Weekly Newsletter – 24th Sept 2018

Parents Association

The AVS Parents’ Association Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 11th October 2018 at 8 pm in the school library.  

The Parents’ Association promotes and fosters cooperation between parents, teachers and the school Board of Management to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for the students. The Parents’ Association is also involved in reviewing school policies, provides support for parents in the school and is involved in fund raising activities. The Parents’ Association would encourage as many parents as possible to attend the AGM

The next committee meeting will be on Monday, 15th October 2018 at 8pm in the staff room. 


Junior Cycle Talk for Parents of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year

The new Junior Cycle features newly developed subjects and short courses, a focus on key skills and new approaches to assessment and reporting. An information evening for parents will take place on Thursday, September 24th at 7.30 pm. An outline of the new Junior Cycle will be given as well as details of Assessment Methods and Practices. All parents are welcome. Jacqui Dillon of Donegal Education Centre will deliver the talk on the night as well as Staff members and management


First Year Information Evening

An Information evening for parents of First years will take place on October 4th at 7pm in the school. Ray Langan who over the last 10 years has worked with nearly 30,000 students in over 100 schools. He has a strong track record in the education sector and is a very inspirational and entertaining speaker. He will discuss moving up into secondary school. We will also look at the nuts and bolts of secondary school now that your child has a few weeks behind them and speak to you about a variety of relevant areas of school life.


Leaving Cert PE – New State Exam Subject and Leaving Cert Framework

In February this year, the Minister for Education and Skills announced a small selection of schools to implement either the examinable Physical Education Leaving Certificate subject or the new Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework which is not for examination, or both. 

AVS can consider it itself extremely privileged as a school and more importantly the students within it to have been chosen to phase in both. An incredible tribute given the 369 schools who applied to participate. All of our 5th year students will experience a new modern curriculum for learning in Physical Education (PE).

However one class of 27 students have chosen to undertake the examinable Leaving Certification specification. These students from the outset are learners who have an interest in and commitment to participation and performance in physical activity. They have already begun developing their capacity to become informed, skilled, self-directed and reflective performers in PE. They are a highly motivated group currently discussing and researching the different components of fitness relevant to their chosen activity areas. As a class they have selected Games (Volleyball), Athletics (sprints) and Personal and Exercise Fitness as the areas they will be submitting their performance assessments in. Additionally, each student has also selected a physical activity area personal to their own talents for the creation of Personal Activity Project (PAP). These range from Kayaking to Pole Vault to Golf and many others. This wealth of talent that exists in this unique class group will be the envy of those who have gone before them and will no doubt take full advantage of the opportunity. Plans are currently underway for an official launch of the new subject area and formal recognition of this particular cohort of students in selecting PE as one of their subjects.

Irish club

Ms Giblin and Ms Sweeney will be starting an Irish club to encourage students of all levels to speak more Irish. It starts on Wednesday the 26th September in room 16 at lunchtime. All are encouraged to join.

Career Guidance

  1. A CV workshop for Leaving Certs will take place in the school on Thursday, 04th October. Further details will be given to students by their Guidance Counsellor.
  2. Leaving Certs wishing to apply to UCAS – UCAS registration will take place on Thursday, 27 September in Room 47 @ 11.15 a.m. Your Guidance Counsellor will provide you with further information.
  3. The Guidance Department will take Transition Year students to the NUI Galway Open Day on 05th October. There will be a €10 charge per student. Ms Faherty will collect the money from students on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
  4. Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to AVSDonegal.com, click on the Student Support tab – Guidance.

Please take note of the following dates

Tuesday, 06 November 2018 School Leavers Info Evening


19.00 – 21.00
Tuesday, 05 February 2019 Subject Choices Presentation

(for next year’s 5th Years)

19.00 – 21.00
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 Subject Choices Presentation

(for next year’s 2nd Years)

19.00 – 20.15


Student Voice

The vote has taken place for the School Student Council positions. We very much welcome the student voice in the AVS and we have three channels in which to involve students in the decision making in the school. Each of our classes have class Captains who feed into the Student Council. Our Captains for 2018/2019 have been appointed. We also have a team of Leaving Cert Prefects.  This year the applications for Prefects are now closed and the interviews for Prefects will be held next Wednesday and Thursday. 

