Tag Archive for: Extracurricular

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!

 

The Model United Nations is a fantastic extracurricular schools programme, involving schools participating from all over the world. It challenges students of all abilities to develop skills and improve confidence. The Model UN simulates the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, assigning countries to individual schools and asking them to speak and work on behalf of that country, usually on a specific issue e.g. climate change. Recently, the College Model UN team (supported by Dr Robson) took part in an online Model UN Assembly. Form V pupil Kate Higgins reports:

Last Friday January 28th 2022, our team of 12 delegates and 3 research assistants logged into a zoom conference modelled after the COP26 climate change conference that was held in Glasgow last November. Schools from countries all over the world, such as Australia, China, and the UK, joined us each assigned to represent countries other than their own. Our team was assigned China and, over the period of 3 weeks, we met after school to research China’s approach to climate change and formulate our responses to the various resolutions that had been put forward.

On the day itself, the zoom conference had almost 150 people logged on, and the conference started at 10am for us here in Ireland. First up were talks and introductions from various speakers along with an opening speech from a delegate from each school. Ours was delivered by Wong in TY who even got a special mention from one of the chairmen after the debating and is definitely a very talented speaker.

It was then around 11 o’clock when the debating began. We were divided up into 3 break-out rooms depending on which resolution would be debated. Within my break-out room, we were speaking about the phasing out of coal and subsidies, while the other 2 were about carbon tax and the protection of vulnerable communities. Two hours were to be spent in these break-out rooms debating anywhere between 8 and 12 clauses, however, within my own break out room we spent the entirety of the two hours only the first 4-5 clauses and ran out of time to finish the rest, showing how dedicated every delegate was.

Each break-out room group had their own successes, my fellow delegates and I successfully argued for the removal of the 2nd and 3rd clauses, these clauses penalised low-income countries and made no allowance for historically differentiated carbon emissions. Our proposed amendment to the 4th clause was adopted, this made allowance for lower-income and developing countries to maintain strategically important fossil fuel subsidies while they progressed towards phasing out coal. We were also commended for our positive contribution and strong arguments with a special mention in the General Assembly for Cheuk Yin Wong for his commanding contributions. In the second break-out room, dealing with carbon tax, the delegates successfully amended the 1st clause of the resolution which embedded a higher and incrementally increasing rate of carbon tax contributions for countries based on the length of time for which they have been industrialised. These delegates were commended in Plenary Session (General Assembly) for their substantial and positive contribution. In the final break-out room, discussing climate finance and the protection of vulnerable communities, the delegates were initially thrown by an unexpected vote to delete clause 4 which was their primary target for amendments. They stuck to their task and collaborated very impressively in the ongoing debate, and successfully amended clause 8, concerning sanctions for non-compliance with climate funding commitments.

After these break-out rooms, we had a 20-minute break during which there were pastries, sandwiches and hot chocolate which was very kindly brought to the BSR by the kitchen staff. After our break, we returned once more to our various devices for feedback from the break-out rooms and a word of thanks from each school taking part; our thanks was relayed brilliantly by Elena O’Dowd, Form V. Our entire team consisted of 3 TYs (Cheuk Yin, Elizabeth & Lorne) and 9 Form V pupils (Elys, Isabel, Nikolai, Elena, Georgie, Kamilla, Florian, Monty, and I), then, of course, we had 3 Form V pupils helping with research in the lead up and on the day itself who can’t go without mention, MacKenzie, Elle and Tadhg. Of course, none of this would have happened without the brilliant planning and coordination of Dr Robson and a huge thanks is in order, it truly was a brilliant experience.

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.

 

Congratulations to Form V pupil Tom Larke who has been selected as part of the IRFU U18s Clubs rugby squad for the upcoming international match against Italy U18s on 30th October in Treviso. Tom will train with his squad during the half term break before travelling to Italy.

Tom’s success emanates from his recent involvement with the Leinster Rugby U18 Club side, where he twice started at out-half for Leinster in the interprovincial series against Munster, Connacht and Ulster. He is a key player for the Senior squad and plays his club rugby with Old Wesley RFC.

The whole school is extremely proud of his achievement.

 

We wish the best of luck to our F1 in Schools Team (Marco Trolese, Caleb Owen, Monty Walsh, Carl Krenski, and Florian Zitzmann) who take part in the Virtual National Finals this weekend. The competition is broadcasting on the F1 in school YouTube channel from 7PM on Thursday the 20th of May, Friday 21st of May, and Saturday the 22nd of May.

