AVS Newsletter – Mon 10th Dec


The school held it’s Open Night on Thursday night last. We welcomed many of the sixth class students in the surrounding areas as well as their parents. We had a wonderful evening where all of our subject departments showcased their students’ work and many wonderful projects were on display. There was a warm and welcoming atmosphere with carol singing and many musicians to be heard throughout the building. We as a school were delighted to showcase our school and celebrate the high standards of teaching and learning as well as the many well being initiatives that are in place for our school community. Thank you to the staff and students who presented on this night as well as to all the members of the local community for attending the event. We especially thank our Leaving Cert Prefects who were outstanding on the night.  Please also see our school video on our Website @abbeyvs.

Please note dates below:

  • 10th December 2018:  – Deadline for Application for Admission 2019/20
  • 11th December 2018: – Induction Day for 6th Class Students  (Approx. 9.30 am  to 2.30pm arranged by the AVS in conjunction with the Primary Schools)
  • 15th  January 2019: – Information Evening for 6th Class Parents in the AVS (7.00pm – 8.00pm)
  • 31st January: – Return of Subject Choice Forms

Mock Interviews

Tuesday evening of last week was a very busy evening for students in the Abbey Vocational School. There were over 80 members of the local community in to interview our Leaving Cert students. The students had prepared for this event following a CV Workshop and an Interview Strategies Workshop and attended the event on the night to be interviewed by a board of professionals in their interest area. The night was very successful and the students found it extremely beneficial and worthwhile. The interviewers were all treated to a meal in the staff room afterwards in thanks for their time. They would to like to thank our Career Guidance teachers and our Parents’ Association for all of their help in preparation for this event. 

The Parents’ Association of the Abbey Vocational School would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who attended on the night  for their support and participation in the Mock Interviews for the Senior Students.  Your contribution to the success of the evening was appreciated by all involved.

Staff Training Days

A reminder to all that the school will be closed to students on Wednesday, December 12th as staff will be attending DoES training days for the New Junior Cycle. All schools nationwide are required to attend such training days

The School Induction day for incoming First years takes place on Tuesday, December 11th and on that day, First Years will also remain at home.

DCU Entrance Scholarship


image001Congratulations to Roisin Ward who received an Entrance Scholarshop Award to DCU. Rosin is studying psychology in DCU and received this Award for her outstanding

Leaving Cet results. Well done Roisin.


Beauty and the Beast 

We are now delighted to announce that we have a video of Beauty and the Beast for sale. The cost is €10. Please give your name to Ms Rooney if you wish to purchase a copy of this video before Christmas.


Last Wednesday Stephen Friel from the Student Enterprise and Friel Consulting delivered a talk to a number of our TY students. In his talk he gave an overview of what would be expected of our students and their mini companies in the student enterprise competition. He then spoke to a number of our mini company groups as well as individuals, listening to their ideas and giving them some useful tips to help them develop their product and sales. Stephen had some very valuable knowledge to share with the students from his time working in the student enterprise area and also in his own firm which specialises in tailor made packages to suit any organizational needs. Thank you Stephen for giving your time to talk to our students.

First Year Christmas Trip

This week on Wednesday and Thursday all first  year classes attended ‘Peter Pan’ in the Millennium Forum in Derry with their English teachers and Year Head Ms Feeney. They joined Peter Pan, Hook, the Lost Boys and the Darling Family for a fun packed experience! It was packed with elements of fantasy, amazing stunts and lots of fun! It had a powerful mix of music from the ‘Greatest Showman’ to the fun but irritating ‘Baby Shark’ tune which consisted of lots of fun singing along!

Two of our students on both days even got to join Captain Hook on stage for a rendition of ‘Baby Shark’ and got selection boxes for their participation.  Thank you to Mrs Feeney and the English Department for a fun filled day.

Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE) Update


Leaving Cert PE students enjoyed a great day in LYIT on Thursday 6th Dec. A blend of theoretical presentations and practical sessions in Athletics.

