Art Weeks – Final Weekend

The Music Prize Winners 2018

Arts Week finished on a high with three big events – the Poetry Slam final on Friday night, Arts Prize evening with Joy Gerrard on Saturday and on Sunday the Music Prizes with Karen Ní Bhroin.

Jasper Bark did an amazing job of revving up the second and fifth form audience to support their peers in reciting poems which varied from work by William Blake and Edgar Allen Poe to American Gangsta rap to poems that students had written themselves. All winners were decided by popular vote. There were three rounds – one for juniors and two for seniors. Oscar Sternberg won the junior section with a short rap that he had composed himself. In round one of the fifth form competition Grace Goulding won with a beautiful poem that she had written herself about her the relationship between her grandparents as her grandfather struggled with Alzheimers. Round two was won by Isabelle Townsend and Orla Conlon Batey with their brilliant performance of an American Gangsta rap. In the end it was Isabelle and Orla who came out on top as the final winners.

Saturday was another busy day with Thibault Loiez back doing more caricatures of students. All of these are now strung up across the dining hall for everyone to view! William Nathans gave a wonderful portrait drawing masterclass for senior students and parents. Everyone went away having spent a most enjoyable afternoon learning new things. Thanks to Antonia for sitting all afternoon – a few cups of coffee were needed to keep her awake!

Meanwhile Peter Watts and Derarca Cullen spent a frantic morning putting up all the artwork from the year in the BSR ready for Joy Gerrard to come and judge it in the afternoon. Joy exhibited some of her own work this time last year in the RHA in Dublin. In the evening she spoke about her journey as an artist and the work she has done from huge installations in public spaces in the UK to paintings in ink of protest crowd scenes around the world. The winners were then announced of all the various sections and were Jeanne Levesque, Nathalie Verwijs, Mona Lamotte O’Carroll, Emma Hinde and Thea Walsh.

The finale of Arts Week was a superb hour and a half of music. There were solo performances on the piano, violin, harp, clarinet and voice. It was heart warming to see the hours of practice that many had put in to reach such a superb standard. The winners were Nicole Dickerson (voice), André Stokes (violin), Tania Stokes (piano), Alex Lawrence (piano), Charlotte Klingmann (clarinet) and Emily Mc Carthy (voice)) although as Karen said she had a very tough time on selecting her final six.

All in all there was a wonderful buzz to the week with so many different things taking place and in the end it was the students themselves and their participation which made it so special. Below are the vast collection of photos from Arts Week 2018.

Snow Arrives at St. Columba’s

The snow arrived late last night and, while it prevented some day pupils from coming to school today, College life went on (our boarders still sat their mock and term examinations). The College, being predominently a boarding school, will remain open over the next few days although there will be changes to prep arrangements and the games programme will obviously cease until the snow thaws. Parents should check their email for the latest updates from the College.

Our resident photographer, Rev Owen, was busy snapping before and after chapel this morning trying to capture the beauty of the snow around the campus. Below are a selection of his photos.

Half-Term, February 2018

Arrangements for the Hilary half-term:

Friday 9th February

  • Classes end at 10.50am, when pupils may leave on half-term.
  • 11am to 1pm: Parent-Teacher meeting in the Sports Hall (parents sign up on the form sent by the Office).

Sunday 18th February

  • 6.30pm to 8.30pm: boarders return to House.
  • 8.30pm: roll-call in House for all boarders.

Monday 19th February

  • 8.10am: day boys and girls report to House.
  • Mock Leaving Certificate examinations start.

Book Week 2018

Yesterday we kick started our first ever Book Week at St. Columba’s, an initiative of the librarian Jean Kent Sutton and the English Department. Running from the 1st to the 8th of February, there are a series of events and initiatives to promote reading for pleasure through a range of activities including a ‘favourite book’ raffle, ‘book in a jar’, a library quiz and (for the junior forms) book speed dating. The library will be open every day during break and lunch-time and, on Saturday morning, staff and pupils are invited to bring a book of their choice into class for ‘Drop Everything And Read’. Various walls and doors walls around the school will be decorated with posters featuring staff members’ choices of favourite books (pictured above). Be sure to follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates and photos from the week’s events.

Junior Cultural Trip to Barcelona – Pupil Report

Last weekend thirty junior pupils travelled to Barcelona to experience and culture (and do some geography fieldwork) in one of Europe’s most wonderful cities. Form I pupil Marco Trolese reports on what was a most enjoyable and interesting trip for everyone.

The touring party outside the famous Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Very very early on the morning of Thursday 25th January, thirty excited pupils left St Columba’s for the cultural trip to Barcelona. We had a full itinerary organised for four days from Geographical sites to Architecture, History and experiencing Catalan culture. On the walking tour of the city we learnt a lot about the history of Barcelona. We walked through the streets of this fantastic city each day. One day we clocked up close to 17KMs!

