Weekly Newsletter – 01st Oct 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

Ms Jacqui Dillon the Director of Donegal Education Centre, delivered a talk on the new Junior Cycle for parents of Junior Cycle students on Thursday night last. Mr S O Neill complimented this by outlining the subject English and how it has rolled out over the three years. Mr C Hegarty outlined the Science subject and how the new Junior Cert has been in this regard. There was a large attendance at the event and we are very grateful to all who came out on the night to what was a very informative and helpful information night.


First Year Information Evening

An Information evening for parents of First years will take place on October 4th at 7pm in the school. On the night we are fortunate to have Mr Ray Langan as our visiting speaker 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


Career Guidance

An important event for Parents interested in finding out more about careers for young people in ICT/FinTech in the North-West will take place on Thursday, 18 October 2018 in the Abbey Hotel @ 6 p.m. See our Guidance website for full details: http://www.AVSDonegal.com – click on the Guidance logo.
The Guidance Department will take TY students to the NUI Galway Open Day on Friday, 05 October. There is a €10 charge per student. Ms Faherty is collecting the money. Places are limited and will be offered on a 1st come, 1st served basis.

The Guidance Department will take 5th year students to the IT Sligo Open Day on Thursday, 18 October. There will be a €5 charge per student. Ms. McMorrow is collecting the money. Places are limited and will be offered on a 1st come, 1st served basis.
A CV workshop for Leaving Certs will take place in the school on Thursday, 04 October. The class Guidance Counsellor will provide further instruction.
Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to http://www.avsdonegal.com – click on the Guidance logo.

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

Information Sessions on Career Education

The Donegal ICT/FinTech Working Group are hosting two information sessions (at 6.00pm on 11 October in Letterkenny and 18 October in Donegal Town) for parents, teachers, post-primary school Guidance Counsellors and Principals to find out more about career, education and training opportunities for their children and students in the areas of ICT/FinTech in Donegal. It follows on from the recent report published by the North West Regional Skills Forum which identified the ICT/FinTech sectors amongst the fastest growing in the region with significant numbers of new high tech jobs being created in the coming years.


The companies involved (Pramerica, Optum, SITA, Randox, Gartan Technologies and ERNACT) will highlight the career opportunities in a range of disciplines including IT, finance, business, marketing, engineering, law, design and sciences. LYIT and Donegal ETB will also promote their wide range of programmes that support these industry needs.

The event is free and there’ll be complimentary refreshments from 5.30pm but we’d like people to register in advance here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/building-donegals-future-in-ictfintech-tickets-50115496800

You can find more information on our website here: https://www.donegaletb.ie/2018/09/donegal-ict-fintech-working-group-to-host-information-sessions-for-parents-and-school-staff/


Student Voice

The Student Council election has taken place and the members of the student council will be elected early next week. Thank you to Ms Carr and Ms Mulrain for organising and running the elections.


Prefect Interviews

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, interviews for prefects took place. This year there are 35 applicants. They are being interviewed by Seán McGee. The position of Prefect is a position with great responsibility and are positive role model for the younger students. Our Prefects have a large student voice in the school and act as mentors to first years as well as support for their own year group.



As part of their Leaving Cert Applied course, the LCA students organised a trip to Letterkenny cinema on Tuesday 18th September. This was anchored by the English and Communications subject area and teacher Ms Mc Partlan. The comedy ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ was their chosen film and was enjoyed by all.


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.


Healthy Schools

Ms B Duane and Rosemary Myers attended a Healthy Eating training workshop this week. They intend to audit staff students and parents on the type of food that they would like to see on sale in the school in terms of promoting health. This is a two year programme where the intention is to educate our school community around healthy eating and encourage many positive lifestyle changes in this regard. The teachers will work with the student Council and Parents Association on this project.


Active School Flag 

Our school is very proud to be involved in the pilot programme for the Active Schools Flag this year. Only 3 schools in the country are taking part in this exciting program. Coláiste Bride, Clondalkin, St. Olivers 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, well-being, 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 have visited the school on September 28th to begin the research on how active our pupils are and how we can get them moving more often.


Transition Year

GAA Future Leaders Programme

Mr P O’Donnell is leading out on the GAA future Leaders TY programme. The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) on Monday last provided training and development to the teachers involved in this initiative.

