“Seachtain na Gaeilge” (“Irish Week”, in English) was actually celebrated over a two week period – that sounds mad but the country celebrates it for 17 days! Obviously, activities had to be carried out remotely and it was great to see so many pupils taking part in the various activities. We played “biongó foclóra” (vocabulary bingo) and had “tráthanna na gceist” (quizzes) during our Irish classes. Pupils, both those who study Irish and those who don’t, could enter a poster competition in which they were asked to illustrate one of three “seanfhocail” (proverbs). We received some wonderful entries; the winner was Isabella Treacy and Zofia Cannon-Brookes was awarded second prize. Pupils also entered a “tóraíocht taisce” (a treasure hunt) and answers had to be submitted by way of a collage. The winners were Cameron McKinley, Tabitha Larke and Rachel Shaw. Have a look at their amazing work below.

The Irish Department are also running a “Dialann Ghaeilge” (Irish Diary) competition, whereby pupils keep a record of the Irish they use and hear outside of the classroom for 14 days. The deadline for this has been extended until after the Easter holidays, so why not give it a go?! All prizes will be awarded to pupils after the Easter break.

Many words used in English in Ireland come from the Irish language and some of these were displayed on the College Twitter account and on the Irish Department’s new Instagram account @sccgaeilge. We would love it if you would follow us!

Bainigí go léir taitneamh as briseadh na Cásca agus táimid ag tnúth go mór leis na daltaí ar fad a fheiceáil ar ais ar scoil arís go luath! (Enjoy the Easter break and we are really looking forward to seeing all pupils back at school again soon!)

The 2021 Art , Craft and Photography Prizes attracted as much interest as ever and pupils from every year group entered their work for consideration. This year the theme for the  competition was ‘Connections’. Pupils’ interpretations of this theme varied greatly . The result was a fantastic collection of visual responses.

The Junior Photography Prize had a large number of entries. Many pupils focused on how they stay connected during lock down. Cameron McKinley  deservedly won the prize for his striking image of a distorted tree. Jacob Owen’s sensitively shot image of growth in the natural world earned him a Commendation. Also receiving a Distinction in this category were Stella Borrowdale, Henry Jenner, Olive Mui and Safia Walker.

Congratulations to Ciara Finn who won the Junior Craft Prize for her two-colour lino print. A Distinction was also awarded to Carlotta Castagna and Bella Fennell in this category.

Georgia Goodbody’s incredible drawing of ‘Benji the Dog’ earned her the prize in the Junior Art Prize category. There was strong competition from Keelin Bradley-Brady who was awarded a Commendation for his pen and ink image of ‘The Gorilla’. Isabella Tracey was also awarded a Distinction in this category.

The Senior Photography Prize went to Alice Letort for her quiet yet colourful images of glass bottles. Also awarded a Distinction for this prize was Iona Chavasse, Poppy Gleeson, Lioba Preysing and Felicitas Tenge. 

Iona Chavasse won the Senior Craft Prize for her clay model of a pelican launching out of the water. Antonia Ladanyi, Isobel Warnock and Kate Higgins were awarded a Distinction, also for work created in clay and print.

The Earl of Meath Senior Art Prize was won by Eliz Kolat. Her painting entitled ‘Reflections’ is part of a larger project that she undertook this year. Also receiving a Distinction in this category was Iona Chavasse, Jamie Green, Alice Letort and Isabel Warnock. 

Thank you to all who entered and congratulations to all of the winners! Work from the winners can be seen in this album:

Art Prize Winners 2021

• Earl of Meath Senior Art: Eliz Kolat
• Senior Craft: Iona Chavasse
• Senior Photography: Alice Letort
• Junior Art: Georgia Goodbody
• Junior Craft: Ciara Finn
• Junior Photography: Cameron McKinley

 

Many thanks to all those who entered into the Book Week 2021 “Bookface” competition. Below is an album of the best entries. We are delighted to announce the winners are Fee Ratibor & Coco Xu with Charlie Bevan as the runner up. Well done to all!

