In October 2019 the College held the enormously successful first-ever researchED event in Ireland, with 350 visitors on the campus throughout the day listening to a series of stimulating presentations on best practice in education. Read a report on that day here.  Check out the short video below.

The 2020 event had to be cancelled due to Covid-19, but now plans are advanced for the second event in Ireland, on Saturday 24th September.  Again we have a truly excellent line-up of speakers: see the conference page.  Tickets are just €40, including lunch, and can be purchased there, or directly from the Eventbrite page. In 2019 tickets went very quickly, so get in early…

researchED Dublin from St Columba’s College on Vimeo.

We are delighted that our first open event on campus for prospective pupils since September 2019 will take place on the evening of Thursday 19th May, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

This will be an opportunity for pupils seeking entry in 2023, 2024 or 2025 at any age to see around the College with their parents. There will be a reception, followed by introductory talks, and then short tours given by Junior pupils.

If you would like to come to the Open Evening, please contact us via email – admissions@stcolumbas.ie – or phone 01-4906791.

Congratulations to Transition Year pupil Cheuk Yin Wong on winning the final of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Story of Your Stuff‘ video competition. The competition is designed so that entrants consider the global consequences of local actions. It asked pupils to research the life cycle and environmental impact of an everyday item – such as their toothbrush – or activity – such as travelling and to present their findings in a creative way. At St. Columba’s, TY Geography pupils took part with Cheuk Yin’s entry – a video exploring the story of tissues – being shortlisted for the final.

Cheuk Yin attended an online event early today (Wednesday, April 6th), while on the College ski trip in Austria, and was announced the overall winner. He wins the top prize of €500 for the school and €500 for himself, as well as the honour of winning this fantastic competition. You can watch Cheuk Yin’s excellent animated video below … congratulations!

 

Congratulations to the following pupils on receipt of one of the Senior Art Prizes.
Senior Photography Prize.
‘Blurred Time Series’ by Alice Letort, Form V.
Senior Craft Prize.
‘Finite Infinity’ by Antonia Ladanyi, Form V.
Earl of Meath Art Prize, Senior.
Time and tide wait for no man’ by Georgia Goodbody, Form IV.

Ms Kent-Sutton, our Librarian, writes:

Book Week has returned to the College after a small hiatus with teachers getting into the spirit of things by decorating their classroom doors with designs based on their favourite books.  Thank you to all the staff members who took time out of their busy schedules to decorate their doors and talk to pupils about their favourite books.  Copies of the “books behind the doors” are available to borrow from the Library.

The Library extended its opening hours to play host to some book-based activities.  There were some new books trapped in a lockbox that could only be released with a special code.  Literature inspired clues were provided each day to help crack the code.  Well done to Matteo Tafi whose perseverance paid off to claim the first book; happy reading Matteo.  We also had some mystery literary guests to supper in the Library too.  They left some interesting clues behind so good work to everybody who correctly identified them!

Our Junior Book had a longer than usual meeting this week and we enjoyed a very lively discussion about our chosen title, Savage her Reply by Irish author Deirdre Sullivan.  We also voted for our next Book Club read, The Hobbit!  If you would like to join us, copies of the book will be available to borrow from the Library after the Easter break.  Pupils were also given the opportunity to redesign the College bookmark, keep an eye on the Library notice board to see what design was chosen.  Professionally printed versions of the bookmark will be available in the library next term so keep your eyes peeled: they go quickly!

While our author visit had to be postponed until next term, we are very much looking forward to welcoming author Richie Conroy, who will speak about his career path into writing and his current position as Scríobhneoir Cónaithe Gaeilge DCU.

It is good to see the spirit of reading is alive and well at SCC.  Remember the Library regularly adds new stock throughout the year and remains open at lunchtime for browsing and borrowing!

 

The Warden writes (10th March 2022):

I haven’t blogged much this year, perhaps because there is a limit to how often people need to read my thoughts about coping with the pandemic and life has been dominated by that for so long. Now, of course, just as life is returning to normal, we are facing even more serious challenges in Ukraine and the world seems like a rather dark place. Ironically, from a school point of view, there is much to look forward to as Spring arrives and the daffodils begin to add colour to the campus. However, it is hard to be too upbeat when so many are suffering so much elsewhere.