The Sagrada Familia by Gaudi was so overwhelming and the building is expected to be completed 2026. All the tiny intricate details are very impressive, as was the stained glass windows and skylights. This was definitely my highlight of the trip. Park Guell has some beautiful sites and the architecture is so colourful with the mosaic tiles. This was where the richest people in the city lived, and you could see why. Barcelona’s aquarium was good and it was impressive to walk through the glass tunnel with the all the fish swimming around us.

The tour of Barcelona’s home stadium, Camp Nou, was interesting because we got to see the history of the team and achievements in the past. The football team clearly means a lot to the city. We were fortunate to have tickets to watch Barcelona play at home against local city rivals Espanyol in the Quarter Final of the Copa del Rey. What a great atmosphere – it was fantastic to see Barcelona’s 2-0 win. We also paid a visit to Montjuic where the Olympics were held in 1992. This gave us a fantastic view over the city in a nice area. The Olympic stadium was based here.

For the geographical study we went on a field trip to Sitges which is 30 km from Barcelona. Here, we learnt about coastal landforms and erosion. The weather was bad with rain pouring down on top of our makeshift ponchos (bin liners!). We completed a pebble study which linked to our coastal geography work in school. We got to discuss longshore drift, erosion and deposition. This helped to understand these processes.

Barcelona is a sustainable city and was the first city in the world to be awarded Biosphere certification. You could see why it’s considered sustainable with many solar panels, excellent public transport and city bikes calling ‘bicing’. After long busy days we were able to enjoy local cuisine and evening activities. We had an evening of competitive ten-pin bowling. The Lazer Tag game was an adrenalin filled competition with each team winning a game.

I would like to thank Mr Duffy, Mr Stevenson and Ms Harrahill for a very organised trip, which was so enjoyable and memorable. Overall this was a fantastic experience. Marco Trolese, Form I

Junior Play 2018

This year’s Junior Play is a short one (rehearsal time has been particularly limited this term): Lady Gregory’s Spreading the News, first produced in 1904, a classic of the Irish one-act canon which tells the tale of small town citizens on a normal fair day allowing their gossip and imaginations run riot…

There are two performances, and parents are welcome at both: Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd February in the Big Schoolroom at 7.15pm (performances should be over by 8pm). No booking is needed.

The Cast:

Mrs. Tarpey – Emily McCarthy
Mrs Fallon – Aurora Higgins Jennings
Bartley Fallon -Tadhg Rane O’Cianain
Jack Smith – Nikolai Foster
Mrs. Tully – Elizabeth Hart
James Ryan – Jamie Green
Shawn Earley – Florian Zitzmann
Bridey Casey – Emma Hinde
Magistrate – Caleb Swanepoel
Garda Joe Muldoon – Guy Fitzgibbon



Parents’ Association Lecture

(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.

Start of Hilary Term 2018

Monday 8th January

  • Staff meetings in morning and afternoon.
  • Boarders return to school between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.
  • 8.30pm: Roll-call in House for all boarders.

Tuesday 9th January

  • 8.50am: day boys and girls report.
  • 8.55am: first Chapel bell. Assembly after Chapel.
  • Afternoon classes on Summer Timetable today only (day boys and girls may leave at 3.35pm).

Debating News

Harry Oke reports on the debating teams progress this term.
Debating and Public speaking was a highly developed part of extracurricular activities this term and it is really encouraging to see an increasing number of people getting stuck in and taking part in internal and external debating competitions. There have been multiple activities this year such as The Oxford School Debating workshop, European Youth Parliament, House Speeches, Junior Debates, House Debates and finally Concern Debates. This year we chose to take part in new debating competitions and activities such as the Oxford schools debates and the Concern debates. A group of students in 4th, 5th and 6th went for the Oxford schools debating workshop to learn more about a different competition and a completely different style of debating. This was an extremely eyeopening experience and we definitely hope to continue to take part in this competition. The European Youth Parliament was also a great experience. The House Speeches were also very interesting. This entailed a number of the transition year students speaking about topics they were interested in. For many it was very difficult to speak to a large crowd but, nevertheless, they were able to rise up to the challenge and it was a truly exceptional evening.
The major Debating events have been The Concern debates, Junior and House debates. The Concern Debates deals with humanitarian issues and increases awareness of world issues and encourages teenagers to be active members of society and to be a force for positive change. We have taken part in two rounds of these debates, We, unfortunately, lost one round to Tallaght community school on the topic TO END HUNGER, THE WORLD MUST EMBRACE GMOs. The school put forward a team consisting of Jack Stokes as the captain, Catherine Butt, Caoimhe Cleary and myself. It was a good experience but I believe we raised our standards and we faced the competent team put forward by Colaiste Eanna on the topic CHINA IS GOOD FOR AFRICA. We opposed the motion and our team consisted of an African and Chinese citizen which helped us greatly.
Finally, The Junior and House debates. It is extremely encouraging to see younger part of the school taking part in debating and public speaking. They have a lot of gifted speakers and have great potential. The Senior debates remain very important and every year brings a different set of people with so much to offer. Different people have come forward and showed us different angles to one topic and have successfully blurred the lines between right and wrong making the judges’ job very difficult. This year’s finalist has been organised based on a point system. They are Iona and Stackallan and have performed fantastically in the first two rounds. I wish them the very best of luck in the finals.  The debating opportunities do not end with this term and therefore, it is not too late to take part. Debating and Public speaking will always remain part of our Culture and I would especially like to thank Ms. Duggan for her unwavering work ethic and support for Debating and Public speaking in the College.
Junior Debating Team – for UCD Debates included: Raphaela Ihuoma, Ailbhe Matthews, Phoebe Grennell, Elise Williams, Eile ni Chianain, Maybelle Rainey, Charlotte Moffitt. Juniors involved in House Debates included: Tadhg Rane O’ Chianain, Florian Zitzman, Wolfgang Romanowski, Sadie Keogh, Emma Hinde, Caleb Swanepol, Solomon Babajide, Alannah Hassett& Matilda Pringle. Many of these are first formers and it is wonderful to see them sign up for debating in their first term in the College.
Senior Debating Team – this term included Harry Oke-Osanyintolu, Caoimhe Cleary, Catherine Butt, Georgia Keegan-Wignall, Jack Stokes with many more expected to join in the Hilary term.