While we can do little this year to mark World Book Day, with only Sixth Form having lessons on the campus at the moment, here are some staff ‘shelfies’ to look at. Pupils: which member of staff do you think owns each shelf?

Also, Dr Pyz is running a Library ‘BookFace’ competition:

Find a book cover with a face or some other portion of a body.
·        If you are in the College, the Library is a good place to start. If you are at home, search the bookshelves there.
·        Use the book cover you choose to create a photo that will blur the lines between fiction and reality. Look here for inspiration
·        Email your bookface picture to Dr Pyz (address from your teacher)
·        You can submit as many pictures as you want
·        The deadline is Friday 5th March at 6.00pm

Recently the pupils and staff of the College have adopted 5 principles that best sum up the ethos and values for which Columbans should strive: Kindness, Compassion, Inclusion, Responsibility, Determination (see the Warden’s explanation here). This was a fantastic opportunity for Transition Year to explore Value as a theme, especially in these times of isolation and distant learning. It allowed the pupils to reflect and regain awareness of their own self values. The pupils were led step by step to create a series of visual art exploring the thematic of Value through the process of visual research, contextualized studies, and experimenting with a range of drawings and multimedia techniques to create tone using shading techniques; hatching and cross-hatching.

Many thanks to Ms Byrne for co-ordinating this project.

Made with Padlet

The Chaplain is still recording short daily services in Chapel every morning, despite lockdown, giving short but much needed blessings for the extended school community. During Mental Health Awareness Week, Rev Owen will provided moments to consider from the Lord’s teachings which some may find helps build resilience, reduce stress improve mental wellbeing.

I would expect that all parents would agree that, even though they want their children to get excellent grades and take advantage of all the other opportunities here, the most important things that they can learn at St. Columba’s are values that will underpin their life, their relationships and the decisions they make. I told you last term that we were going through a process of selecting the values that we think are the most important ones in the College, as chosen by pupils and staff. So here is the big reveal, the ones that came out top and are now recognised as being the ‘College Values’:

Kindness

Compassion

Inclusion

Responsibility

Determination

OK, so they are hardly unexpected and you might think that they are so obvious that putting them in a list is rather absurd, as if we have made a new discovery. Aren’t these values that every school should be striving to instil in its pupils? Well, yes they are, but my experience is that it is much harder to talk about shared values, and hold pupils to them, if those values are not articulated in a clear way. By selecting these values it enables us to start a conversation in house, in the classroom, or in the corridor. It enables us to talk about what is important in assembly and to use them as a framework for talks in chapel. It requires staff and pupils to think intentionally about what is right and wrong, rather than just assuming that we are all in agreement about it.

Young people learn their values in three ways. The first is by what they are taught, be it in the family, the classroom or perhaps the church or equivalent. That puts great responsibility on teachers of all kinds. What are we teaching our children? The second is by watching and imitating adults and what we do. By that reckoning, all of us bear a huge responsibility, whether we are teachers or not. What example are we setting?

If we don’t get this right, either in school or in the family, children will learn in a third way, from the media, from celebrity culture, from the behaviour of those who are often very poor role models. Do we want to outsource the values that our children learn to social media influencers, be they pop stars or politicians?

I have come to the conclusion that the teaching of values in school is by far the most important thing that we do and it cannot be left to chance, or the winds and tides of social media.

I worked for a cricket season in Australia, coaching a school first team in Melbourne. Before the first match a former Australian captain came to talk to the players and I was looking forward to it, assuming that he would have some wise and gentle words of wisdom. He didn’t, and the fact that I can remember it now is telling. He told them that in order to achieve their ambitions and dreams they should not be afraid to crush the weak and push aside those in their way. It was their own life and they were not responsible for the failures of the weak. He urged them to look after themselves and to have no care for those around them. I looked around in horror at the teachers, parents and pupils, assuming that they would be equally horrified, but to my surprise they were all nodding in agreement. I wanted to scream, but I was just an Englishman on a gap year and I needed the job, so to my shame I kept quiet! But I have never forgotten his words. Teachers and parents bear a great responsibility…young people are listening!