School Tour Abroad

This year’s senior educational tour will be to Barcelona, Spain. It will take place during the first week of the Easter holidays – the final dates will be finalised in the coming weeks. All applications must be handed to Mr. Leyden before Friday, 21st September – any late applications will be placed on a waiting list. The tour website will be updated shortly and will display all relevant information regarding this year’s tour.


On Wednesday last, September 12th, the now annual Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador Schools’ Awards ceremony was held at the honourable society of King’s Inns, Dublin. These awards recognised the immense efforts of 99 schools around the island of Ireland who have completed the Ambassador Schools’ Programme, and became actively involved in mental health promotion. The Ambassador Schools’ Programme is one aspect of a wide range of Cycle Against Suicide initiatives and programmes, is school-led, and involves the completion of “Five Gears” over the course of a year, all of which are aimed at raising awareness of the message that “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”. 
The programme provides a framework for schools to integrate mental health activities into the school plan, and rewards schools who go the extra mile. The programme also aims to recognise innovative and effective initiatives, and facilitates schools to share and showcase good practice.
At the special reception, the Abbey Vocational School was awarded the prestigious status of Ambassador School by Cycle Against Suicide in recognition of their fulfilment of the Five Gears, and their exceptional commitment to the promotion of positive mental health.
The Abbey Vocational School was represented at the event by Link Teacher Ms Rooney.  The Ambassador Schools’ Awards ceremony was a great day. It’s wonderful to attend such a positive event, and have the efforts of the students recognised. Our participation in the Ambassador Schools’ Programme has had an enormously positive impact on our school community, fostered a school-wide approach to the promotion of positive mental health, and provided incredible opportunities for student leadership”. Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee, Dr. Harry Barry author and mental health expert and Adam Weaver actor and musician presented the awards to students on what was a very positive enjoyable day for all involved. More information on the Ambassador School Programme is available on http://www.cycleagainstsuicide.com

Active School Flag

Our school is very proud to be involved in the pilot program for the Active Schools Flag this year. Only 3 schools in the country are taking part in this exciting program. Coláiste Bride, Clondalkin, St. Oliver’s CC, Drogheda and ourselves Abbey Vocational school. The University of Limerick and the HSE are also part of the design process for the program and our pupils and staff will be involved in a unique research project in how to solve the global issue of getting our teenagers moving more often.

The Active School flag is a whole school process to move away from the mind-set that the promotion of physical activity is the sole responsibility of the PE department. It is really important that the health, wellbeing, and academic benefits of being physically active are reinforced at all levels ad by many voices throughout the year. The Active School Flag team along with the student leaders will be working hard to get our staff and pupils in AVS moving and enjoying physical activity in many different ways throughout the normal school day and terms ahead.

Our launch of the ASF process kicks off with a school Tug of War competition sponsored by Tug of War Ireland.  The University of Limerick will be visiting the school on September 28th to begin the research on how active our pupils are and how we can get them moving more often.

Big Brother, Big Sister

Big Brother, Big Sister mentoring training took place on last Friday for a selection of TY students. The training was delivered by Finghin McClafferty from Foróige Ireland. In the coming days the TY mentors will be paired up with a first year student to support them in the school. “Big Brothers Big Sisters programme is an internationally recognised youth mentoring programme that forms supportive friendships for young people inspiring them to brighter futures. Big Brothers Big Sisters nationally and internationally is proven through research to improve young people’s wellbeing, improve their social support and relationships with others” (www.foroige.ie)

Transition Year

“An Offaly Long Way to Bundoran!”