Let me stay off the politics and the pandemic…it is that time of the year when I remind the school that my father scored the only try of the match for England v. Ireland at Twickenham in 1952 in what must go down as the most absurd game of rugby in history. The match was supposed to have been played in February but was postponed, for the first time ever, because King George VI died. It was rearranged for the end of March and so had to be played then regardless of the conditions. In those days, there was no such thing as health and safety or concern for player welfare and matches never got called off!

A few years ago I found the footage from the match on YouTube. In fact I found two different versions of the same match. Both are magnificent. The older among you will remember that when those leather balls got wet they swelled up and become like a bar of soap, which helps to explain the chaos that you see. The commentary of the shorter is wonderful, while the longer one has more footage and ends with an Irish player trying to start a snowball fight.

You can watch the two clips below.

Sport is not real life, but it can provide a great distraction in tough times. I hope this cheers everyone up!

In case you are confused, a try was only worth three points in those days, hence the final score of 3-0. Oh, and good luck to Ireland on Saturday. It is always a great occasion, but I hope you will not be too disappointed by the result.

 

It has been yet another busy term so far for Transition Year pupils, with a wide range of activities taking place outside of their normal (and not so normal) classes. There have been visiting speakers, days out and workshops to keep them occupied. Here are a few short pupil reports on some recent events, beginning with a report from Hannah Bergmann on a recent talk from Jackie Fox about the tragic tale of her daughter Coco.

Today we had a talk about a serious and very important topic, which is, unfortunately, becoming more and more common these days. It was very emotional and not only I was very moved by it. It was about the consequences of cyberbullying and physical abuse. To bring us closer to this, Jackie Fox told the story of her daughter Nicole, who took her own life as a young adult after she was abused both mentally and physically. She told us in great detail what happened to Nicole and what went wrong. Especially the sad video at the end of the talk made us all realise what bullying can do to someone and how important it is to do something about it. In the end, I could say that it was probably one of the most emotional talks so far. Although it was very sad, I am thankful that Ms. Fox had the strength to make us understand how important it is to prevent bullying, which I definitely learned from this talk.

We are very grateful to Jackie for taking the time to speak with our pupils about this incredibly important yet difficult topic. It was powerful, with a lingering message. Hugo Laurenceau reports from a recent visit from Patricia Clancy from the Irish Adoption Authority.

Patricia Carey, CEO of the Irish Adoption Authority, came to St Columba’s to talk about The Legalities of Irish Adoption. We were very lucky as a TY group to get this opportunity to listen to someone with so much experience in a field we don’t often talk about. At the beginning, I was expecting that Patricia Carey was going to talk about things I already knew, but the process behind any adoption is so interesting with lots of legal aspects to it. The complex work of getting a child into the right family is so hard and time consuming, but thanks to their work it is possible. I learned so many cool facts about adoption and fostering children that I did not know prior to the talk, but now I and hopefully the rest of TY saw how hard and rewarding it is to place a child with a suitable family. Patricia Carey and her team do tremendous work.

Finally, Catalina Mertes reports on the latest TY activities day which saw our pupils bounce their way around Jump Zone and think their way around GoQuest.

On Tuesday the 1st of February, the whole Transition Year went on a fun trip. We did not know where we were going, because the teachers wanted to keep it a surprise. On the bus ride we were speculating what activities were planned for the day. When we arrived at GoQuest we got split up into groups and had to try to complete as many challenges as possible. Each challenge was in a small room and you had a certain amount of time to complete it. Most of the challenges could only be solved if we worked as a team. I really enjoyed this. After GoQuest we went to JumpZone, a trampoline park. Everyone had a lot of fun there and we tried all of the different games and challenges the park had to offer. I think trampoline dodgeball and the game where you could fight each other with big rolls were the most popular. On our way back to the college everyone was tired but very happy. We had a really great time solving problems in teams and bonding with the whole year.

Aside from these activities, many pupils have also taken part in an architecture project. Next week, all will begin their planned work experience. We are grateful to the many companies and individuals who have provided our pupils with their placements at this unusual time.