THE VALUES OF ST. COLUMBA’S COLLEGE

The pupils and staff of the College have adopted the following 5 principles that we think best sum up the ethos and values for which Columbans should strive:

  • Kindness
      • We build others up with the words that we use and we don’t spread gossip
      • We look for opportunities to do acts of kindness for others
      • We always try to see the best in other people
  • Compassion
    • We seek to understand the lives of those around us and to ‘walk in their shoes’
    • We celebrate each other’s achievements and share their disappointments
    • We are slow to judge and quick to forgive
  • Inclusion
    • People are different from each other in many ways, but of equal value
    • We show respect to all members of the community and celebrate our common humanity
    • All should be made to feel welcome at St. Columba’s College
  • Responsibility
    • We take responsibility for our own work and our own behaviour
    • We are responsible for the well-being of our school community
    • We are responsible for the future of the world that we all live in and the sustainability of its resources
  • Determination
    • We work hard and take full advantage of our opportunities
    • We try to develop resilience and not give up at the first failure
    • We always strive to be the best version of ourselves

Matthew 7:12 – ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.’

 

 

 

The College features in the Ulster Tatler Post Primary Guide 2021 – a comprehensive guide on picking the right secondary school for your child. See our two page spread above. For any enquiries please email visit our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

The SPHE department have launched a new video competition for pupils. See the image above to find out more.

Unfortunately this year we were unable to hold our annual Christmas Carol Service but music is very much alive and well within the College community. Over the past few weeks, the various choirs and musical groups within the community have been practising diligently and we are delighted to present this short film of carols (sung with the appropriate ‘distance’) and lessons.

The Chaplain’s opening blessing is followed by Once in Royal David’s City, sung by the Chapel Choir with an opening solo by Isabel Warnock, Form IV. Felix Jellett, Form I, reads the first of two lessons and this is followed by Sine Nomine singing Ding Dong Merrily on High. Our newly formed quartet perform a beautiful rendition of The Snowman before a choir of staff and pupils sing the German hymn Es ist ein Ros entsprungen. Senior Prefect Éile Ní Chíanáin then reads the second lesson which is followed by a small Transition Year choir performing Infant Lowly, Infant Holy. Emily McCarthy sings a haunting solo performance of the Irish carol Don Oiche Úd i mBeithil before the Chaplain’s final blessing. The video concludes with organist Patrice Keegan playing Bach’s In Dulci Jubilo. 

Many thanks to the pupils and staff who helped coordinate the video. We hope you enjoy it and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

In Chapel this morning, the Chaplain gave this message:

This has been a very long term; for some of you it started way back in August when it was still summer – and now we are just thirteen days away from Christmas day.

We didn’t really know what to expect. Certainly, in the midst of this global pandemic, life has been very different and no aspect of College life has escaped unscathed, but you have all adapted very well, whether in the classroom, sportsfield, dining hall, in music, drama or indeed Chapel.

Nevertheless, we look forward to many things: Eating at a crowded table, being able to take a deep breath in class, hearing the clap and cheer of a jam-packed BSR, a crunching tackle during an important match and the roof-raising roar of our favourite hymns here in the Chapel. Things that we used to take for granted but now long for.

Our Christmas celebrations will be different too, but God-willing, we will each get to spend precious time with our families, giving and receiving, all the while mindful of how it started, in a faraway time and place – a Mother giving birth to a Son who would become the Saviour of the world. “Emmanuel”, God is with us, now, this Christmas and always. May God bless you all and we wish you and your families a truly happy and blessed Christmas.

Reverend Daniel Owen.

As we get close to the end of the term, it is appropriate to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped made this term as easy as possible. We are grateful to have had virtually no disruption, and particularly thank our medical staff, administrative staff, grounds and maintenance staff and catering staff.

Today school communities around Ireland are asked to acknowledge such work. Please watch the film below, which includes messages from President Higgins and An Taoiseach.

