Abbey VS Newsletter – 21st Jan 2019

University of Limerick

This Thursday the 17th January, Students from the University of Limerick came to our school to interview eight representatives from our ‘Active School Flag Class’.

The Active Schools Flag is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. The process aims to get more schools, more active, more often.

Schools wishing to achieve the ASF begin the process by self-evaluating their current provision across 3 areas: Physical Education, Physical Activity and Partnerships. Schools must also organise an Active School Week programme and commit to having it as part of their annual school calendar. The flag remains valid for a period of 3 years after which time schools will be invited to re-apply.

The Active Schools Flag class of 4C will engage with Students from the University of Limerick regarding initiatives, protocols and policies engaged in by the Abbey Vocational School for the Active Schools Flag.

Moreover, The Active Schools Flag walkway development has been mapped out and approved. The distance of the walkway is 1.5K and is included within the parameters of the school grounds. The pathway is expected to be up and running by the end of this month.

Also, The Active Schools Flag Team have been analysing the school-wide survey results and are making an action plan based on these results. Utilising these results, will help raise awareness and activity levels throughout the school!

Coding club

The Coding Club runs in room 47 on Mondays at lunchtime with Mr Harvey. Coding or computer programming is the act of using languages to instruct a computer to perform functions. Here in the Abbey Vocational School we welcome and celebrate Coding and computer programming and if you are interested joining our club, please talk to Mr Harvey. All welcome!

The Credit Union

The Principal of the Abbey Vocational School Geraldine Diver was proud this week to accept a cheque for €20,000 from Liam Kelly C.E.O. & Joe Gillespie, Chairman Board of Directors. These funds will be used for the improvement, development and cultivation of the school pitch. This extremely generous contribution from the Credit Union will see the progression of sports in the School for future generations to come!


Information Evening for Incoming First Years

An Information evening was held on Tuesday 15th of January for Incoming first years. Held in the main Assembly of the school, the Principal, Vice Principals and Staff were on hand to welcome Parents and Guardians for future incoming Students. This evening was of great benefit to all as information, topics and worries were explored and explained.

Webwise Safe Internet Day

On the 10th January, almost 100 students from around Ireland gathered together for the Safer Internet Day (SID) Training Ambassador Programme in Facebook HQ. These students volunteered or were nominated by their schools, to become Safer Internet Day Ambassadors. The Abbey Vocational School was represented by Transition Year Student Katelyn Duffy. Katelyn was trained as a Safe Ambassador, the SID Ambassador programme is about reaching out to post-primary students, encouraging and supporting them to address the issue of cyberbullying and other areas in internet safety by leading awareness-raising campaigns in their clubs, schools, and communities.


Sports Awards

Congratulations to the following who were nominated for an Award in the following categories in the Donegal Sports Star Awards which take place later this month.

  • Best Secondary School: Abbey Vocational School
  • Beat Sports Boy: Conor Campbell
  • Best Sports Girl: Niamh Moohan

Well done to all those involved in sport in the school for their enormous input into sport in the school for so many students.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology Open Day

Students from the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed an open day in Letterkenny Institute of Technology on Tuesday the 15th January. Students were given access to the campus and introduced to the 120 programmes across four schools of Business, Tourism, Engineering and Science. On the Open Day Students were enlightened about the diverse range of courses available for students to enrol in. Courses range from one to four years; combining academic theory with practical skills development.

One Voice Choir’

The ‘One Voice Choir’ will perform on 12th March with one of the biggest #choralensembles ever seen in Donegal. Two hundred Students from 15 ETB Schools will perform. Students from the Abbey Vocational School experience an uplifting event and have the opportunity to meet other Students from the ETB Community. If you are interested in attending this event, tickets are available at;  #WeAreDonegalETB


AVS Science Club

Students from the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed an informative, inspiring and futuristic experience at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in Dublin on Friday the 11th of January. The BT Young Scientist Award went to Adam Kelly from Dublin for his project “Optimizing the Stimulation of General Quantum Circuits”. Students from the Abbey Vocational School immersed themselves in the world of Science and Technology which will be of great benefit to them in future School Science Projects!

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Parent Teacher Meetings

The Parent/Teacher meeting for 2nd year students takes place on January 24th. This evening is an opportunity for the Abbey Vocational Community to come together to support, help and advise Parents and Guardians of 2nd year students.

Carol Service fundraiser for the Church Spire fund

Reverend Huss received a cheque on Monday from the Principal Geraldine Diver for €335.Thank you to all of those who contributed to our collection at the recent Christmas concert and to Ms Carr and Ms Breslin for their effervescent enthusiasm! The much needed funds are in aid of the local Church spire. Also, we would like to thank for the Church of Ireland for the use of the Church for the event.