The team put in a great performance on Thursday evening at the time trials and you can watch their race in the video below.

On Saturday the 22nd of May, the winners of the following awards will be announced:

Best Engineered Car,

Fastest Car,

Best Social Media,

Best Newcomer,

Best Enterprise & Pit Display,

Innovation Award,

Women in Motorsport,

Best Team Identity,

Best Verbal Presentation and

Best Communicators.

On Sunday the 23rd of May, the televised National Finals will be broadcast on TG4 at 8:30PM where they will be announcing the National Champions 2021.

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 EarthDay.org. 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:

Bebras is an international initiative aiming to promote informatics and computational thinking among school students at all ages. It is run in over 50 countries and takes place every November. The aim is to get students all over the world to get excited about computing. The challenge introduces computational thinking to students where they are required to solve interactive tasks. These tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about computational thinking.

Forty two pupils from Forms II, III & IV entered the Bebras Computing Challenge in November 2020 in their respective age categories. Of there, nine pupils, listed below, have succeeded in gaining entry to the Bebras National Final based on their score from November. This is a fantastic achievement considering there was close to 6000 pupils who entered the competition in these two age categories. The finals will take place on Tuesday 20th April 2021 as part of Tech Week 2021. The pupils who made the final are:

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

“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!)

We would like to thank all pupils and teachers for embracing Science Week Nov 8th – 14th. We managed to incorporate an extensive variety of activities with plenty of fun and competitiveness.

Paper Airplane Challenge
Hugo Laurenceau won both Junior competitions with a distance of 23.45m and longest time in the air of 6.34 seconds. While Bruno Marti won the senior competition.

Junior Science Class Rocket Building Winners
A number of classes participate in the Film Canister rocket challenge, despite the weather we had numerous successful launches (and unsuccessful!). Notable rocketeers include Ivan Zhu and Harry Powell (2C), Elliot Warnock, Keelin Bradley-Brady and George Priestley (2B), Aeladh Bradley-Brady, Bella Fennell and Iona McCausland (2A), Sam Hayes, David Chukwueke, Ryan Ovenden (1A) and Matthew Houlihan and Oscar Liu (1B)

Poster Competition –‘Choose your Future’
Our poster competition entailed designing a poster to highlight this year theme – Choose your Future our Form 1 winner was Polly Pringle and the Form 2 winner was Hedley Butler

Junior Movie Night
Our Junior Movie night theme ‘Wear it – Eat it – Use It’ consisted of three short movies which the pupils watched during prep. The main objective to focus on sustainability. The best reflection was submitted by Sarah Cron, which can be read below. Our TY Pupils also got the opportunity to watch the latest David Attenborough Documentary – A life on our planet.

Senior Movie Night
On Friday night the senior pupils had the opportunity to watch the controversial documentary – Virunga. The story follows a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist – protecting this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. A very thought-provoking watch and definitely worth adding to your Netflix list! A huge thanks to those pupils who attended the event.

Science Riddle of the Day Winners

Monday: Kate Higgins, Avi Johnston, Jamie Casey
Tuesday: Joshua Chan, Calvin She, Rory O’Dowd
Wednesday: Solomon Babajide, Nikolai Foster, Alannah McKee
Thursday: Ciara Finn, Amaya Street, Carlotta Castagna
Friday: Keelin Bradley-Brady, Caleb Owen, George King
Saturday: Jemima Bunbury, Sinead Cleary, Yilong She
Teacher Winners Ms Kilfeather and Mr Canning

A shout out to some pupils who entered every day: Avi Johnston, Solomon Babajide, Nikolai Foster, Kate Higgins, Pascha Shvalov, Ciara Finn, Carlotta Castagna. A special mention to Mr McDonald and Ms McEeaneny for entering all riddles!

Science Kahoot Challenge
No science week would be complete without a Kahoot, we had a huge amount of entries with Amber Cotton winning the Junior Prize, Pavlov Shvalov winning the Senior Prize. A big shout out to Mrs Owen for winning the teachers’ Kahoot!!

Many thanks to our wonderful Science Department for organising the week’s event especially Ms Hennessy and Dr Rice.

Some Science Week Prize Winners!