“NAPD and IPPN have collaborated with the National Parents Councils and the Irish Second Level Students Union and would like you to join us in saying thanks to our school leaders, teachers, SNAs, ancillary staff, school transport services, custodial services, students, student leaders and mentors, and all involved in the huge ongoing effort to ensure our children are safe and cared for as they enjoy their day at school. The value of keeping schools open for our students in terms of their educational, developmental and wellbeing needs cannot be understated.

To acknowledge and celebrate the work being done in our school communities in maintaining a safe environment in which our children can enjoy attending school, 11 December 2020 is nominated as a day in which all of us can join together to say ‘go raibh maith agaibh!’ or GRMA!”

The College has a long tradition of working with the wonder Team Hope Christmas Shoe Box Appeal. Each year our pupils, mainly from Transition Year, and staff contribute hundreds of Christmas wrapped shoeboxes full of small but significant gifts for the poorest children around the world. The current pandemic has prevented our community from contributing in the normal way and indeed Team Hope are not accepted physical gift boxes this year; instead, they’ve moved online. Our pupils have been raising funds, through their various mini-companies, to donate to this wonderful charity and to build virtual boxes but, understandably, things have proven much more difficult this year.

We are asking all Columban families (and perhaps Old Columbans too), once they’re reunited back home this weekend, to consider building their own virtual box on the Team Hope website. For every €20 received, Team Hope can send a custom filled and personalised gift box to a needy child. Each box contains items from the 4 W’s – Wash, Write, Wear and Wow – a balance between essential items and some Christmas magic.

To build a box or donate to Team Hope’s Christmas Shoe Box Appeal please click here.

This term’s edition of The Submarine magazine has now been published, and you can read it here online. Well done to editors Avi Johnston and Edna Johnston.

Pupil contributors (both writers and artists) include Maybelle Rainey, Alexander Fought, Sveva Ciofani, India Hassett, Julia Kaptein, Archie McKeever, Carlotta Laudien, Florian Zitzmann, Eliot Tschierschwitz, Georgina Stewart, Eliz Kolat, Shannon Walker Kinsella, Aeladh-Bradley-Brady, Hedley Butler, Gloria Rose, Lola Garofano and Tita Schack.

Our Transition Year pupils travelled to nearby Killruddery House & Estate on Wednesday for another scheduled ‘activities day’. The staff at Kilruddery provided them with an amazing programme of team building & leadership activities, physical and mental challenges, and much more, all safely managed under the current guidelines. Transition Year pupils Kamilla Murphy & Monty Walsh write these short reports on the day and below are some photos from the day.

After completing our exams, we were all delighted to have the opportunity to visit the Killruddery Estate in nearby Bray where we participated in various activities. We had the chance to take part in archery lessons, which many of us attempted for the first time, learn outdoor survival skills, including shelter building and fire lighting, as well as learn car essential skills, such as changing a tyre or using jump leads. On top of learning these useful life skills and attempting various new things, we had team-building exercises like solving riddles and codes or trying challenges as seen on the popular TV show “Ireland’s Fittest Family.” These activities challenged us in many ways but were undoubtedly a lot of fun and a great opportunity to bond with classmates. On behalf of my year, I would like to thank the wonderful staff at the estate as well as our teachers for organising such an event. I think I can safely say that everyone had a good time, became closer with their fellow classmates, and left with plenty of memories to look back on fondly. Kamilla Murphy

 