After a formal welcome in one of the larger lecture theatres, our students were given a tour of the sports performance lab by Karl Lacey.  The schools engagement officer Fiona Kelly informed LCPE students of a forthcoming scholarship opportunity going to be made exclusive to LCPE students within the 6 phase schools in coming years. A welcome support of the value LYIT sees in this new subject area.

The students then observed a second year biomechanics presentation on Functional Movement Screening (FMS). An excellent introduction to some future learning outcomes on our PE specification.

Karl Lacey and his 4th year undergrads led our students in a practical sprinting session which will add to their existing knowledge and support their creation of their performance assessment video. The college provided lunch vouchers which gave our students a chance to immerse themselves further in a taste of college life on campus.

The afternoon session saw students engage in another athletics session focusing on analysis and feedback through a discovery mode of teach. Excellent work from the 4th year PE undergraduates. A thoroughly enjoyable day that proved mutually beneficial for both AVS and LYIT. We look forward to a return visit in AVS in the new year.

Students now turn their attentions back to class and the upcoming LCPE Launch on December 17th in the PE hall at 12 o’clock.


Pramerica Visit

On Wednesday of this week Pramerica came to record the Leaving Cert computer science project for their innovative center. They are going to showcase the project on the 19th of December in Pramerica Letterkenny to 409 guests.

3rd Year CSPE Trip

Two class groups of students from 3A and 3D headed off early Tuesday morning to Dublin Zoo as part of their Junior Cert CSPE Action project work. Two wonderful zoo stewards looked after our groups and informed us of the many procedures carried out in the Zoo. In the Lecture Hall the steward discussed our role in the environment. Students sorted out good and poor examples of stewardship and debated this entire area.

Following a discussion on endangered species, the students visited a tiger and an elephant, two of the zoo’s endangered animals. The visit benefited the students greatly for their Action Projects as they discovered more about their role on earth. Afterwards, the students went to Liffey Valley to enjoy some shopping, food and festivities.


Leaving Cert Art students are currently preparing for their Art trip to Dublin on December 19th to visit The Hugh Lane Gallery, The National Gallery, The National Museum and The Book of Kells.

Lunchtime Science Club

The lunchtime science club is very well attended in room 33 every Wednesday. This week the students investigated factors which affect enzymes and their activity. They are now working with enzymes from plants.  They explore the use of enzymes in everyday life eg. detergents, sweeteners and bio processing in general.

Coding Club

Our lunchtime coding club takes place every Monday in the Pramerica computer suite. First year students of all abilities learn to code using scratch.mit.edu.  The students work individually or with a partner in resolving differentiated tasks set by Mr. Harvey or Mr. O’Mahony. The coding club serves as an extension of their learning in class but also preparation for the ‘Coding’ Short course in their Junior Cycle programme. New students are always welcome and prior experience not necessary. However, a disposition to liking solving problems and computational thinking will go a long way to enjoying coding. Well done to Hugh Mcshane in first year who has been working hard all week in our ICT lab to finish his Rubix Cube solving robot with Mr Gorman’s guidance.

Music Activities

The Traditional Music Group rehearsal takes place every Monday at lunchtime in room 13.

Our Ukulele Orchestra rehearsals take place every Tuesday in room 13.

The School Choir rehearsals are in Room 13 every Friday.

Anyone that would like to audition for a solo part in the Christmas Carol Service is asked to go to room 13 this Tuesday at 1pm.

Anyone that would like to be involved in this years Christmas concert can give their name to Mrs Carr or Ms Breslin.

Christmas Carol Service

This year the Carol Service will take place on Wednesday 19th December at 7pm in the Church of Ireland.  We look forward to a very special occasion. All welcome!

Teaching & Learning

Student Resource – The SimpleMind App.

A mind map is a tool for the brain that captures the thinking that goes on inside your head. Mind mapping helps you think, collect knowledge, remember and create ideas.

Mind maps can be created in many different ways, but they share the same basics.

The SimpleMind App (free edition) is available on iTunes, Android or Windows.

An example of a Mind map created by 5th Year Geography students is shown below.