The chess club and the maths Club continues to run during lunch times. All welcome!


This week sees the birthday of inspirational human rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. The English Department recommends reading the speech “I have a dream” where Martin Luther King Jr proclaimed “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood”. Truly inspiring to us all!

The English Department would also like to wish Terence McEneaney and Sean Donegan the very best of luck as they prepare to take to the stage in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Rehearsals are going on in earnest and the school would like to wish them the very best of luck!

Our book recommendation of the week is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo just in time for a good spring clean!

Irish Department

Work is under way to prepare Abbey Vocational Students for the Irish Orals. Students are asked to look after their mental health and wellbeing by getting a good night’s sleep, keep hydrated with water and eat nutritional food during the exam time.

  • The Junior Certificate official state examination Irish Orals are commencing on the 4th February.
  • Leaving Certificate mock Orals will commence on the same week, the 4th February.

 Music Dept.

The Music Department hold Choir meetings in Room 16 every Friday lunchtime, all are welcome!

Also, with the Mock Examinations around the corner, exam classes are preparing for Mock Practical’s. 

 Art Dept.

Leaving Certificate and 2nd year Art students received their themes for examination work this week and are busy working on those. This is the first year of the new 2nd year Junior Cycle Art classroom based assessments. Congratulations to Mia McCalmont who won 1st place in the Credit Union Art competition at chapter (county) level following her success at local level. Mia’s work now progresses to the national final!

 Healthy School

A survey has been distributed to the school community in relation to the food habits of the School members. This data will be reviewed and studied with the intention of implementing healthier alternatives for all. These changes will be implemented in the School Canteen and Tuck shop.

As part of well-being 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.


  1. A Subject Choices presentation for incoming 1st Year parents & guardians took place in the school on Tuesday, 15 January. Thank you to all of the parents that attended.
  2. LYIT are holding an Information Evening in the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town on Tuesday, 22 January between 5 and 8 p.m. for Leaving Certificate students and their parents. See  for further info.
  3. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the library over the coming weeks:
  • IT Sligo Work Based Engineering Degree:

Thursday, 24 January 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35

  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT):

Thursday, 31 January 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35

  • North-West Regional College (NWRC):

Thursday, 07 February 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35

  1. Leaving Certs applying to DARE must make an appointment to see their Guidance Counsellor as soon as possible.
  2. 6th Year students & LCAs are welcome to book a 1:1 appointment with their Guidance Counsellor if they have not already done so.
  3. Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance logo.


This week as part of their wellbeing and Living in the Community activities Level 2 students completed the Bank Walk and competed in teams to complete the fairy trail.


15 members of staff are completing a 7 week programme of Irish Sign Language to develop their skills and enable us to support and facilitate the inclusion of students with hearing difficulties. Level 2 students are also being taught some ISL during Living in the Community.

Active Schools

Transition Year Students mentored first year students for a Tug of War contest on Friday 18th January as part of our Active School Flag Programme.

Girls Active

Girls Active will resume again on Thursday 17th January 2019. Rowing is the themed activity for the next 5 weeks term. It will take place in the gym at the Abbey Vocational School from 3.30pm – 4.30pm. Looking forward to seeing girls from all year groups there.

Drama Club

Mr Donegan’s A.V.S. Drama Group is starting on Wednesday the 23rd January from 3.25pm-4.30pm and on Thursday the 24th January at lunchtime in the Library.

The A.V.S. Drama Group involves theatre productions, short film projects, comedy improvisation and theatre trips. Rehearsals will take place at lunchtimes and after school. Being involved in a club such as Drama has many benefits for Students such as; making new friends, embracing their inner creativity and cultivating their mindfulness! If you are interested in joining this venture, please contact Mr Donegan.

School Tour Abroad

Excitement is growing as the Students look forward to the Annual School Tour abroad! Of course, all students attending the school tour must have a copy of their passports handed in to Mr. Clark as soon as possible and a copy of their EHIC card handed in to Mrs. Dunnion.


Senior Boys Gaelic Winning Team!

The AVS senior boys’ Gaelic team took on Milford in the final of the McIver Cup on Wednesday 9th January in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny.  A memorable victory for the AVS and congratulations to coaches Mr. Leyden and Mr. Monaghan.


Ulster Quarter Final

The Abbey Vocational school senior boys’ team travelled to the Melvin Sports Complex, Strabane on Thursday 17th January, to fulfil their quarter final fixture against Loreto College, Coleraine.

Abbey started off sprightly with two scores coming in quick succession from Shay Travers and Richard O Rourke, but it wasn’t long before Loreto got on the scoreboard.  Much attacking play from both teams, with further scores from Shay Travers and Captain Jamie Crawford, saw the sides go in level at four points each at half time.