Recently, The SCC Transition Year group headed out to Killruddery Estate to visit the Alive Outside grounds in which we spent the day doing a number of activities which comprised of exciting things such as team building, bushcraft, archery, car maintenance and obstacles courses which some of which featured in the ‘Ireland’s fittest family’ TV series. Our day started by leaving the college on a chilly winter morning, not sure of what the day would hold, but excited nonetheless. After a short drive, we got into groups and began our day. My group was set straight to work on the obstacle course race. We split into two groups and did numerous challenging events. The highlight being the finale, in which we had to throw multiple water drums over two sets of hay bails, twice, and then build a tower once we had finished. This was a time trial and was a cause of great competition in our group. Secondly, we took part in a Car maintenance class which was although very educational, was still a lot of fun. We learnt how to change a car wheel in the event of a puncture or wheel failure. We also learnt how to make sure our engine oil was in good shape, and to conclude we learnt how to jumpstart a car. The final activity of the morning was archery. This brought out the competitive side in all of us and definitely was one of the highlights of the day. After lunch, we finished with team building and bushcraft, the team building was a real mental test which was a change from the physical effort of the obstacle course. The bushcraft was a really nice way to end the day as we built a shelter and learnt how to make fire from scratch. All in all, the day was a really nice break from the stress and worries you have in normal school life and I think that as a year group we would like to give massive thanks to the Columba’s and Alive outside staff that were involved, as it was an amazing experience despite the living with a global pandemic around us. Monty Walsh

Form I pupils recently took part in a ‘Sensory Walk’ as part of their wellbeing programme. It was a fantastic opportunity to explore the College Deerpark and to get in touch with nature. The scheme involves the students creating an accordion book where they documented their findings. They collected samples and also and took ‘rubbings’ of a variety of surface textures along the walk. They had a handout to guide them along the walk and to use as a prompt for what they should be gathering. Many thanks to Ms. Byrne for the fantastic photos.

On the 27th June 2020, the College community heard the devastatingly tragic news that ‘Columban’ Joshua Yang had passed away after fighting an aggressive form of cancer for over two months in Crumlin Hospital. Joshua remains an example of true inner and spiritual strength to all who knew him before and during his fight against the illness he eventually succumbed to.
Joshua was undoubtedly a very courageous and resilient boy who pulled all the constituents of the College community fully behind him. He was also given fantastic support by Crumlin Hospital and Aoibheann’s Pink Tie.

Aoibheann’s Pink Tie went to every length to ensure that Peter and Lucy, Joshua’s parents, could travel from China to be close to their son in the midst of a global pandemic. The organisation facilitated their accommodation near the hospital and worked closely with Joshua’s designated social worker to expedite visa and quarantine requirements.

Aoibheann’s Pink Tie have always had an impressive reputation for supporting families of children with a cancer diagnosis. When it is witnessed firsthand the full extent of that support is even more evident. In appreciation of their unstinting efforts on behalf of Joshua, and his parents Peter and Lucy, those closest to Joshua in the College community decided to hold fundraising events on their behalf.

College staff, parents, pupils and supporting friends raised the sum of €8207 on behalf of Team Aoibheann; transferring that amount earlier this month. We have since received a letter of thanks for our collective effort telling us that this money will be used to pay for: dry suits, Rainbow days, Chemo Ducks and also provide financial and practical support for parents of children suffering from cancer.

The pupils, staff, Parents’ Association and school management are grateful to all who have supported Joshua, his parents and Aoibheann Pink Tie in such a wide variety of ways.

Our annual Bullying Awareness Week is underway with a wide range of activities taking place. With Covid-19 restrictions, the scope is slightly narrower than usual but there is still a varied programme on offer for all pupils, and indeed the wider community.

The Pupils’ Council gave a short video assembly on Monday morning to kick start the week, the theme of which is “we’re all in this together“. The programme includes an art/photography project (details below), a modified chapel service, movie night for Transition Year pupils (The Social Dilemma, the highly-rated new documentary on Netflix on the dangers of social media) and drama workshops (Form I girls will have a workshop with Hero Starts with Her). On Thursday morning, all pupils will have a dedicated workshop on bullying, tailored to each year group, and on Friday all pupils will be asked to wear a College jersey (from any sport) to show that we all belong to one team and are united not divided. All pupils will further explore the topic of bullying in SPHE lessons this week, but also in other subjects by individual teachers.

Art/Photography Project

Many thanks to those who sent a photo of their hand or drawing of a hand. Below are some of the received entries … many thanks again!