Congratulations to the winners of the 2020-21 subject prizes, normally presented at the St Columba’s Day celebrations, but this time by the Warden at Whispering House during recent days. They are:

Mann Oran Old Columban Society Scholarship Form I
Pollock Sophie John Bevan Classics Prize Form I
Finn Ciara Junior Craft Prize Form II
Mann Molly Bertram Walsh Prize for Irish (Junior) Form II
Wang Alison Junior Poetry Prize Form II
Dementyeva Ekaterina Junior Spanish Prize Form III
Goodbody Georgia Earl of Meath Prize for Art (Junior) Form III
Kutner Noah Richard Hayes Crofton Prize for Geography (Junior) Form III
McKee Alannah Junior Science Prize Form III
McKinley Cameron Junior Photography Prize Form III
Shaw Rachel Junior Classical Studies Prize Form III
She Calvin Technical Graphics Prize Form III
She Calvin Sandham Willis Memorial Prize for Mathematics (Jun) Form III
She Calvin Arthur Barton Prize for History (Junior) Form III
She Calvin Christopher Cosgrave Memorial Prize for French (Jun) Form III
Treacy Isabella Junior English Prize Form III
Xu Coco Junior Music Prize Form III
McCarthy Emily Aroti Sisodia Music Prize Form IV
McCarthy Emily Drama Prize Form IV
Walsh Monty Senior Music Prize Instrumental Form IV
Warnock Isabel Drama Prize Form IV
Babajide Akinkunmi Chemistry Prize Form V
Chavasse Iona Senior Craft Prize Form V
Chukwueke Jurre Richard Hayes Crofton Prize for Biology Form V
Clare, Theodora Christopher Cosgrave Memorial Prize for French (Sen) Form V
Hopkins T.J. Physics Prize Form V
Hopkins T.J. Bertram Walsh Prize for Irish (Senior) Form V
Johnston Avi Geology Prize Form V
Johnston Avi Willis Memorial Prize for Shakespeare Form V
Letort Alice Black-Macken Prize for Photography Senior Form V
O’Connor Marcus Sandham Willis Prize for Music Form V
Cleary Sinead Senior English Prize Form VI
Doenhoff Gioia von Senior Spanish Prize Form VI
Doenhoff Gioia von Bulbulia Prize for Economics Form VI
Doenhoff Gioia von Senior Classical Studies Prize Form VI
Eichhorn Paul-Henri Sandham Willis Memorial Prize for Mathematics (Sen) Form VI
Grakhovskaia Polina Design and Communication Graphics Prize Form VI
Kolat Eliz The Earl of Meath Prize for Art (Senior) Form VI
Ní Chíanáin Éile Agricultural Science Prize Form VI
Segui Davalillo Blanca Applied Mathematics Prize Form VI
Twietmeyer Kaspar Business Studies Prize Form VI
Williams Elise Richard Hayes Crofton Prize for Geography (Senior) Form VI
Yan Oscar Arthur Barton Prize for History (Senior) Form VI






Effective schools value, encourage and listen to the voice of their pupils. School leadership no longer resides simply in the Headmaster’s office and the role pupils play in creating a values-based culture is equally important to the actions of management and staff. We are extremely lucky at St. Columba’s to have a pupil body who uphold the values of the College everyday and take pride in helping those around them. Later today, the Warden will announce the Prefects for 2021 / 2022 and their role as school leaders is extremely important; however, there are leaders right throughout the school and these annual Leadership Awards aim to recognise and reward pupils who embody Columban values and lead by example in all that they do. All of the winners have been nominated for these awards from either pupils or staff and they each received a certificate in recognition of their award, presented to them during Form assemblies this week.

The winners of the Leadership Awards 2021 are as follows. Congratulations to all.

Form I

Dairbhre Murray

Ryan Ovenden

Felix Jellett

Form II

Alison Wang

Sebastian Dijkstra

Form III

Ryan Murphy

Tomas Dwyer

Cameron McKinley

Form IV

Marco Trolese

Johannes Pabsch

Nikolai Foster

Antonia Ladanyi

Form V

Jurre Chukwueke

Thomas (TJ) Hopkin

Avi Johnston

Enda Johnston

Mika Sacolax

Johanna Harms

Form VI

Ailbhe Matthews

Alannah Hassett

Eva Dillenberger

Tim Otway-Norwood

Angus Peacock

Pupils of the College had some excellent results in the national finals of the Bebras Computing Challenge. Notably Alison Coogan, who received a merit award based on her score, featured in the top 10, narrowly missing out on one of the top three places. Elliot Warnock (picture) did one better, placing third in his age category. Old Columban Alexander Fought also took part in the finals and his score placed him close to the top 10. Others who competed listed below.

Cadet Category (12-14)
Alexander Fought
Sean Lang
Manuel Montez Perez
Elliot Warnock Cadet

Junior Category (14-16)
Alison Coogan
Leonid Mylvaganam
Elena O’Down
Tyrone Shi
Ella Taylor

On Thursday 22nd April, pupils and staff shared photographs of what they were doing to celebrate Earth Day. Sharing photographs is a nice way to connect and check in with one another, especially during periods of distance learning. We celebrate Earth Day to continue promoting environmental awareness and to remind us that we can protect the earth in our everyday lives. “At the heart of Earth Day 2021 is optimism, a critically needed sentiment in a world ravaged by both climate change and the pandemic,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of We received wonderful entries from both pupils and staff including; small positive changes people made for Earth Day such as cycling, gardening, finding alternatives to single use plastics, and photographs capturing the beautiful landscapes, plants and animals of our Planet Earth. Thank you to all who entered. Entries can be seen in this album:

The latest edition of the pupil magazine, The Submarine, is now online and can be read here in flippable form.

Editors Avi Johnston and Edna Johnston have gathered pupil writing and artwork by, among others, Zofia Cannon-Brookes, Isabel Warnock, Isabella Treacy, Lorne Walsh, Vivian Tuite, Vanessa McEvoy, Lou Sacolax, Ryan Ovenden and Elys Walker.

Thanks also to Mr Jameson, as ‘patron’ of the venture.

“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’:






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 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.