Abbey VS Newsletter – 10th Sept 2018

Welcome Back

The Staff and management of The Abbey Vocational School would like to welcome all of our students back to school. It has been a very eventful first few weeks, surely a sign of the good work and good times for the year ahead.

Leaving Cert Results

Congratulations to each and every one of our Leaving Cert students. We are so proud of you all. The Leaving Certs results this year was once again excellent and well ahead of national averages. Each of our students reached beyond their capacity and expectations so each one of them should be so proud of themselves. Many of them go on to pastures new so we wish them all well in this regard.  Once again they head too many diverse new courses and careers.  We had many students who achieved over 500 points as well as 600 so well done to those on this fantastic achievement. Here is a flavour of where some of these students will go –

  • Nóirín Boyle, Commerce at UCD
  • Emma Boyle, Creative writing with Arts (English, Psychology and History) at NUIG
  • Emma Glenn, Primary School Teaching ST Pats at DCU
  • Aine Gillespie, Media Studies and Spanish.  Maynooth
  • Anna Griffin, Commerce (International) with Spanish NUIG
  • Laura O Donnell, Computer Science and Information Technology at NUIG
  • Erika Price, Law and French at Trinity
  • Caoimhe Lusson, BA in Arts with Creative Writing at NUIG
  • Connor Mc Goldrick, Science at UCD
  • Roisin Ward, Psychology at DCU
  • Orlagh Coughlin, Law and Marketing at Maynooth
  • Lia Mc Intyre, Speech Pathology at Strathclyde Glasgow
  • Kailan Mitchell, Environmental Science at NUIG
  • Cathal Canavan, General Business at DCU
  • Eilish Mc Govern, Bachelor of Nursing science (General) at NUIG
  • Shaun Kee, Enterprise Computing at DCU
  • Johnny Weitbrecht, Aviation Management at DCU

First Year Induction

We are delighted to welcome our new first years to the Abbey Vocational School. They are by now beginning to find their feet and settle in. They took part in a two-day induction programme, which went extremely well. Our first year Year Head is Ms. Caroline Feeney and Tutors are 1A Ms. Murray 1B Ms. Cunningham 1C Ms. Logue 1D Ms. Dunnion 1E Ms. Canning 1F Ms. McPartlan 1G Mr. O Neill.  Ms. Carr is our first year general support teacher and Ms. Kane is our first year learning support person.

The first years also participated in a series of workshops as follows:

Bullying and Cyber Bullying delivered by ZEEKO

Topics covered in the session included:  Cyberbullying, Digital Footprint, Online Relationship and Excessive Screen Time. Inappropriate Content. The Internet and the Law.

They took part in a wellbeing workshop which included bonding activities such as – Ice breakers and then play a few short games which focus on individual strengths such as communication, observation, problem solving, team strategy etc.

We will be holding a first year parents Information Night on October 4th to assist you in supporting your son/daughter during this transition.

Study Skills

Leaving Certs

The study skills guru and motivator Michael Bond will spend the day delivering study skills courses to our Leaving Cert students.  This Co. Galway man is known to many for his exploits on the side-line of hurling pitches the length and breadth of the country, having brought the Offaly Hurling Team of 1998 to All Ireland success. However his skills extend far beyond the GAA grounds of the nation, he is also widely acknowledged for his skills of communicating with young People and Michael will work with our Leaving Certs around focus motivation and planning for a successful leaving cert year.

Third Years

The third year study programme delivered by Amazing Brains will empower the student to:-

  • Become empowered by investigating the incremental theory of intelligence – the idea that your intelligence can grow
  • Apply the growth mind-set and understand that effort and focused practise matter more than IQ
  • Practise success visualisation and goal setting
  • Investigate the link between learning preferences, study and revision
  • Learn and devise visual and sound mnemonics
  • Manage on-going assignments and coursework
  • Practise effective methods of reading, summarising and note taking
  • Develop specific, personalised time management techniques
  • Identify individualised revision strategies
  • Prepare for sitting exams


Second Years

Amazing brains will help your students:

  • Understand how their brain, learning and memory work
  • Investigate how their brain constantly grows and changes in response to their environment and to what they experience
  • Challenge and to re-think the notion that anyone has a fixed level of intelligence
  • Develop effective homework habits
  • Become familiar with target setting, specifically in relation to study
  • Understand the importance of collaborative learning
  • Investigate the optimum conditions of the ‘perfect study environment’

First Years

The first year of secondary school is crucial to enabling students to develop both the mind-set and study habits to succeed at school. If those habits can be embedded at this early stage then the journey through second level education can be smoother and much more rewarding.
Blast Off is an upbeat, interactive and fun programme that has been designed to captivate, motivate and educate young people about their brain and learning. It aims to create a success-oriented mind-set amongst students, boost academic performance and foster a positive, lifelong attitude to learning.
This programme is guaranteed to reinforce and compliment the work being done by teachers in the school.

Student Voice

Ms. Eileen Carr assisted by Ms. Sophia Mulrain are our teachers who are leading out on student voice. Student Voice is a very important part of the success of our school and we continue to develop this area this year with the introduction of class captains. We hope to have a full list of captains compiled shortly for all classes. Our Leaving Cert students have submitted a Prefect application form for the role of Leaving Cert Prefect. These students will be interviewed in the coming weeks and a team of prefects for 2018/2019 selected. Thank you to the many students who have submitted their application forms. The Student Council will be elected in the coming weeks. This Council is also a representative body of students who actively input into the school.

Computer Science Room Officially Opened

We have officially opened our new computer suite for our Leaving Certificate students.

The computer suite has been fully kitted out with state of the art computers, 20 PCs and 10 laptops, which have been funded by Letterkenny based company Pramerica. The school is one of only 40 schools in the country and one of only two in Donegal who were chosen to offer the new Leaving Certificate Computer Science subject to twenty-five of their students starting this September.

The computer science subject was offered to our students last year and the take up was very high. We could easily have filled quite a few classes. Pramerica have made it possible to further extend and enhance the teaching of this subject to more students in an enhanced way. The Pramerica logo of a rock which symbolises durability, dependability and reliability is something we want to model in terms of what we do here in the world of computer science.

The school plans to be proactive in promoting the subject amongst female students in the school and have looked at studies carried out in this regard with a view to taking on board the many recommendations evidenced.

Dr Martin Gormley, Director of Schools, Donegal ETB, said “this day is all about the students and Donegal ETB will do everything it can to support them all.”

Gerard Grant, Vice President of Technology at Pramerica stated, “The students are exceptional and we were delighted to support this new venture in any way that we could.”

The suite was officially opened by Andrea McBride, Vice President of Systems at Pramerica. Also in attendance were Gerard Grant, Vice President of Technology and Shane Grant, Director of Facilities Management, both at Pramerica. Other guests included members of the Board of Management including Chairperson Geoffrey Browne, Gabrielle O Donnell, Mary McGuckin, Chris Darby and Oliver Plunkett, Parents Association Chairperson Patrice Duffy, Donegal ETB’s Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley, Town Mayor Mr Pauric Kennedy, the AVS ICT team and computer science students.


Transition Year

Our Transition Year has got off to a busy start this year.  This year sees our group’s big as ever and the core team is Ms. Rooney Mr. O Donnell Ms. O Mahoney and Ms. Harvey. The Year Head is Mr. Griffin. The bonding trip takes place this week where all of our students head off to Gartan Outdoor Education Centre. The below list outlines some of the up and coming events for TYs.

PE Activities – Surfing, Swimming, Yoga, Self Defense, Bfit Fitness Class, Zumba, Drama Workshops, Dance Workshops, Bonding Trip to Gartan, Ploughing Championship trip, Students Enterprise day, Law Course, Road Safety Roadshow.

English trip to Theatre to see Drama production, NUIG Trip – careers.

Alan Devine – Public Speaking, Spanish Workshop, Musical (Beauty and the Beast), Personal Safety/ RSE, GAA Future Leader Course, Architects in Schools Course, Sports Leader Course, FAI Course, Spike Ball Course, First Aid Course.

Young Social Innovator Course TY Mini Company Competition Interview skills course.

Drama Workshop

Ms. Rachael O’Connor visited the school this week to deliver a drama workshops to all TY students. She employed a variety of techniques and games which allowed the students to use their imagination and develop social skills. This workshop was thoroughly enjoyed by all.