Sarah Cron – A Reflection on Wear it –Eat it – Use it

On Wednesday 11th November as part of Science week we watched three short movies – the theme – Wear it –Eat it – Use it – looking at sustainability through the life cycle of tee-shirts, chocolate and plastic bottle.

Wear it – I had no idea how much water was required to produce one tee shirt and I also didn’t realise the impact the chemicals used have on rivers that affect ocean wildlife. The process of making a tee shirt is much longer than you’d think it is. It was also interesting to find out that the fashion industry has a serious effect on the environment as its generated a lot of greenhouse gases during its production and transportation of the millions of tee-shirts purchased each year. I also learned that cheap synthetic fibres emit gases like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2, is crazy to think about.

Eat it – This movie looked at the cocoa industry, from the cocoa plantations in Africa to the shelves in our shops. It’s unfortunate and unfair that the workers for the cocoa plants are under paid and don’t earn enough for basic needs. If chocolate is worth 4 billion pounds per year how is it fair for the cocoa farmers to live off £0.80 a day! Fairtrade is a great organisation, in my opinion, they are helping local farmers and their communities, helping to provide better farming technology, clean water and schools to advance their children’s education. In these cocoa-producing countries, women often have less access to land than men do so for a company being able to make a difference and give women their own independent income makes a huge difference. Buying Fairtrade products can really help people’s lives in the long term.

Use it – Our third movie looked at the life cycle of a plastic bottle. I never knew that it could take a water bottle 1000 years to decompose and I think it’s very sad that plastic pollution is having on a huge range of habitats around the globe. These three videos were all very interesting and definitely made me think.

The Form IV Art set had a busy Trinity term. Alice Letort explains the work they undertook over the past 6 weeks. 

The Form IV distance learning project this term was to create a ‘Virtual Wall of Tools’. The project comprised a number of steps. We started by learning the shape of tools by doing some blind line drawings as well as positive and negative space drawing. Then we studied Jim Dine, and his tool drawings before moving to the experimental printing section of the project. Jim Dine is an American Pop Artist. We were able to take inspiration from his black and white tool drawings. We all had great fun composing and printing the tools with shoe polish, paint, and any other material we could find at home!  Next, we started focusing on one tool by doing a detailed observational drawing. 

Now we were ready to start the final part of the project which lasted 2 weeks. It consisted of creating  3D tools with cardboard. We first had to plan the construction and then build them. It was a challenge to make the mechanism of the tools function but many of us achieved it. I created pruning shears in which the hinge fully functions!  When all of them were done, Ms Cullen created the ‘Virtual Tool Wall’.

I had a lot of fun this term trying all these new techniques, especially the experimental printing because I never practised it before. I also enjoyed building the 3D tool, it was fun and complex.

Luke O’Neill is a Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin and one of Ireland’s leading science figures. He has been a prominent figures on Irish radio and TV over the past number of years and in particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing evidence-based advice for the general public on minimising the risk of contracting Covid-19.

We are delighted to announce that Professor O’Neill will host a live webinar for pupils, teachers and parents on Friday April 24th at  7:00pm. The title of his presentation is “A frenzy of activity: vaccines, antibodies, anti-virals and anti-inflammatories against COVID19“.

To join the webinar simply click on FireFly logo above. This post contains the details of the Google Meet link  (you will need to log in to your FireFly portal to access). Professor O’Neill will give a short presentation before taking some questions from those attending (you can add your questions into the “chat” during the webinar).

Form IV (Transition Year) Art pupils have been working on a portraiture-themed project throughout the Hilary Term. This began with a trip to the National Gallery of Ireland to see The Zurich Portrait Prize in late December. Pupils also researched a portrait artist of their choice and the range of artists chosen was wide and varied. This research, along with a number of drawing exercises, prompted and encouraged pupils through the concept and design phase of the creative process of portraiture. The pupils completed the final portrait in the medium of their choice. Enjoy the gallery below.

 

Members of the College “Virtual Alumni Choir” were on Scala Radio in the UK yesterday morning singing Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with Stay at Home Choir and members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Today they will begin the 2nd Stay at Home Choir project: “And So I Goes” by Billy Joel with The King Singers!

But what about our current pupils I hear you say? Well, Sine Nomine Competition Choir (pictured above at the recent Wesley Feis) members have been invited by Boston Children’s Chorus to collaborate with it and other choirs in a ‘Virtual Sing’ this weekend. They will sing a piece called “We Are One” by Brian Tate and they, and the College will be acknowledged for this contribution in a video. Incidentally, below are Sine Nomine members Tania Stokes and Josepha Westphalen receiving their 2nd place certificate at the Wesley Feis.

