Over the February half term two TY pupils, Safia Walker and Delia Brady, visited Kolkata in India with the Hope Foundation. This is their report.

On the February 8th, we began our journey to Kolkata, a city in northeast India (formally Calcutta). We arrived exhausted on the following day and, after sleeping for a few hours, we visited our first project sponsored by the Hope Foundation. The project was an orphanage for disabled children aged 0-6. While we were there they sang us a few songs and we coloured in pictures with them. That evening we went to a temple and we walked around for fifteen minutes. The next day, we visited the tomb of Mother Teresa and saw artifacts from her life and we played a football match against a boys’ team from one of the Hope Foundation’s homes. Afterwards, we had lunch at the Hope Foundation’s skills cafe where they teach underprivileged individuals skills such as tailoring, cooking, computer coding and programming.  That evening we went to a local market to look around but also to buy traditional clothes for the last night. Dinner in the hotel consisted of naan bread, dahl, vegetables, noodles, rice and chicken in various spicy sauces. Each night there was an evening activity that took place in the hotel after dinner, so that night we got our henna done.

The third day was one of our favourite days. In the morning, we started off with a city tour. We visited a church, saw the Victoria memorial, which is a beautiful building near the centre of the city, dedicated to Queen Victoria. We also visited the gardens and walked along the river Hooghly. Like the day before, we played another football match, but this time with a girls’ team from a different Hope home. They had practised all week and it really showed as they beat every team they played. Our activity that night was a presentation where we watched children perform traditional dancing and we had dinner with them. On the fourth day we got up early to visit a private school outside the city and that’s where you really noticed the road difference between India and Ireland. There were cows on the side of the motorway, motorcyclists driving the wrong way down the side of the road and people just running across. At the school we were welcomed warmly and we did different activities such as yoga, traditional dancing and art. Afterwards, we went to the first of many after school clubs based in a slum. You’ll never forget the look on these kids’ faces when they see you. You’re immediately ushered over to them to talk and play. They sang and showed us dances and we exchanged stickers and toys we brought. That night we did traditional dancing, which from experience is very hard, but beautiful and certainly an experience.

The next three days we visited more schools and crèches, but they were a lot harder to visit as they were in the centre of impoverished communities. Most of the children didn’t speak English, especially the younger ones, but it didn’t matter as we handed out stickers and played with them. On the last night we had our traditional clothes and dancing competition; the girls wore Saris while the boys wore a traditional long shirt.

Unfortunately, it was the last day and we visited our final crèche and visited a girls’ home. These girls were aged 6-17 and were some of the kindest people you would ever meet. They were amazing dancers and presented us with bracelets and home-made cards. When it was time to leave, nearly everyone was in tears. Six hours later we were back in the airport ready to start the journey home and twelve hours later we were back in Dublin. It was amazing to see these kids, who despite having very little in life, were so joyous, and we even met some girls who played cricket for India under 18’s. Overall it was an amazing experience and worth every bit of effort you have to put in to go.

Form IV pupil, Philomena Schneider, reports on the recent College trip to South Africa.

During half term, the Warden and Mrs Boobbyer took a group of 12 senior pupils to South Africa on a school trip. I was one of them and in the following report I’m going to describe the activities in which we participated, as well as our experience in a country unknown to all of us.

The Friday before half term, the 9th of February, we went set off; first stop, the airport. We had two flights; the first one, 7 hours long, to Doha airport which was mind-blowing to all of us in its greatness and creativity. The next flight to Johannesburg took us about 8 hours, which we didn’t notice much, because we were sleeping most of the time. As we arrived in Johannesburg airport, we quickly found our luggage and went off to take the bus to Tiger Kloof, the boarding school where we would be staying. The Warden was the former principal of that school, so he knew almost everyone already. It was a very warm welcome, equally by the people and by the weather. Because we had a lot of traveling behind us, we just unpacked and got to know four very nice prefects who were greeting us in the evening.

On Sunday we started off with our programme, which this day included a walk around the school grounds after breakfast. This ended up being a 7 km walk, as the school is around 10 times bigger than St. Columba’s. On this walk we discovered the quarry and some ruins of old buildings. Chapel in the late afternoon was a very different experience than what we are used to. People were dancing and singing out freely, which, from my point of view, was great fun and not at all comparable to our chapel services. During this service, we first came across the amazing marimba band. This day was very exciting for everyone, so we talked about our experiences while playing cards after dinner, before we went to bed at around 11.00 pm.