Two members of the Healthy Schools Committee will be attending a training day on 25th September in Letterkenny. Following this event the committee select a focus for 2018/2019.

Motivational talk

The school are very lucky to welcome Katie George Dunlevy  to the school this Monday.  Katie is a double paralympian and world record holder. Katie has spoken to school students in Sussex, where she lives, and also in Mountcharles. Her talks are based around encouraging young people to take up sport.

Katie George DEL

First Year Gaelic Football Blitz

Congratulations to all of our first years who took part in a Blitz on Friday last. Thank you to Mr. Griffin who organised the Blitz in conjunction with John Joe O Shea. The day went very well and the AVS fielded two teams. One of the teams took the Shield trophy and the other team were runners up in the final where St Columbus Stranorlar beat them narrowly. Thanks to the Four Masters for the use of their pitch and to Mr. Mc Loone and Mr. O Donnell for assisting in the running of the event as well as to the many teams who took part.

School Activities:

The School Activities Calendar has got underway. Students are encouraged to take part in all extra-curricular events in the school.

We kick off with the following events – more to follow

 Lunchtime  Physical Activities

Mr L Mc Loone Monday Sportshall 2nd Year Boys Games
Mr G Gorman Monday Tennis Courts 3rd Year Boys Games
Mr O Mahony Tuesday Sportshall 1st Year Boys Games
Mr C Hegarty Tuesday Tennis Courts Senior Boys Games
Ms O’Mahony Wednesday Sportshall 2nd & 3rd Year Girls Games
Mr J Daly Wednesday Tennis Courts TY Boys Games
Ms Harvey Thursday Sportshall 1st & 2nd Year Girls Badminton
Mr Monaghan Thursday Tennis Courts 2nd Year Boys Games
Ms Rooney Friday Sportshall 1st Year Girls Games
Mr O Donnell Friday Tennis Courts 1st Year Boys Games
                                             Competitive Sports
Michelle Gallagher Athletics Gym & Track Wednesday 3.30 – 4.30pm
Michelle Gallagher Cross Country Track Thursday Lunchtime
Stephen Carty

Siobhan Mogan

All Boys Basketball Gym Monday 4 – 6pm
Ms O’ Mahony 1 & 2nd  Girls B Ball Gym Thursday 3.30 – 5pm
Claire Breslin U 16 & Sen Gym Tuesday 4 – 5.30 pm

Friday 3.20 – 5.20pm

Chanel Kane Girls GaelicU14 Pitch Mon 4 – 5pm
Amanda Sweeney U16 Girls Gaelic Pitch Mon 4 – 5 pm
Patrice Rooney Sen Girls Gaelic Pitch Mon 4 – 5pm
Mr O Donnell

Mr L McLoone

Boys Gaelic


All weather Tues 4 – 5pm
Mr Carty

Mr Lafferty

Boys U 16 Gaelic Football Pitch Thurs 3.30 – 4.30pm
Mr Leyden

Mr Monaghan

Boys Senior Gaelic Football Pitch TBC
Mr O’Mahony Boys Soccer


Pitch TBC
Mr Daly Boys Soccer U17 Pitch TBC
Mr Gorman Boys Senior Soccer Pitch Wednesday 3.30 – 4.30pm
Mr Plunkett Golf
Ms Mc Partlan

Rosemary Myers

Girls Active Library /

Parish Hall

Thursday 3.30 – 4.30pm
Mr O Neill Hurling All Weather pitch Lunchtime – day TBC
Rosemary Myers Camogie Pitch TBC
Non-Sports Related Activities – days to follow
Name Club Venue Time
Aisling Walls Spanish Club for All Classroom Lunchtimes
Sean Donegan Drama Library Lunchtimes
Claire Breslin Choir Room 16 Lunchtimes
Eileen Carr Trad Group

School Musical

Room 13 Lunchtimes
Deriona Giblin Drama

Public Speaking


Irish Club

Classroom Lunchtimes
Monaghan Science Club Science Lab Lunchtimes
Emer  Mahony Choreography Library Lunchtimes
Amanda Sweeney Coordination of girls Irish dancing Library Lunchtimes
TBC ICT/ Coding club Lunchtime

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