The College is delighted to announce details of a fantastic charitable event taking place this April – Run til the Sun! On Saturday, April 25th, Old Columban Alex Panayotou – an accomplished long-distance runner – will challenge herself to run for 24 hours around the College campus. She is looking for your support along the way – both financial and physical – to complete this mammoth challenge.

The event is being organised by a committee of pupils, who have decided that all proceeds from the event should go to Purple House Cancer Support – a fantastic charitable organisation based in Bray that provide hands-on practical support for children and teenagers with cancer. They have set up a fundraising page here where all donations, large and small, will be gratefully received.

You will soon be able to sign up to join Alex on a leg of her journey; perhaps you’re willing to run for a half-hour, 10 kilometres or even something more ambitious? You can run in the morning, afternoon, evening or even at night time – with the course illuminated along the way. The event will culminate with a celebratory barbeque at the Cricket Pavillion on Sunday evening.

The pupils have created a dedicated page for the event here and a donations page here. They have a fundraising target of €8000, which would be transformational for Purple House, as the vast majority of their funding is through donations. We were delighted to welcome Purple House to the College Chapel last Monday to hear about the work they did and some of the organising committee visited their facility in Bray a few weeks ago. Alex is a cancer survivor, another reason why the charity resonated with the pupils.

So please do get involved, donate to the cause, sponsor a runner or run a leg of the journey yourself. We would love the whole community to get involved – pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the College and even local primary schools.

Basketball

In basketball, the Senior and Gadette Girls have reached the quarterfinal stages of the league while the Junior and Minor Girls have had great success in all their friendly games this term which is setting them up nicely for their leagues which will start in January. This term traditionally ends with the annual Christmas blitz; there was an abundance of colour, energy and sporting endeavour (oh, and silly hats and tinsel).

Hockey

The boys’ senior team have had a difficult season with a dismal return of only two draws in their 6 league matches.  They have played some good hockey at times but find it difficult to exert enough pressure on opposition defences. There have been some good individual performances along the way but perhaps not enough gelling as a team.

The Junior teams have shown some promise thus far this term. The Junior A team are on track for a playoff match in their league but they will need to win some crucial games against St Kilians and Sutton Park after Christmas. The Junior B team is effectively a Form III team and they are being primed for future success.  They have played five matches only losing one against a strong Newpark team.

The minor team have a lot of potential and they have played some excellent hockey at times. They are in a very tough pool in their league having to play against perennial winners of the league Wesley and St Andrew’s College.  As they continue to improve it will be interesting to see them challenge for the u14 cup.

The U13 team is possibly one of the stronger Form I teams we have had for a while. They had a narrow defeat against St Andrew’s College losing 1-2 in a match that could have gone either way. Their remaining matches are against teams sitting at the bottom of the table and wins over them would boost them into a playoff position. Special mention must go to Harry St Leger who has been playing some fantastic hockey. He also sets a good example in his attitude towards training. Most importantly he is eager to learn from his coaches in order to improve.

Rugby

The rugby teams have been training hard this term.  Even though we lost many sessions to the wettest November in recent history we still managed to play SCT and JCT cup games v Enniscorthy and Skerries respectively. We also played friendlies against Wilsons Hospital, Blackrock, Kings Hospital, Clongowes and Headfort.  Whilst we have struggled against the bigger schools we have performed well in all matches. We look forward to Shield competitions and league knockouts next term.

Judo

Well done to Kate Dementyeva and Georgy Dementiev who competed in the All Ireland Schools Judo Championship and had some good success. Kate won a Silver medal in the Junior Girls <52kg division, and Georgy got a win out of 4 tough matches in Junior Boys <50kg.

Golf

Once our Senior pupils play one of our ‘traditional team’ sports they can choose an additional sport or activity. This year a new initiative was introduced which is proving very popular. Hopefully, it will lead to more of our pupils taking up and playing golf on our nine-hole golf course in their free time. Nine pupils, five senior boys and four girls, are taking weekly golf lessons with Josh Adams a PGA professional in Stackstown golf club. When the weather is too poor be played outside they use an indoor facility featuring a Trackman golf simulator. Our Junior pupils were offered the same optional opportunity on Sundays but there was very little take-up. Perhaps there will be more interest when the weather improves and the days get longer.