Types of Regions


Writer in Schools

Thank you to Imelda Maguire for coming into our school to deliver a workshop to two first year groups in relation to write, poetry techniques, how to approach and enhance their writing. Imelda is a well-known poet and she did a recital of her poetry.

Lunchtime Reading

Room 9 will be open to all on Thursdays for reading. This will provide a quiet place for students to read.

Webwise Ambassador


Well done to Emma Coulter who has been selected for the Webwise Ambassador Training programme. Emma is required to attend a online webinar next week.  Webwise is the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre. They develop resources and run campaigns that promote a better internet. 
They also work with a Youth Panel to develop different campaigns. This Youth Panel is made up of around 30 teenagers from all over Ireland. It was their idea to have a Safer Internet Day (SID) Ambassadors Programme to help more people and schools get involved in tackling cyberbullying.


TY Chess

An interclass TY Chess competition will take place the week before the Christmas holidays. All four TY classes will compete against each other using knowledge on what they have recently learned about chess. It’s bound to get competitive and it will just be a successful as last year.

Student Voice

The Student Council were present at the schools Open Evening to talk to the incoming first years.The students addressed the incoming first years in relation to inclusion in the school, and they explain how inclusion is a very important theme in our school.

Our Leaving Cert Prefects took on the role of tour guides on the OPEN night in the school on Thursday evening last. We would like to thank them all as they did an outstanding job.

Donegal Youth Council 

The Donegal Youth Council Agenda Day  (AGM) took place on Thursday 6th December in the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny. At this event 120 young people from all across the country came together for a consultation event, where they had the opportunity to put forward ideas in facilitated discussions and to vote to determine the key issues for the young people in the county.

Guidance Department

A very successful Mock Interview Night for Leaving Cert students took place last Tuesday. Thank you to the Parents’ Association for organising and the interviewers who gave up their time to interview the students.

Thank you to Lorraine Murray from Donegal ETB’s apprenticeship Department for presenting to senior cycle students last Thursday.  She informed them of the many apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities available after the Leaving Cert.

A HEAR & DARE Advice Clinic for Leaving Cert students and their parents/guardians will take place in the Villa Rose, Ballyboffey on Saturday, 19 January 2019 between 10.00 and 2.00. See www.AccessCollege.ie for further info.

Upcoming Guidance presentations taking place in the library:

  • DCU, Thursday, 06 December @ 11.55 – 12.35
  • IT Sligo, Thursday, 13 December @ 11.55 – 12.35
  • GMIT, Thursday, 31 January 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35
  • North-West Regional College, Thursday, 07 February 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35

Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to http://www.AVSDonegal.com – click on the Guidance logo


Wellness Workshop

A group of first  year students have been involved in a six week wellness workshop with Aoibheann Gallen from Renew You. They will be taking part in their last session this week. Throughout the six weeks they have studied the importance of a healthy mind. An area they have been concentrating on has been slowing  down their breathing and thinking by using a piece of fruit. The students really enjoyed this Mindfulness sessions. It has been such a worthwhile experience and it has provided the students with new skills and strategies that they can use for the rest of their lives.

Healthy Schools

Our school health promoting schools project this year is around healthy eating and a positive physical environment. Our health promoting school committee have distributed a healthy eating questionnaire to students, parents and staff. When all questionnaires have been collected the results will be analysed and out healthy eating policy for the school will be made into a draft. Thank you to all who have completed a questionnaire and if anyone wished to do some please see Mrs Duane or Ms Rooney.

Simple Simon’s Talk

On Thursday 6th December Simple Simons from Donegal Town came into our school and gave a talk to our TY students. They informed the students about the importance of eating healthily and how to save the environment by using metal reusable bottles. They also discussed aspects of vegan and vegetarian diets. Our students got a great insight into the different types of healthy food. This talk is also in line with our school health promoting schools project this year.