Below is the TY photo album, constantly updated and cataloguing photos from throughout the year.

Despite the difficulties, the sports programme in the College continues at full pace, with additional coaching and measures in place to ensure safe participation. The school timetable is adjusted over the winter months to maximise the opportunity for afternoon sport. There have been plenty of rugby, hockey and basketball fixtures over the past few weeks while pupils were also able to play golf, tennis, cross-country running, archery and attend the gym in the afternoons.

Form V pupil Tom Larke returned from representing the Irish under-18 Clubs Rugby squad in an international fixture against Italy, over half-term, to help the Senior boys continue their solid season to date. While unfortunately they were eliminated from the cup by a strong Gorey side, the Seniors are now building for their league campaign in the new year. It has been great to see 35 players representing the 1st XV this term, showing the depth they are building. The Juniors were very unlucky in the quarterfinal of the Duff Cup losing a very tight game against St. Conleth’s (their first loss of the season). They will now concentrate on their league quarter-final after Christmas. The Form I boys have continued to grow in confidence and have had some great performances and results including beating De La Salle and Newpark in a blitz just before the end of term. They’re pictured above after defeating their “arch-rivals” Headfort School. Many thanks to Mr. O’Herlihy, the Head of Rugby, and all the teachers and coaches who help ensure our teams are enjoying the sport while also being competitive in their respective leagues.

The hockey seasons continues at an extraordinary pace, with weekly fixtures for both boys and girls, across the age range. The girls’ squads have had great success with notable wins for Senior XI against Kilkenny College and the Minor A’s against Mount Sackville, courtesy of a goal from Clara Seeling. The boys’ squads have also been playing well. The Minor XI had some great performances of late, including a great win against Wesley Bs. The Junior boys’ had some tight matches, unfortunately finishing on the losing side in recent matches. The Senior XI secured second place in their league after two excellent play-off wins against Mount Temple (1-0, goal by Andrew Maguire) and Wesley B (2-1, goals from Antonius Kruse, Johannes Pabsch).

In basketball, the Senior boys continued their league campaign with matches against Blackrock, Temple Carrig, Woodlands College and Avondale, with mixed fortunes. They are a young team and improving all the time. The girls’ squads have been playing well in their respective leagues. The Cadettes (under-16) had good wins over Loreto Dalkey, Coláiste Ráithín and Temple Carrig in recent weeks while the Seniors fell to the same opposition in tight matches.

The latest edition of the pupil magazine, The Submarine, has now been published, and can be read online via Issuu here. The new editors are Isabella Treacy, Elizabeth Hart and Phoebe Landseer.

Elena O’Dowd reviews this year’s book club choice, All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue, there is poetry by Marianne Lee and Delia Brady, essays on Grades by Alexia Fantacc, on Victorian London by James Breatnach and on BDD by Isabella Treacy and a rugby report on First Form by Ethan Robertson, as well as a selection of the best Young Adult fiction this year.

Art work is by Felicitas Boecking,  Max Kinsky, Paul Schilling, Calvin She, Zining Wang, Antonia Ladanyi, Ellen Bevan, Helma Worringen and Alice Letort.

The members of the Pupils’ Council are organising a Christmas Jumper Day in aid of the homelessness charity Focus Ireland. Pupils and staff are asked to wear Christmas attire on Saturday, December 11th. So, get that Christmas jumper, Santa hat or whatever cheerful yuletide attire you own and show your support for Focus Ireland. Pupils, parents, staff and friends of the College can donate using the widget below.

There’s a common misconception that Transition Year (TY) is a “doss-year”, that nothing happens and pupils are bored and rarely challenged. Well, judging from the exceptionally busy programme of events the TY pupils at St. Columba’s have been involved in so far, we can safely say that is not true.

We have a large, diverse, enthusiastic and hard-working Transition Year group this year. While their teachers have been challenging to develop academically, the TY Co-ordinator, Mrs Ann Kilfeather, and her team have been extremely busy providing them with opportunities to develop their interpersonal and extra personal skills.

