeth Hart, Alannah McKee, Cameron McKinley, Belen Olea, Rachel Shaw, Calvin She, Isabella Treacy, Cayden Wong.

 

Sunday evening saw the special event that is Voices of Poetry return to the Big Schoolroom in its long-lasting and infallible format: a pupil or teacher reading a short poem after a brief explanation in a darkened room, picked out by a single spotlight. Some of these were in languages other than English: it is amazing how powerful such readings can be, even if you don’t understand the lines. The evening was organised by Mr Swift, and the presenter was Mr Girdham.

Marianne Lee from First Form opened proceedings, with her own evocative poem ‘The Witching Hour’, followed by Mr Jameson from the English Department with a translation of a poem by the Swedish Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer, ‘The Tree and the Sky‘.

The other languages kicked in: poems in Italian (Alexia Fantacci), German (Toni Ladanyi), Cecilia Corti (Arabic), Irish (Dairbhre Murray) and Chinese (Harry Wang). The aural contrasts were fascinating.

Mr Girdham then read out ‘Resistance’, recently written by the British Poet Laureate Simon Armitage in solidarity with all those under fire and bombardment in Ukraine, which led on naturally to Pavlo Shvalov reading a piece in Ukrainian celebrating his country’s independence.

Another step change was to Leonid Mylvaganam, who read out his own flowing work, close to performance poetry. Three European languages came next: Dutch (Josefien Hutchinson), French (Eole Mignot) and Spanish (Mateo Aliaga). Again, it was remarkable to hear the differences even though you can drive from one country to the next.

This year’s Junior Poetry Prize was won by Delia Brady, and her poem ‘The Moon‘ was read by Anna Rose McManus.  She was followed by the Warden, who said that from a young age at prep school he had to learn poems off by heart, and he recited G.K. Chesterton’s ‘The Donkey’.

Then, Slavic languages were represented by Polish (Dr Pyz) and Czech (Phoebe Landseer).

The next two poems brought us close to the end, with two people who are soon to leave the College: Ms Heidi Kavanagh (Yeats’s ‘When You are Old and Grey’) and the Senior Prefect, Evie Pringle, with Stevie Smith’s ‘In My Dreams‘.

And finally, Mr Canning announced the winner of this year’s Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry (pictured), Isabella Treacy, and read out a poem from her winning portfolio, ‘Knots‘.

To conclude, Mr Girdham recommended Pádraig Ó Tuama’s podcast Poetry Unbound: a short podcast twice a week on a single poem, with Ó Tuama’s reflections. It does what poetry should do for readers: provide a space for attention away from the busy noise of the world. And that is just what Voices of Poetry does too.