The PDST have been involved in the preparation of the Future Leaders programme providing advice on curriculum links, ensuring alignment with the TY programme, embedding the core concept of Physical Literacy, developing educational resources and delivering training to the participating schools. The six modules meaningfully relate to several curriculum areas, promoting the development of Physical Literacy in particular and also encompassing the key skills taught at Junior Cycle. 

This initiative provides a unique and creative learning pathway for young people to acquire skills which are both sports related and transferable not only across the curriculum, but beyond TY itself.

Course Structure:

The programme is comprised of 8 modules.

All modules are between 6 – 10 hrs long, stand alone and individually certifiable. Pupils will receive a GAA Certificate for each completed module.

A school can choose to deliver one or more modules. Delivering all modules plus the organisation of a GAA Super Games Blitz/Centre through the students, and/or coaching younger players in their school or community, results in the students being awarded a ‘GAA TY Future Leaders Certificate”.

The programme utilises the Learning Management Software of the GAA Learning Portal (learning.gaa.ie) to share information and provide each student with an online e-Portfolio to store and share documentation and assignments. Staff involved in the delivering of this course is as follows : Future Leader Staff Members

  • Portfolio and Assessment – Pauric O’Donnell
  • Sports Journalism – Helen McPartlan
  • Performance Analysis – Clive Monahan
  • Administration – Amanda Sweeney
  • Nutrition – Michelle Harvey
  • Event Management – Patrice Rooney
  • Refereeing – Michael Leyden
  • Wellness – Emer O’Mahoney
  • GAA Foundation Coaching – Michelle Harvey / Patrice Rooney (PE Department)


On Thursday 4th October four TY students and their teacher will go to the Honorable Kings Inn Dublin to the Headstrong Summit. HEADSTRONG is an evidenced based schools programme that trains and enables a select number of students to become mental health champions within their school and, with the help/oversight of the teacher in attendance on October 4th, they introduce the programme into their school and  train other students in a domino effect. 

This is a contact education programme where the ideas students come up with will form a plan for the rest of the academic year. The HEADSTRONG stigma-reduction and positive health messages continue to be delivered to the entire school population. Students’ innovation and creativity, along with the support of a school staff member, means they will have so much to share about mental health, recovery, and available resources both in the school and the wider community.

TY Wellbeing Event

All TY students will be attending a Foróige and Connect Mental Health workshop on the 4th October in the Abbey Hotel. The students were divided into different groups with other schools and they will take part in multiple workshops. The workshops included a lively cooking demonstration, a peaceful meditation session, a Jigsaw workshop, dance session and much more. It hopes to be a fun and enjoyable day as it has been in the past.

Last week a number of TY students took part in mentoring training in The Big Brother, Big Sister Programme. The training was delivered by Finghin McClafferty who is a member of Foróige. In the coming weeks each TY student will be paired up with a 1st year student. These students will meet up weekly and the TY student will support the 1st year students for the rest of the year. 

TY Activities

Our TY’s have completed their first three week block of activity. Every Monday afternoon they get the opportunity to try new activities and visit a number of local gyms and venues. Thank you to all the local coaches for accommodating us.

All classes will be changing to a new activity this Monday.

4A- Surfing

4B – Self defence

4C – Strength & Conditioning

4D – Yoga

TY Sports Leader Award

This week all PE classes are beginning their sports leadership training. This will give our students a great opportunity to work hard on their coaching skills and gain in confidence every week. The main aim of this qualification is to help students hone in on their leadership skills whilst helping themselves and others stay physically active.

They are will be working with a number of first year classes in preparation to coach in the local primary schools in the coming months.

TY Coaching

As part of TY’s community involvement task, we have a large number of students engaging in coaching and helping others. Students have got involved with various sports clubs throughout the community.

Currently, twenty students are working with Tir Chonaill AC every Thursday evening. They are coaching basic fundamental movement and skills to primary school children.

A number of students have also volunteered to coach rowing to first years in the coming weeks. They will be working under the guidance Donegal Bay Rowing club and Donegal Sports Partnership.

Thank you to all local clubs for affording them this opportunity.