Monday, the actual work started. Again, after breakfast, we made our way to the nearby primary school where we were supposed to help with classes and play with the kids. There was a little awkwardness on our side, but the kids soon were all in and had us playing with them until we couldn’t do anything any more. But that was not the end of the day yet! We had lunch after the primary school project and at 4:00 we went on to have two workshops. The first one was about how to do gumboot dancing and the second one about how to play the marimbas. Nobody from our group knew anything about either of these activities, so we watched and learned. It was very interesting to see how they would dance and it was very funny seeing them trying to tell us to loosen up a little.  It took us a few tries, but in the end we mastered at least the basics. Later that night we went out to dinner, where we got to witness a thunderstorm, which was really impressive. The rest of the night we played cards again until we went to sleep.

Something different was planned for us on Tuesday. We went to help Mamma Maria cook and serve food in a soup kitchen which she supervises. Because we were done with the food quickly, we went next door to play with the kids in day-care who were about 2 or 3 years old. Then it was time to serve the  aforementioned food to the people who came. The soup kitchen was located in Vryburg’s township, Huhudi, so most of them were starving and very happy about the meal they got. At around 2:oopm, we went to get our own lunch, of course, after helping Mamma Maria to wash the pots and plates. In the afternoon, we went to church again, where this time, a cultural evening was held by the Tigers. The marimba band as well as the gumboot dancers were performing. From our side Cerys was the only one brave enough to go forward and play something. It was rather spontaneous, so everyone who wanted to contribute anything could do so. For dinner we were supposed to cook our own meal, which was a chicken stew. Split into 4 different groups, we cooked it over an open fire and in the end, a “Jury” got to test it and determine a winner. This evening we went to bed early.

We got to hear the early bird song on Wednesday, at 5:30am. The sunrise walk was, in my opinion, very early, but totally worth it. It was really spectacular seeing the sun rise above the quarry, from where we were watching. Because it was so early, most of us went back to sleep right after it, to have a little rest before breakfast. This day, we were again doing the primary school project and got to see the kids again. Sadly, just short this time, because at 11.00 we drove off to another school to hand out sanitary pads as a part of the HER project at a school with major social issues. Right after it we went to have lunch and to go to a farm which had a huge wedding venue. There, we could do things like horseback riding or Kalahari surfing, but we mostly just played football. For dinner we had a barbecue, or braii, and went back to Tiger Kloof after that.

On Thursday we went to a disabled home, not far from the soup kitchen. It was very humbling to see the conditions under which the staff had to work and the people being taken care of. They were mostly children, but there were also 2 or 3 adults. We helped with feeding them and after a short break, where we went to see a lion farm, we got to play games with them outside and give them their lunch inside. We picked up our own lunch and later that day we went swimming in the quarry, where we played a few games like Marco Polo. For dinner we went to Orexi’s,a steakhouse in Vryburg, and after eating we went back to pack our bags for the next day.

Friday morning after breakfast we got a bus to take us to Pilanesberg. We said goodbye to everyone and off we went. The bus travel was about 5 hours with two short breaks. When we arrived at the game park, welcomes by monkeys, we had to hurry to bring our bags inside and go out almost immediately after, because we had a safari booked for 15 minutes after we arrived. On the first game drive we saw a lot of elephants, wildebeest, and even a warthog and three cheetahs, among many other things. This drive lasted for 3 hours, so when we came back, we jumped in the pool and went straight to dinner. We also went to bed quite early as we had to get up at 6 am the next morning.

As I mentioned, the second game drive was at 6:00 am. This time, the most seen animals were rhinos, which was very exciting. After this safari, we had breakfast and packed our last things. At about 10:00am, we took the bus to Johannesburg and first visited an African market, where everyone got souvenirs and later visited the Apartheid Museum. This taught us a lot about the apartheid system, which was very interesting to me and I wish we have had more time to spend in it. Finally, for the end of our journey, we drove to the airport, where we went on the 8 hour flight to Doha followed by the 7 hour flight to Dublin.

I think this trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I would recommend it to anyone considering it for another year. I brought back lots of memories I won’t ever forget.

It has been another busy half-term for the Transition Year pupils. Some braved the elements in the first week of January for an early-morning hike up Kilmashogue and the following week we had a TY Bake-along and made delicious chocolate cookies. We had a fascinating talk from Law Ed on the Irish legal system and Irish classes had a two-hour drama workshop which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. TY Geography classes visited Irish Aid and the EIPIC Museum in the city centre.

The highlight of the term so far was the TY Carousel Day. Pupils tried out at least three different activities throughout the day, including Barista Training, Segway Driving and Hurling or Croquet. We also had a very impressive talk and workshop from The Reptile Haven and we all had the chance to get up close and personal with tortoises, iguanas, lizards and snakes.

This week, TYs are out on their second week of work experience and some are heading off to Kolkata with The Hope Foundation and others on the South Africa Trip. We look forward to hearing about all of these experiences upon their return.