Earlier in the term, the pupils visited the excellent Causey Farm where they participated in a range of bonding and team-building activities. There was fun and mayhem too with bog jumping, sheep herding and bread-baking. Every year, our TY pupils remark on how much they enjoy that first trip to Causey Farm each year and this year was no exception. We’ve had visiting speakers including former governor of Mountjoy Prison John Lonergan, who remains as engaging as ever, and others from Team Hope (who co-ordinate the excellent Christmas Shoebox Appeal) and the Peter McVeery Trust (more on that to come). They also took part in a motivation and leadership workshop with The Super Generation.

This week is designated the Transition Year Community Week and the pupils had no formal lessons, instead participating in a range of projects aimed at increasing their awareness of cultural, sustainable and equitable community involvement. They all visited Dublin’s Pheonix Park, soaking up the historical, ecological and cultural elements in Europe’s largest urban park. They then visited Dublin Zoo, touring the amazing facilities there before enjoying a presentation on community conservation and sustainability. Two large groups of TY pupils donned their high-visibility vests and travelled to nearby Marlay Park and Sandymount Strand to pick up litter. Continuing that theme, back in the College, some pupils built sustainable bird feeders in an effort to increase biodiversity in the College while others planted vegetables in the new sustainability garden.

There has been a lot of fun this week too. A hike up nearby Kilmashogue Mountain, baking brownies, scones and flapjacks (all delivered and donated to the Rathfarnham Parish Hall), wrapping shoeboxes for the Team Hope appeal and pitching tents for their sleep-out in aid of the Peter McVeery Trust, a wonderful homelessness charity. That sleep out took place last night and luckily the weather stayed dry, although it was very cold. Well done to all who took part, including the staff who supervised.

So, as you can see, it’s been a jam-packed eight weeks for our TY pupils. A “doss-year” I hear you say … I think not. See a selection of photos from the various TY activities below.

 

It has been wonderful to see the full sports programme return this term, with the necessary regulations being followed carefully to ensure a safe yet enjoyable experience for players and coaches. It’s been an extremely busy eight weeks for our young athletes. The full games programme is now up and running with daily training for the traditional College sports (rugby, hockey, basketball) being supplemented by our excellent AGC (Athletic Gymnastic Conditioning) programme, tennis, polocrosse and golf.

In hockey, the red, white and green jerseys are back on the field with over 40 competitive girls hockey fixtures completed already. It’s been similar number of fixtures in the boys game, with plenty of potential from all our young athletes. The senior boys were unlucky to lose their All Ireland qualifier recently to Newpark Comprehensive. They battled back to score at the death, forcing a shoot out, but narrowly lost. Many congratulations to Form III pupil Harry St. Leger who captained the Leinster Under 16 squad during their inter-provincial series. The basketball season took a little longer to get going, but training did take place in the September sunshine before going indoors when the restrictions allowed. There have been a number of friendly fixtures played to date with competitive league games beginning after half term. In rugby, the senior squad have had a good start to the season with convincing wins over De La Salle and St Conleth’s and a close loss to Templeogue College. The senior development side played a very competitive fixture against Clongowes earlier this week but came out second best to a well drilled side. The junior squad are off to a dream start with three wins from three and are showing amazing potential. The Form I and II boys have played some very good matches against De La Salle and Mount Temple also and will look forward to more games after half term. More individual honours: congratulations to Form V pupil Tom Larke, he has been selected to represent the Ireland Under 18 club team against their Italian counterparts (in Italy) over half term.

Experienced horse riders have been the opportunity to play polocrosse (a mixture of polo and lacrosse) and the fine autumnal weather has provided plenty of opportunity to play tennis and golf (on our excellent and challenging nine hole golf course). There are some exciting developments being announced soon about our golf programme – stay tuned!

The best place to find details on our sports fixtures, and their results, can be found on our Twitter feed.

The College has a rich tradition of supporting the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal, a wonderful charity that collects and delivered wrapped and packed shoeboxes full of toys and essentials for some of the poorest children in the world. The College community generally wraps and fill over 200 boxes per year, a project driven by the Transition Year pupils and ably assisted by Mr Paul Cron.

