Tag Archive for: TY

There has been lots of activity in Transition Year since their work experience week and half-term, especially for those involved in the Gaisce President’s Award scheme. Some community service was carried out in and around the school while the pupils were also thanked for their contribution to The Hope Foundation. Recently, they helped raise €860 for the charity which works with street children in Calcutta. We were grateful to Alpana Delaney from The Hope Foundation who visited the College to speak with the pupils about the work they do and present them with certificates recognising their work. The Gaisce pupils also volunteered at a charity auction for The Hope Foundation at the Ballsbridge Hotel, which yielded over €20,000 for the charity.

Some TY pupils took part in the Careers in Screen Day 2022, a joint initiative from the Irish Film Institute and Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.  The day started with a showing of The Racer followed by a discussion panel including the film’s Director Kieron J Walsh along with his producers and the Director of Photography. There were talks on Costume Design, Casting, Animation, and the National Talent Academy along with model-making and interviews. It was a terrific day!

Finally, TY pupils from Sustainability and Gaisce modules recently volunteered at our local Whitechurch National School to prepare the foundations for the construction of their outdoor classroom (pictured above). They did fantastic work and we look forward to continuing this work seeing the final product after the Easter break.

Again, many thanks to Ms Kilfeather and all her team for the great work they do with our Transition Yeat pupils.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over the half term we would greatly appreciate if you could make up a box/boxes or collect some fillers for the boxes or even empty shoeboxes and bring them back to school after the break. All completed boxes or fillers can be brought to the collection point in Gwynn or left at the staff common room. You can also donate online via the Team Hope website.

Five simple steps to follow:

Get a shoebox, wrap the box and lid separately with Christmas paper (we have already wrapped 150 boxes, so if if this is too much hassle fill one of our boxes)

Decide to whom you want to give your gift (boy or girl) and what age: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

Fill the box = use our 4 W’s as a guide (Wash, Write, Wear, Wow – more details below)

Close the box with an elastic band – please don’t seal with tape as the contents of each box have to be checked to comply with regulations.

Please include the €4 for transport in your leaflet envelope either on top of the gifts or taped to the inside of the lid.

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

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

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

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

Transition Year is like no other year in the Irish education system and even a global pandemic couldn’t stop it from delivering. How Ms Kilfeather and her team of minions managed to provide the vast array of meaningful activities for this Transition Year (TY) group, in these extraordinary circumstances, we are not quite sure. Impressively though, the pupils reacted accordingly and engaged fully right throughout the year, be in online or in person.

In this final term, our TY pupils continued their fine efforts in class but remained busy outside the class too. They kicked off the term by attending TYTalks21, a brilliant online conference organised by IBEC featuring talks on future careers, entrepreneurship, inclusion, diversity and much more. They also took two full days away from the classroom, participating in ‘Activities Days’. The first day saw them play hurling, bake brownies and cupcakes, experiment with tie-dye t-shirts, learn to knit and play petong and croquet. The final activities day wrapped up their year. There were speeches, awards, an ice-cream van, a drone video and games (even some “accidental” acrobatics from the staff).

The ‘Spirit of Transition Year’ Award aims to recognise the pupil who truly embraced the opportunities presented during TY and this year Marco Trolese received the trophy with Elys Walker a close second. Marco was due to spend his Transition Year in a school in South Africa but, due to the pandemic, his plans changed and he remained in Ireland. He dived head-first into everything; he leaned to cook, coached club hockey, trained as a lifeguard, lead the F1 in Schools team and earned his Silver Gaisce Award along the way. Congratulations to Marco!

Speaking of Gaisce Awards, congratulations to the fourteen TY pupils who received their medals from the President. Full details  about the Gaisce Awards here.

Gaisce (meaning “great achievement”), The President’s Award, is a self-development programme for young people aged 15 to 25. There are three categories: Gold (for people aged above 17 years), Silver (16 years) and Bronze (15 years). To achieve a President’s Award, you set a demanding challenge for yourself in four different areas of activity:

  • Community involvement – for example, helping older people or learning first aid or lifesaving skills
  • Personal skill – for example, learning a musical instrument, computer skills or driving
  • Physical recreation – for example, swimming, football or tennis
  • Adventure journey – for example, a cycling, canoeing or hiking group trip

Congratulations to the following pupils who completed the programme during their Transition Year, both in the College and during lockdown, and will later receive their medal in a presentation box, a certificate signed by the President and a lapel pin. Well done to all! Hopefully some will decide to continue with the programme and achieve their gold medal in the coming years. Many thanks to Ms Lynch who coordinates the Gaisce Awards in the College.

Bronze Awards:

Hugh Bevan, Matilda Pringle, Nina O’Flynn and Elys Walker

Silver Awards:

Liam Campbell, Johanne Raitz, Nikolai Foster, Marco Trolese, Caleb Owen, Ellen Bevan, Elena O’Dowd, Kate Higgins, Isabel Warnock and Emily McCarthy.

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

Táimid ag ceiliúradh Seachtain na Gaeilge ar aon leis an tír go léir. Ar ndóigh, caithfear na gníomhaíochtaí go léir a bheith déanta go fíorúil. Tá súil againn go nglacfaidh gach duine páirt – ní gá Gaeilge a bheith agat!

We are celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish week”, it actually lasts for two weeks!) along with the rest of the country. Obviously, all activities will have to be carried out virtually. We hope that everyone will take part –  you don’t need to know Irish!