The first eight weeks of Transition Year 2023-2024 have been typically hectic. In the classroom, the pupils continue to expand their knowledge and skills across a wide range of subjects and most recently received their Junior Cycle results. While we place a strong emphasis on academic progression in TY at St. Columba’s, there is still plenty of opportunity to explore interests beyond the classroom.

So far this term, the Transition Year pupils have welcomed Stephen Kiernan (motivational speaker), Alex Hibbert (Arctic explorer), John Lonergan (former Governor of Mountjoy), Fiona Boobbyer (expert on human trafficking) and Stephen Conway from Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal. Visiting speakers are a great way of expanding the worldview of the pupils and we’re enormously grateful for all those who come and speak with our pupils.

There have also been several expeditions, with a visit to Flynn Park for outdoor activities an early highlight. They’ve also visited the Seán O’Casey Theatre to see ‘Bullied’, an excellent play on the theme, which was a Bullying Awareness Week activity. More recently, the TY biologists visited Dublin Zoo for an evolution workshop and, of course, had a chance to see the impressive animals there and explore the conservation work taking place there.

Charitable work is always at the core of our programme and we’ve been delighted to help fundraise for the Hope Foundation and Team Hope. The Transition Year pupils also organised a ‘Colour Run’ to help raise more funds for the Hope Foundation – it was a brilliant, colourful event and will surely cement itself in the College calendar.

The annual TY House Speech competition also took place. There was a high standard overall. Rebekah Fitzgerald Hollywood and Safia Walker were equal second, the clear winner being Grace Koch with her account of her great-grandmother, Freda Ulman Teitelbaum – you can read her speech here.

This week, the Transition Year pupils are completing their Community Involvement placement. This new addition to the TY programme sees every pupil work with a charitable or not-for-profit organisation, gaining valuable insight into teach charity but also building their knowledge of the world of work.

There’s been time for some fun activities too and most recently the TY pupils honed their pumpkin carving skills.

Well done to Ms Lynch and her team for putting together and coordinating the complex machine that is the Transition Year.

You might imagine things slow down for Transition Year pupils at this time of the year but it is the opposite in fact. As the year draws to a close, the pupils continue to develop their knowledge and skills and we reflect on and celebrate their achievements in a range of academic and extracurricular endeavours.

Away from the classroom this term there was a 50km hike along the Wicklow Way (pictured), a visit to the School Summit careers fair, a trip to Nowlan Park in Kilkenny for a hurling match, a visiting speaker from DePaul, volunteering with The Hope Foundation, sailing in Dun Laoghaire, the Viking Splash tour, a forensics workshop and a TV production workshop in Maynooth; all over six short weeks.

Recently, four major events focused on the Transition Year pupils’ academic achievements. Shannon Walker Kinsellawon the TY Academic Prize with her project on ‘fear’, judged by former SCC teacher Alan Cox. Clodagh Walsh won the Alyn Stacey Cup at the TY Modern Language Evening while, at the TY English Evening, ‘Premier Awards’ for English were presented to Aeladh Bradley-Brady, Cajetan Cardona, Carlotta Castagna, Amber Cotton, Ava Fagan, Emilia Hager, Manuela Nassief, Melina Paulsen, Shannon Walker Kinsella, Clodagh Walsh, Alison Wang and Johanna zu Solms. (Click here for a full report on the TY English Evening on the College website). The remaining academic prizes were awarded last night at the final Transition Year Awards & Prizes event with full details here.

Two other prizes were awarded last night also. Elliot Warnock was presented with the Spirit of Transition Year award, for embodying the philosophy of TY, and Ciara Finn was presented with the Transition Year Award for Outstanding Resilience.

It has been a bumper year for our Transition Year pupils and huge credit and thanks must go to Ms Lynch and her predecessor Ms Kilfeather for their extraordinary work in building and maintaining such a vibrant, rich and varied programme.

The annual Transition Year Prize evening tonight featured an overview from Ms Lynch, the TY Co-ordinator, of the huge number of activities the pupils have taken part in this year. Pupil speakers on their experiences included Tomas Echevarria, Catejan Cardona, Mario Ramirez Miranda, Hedley Butler, Ayodeji Ediale and Harry Smith Huskinson, while Alison Wang sang and accompanied herself on piano. Plenty of pictures and videos gave a fine overview of the year. Ms Lynch thanked her team of teacher-colleagues, and paid tribute to her predecessor, Ms Kilfeather.