At 6:45 Wednesday morning, two buses left the school filled with excited TYs as they made their way to Tullamore for the Annual Ploughing Championships. Three hours later on a bus later and the Ploughing was in sight.  That was until it was cancelled due to strong winds destroying the stalls and tents. Teachers and students alike were left reeling and devastated by the news. But the teachers of the Abbey Vocational School worked quickly to save the day by organising a cinema trip to see a movie in our local cinema Eclipse Bundoran. The longest 6 hours to Bundoran in history. 

Musical Cast Announced

Auditions for the TY musical ‘Beauty and the Beast’ are complete. Students were auditioned for singing, acting and dancing. It was an extremely hard decision and we thank all the 110 students for auditions. The musical this year will take place on the 27th, 28th and 30th November in the St John Bosco centre. Here is the cast and it makes for a really exciting Show!

  • Belle:  Katie Bell
  • Beast: Conal Smith
  • Mrs. Potts: Ciara Joyce
  • Chip: Conor Ryder
  • Cogsworth:  Thomas White
  • Lumiere:   Adam Mazuri
  • Babette:  Hannah Crawford
  • Maurice;   Kevin Canny
  • Gaston:  Frank Cornyn
  • Le Fou:  Oisin O Donnell
  • Mdme Le Grande Bouche:  India Kennedy
  • Monsieur d’Arque: Jack Lennox
  • Narrator:  Fergal O Connor
  • Bookseller:  Christopher Darby
  • Baker: Luke Kelly
  • Enchantress:   Annie McFadden
  • Prince Silhouette:  Frank Duffy
  • Silly Girls:
    • Lily Mc Callig
    • Annabel O’Donnell
    • Aimee Gallagher

Villagers/Gaston’s Gang/Mob/Wolves

  • Jennifer Burns
  • Emma O’Sullivan
  • Gwenaelle Ni Dhonnabhain
  • Anna Borrell Font
  • Evan Gallagher
  • Halim Ademola Egberongbe
  • Richard O Rourke

Enterprise Day

There is an Enterprise Day in Solis Lough Eske for a selection of TY students on Monday the 24th of September. This day will be delivered by the Local Enterprise Board to assist students in their enterprising endeavours. This will help them brainstorm ideas for their mini companies this year and for the Student Enterprise Programme. The Student Enterprise Programme is practical in nature, encouraging students to start a small business of their own choosing, then use their own written report to participate in the programme at schools level, further competing at County level, then at National level.



On Friday 28th September, TY students will travel to Dunlewey to the Lakeside Centre. Students will experience the Irish culture and the language throughout the course of the day. They will participate in various activities over the course of the day. All activities are conducted through the medium of Irish to improve and foster their understanding of the Irish language.


Our lunchtime activities programme is running every day. Thank you to all the teachers who have volunteered to help run such a large programme. The timetable is posted on the notice boards around the school. Students must wear proper footwear when participating in sports activities.  Please see Mrs. Gallagher if you have any questions.

Activities for this term are as follows:

Sports Activities
Indoors: 2nd Year Boys Games

Outdoors: TY Boys Games

Indoors: 1st Year Boys Games

Outdoors: Senior Boys Games

Indoors: 2nd & 3rd Year Girls Games

Outdoors: 3rd Year Boys Games

Indoors: All Girls Badminton

Outdoors: 2nd Year Boys Games
Indoors: 1st Year Girls Unihoc

Outdoors: 1st Year Boys Games

Non-Sports Activities:
Trad Group in room 13 for all students
Coding Club for all R 47
Chess Club in room 3 for all.
Irish Club & Scor Drama in Room 16 for all students
Science Club in room 35 for 1st and 2nd years
Spanish Club in the library for 1st years.
Choir in Room 16 for all students

Book Club in room 9 for all students.

After School Training

Most of our training sessions have started after school. The timetable is posted on the sports boards. Please see your coach if you have any questions. Thank you to the many coaches and staff members who give their time to our sports teams.