Last year, due to the pandemic, there was only an online campaign and the College community donated over €800 from Transition Year fundraising projects, with boxes assembled and delivered to children in need across Africa and Eastern Europe.
This year we are back to doing a normal campaign and we are raising money through mini-companies to buy fillers and asking people to donate fillers (details below).

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.

Applications for Day Pupil Spaces, September 2022

Applications for day places for entry in September 2022 have been open since Friday, October 1st and will close tomorrow Friday, October 22nd. Applicants will be notified in writing of the decision on their application in the week beginning Monday 8th November, 2021.

For more information visit the Admissions page here.

Transition Year pupils will be taking part in the College’s first ‘Sleep Out’ in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust which works with the homeless population of Ireland. The Sleep Out will take place on the night of Thursday October 21st, 2021. We are appealing for generous donations to the Peter McVeery Trust, with all donations going directly to the charity. If you wish to donate please visit our iDonate page here.

Peter McVerry Trust is a national housing and homeless charity committed to reducing homelessness and the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage.

The charity provides low-threshold entry services, primarily to younger people and vulnerable adults with complex needs, and offers pathways out of homelessness based on the principles of the Housing First model.

We look forward to reporting back on a successful event and fund-raising drive. Stay tuned to the College’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Congratulations to the pupils who were recently elected to the Pupils’ Council for the academic year 2021-2022. The pupils meet regularly to discuss important issues and help in the policy making process in the school. We wish the luck.

Form I: Alberto Sanchez Nistal & Marianne Lee

Form II: Lou Sacolax & Polly Pringle

Form III: Bella Fennell & Jamie Casey

Form IV: Cheuk Yin Wong & Rachel Shaw

Form V: Solomon Babajide & Ellen Bevan

Form VI: Peter Taylor & Róisín Northcote

Verlaine Bolger reports on the recent Form V Art trip to the National Gallery of Ireland.

On Monday morning, our Art class took the bus to Dublin city centre to the National Gallery of Ireland. It was a beautiful day to be out in Dublin. This visit was linked to what we have been studying in class. We had previously been learning about the Modernist Movement in Europe  before switching to look at the Irish Modernist painter, Jack B. Yeats and his artwork. It was exciting to be able to go and view his work first-hand. We entered the gallery and were separated into three groups. We met our guide who started with an introduction to the background of the exhibition, the artist and the 84 oil paintings we were about to see. The main theme of the exhibition was “Painting & Memory”. Each one of us had a worksheet which asked us questions about some of the paintings and allowed us to take notes about what we saw and what we liked.

I thought this outing was different from usual as it was directly linked to what we are already studying in our Visual Studies lessons. It afforded us the opportunity to look at the topic from all possible perspectives and of course inspire each one of us for our future art pieces! By doing this I got an overall deeper understanding of the artwork by Jack B. Yeats and the topic of Modernism that we have been studying. Doing this collectively with my friends and amazing art teachers Ms Cullen and Ms Murphy was a lot of fun and made us all want to do these types of visits more often. 

This year’s theme for our annual anti-bullying campaign is “One Kind Word”. There are a wide range of activities planned for the week with an emphasis on kindness and positive engagements. On Monday morning, every pupil and staff received a little slip of paper describing a “random act of kindness” and challenged each member of the school community to take part. There has already been a fantastic response, with plenty of reports of pupils and staff going beyond normal expectations.

We welcome Monica Roe, writer and physical therapist, to speak with Forms I and II about key conversations and Mike Sullivan, from Humourfit Theatre Company, who performed his one-man show ‘The Mighty Bully Brady’ also for Forms I and II. All pupils and staff took part in a workshop this morning, examining various aspects of bullying, with Form VI doing so over coffee and cakes in a “coffee morning” style conversation. There’s “bonding bingo” for Forms II, III and IV, an odd-sock day (celebrating our individuality) and a team and relationship building workshop for Form VI in Larch Hill.

In addition to these activities and workshops, there is a special chapel programme, a library display, an art project in the Warden’s garden on the theme of “one kind word” (see the photo above) as well as specifically designed lessons in English, SPHE and Art.

Bullying Awareness Week is designed to celebrate our individuality but also our community; both are equally important and not mutually exclusive. Be kind everyone!