Archery

Form IV pupil Avi Johnson reports on archery this term:

On Saturday mornings, we have five academic classes. After that most of us break off to play our respective sports and get some exercise. One sport that is more hidden than the mainstream is archery. Archery is a non-reflexive sport that is as skilled as it is difficult. At 3:30 pm after the mixed basketball is finished, the archery team flock into the Sportshall.

Our coach Pat McLoughlin is always there to greet us. We set up the stands and string up our bows and begin our training. Normally we have target faces to shoot at but this term we have refrained from using them. We do this so that we are not thinking about which coloured ring we are going to hit, but rather how our shooting feels. Without the distraction of the target, we can feel how good or bad our shots are. Our coach Pat will go even further and ask us to close our eyes ‘Star Wars’ style and really ‘feel’ the firing and ‘force’ of the arrow when shooting.

Our team, consisting of Iona Chavasse, Gioia Doenhoff, Zian Wang, Avi Johnston and the new recruits Tessa Pullman and Iris Foster have really improved. The training with no target faces means that we now know how to self improve our shots and fix small mistakes without guidance. Thanks to Pat’s training we are ready for the inter-school competitions coming in the new year.

We aim to repeat and improve on our successes from last year. Team Captain Avi Johnston is confident that her team will be ready when the competitive season hits.

Sports Photos

On Saturday last the annual Sports Day took place. The College was awash with colour and, thankfully, sunshine as the boys and girls competed in a range of events from traditional track and field to tug of war (and everything in between). In the end, it was the Blue Team that triumphed!

That evening our annual Sports Dinner took place in the Dining Hall, celebrating the sporting achievements of individual pupils and their collective teams. The assembled pupils, staff and coaches were treated to an extraordinary speech from our guest Old Columban Alex Panayotou; Alex is an ultra-endurance athlete whose story is awe-inspiring.

College ‘Colours’ are awarded to those who are deemed exceptional in every way in their sport: ability, attitude, commitment on and off the playing field, consistency, reliability, character and courage. This year ‘Colours’ were awarded to Avouka Assebian (Athletics), Georg Mueller-Methling (Hockey) and Orla Conlon Batey, Helen Crampton, Anna Laurenceau and Valeria McQuillen (all Hockey). Congratulations to them.

The following were appointment captains of their respective sports for the next academic year:

  • Athletics (Boys) – Leo Moreau
  • Athletics (Girls) – Avouka Assebian
  • Basketball (Boys) – Pedro Grimalt
  • Basketball (Girls) – Calina Sacolax
  • Cricket (Boys) – Daniel Swift (Vice Capt Thaddy McKeever)
  • Cricket (Girls) – Eile ni Chianain
  • Cross Country – Shannon Dent
  • Hockey (Boys) – Alexis Haarman
  • Hockey (Girls) – Sophia Cole (Vice Capt Megan Bulbulia)
  • Rugby – Thaddy McKeever (Vice Philip Shekeleton)

Below is a collection of photos from the day’s activities, courtesy of Rev Owen.

Form V pupil Megan Bulbulia reports on her recent experience of the ‘Phil Speaks’ debating competition.

When I put my name forward to go to the ‘Phil Speaks’ debating competition in Trinity, I was very nervous about what was to come. What would the motions be? Would I even understand the motions? Would I get lost in the maze that is Trinity College Dublin? And perhaps most importantly, would there really be free pizza there!?

Thankfully I only got lost once and there was pizza ordered in bulk both days! As for the motions, more random than Harry Oke-Osanyintolu had warned us. Our first motion was  “This House Believes that the media has a responsibility to show the full horrors of war.” Katherine Kelly and I had 15 minutes to prepare our five-minute speeches. To say that this was stressful would be an understatement, the 15 minutes flew by and before we knew it we were strongly opposing the motion. It was an interesting and engaging the debate in which we placed 3rd. Not bad we thought, against a strong proposition.

The next motion was “This House regrets the American Dream.” This proved difficult to propose, as the debate became centralised on the concept of whether hard work equals reward, a central idea in our society and of course the educational system.
We emerged from this debate in 4th place but with increasing knowledge of debating strategies and approaches which would prove useful.

After a filling lunch of Apache pizza, we were given our third and final motion of the day. “This House Would delete all social media.” Katherine and I were proposing this motion, we used our gained knowledge of how to coherently structure a debate, forming it almost like a mathematical equation, proving points x and y, to our advantage. This round was a closed round, which means we don’t know where we placed, but our tactics were proving effective and became procedure in our two next debates.