Academic awards were made in these subjects:

English: Manuela Nassief
Maths: Fee Pirata Schmack
French:  Nooria Nakschbandi
Irish: Molly Mann
Spanish: Carlotta Kirschner
History: Cajetan Cardona
Geography: Ben Sykes
Biology: Melina Paulsen
Chemistry: Tomas Rosa Echevarria
Physics: Alison Wang
Design: Amecie Rose
Art: Keelin Bradley-Brady
PE: Frida Campe
Music: Harry Powell
Classics: Aeladh Bradley-Brady
Economics: Clodagh Walsh
Business: Cajetan Cardona
Religion: Alba Perich-Godo
In addition, the TY Academic Prize went to Shannon Walker Kinsella (presented at the St Columba’s Day celebrations on Saturday, and the Alyn-Stacey Award for Modern Languages went to Clodagh Walsh,

Finally, two non-academic awards were made:

Spirit of Transition Year – Elliot Warnock
Transition Year Award for Outstanding Resilience – Ciara Finn

On the evening of Tuesday 30th May we had the 28th annual Transition Year English evening in the BSR (and so, with two years out for pandemic reasons, this event started 30 years ago). The formula has remained little changed: pupils read out interesting work they have written during the year, and a guest speaker associated with English comments on this, and speaks on wider issues. There is no competitive element: this is a pure celebration of writing. At the end of the evening the pupils receive their year’s grades.

This year our guest (who had also come several years ago) was Mr Toirleac O’Brien, former English teacher at Blackrock College (his comments are in brackets after each speaker). The evening was compèred by Mr Jameson.

The first reader was Ava Fagan, with a special memory this year about a scuba-diving trip (so richly descriptive – wonderful). She was followed by Melina Paulsen, who wrote about her first Irish train journey (a delightful piece, with entrancing dialogue). Clodagh Walsh was third, with a short story including the sentence ‘Suddenly there was no noise’ (it opened effectively in the middle). Amaya Street wrote about her memories of her early homes (this looked at how your life might have turned out differently). Jamie Casey then read Alba Perich’s story of first love (very bravely!), followed by a very different piece, Manuela Nassief’s ‘Waterfall’ (with incredible observation, a remarkable piece of writing). Aeladh Bradley-Brady next read her highly ‘imaginative’ piece about losing one sense – hearing. Finally, Iona McCausland wrote on a long-time favourite personal topic, ‘The Oldest Person I Know’, in her case her complicated grandmother (it was deliciously eccentric, with a lovely way of seeing things).

Mr O’Brien then gave us some heart-felt sentiments on the future of writing and reading, particularly given the new AI world we have moved into so recently. His passionate advocacy for books was striking. He finished by commending all the readers on their bravery in reading so personally and intimately in front of their peers.

Finally, congratulations to the Premier Award winners: Aeladh Bradley-Brady, Cajetan Cardona, Carlotta Castagna, Amber Cotton, Ava Fagan, Emilia Hager, Manuela Nassief, Melina Paulsen, Shannon Walker Kinsella, Clodagh Walsh, Alison Wang and Johanna zu Solms.



Our Transition Year pupils will spend the week after half-term on work experience, which is a fantastic opportunity to explore the working world and discover if a particular career area might interest them. We wish them all the best of luck and thank all the “employers” for facilitating our pupils’ experiences.
As per usual, there has been plenty of opportunity for our TY pupils to learn outside the classroom this term, through various workshops, trips and visiting speakers. We’re thankful to David Rane and Neasa Ní Chianáin who presented their new film, Young Plato, and facilitated a Q&A. Other talks this term included ‘As I Am’ – an Autism Awareness group and the Hope Foundation on their work in Calcutta. All of TY visited the Objects of Love Exhibition for Holocaust Memorial Day at Dublin Castle, a fascinating yet harrowing event. There were two Irish language activities in January – a table quiz hosted by nearby Gaelcoláiste an Phiarsaigh and an Irish language drama workshop. Our TY pupils were actively fundraising for charity also, selling lollipops for the Oesophageal Cancer Fund and the Hope Foundation.
There was another Activities Day, with pupils getting to experience yoga, self-defence and barista training. Individually, many TY pupils continue to work towards their Gaisce award by completing at least an hour of Physical Recreation (their chosen College sport), Community Involvement (mentoring younger pupils) and Personal Skill (choir/music/languages) each week. Our TY pupils have also been participating in a series of in-person and online workshops including at the Centre for Talented Youth medicine course, Trinity College Dublin TY Computer Science Week, Look into Law Bitesize (The Bar of Ireland) online course, the University of Limerick Health Sciences online course, the National Rehabilitation Hospital online seminars and the Royal College of Surgeons mini online courses in Medicine, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy.
Finally, Ms Lisa Lynch has taken on the role of Transition Year Co-ordinator from the start of this term. We must thank Mrs Ann Kilfeather for her stellar work with TY over the past six years and wish Ms Lynch the best of luck in her new role.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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