Boys Basketball

U16 and U19 boys’ basketball training will be every Monday in the school gym from 4:00 -5.45pm. Their games will be starting in the coming weeks. 1st and 2nd year boys basketball training will be commencing in the coming weeks, the games are due to start in the New Year.

Girls Gaelic

Congratulations to the U16 ladies team who had an outstanding performance and won against St Catherine’s of Killybegs on Thursday 20th. The game started at 11am in Tir Chonaill Park with dry, cool weather conditions. Abbey started off strong with winning the throw-in and kept up great momentum throughout the first half. Lucy Monaghan scored great goal in the first half, as well as Caoimhe Walsh, Enya Gallagher and Erin Doherty scoring some great points. Half time score: 2-6 to 1-4 to Abbey. In the second half, the girls showed pure determination to win the game with super running by Aoife Greene in mid-field, and defending by Aine Ward and Ellen Canavan in the back line. The girls later got another two goals scored by Caoimhe Walsh and Erin Doherty, Abbey now well ahead. Abbie Chambers scored the final point of the day with our girls winning 4-12 to 2-6...and what was real team effort with everybody contributing to this fantastic result. This was a comprehensive victory and we wish the best of luck to the U16 girls in their next coming games! Training continues every Monday after school from 4 to approx. 5pm. Bring boots, gum shield and gloves.

U 14 girls

U16 Boys GAA

The U16 boys got them league underway today against Ballyshannon. They had a very impressive win, 6 11 to 2 4. Overall it was good team performance in very windy conditions.  Alex McCalmont had his shooting boots on as he scored four excellent goals.  Connor Campbell was very prominent throughout the game and the team worked well together defensively. Well done to all the boys and their management team of Mr Carty and Mr Lafferty. The next game will be a tough test against Glenties.

Senior Boys Gaelic

Trials for this year’s boys senior Gaelic panel will take place on Tuesday 18th and Thursday 20th Sept. Anyone interested in playing senior Gaelic this year must attend. The team managers for this year are Mr Leyden & Mr Monaghan. 


Sports Leader
Congratulations to all forty four students who were awarded their Level 1 Sports Leaders certificates this week.

Last year’s transition year students undertook the qualification in Sports Leadership as part of their PE programme and in conjunction with Donegal Sports Partnership. Through this course, students learned and demonstrated important life skills such as effective communication and organisation, whilst leading basic physical and sports activities with younger students, their peers, and within primary schools in the community. The transferable skills learned will be useful in college, the workplace and life in general.
At the end of the programme the following six students Michael Coughlan, Eoin Jordan, Darragh Griffin, Mia Mc Calmont, Hannah Shallow and Tia Mc Grath Quinn were nominated for the Spirit of Leadership award. These students stood out for their leadership qualities, confidence and motivation throughout the course.
Well done to all on this great achievement.

Well done to Niamh Moohan on finishing 5th in the Ulster Schools Multi Events in Antrim last Thursday. She participated against the best athletes from Ulster in a multi-discipline competition consisting of running, jumping, hurdling and throwing events.


The first cross country event of the season was held at the Holmes last Friday. Our 1st and 2nd years raced against athletes from South Donegal. Well done to all who competed and special mention to Sarah Donovan, Ciara Gillespie, Matthew McNamee, Caolan Sweeney, and Anna Mc Guckin. This event was run in conjunction with the primary school competition. Our next race will be on 26th September at Finn Valley.
Thanks you to our TY coaches who helped organise and officiate at his event.

TY Coaching

A large number of transition years have volunteered to coach athletics on Thursday evenings. They will gain valuable experience coaching primary school age children for the year. They will also be responsible for organising various athletic events throughout the year.

Athletics Training Times

Wednesday 3.30- 4.45pm

Thursday lunchtime.

TY Activities

Our TY’s have started their weekly activities last week. Every Monday afternoon they get the opportunity to try new activities and visit a number of local gyms and venues. Thanks you to all the local coaches for accommodating us.

  • 4A: Self Defence
  • 4B: Strength & Conditioning
  • 4C: Yoga
  • 4D: Surfing

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