The Submarine

The first edition of the new-format magazine called The Submarine is now out. Check it out here, or look at it in ‘flippable’ form on the English Department site here.

Caoimhe Cleary was Editor; Tania Stokes illustrated; and there were impressive contributions made by many other pupils, both artistically and as writers. You can see the video ‘Missing You‘ by Tiernan Mullane below.

Norwegian School Visit

Last week, Transition Year pupils from the College hosted a workshop on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) with pupils from Nøtterøy High School in Norway. This was the fourth time Nøtterøy High School have visited the College in as many years and each year a new area of science is explored and debated using a collaborate approach to learning.

The day began with the pupils being divided into nine teams, with pupils from both schools on each team. A few icebreaker challenges allowed the teams get to know one another before the real work kicked off. Our first such challenge was a construction activity where each team had to suspend a plastic cup in the air, hanging from a structure made only from straws and tape.

The pupils were given a short presentation and shown a video about genetically modified organisms, learning about the positives and negatives of GMOs. Later the pupils participated in a variety of collaborative activities which helped them learn about different types of GMOs, and the advantages of each.

After lunch, each team had to design their own GMO, and present and pitch their new product to the group. There were some very creative ideas, such as chocolate with added iron, and a Crale (mix between a crab and a whale) which filtered microplastics from the ocean. The winner of this activity was the Pineango, a mix of genes between a pineapple and a mango, allowing people to absorb vitamins more easily from their food and reduce teenage acne. In all it was another highly successful and enjoyable collaboration between two very different schools, once again organised by Ms Hennessy. One pupil remarked:

This was a very beneficial experience and we learned a lot about collaboration and teamwork, as well as some interesting facts and information about GMOs.

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Exhibition of Junior Certificate Art 2017

Abigail O Brien, Transition Year, reports on the upcoming Art Exhibition of the work produced for the Junior Certificate 2017

Last year 23 pupils in 3rd Form completed the Junior Certificate Art Project. Each of us had to put together a number of finished art pieces. The  themes we worked on ranged from sharks to space travel. However, a major part of the project also required that we show our preparatory sketches and brainstorming, alongside explanations of our individual thought processes.

The course is pretty straightforward – we had to make a 3D construction or sculpture, a painting or graphic design, and an optional third craft piece (calligraphy, puppetry, batique, a lino cut, and a host of other things). The challenge came in trying to complete all of this work in the time frame and to a standard which was strong enough.

A big part of the project was to show how our ideas developed over time. The big difference between this project and sitting a one hour portrait exam is that your ideas have a lot more time to evolve and grow. Despite drawing inspiration from a common theme throughout the three pieces, many of us were surprised at how varied the results were. In addition to the project we had to do a drawing exam.  We had a model sit for us  while we drew them and we also had to choose an object from a set list to draw. We were given an hour for both.

All of us worked well over the year and were all happy with our results. I think it was a very good experience and an opportunity to express our ideas.

This coming Sunday December 10th, there will be an opportunity to view our work as it will be displayed in the BSR for all to see after the evening Carol Service. We hope that you can make it!

Here are a small selection of pieces on display.

Portrait paining by Abigail O’Brien

Poster design by Andrew Kim

Batique craft by Sophia Cole

Final Weekend of Term

Saturday 9th December

  • 8.15pm: Christmas Concert, BSR (parents are welcome to attend).