The next morning we registered again, with a slight change to the teams. Katherine and I stayed together while Shannon Dent paired with Dmytro Kasianenko in place of Oda Michel who unfortunately wasn’t feeling well. The motion was announced and Katherine and I had 15 minutes to scurry off to the School of Histories and Humanities Arts Building, (this was when we got lost.) We were proposing the motion that “This House Regrets art that glorifies gaining material wealth”. With Dmytro and Shannon on our tea,m we gave the opposition a united Columba’s front! It was an interesting debate, focused around the excessive wealth of popular musicians and online influencers, each team managed to work an Ariana Grande reference into their speech as part of the ‘Goofball Challenge.’

Our fifth and final debate was “This House Believes that occupying vacant buildings in protest of widespread homelessness is a legitimate political act.” For our last debat,e Katherine and I used all of our gained knowledge from the four previous debates into a strategical and tactical argument. We both spoke for the full five minutes and we felt like we had strongly and convincingly proposed our last motion. Unfortunately, we didn’t earn a place in the Quarter Finals but what we definitely earned was a sense of achievement and a wider knowledge of how to structure and deliver a clear-cut speech within a debate. We also met secondary school pupils from all over the country, and we had an opportunity to explore Trinity also! I would definitely recommend The Phil Speaks Debating Competition to anyone and it was a very enjoyable experience.

Shannon Dent reports on the final round of the senior debate, which took place last week.

The idea of completely getting rid of religion over time seems like an impossible task with a lot of issues at hand. It is a very difficult motion to lean to one particular side. There are pros and cons to each, and listening to this debate was a very intriguing experience and well done to all of those to took part in it.

The debate was between our two finalists, Glen and Hollypark. Glen supported the motion while Hollypark debated against it. William Zitzmann was the very first speaker. He talked about the general issues that have been caused by religion. He didn’t just mention events of the past but also mentioned acts of violence because of religion today! He even played with the thought that Jesus was actually anti religion. William gave a introduction to what Glen believed the motion meant. Their main idea concentrated on how religion and faith are two very different things. The first speaker from Hollypark was next and that was Georgia Keegan Wignall. Georgia gave a very articulate speech about how religion was part of human rights, and how we should be able to decide to follow religion or not. She talked about how religion actually brings people together and helps people deal with the very scary concept of death. Georgia, just like William, gave us the main idea for Hollyparks argument.

Ji Woo Park was next as the second speaker for Glen. He gave eloquent and understandable argument that definitely drew everyone in. He further explained the main argument for Glen; religion and faith are two different things and he gave us some differences between the two. Ji Woo even quoted the Bible and showed us how there are many examples of immoral ideas, such as misogyny. He said that people can be faithful and not have to follow all the rules of religion. He also went on to talk about the vast differences of the world back then and the world now. The second speaker for Hollypark was Catherine Butt. She opened up her speech by asking the audience to imagine what life would be like without religion. She even acknowledged the problems religion has caused but how they didn’t necessarily have to be linked back to religion as these people are extremists. Another very valid point that Catherine brought us was the one of charities and how most of them have been built up by religion. She said “Religion teaches the art of giving and this is not just christianity”.

In Glen’s closing argument, given by Harry Oke, they wrapped up and reiterated some of Glen’s strongest points. He brought the debate back to him and showed us a personal view on it all. He talked about faith and religion once again and he even related back to Catherine’s point of charities and he said that charities would continue as they are built by faith, not just religion and the church. He finished off by saying “A person can be good without religion them to be”. Then Alexandra Murray Donaldson wrapped up by talking about how some people need religion to have a good life. It is comforting and a tradition. She also said that people cannot be restricted from religion, they should be able to follow religion if that’s what they want. She finished off by saying “Religion is part of a person’s family and soul. How would it even be possible to get rid of it”.

In conclusion, the debate was summarized by Mr. McCarthy, one of the judges. He announced the winners, Glen, and the best speaker, Ji Woo Park. He gave a bit of his opinion on the verdict as well as some comments to all the speakers. Thank you to our judges (Mr McCarthy, Ms Morley and Mr Brett), the audience members and to all of those who took part. Finally a big thank you to Ms Duggan for co-ordinating the debate throughout the year.