Physical Environment

As part of wellbeing our students are planning to improve some of the environmental areas. A group of TY students have commenced  a project which involves them designing  positive comments which they will paint onto our toilets doors. They are also compiling a number of positive words that will be placed on all our school steps around the school. Another group will be make friendship benches that will be placed around our school building outside to encourage students to sit down and talk to each other. We are looking forward to all of this work.

Work Experience

All TY students will be attending work experience this week. Work experience is a very important part of our TY program as our students will get a great, hands on experience into the working world.  Sample of work that our students will be sampling will be; Teaching, Gardai, Beautician, Hairdressers, Architect, radio DJ, lecturing, medical and engineering. We thank all employers who are mentoring our students.

Cake Decorating Workshop

Thank you to Leanne Gallagher who came into the school to deliver a workshop in cake decorating and gave our students great tips on how to make festive treats. She showed the students how to decorate buns with elves, snowflakes, Santa and Christmas puddings. It was a very enjoyable experience for all students and they came out of the workshop with many treats.


History Trip to Derry

On Friday 7th December Ms. Markey’s and Mr. Clarke’s TY History classes visited Derry. During the visit students were given a guided tour of the Walls of Derry. Coincidently their visit took place on the 330th anniversary of the beginning of the Siege of Derry which began on 7th December 1688. On the Walls students heard of the history of the city from its foundation during the Ulster Plantation in the 17th century to the events of Bloody Sunday and the Troubles. Following the guided tour of the Walls students visited the Museum of Free Derry in the Bogside. During their visit there students heard about the events of 30th January 1972 and viewed the excellent and detailed exhibition of the day that would become known as ‘Bloody Sunday’.


Girls Active

The Girls have just finished 5 weeks of jiving. Thank you to Geraldine Thomas for developing the then workshops. After Christmas the girls will be taking part in rowing in our school gym every Thursday from 3:30 – 4:30.

Table Tennis

We will be looking to develop table tennis in the school. This is in direct response to recent surveys undertaken as part of the schools Active School Flag pilot. We would like to target students not currently involved in any extracurricular sport/activity. Please contact Mr. O’Mahony in the PE Department to express your interest.


Couch to 5km (Seniors)

Couch 2 5k training has started on Mondays after school and is open to all senior students and staff looking to get fit. Training will take place on the track every Monday and Thursday. Everyone can participate at their own fitness level. Please see Mrs. McLaughlin if you have any questions.

Run 4 Fun training (Juniors)

There run for fun training group has commenced at lunchtimes on the track for all junior students. This training is open to all students who want to improve their fitness and will cater for all fitness levels ranging from walking level up to running level.

Students must wear runners for the training and can meet on the track at the beginning of lunch. Training will last 20/30 minutes everyday.

U14 Girls GAA

U14 girls training will take place every Monday after school at 4pm on the school pitch. All players welcome. Please take gum shield, football boots and runners. The first league game will take place after Christmas.

School Rugby

Mr Claydon is coaching the boys rugby every Monday after school. The boys are enjoying working under a very experienced and enthusiastic rugby coach.

1st and 2nd yr Boys Basketball

1st and 2nd year boys basketball training will take place every Monday after school from 4:00-5:30. The boys league will start after christmas. All new players are welcome.

U16 Boys basketball

The U16 team played against St Nathy’s away in the North West Regional Final last Monday. It was a tight game the whole way through the game. Abbey got ahead by 2 points and the start of the game, it was a basket for basket game up until the last few minutes when St Nathy’s pulled ahead and won the game 47 to 45. It was a very strong performance by all players and they were very unlucky to lose out in the end. Ultan O’Grady finished the game as the top scorer.


U19 Girls Basketball

Hard luck to our U19 team who lost their North West Regional final last week. They played Carrick on Shannon in the regional sports center on Thursday 6th December. Carrick had a tight Defence and AVS struggled to break it. The result was unfortunate for AVS as the score was 16-26.

TY Newsletter Team

  • Frank Duffy
  • Christopher Darby
  • Meabh Morrow Herbert
  • Hannah Crawford
  • Tom Daly
  • Emma Coulter
  • Shona O’Brien 



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