Sunday 10th December

  • 10am: Matins
  • 7.30pm: roll-call for VI, V and choir before the Carol Service.
  • 8pm: Carol Service, followed by reception in the BSR.
  • 9pm: exeats end for boarders not at the Carol Service.

Monday 11th December

  • Special late rising due to Convention.
  • Day boys and girls report by 10.25am (they may come earlier)
  • 10.30am: First Chapel bell.

November/December Exodus Arrangements

Thursday 30th November 2017

  • White Chapel (St Andrew).
  • Exodus starts after the end of the final examination, mid-morning.

Sunday 3rd December 2017

  • 6.30pm to 8.30pm: all boarders return between these times.
  • 8.30pm: Roll-call in House for all boarders.

 Monday 4th December 2017

  • 8.10am: Day boys and girls report to House.
  • 8.15am: First Chapel bell.

Review of ‘Oklahoma!’

A huge amount of hard work over the last couple of months paid off for everyone involved in the latest College musical, Oklahoma! last weekend, with three excellent performances of this old Rodgers and Hammerstein favourite (their first collaboration) for pupils, teachers, parents and friends. This production maintained the high standards of recent years in Grease, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof and Guys and Dolls.

Directors Mrs Malone Brady (music), Mr Swift and Mr Clarke co-ordinated the elements: acting, singing, dancing. A large chorus was fronted by a strong first-line cast, with Alex Russell and Nicole Dickerson singing powerfully as the (eventual) love-birds Curly and Laurey, Alexandra Murray Donaldson and Tiernan Mullane delighting all with the wit and charm of their performances as Ado Annie and Will, and Aurora Higgins Jennings and Harry Oke-Osanyintolu knitting it all together as Aunt Eller and the ‘Persian’ peddler Ali Hakim. There were also effective contributions from Toby Green, James O’Connor and Caoimhe Cleary, amongst others.

A highlight at the end of the first act was the dream sequence, a mock black and white movie with musical accompaniment from ‘the band’ directed by Mrs Malone-Brady, and the visual look of the whole production was created by Ms Hennessey’s terrific costumes.

The cast sent everyone happily into the November evening humming the title song, and you can relive it below.

The production is excellently captured in the following series of superb photographs behind the scenes, and on stage, by our resident photographer, Daniel Owen.

European Youth Parliament

Caoimhe Cleary reports on her recent experience at the European Youth Parliament. 

Earlier this term Harry Oke and I were invited by Ms Duggan to take part in an event called “The European Youth Parliament”. The European Parliament in essence is a simulation of the EU democratic process, and seeks to show its participants how legislation is actually passed in Europe. This is done by separating everybody at the event into the different committees and giving each group a motion. We then had two days to develop and prepare to argue for the implementation of our policy. I would fully recommend this event to everybody for two main reasons.

Firstly, this was a really informative and educational experience. I feel as if I really understand how legislation and bills are both put forth and denied now and, as someone who isn’t a European native, I walked away with a much greater understanding of the European system. It also helped train my ability to work with others to develop and defend a debating motion. I also learned how to argue against an argument in real time.

The second reason I would encourage somebody to attend EYP would be just because of how fun it is! As dull as taking part in the European democratic process may seem, it’s surprisingly enjoyable! The organisers and team leaders are very friendly, and you really do make friends! The friends I made I am still in contact with today. There was also a disco on the second day, which was amazing. I’m still not sure which part of the legislation process that fits in with.

Pupils’ Council elections

The following have been elected to represent the Pupils’ Council in the current school year (one boy and one girl in each Form) –

VI              Sean Cooper, Kitty Morris.

V               Harry Kelly, Isabelle Townshend.

IV              Shannon Dent, Jakob Habsburg.

III              Charlotte Moffitt, Harry Petch.

II               Iona Chavasse, Guy Fitzgibbon.

I/P             Nikolai Foster, Kate Higgins.

March 2018 Exodus

A letter from the Warden has just been emailed to parents about a re-arrangement for the St Patrick’s Weekend Exodus in March 2018, made necessary by essential staff training for Junior Cycle changes. The explanation for this is in the letter; the key dates are summarised below:

Thursday 15th March

Boarders may leave on Exodus after classes finish at 3.30pm, or may stay overnight and leave on Friday (see below).

Friday 16th March

All academic staff in Junior Cycle training on site. College closed to Day boys and girls. Remaining Boarders will have study sessions until they leave for Exodus (by 3.30pm at the latest).

Monday 19th March

Bank Holiday. Boarders return to school between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

Tuesday 20th March

Day boys and girls return by 8.10am, followed by normal school day.

Thursday 22nd March 

Classes end at 3.30pm, with House Singing Competition in the evening.

Friday 23rd March

Hilary Term ends after Assembly (c 11.30am).