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 decide 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: Conall Smith
  • Mrs. Potts: Ciara Joyce
  • Chip: Conor Ryder
  • Cogsworth:  Thomas White
  • Lumiere:   Adam Maziri
  • Babette:  Hannah Crawford
  • Maurice:  Kevin Canny
  • Gaston:  Frank Cornyn
  • Le Fou:  Oisín O Donnell
  • Madame 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
  •                         Annabell 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

Our transition year students attended an enterprise workshop in Lough Eske Castle on Monday 25th September along with a number of other students from nearby secondary schools. They took part in many brainstorms and came up with some wonderful new inventions and ideas suitable for creating their own mini company. Martin O’Reilly from O’Reilly sports was kind enough to come as a guest speaker and tell us all about his journey as an entrepreneur and how he grew as successful as he is today. Thank you to all who organized the event and to Lough Eske Castle for having us.

TY Lough Eske DEL

TY Art Trip

On Tuesday the 2nd October a number of TY students will be going to the Glebe Gallery in Letterkenny. The students will get a great insight into the operation and running of an Art Gallery.


On Friday 28th September, TY students travelled to the Lakeside Centre at Dunlewey. The students experienced aspects of Irish rural life, culture and the language throughout the course of the day.  They participated in various activities at the centre, which included a boat trip, tour of the cottage, water zorbing, bungee jumping, bumping cars and pedalos on the pond. Activities were conducted through the medium of Irish to improve and foster the students’ understanding of the Irish language.




Our lunchtime activities programme is running every day. Thanks 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:

Trad group

Trad group will begin this Monday in room 13 with Mrs. Carr at 1:30 pm. Choir practice has also began every Friday in room 16 at 12:45pm.


Students are needed to take part in the choir for this year’s school musical. If you can play a musical instrument, it would be a great opportunity to join the orchestra and would be much appreciated.

First Year Book Club

The first year book club started last Friday and will meet every third Friday from now on. It has been organised by Ms Logue and all first years are welcome. The first years are currently reading ‘Wilderness’ by Roddy Doyle.


6th Year History Trip

Mr. Clarke’s Leaving Cert history class is going to the Donegal Town library to research for their Leaving Cert project and to find sources to reference for this project. The library will be a very valuable asset to students in our school.

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 33 at 12:45.
  • 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 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

The girls’ senior Gaelic team played their first game of the season on Thursday 27th September at 11am. The girls played against Carndonagh in the neutral venue of Newtowncunningham. It was a tough game from start to finish. Carndonagh had a very strong start to the game and added a lot of scores to the scoreboard, but our girls didn’t give up, they fought hard to the end trying to catch up with Carndonagh but they just ran out of time at the end. Hard luck to the girls and good luck with the rest of your games.


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. 

U19 Girls Basketball

On Tuesday the 25th September, the AVS U19 girls’ basketball team travelled to Clondalkin in Dublin to play their first game of the school season against Coláiste Bríde. It was an early start for the girls as they left the school at 7:30 in the morning and later arrived at 12pm in Dublin. The girls played very well in the first half, giving Abbey a 10pt lead at halftime. However with some tactical changes from the home side in the second half, Abbey unfortunately lost the game after an intense ending. The final score was a very close 43-41. Congratulations to Coláiste Bríde on winning, and hard luck to our Abbey girls. Best of luck to them in their future games!

Scorers: Sophie Carr

              Beibhinn Reid

              Courtney Harron

              Carmen Diaz

              Aine McGroarty

 U19 Girls Basketball

Cross Country

On Wednesday 26th of September our athletes competed in a cross-country event at the Finn Valley centre. We had a number of outstanding performances on the day. Mia Mc Calmont made a welcome return to school’s athletics to win gold in the senior girl’s race. Kitty Mc Nulty had a solid performance to finish 6th in this race. Savannah Timony (3rd year) had a strong run to work her way through the field to win silver. First-year student Caolan Sweeney gave a gutsy performance from the gun to finish second in his race. Other notable performances were from Dylan Barrett, Anna Mc Guckin, Sean Boyle, Ciara Gillespie-Cassidy, and Ethan Mangan. This competition was a great warm-up event in preparation for the Donegal School’s final in October. Well done to all.

Our first years are currently participating in Sportshall athletics trials. The top 12 boys and girls will have the opportunity to represent the school in the secondary school’s competition next month.

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Athletics training times are as follows:

  • Wednesday: 3.30pm – 4.45pm
  • Thursday: Lunchtime cross country
  • Thursday: 6.30pm – 8pm
  • Sunday: 10.30 – 12pm


U14 boys Gaelic

On Thursday 27th September the U14 boys had a match against Glenties Comprehensive School. It was a high scoring game. Glenties: 4-11 Abbey: 4-6. Hard Luck to the boys.


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 McGrath 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.




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