  • Comórtas póstaeir: tarraing póstaer a leiríonn seanfhocal /
  • Toraíocht Taisce: faigh na rudaí ar an liosta agus déan colláis astu / Treasure Hunt: find the things on the list and make a collage from them.
  • Dialann Sheachtain na Gaeilge: tabhair faoi deara na focail agus nathanna nua a fheiceann tú, a fhoghlaimíonn tú, a chloiseann tú, a deir tú, a deir daoine eile, a sheolann tú / Seachtain na Gaeilge Diary: note down the new words you see, you learn, you hear, you say, others say, you send.
  • Focal an lae (15 Márta ar aghaidh): focail Gaeilge a choistear sa Bhéarla in Éirinn / Word of the Day (15 March onwards): Irish words that are heard in English in Ireland
  • Tráth na gCeist (sna ranganna Gaeilge idir an 1 agus an 17 Márta) / Table Quizzes (in Irish classes between the 1st and 17th March)
  • SCC Gaeilge ar Instagram: leathanach nua atá bunaithe againn chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn mar theanga bheo, spraíúil, thaitneamhach, nua-aimseartha. Lean muid! Beimid ag lorg ealaíontóirí a bheadh sásta pictiúr próifíle a dhearadh dúinn le linn Sheachtain na Gaeilge. / SCC Gaeilge on Instagram: a new page we have set up to promote Irish as a language that is alive, fun, enjoyable and modern. Give us a follow! We will be looking for artists to design our profile picture during Seachtain na Gaeilge.
  • Among Us as Gaeilge: Beidh daltaí na tríú bliana ag cur liosta foclóra le chéile ionas go mbeidh sibh ábalta ‘Among Us’ a imirt trí mheán na Gaeilge / Among Us in Irish: Third Year pupils will be putting a list of vocabulary together so that you will be able to play ‘Among Us’ through Irish.

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.

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

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

 

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

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.

Our Transition Year pupils took a day off class on Saturday last and instead engaged in a series of new activities to engage their creativity and challenge them physically. There was a wide range of activities on offer including yoga sessions, arts & crafts (including Christmas decoration making and book covering), Gaelic games (some promising “wristy” hurlers), baking and more. All activities took place in a socially distanced environment and we are grateful to members of the Parents’ Association for their help in facilitating some of the activities.

An album of photos from the Transition Year 2020 is below, including some new photos of the weekend’s events.

The current COVID-19 restrictions have meant the Transition Year Co-ordinator and her team have had to be more imaginative in their organisation of the year’s various activities. The Transition Year at St. Columba still places a strong focus on academic work but, like many other schools, there is a greater focus on community outreach, physical exertion, building a service culture, team building and extra-curricular activities. Catering for these activities is a challenge in the current climate, but not impossible.

We were delighted that our annual TY team building event at Causey Farm was still able to go ahead, with the Causey Farm team putting strong procedures in place to protect our pupils and staff. Elys Walker wrote a detail report on this last week which can be read here. Another great team building activity was the drone video where the Transition Year pupil paid tribute to the work of health workers across Ireland and Europe. It’s been viewed over 18,000 times on our Facebook page – click here to see it.

Another whole year event was a recent hike to Fairy Castle, the peak of the nearby mountain complex. Kate Higgins writes this report:

We left at 8:30 that morning and the mist was so heavy that it was difficult to see. We were lead by Mr. O’Shaughnessy, Miss.Lynch and Mme. DeFréin and left the College through the front gate. We turned left up Kilmashogue lane and walked up the surprisingly steep hill towards Ticknock. We were then on a forest trail and the trees looked eerie in the morning light with the heavy mist. It wasn’t too cold or windy when we were walking in the forest but once we got out into  the open to walk towards Fairy Castle it was freezing. The wind was  strong and the mist was still too thick to see very far. We came back down on a slightly different route over a path of rocks. Once we got back into the forestry we were sheltered from the wind again. We then made our way back to the college after a very fun and enjoyable walk on the mountain right at our doorstep. Many thanks to those who organised it and joined us. 

We were delighted to once again welcome John Lonergan, the former Governor of Mountjoy Prison, to speak with the Transition Year pupils recently about drugs, crime and his time in the prison. The pupils enjoyed John’s gentle tone in what was a wide-ranging talk. We thank him for his time.

Nikolai Foster reports on the recent series of litter clean-ups undertaken by the Transition Year pupils, who are taking part in the Gaisce challenge series.
As part of the community involvement for Gaisce, we went litter picking. We went down the back entrance and into Marlay Park. We litter-picked along the paths as well as in the bushes, where a lot of stuff is dumped. We continued out of Marlay and went along the road, finding crisp packets and beer cans along the way.”
We are grateful to the Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council for donating litter picking equipment to the TY.

Academic work continues but there is greater freedom to explore aspects of tradition subjects. Verlaine Bolger reports on an interesting activity in her Spanish lessons recently.

Today in TY Spanish class we made “chocolate con churros”. We decided to research Spanish recipes and make this popular Spanish dessert. We split up into three groups, as we had to socially distance. One group started by melting the chocolate in the simmering cream, the second group weighed the flour, butter and mixed this with water and an egg, while the third group were taking care of heating the pans and adding the oil etc…. We ended up with the dough and then piped it into the hot oil. It quickly took shape and the final result, deliciously freshly made sugary churros!! We dipped the churros into melted chocolate and everyone really liked them. The churros were a great success, everyone participated and had a great time! This was my first time making churros and I was very proud of my efforts“.

There have also been opportunities to try new subjects this year, including our new formal lessons in Mandarin.

In summary, it’s already been a busy time for the Transition Year pupils and we have been delighted with their efforts to engage with the various activities, despite the challenging environment. Well done!

Below is a photo album of all Transition Year events which will be updated as the year progresses.

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.

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.