Michael Statham opened the scoring in the second half for Abbey but Loreto quickly replied.  Within 3 minutes, Cian Hegarty put the Abbey ahead but this lead was soon eliminated by a Loreto point.  Cian then added another point, and when Jamie Crawford and Cian Hegarty added to the Abbey tally it looked like things were going their way. However with a Loreto point being added there was only two between.  Disaster struck for the Donegal men when Loreto scored a stormer of a goal and went into the lead in the dying seconds of the game.  The Abbey boys had to keep the heads up and when they went up the field, Loreto conceded a free which was beautifully pointed by Cian Hegarty.

All aboard again, in injury time, and it looked as if the game was going to a replay, when Jamie Crawford picked up the ball on the backline and weaved his way goalwards and duly fisted the ball over the bar. 

Victory for the Abbey Vocational who await the winners of Ballygawley and Kilkeel for their Semi-Final fixture

U14 Girls GAA

U14 Girls G.A.A. training continues every Monday from 4-5 on the school pitch. The Girls League will be commencing at the start of February. All players welcome. Please bring gum shields football boots and runners.

1st and 2nd Years Boys Basketball

1st and 2nd Years Boys Basketball continues every Monday from 4.00-5.45 in the School Gym.

The 1st and 2nd year boys’ basketball team played against Sligo grammar school at home on Thursday the 17th January.

First up were the 2nd yr boys, they started off very strong form the start and this continued for the rest of the game. All player involved played a very strong and competitive game. There were many strong performances especially from Ben McNeely, Niall Prendeville, Daniel Quinn and Leo McGowan. The biggest cheers for the day went to Daniel Quinn with a spectacular 3 pointer. Scores on the day from Ben McNeely, Niall Prendeville, Leo McGowan, Daniel Quinn, Jake Graham and Seamus Og Caldwell. Final score AVS 59 Sligo Grammar 32

The 1st years played a challenge game against an older Sligo Grammar team. The boys fought hard from the start holding their own throughout the game, the boys will be disappointed with some of their missed shots on the day. They did themselves and the school proud against an older team. The coming session looks bright for our boys as they displayed some great plays and some very strong individual performances. On the day there were some great performances especially from Leo McGowan, Oisín Mogan and Shay Byrne. Scores on the from Leo McGowan, Oisín Mogan, Hugh McGettigan, Fintan Quinn, Patrick Cunnen, John Paul McDonagh.  Final score AVS 32 Sligo Grammar 42



1st and 2nd year Girls Basketball

Congratulations to the 2nd Year girls’ basketball team who played and beat Ballinamore, Leitrim on Tuesday 15th January. Each member of the team got the chance to put on a great performance and show their talent, scoring many baskets. Final score was 37-6…an outstanding result.

Unfortunately, the 1st Year girls lost by one single basket against Ballinamore. The opposition team were clearly beating AVS well all throughout the game, “We were down by 14 all the time” said Ms O’Mahony, the team coach. However when fresh legs of the subs came on in the last 7 mins, things changed. AVS fought back to losing by 2 points! Although the 1st Years lost, they showed great determination to fight back and came out with a great result of 22-20. Hard luck girls.

Cross Country

The District Cross-Country Competition takes place in Irvinestown on January 24th. Mr. Carty and Mr. Clayton held trials last week and teams have been selected. The talent and capability evident at the trials was immense. Abbey Vocational Students displayed great flair and aptitude and we wish them well in the District Cross Country Competition.

Indoor Sports-Hall Athletics

The first year girls enjoyed an exhilarating day away at the Indoor Sports Hall Athletics Finals on Thursday 18th in Raphoe. The experience was invaluable for the Students of the Abbey Vocational School.

TY News

TY Drama based on the theme of the Homeless members of society.

Conor Carney has joined the Abbey Vocational Community supporting Transition Year Students who have started a new project embracing ‘Creative Engagement’. The project aims at making our community aware of the Homeless. The project consists of three areas, Drama, Dance and Music. The final product will be a staged performance by the students involved and all money raised will go towards a Homeless Charity.

The programme is co-funded by the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Education and Skills and the Heritage Council.  Each year projects are produced in schools ranging from theatre and film through to sculpture and music.

The ‘Creative Engagement’ ethos involves a local artist or arts group coming into the school and imparting their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to the students.  This partnership has mutual benefits to both artist and school.

The Creative Engagement programme strives to encourage creativity, initiative and expression in our students and to complement curricular learning in the arts heritage and culture.

A Day in the Life of a TY Student

I am a TY student in the Abbey Vocational School. Our school year is packed with trips, workshops, projects and tours! I get to do all of the choice subjects like Metalwork, Home Economics, music etc. as well as new classes such as theatre and stage, active leisure studies or performing arts.

We go on a lot of trips in TY for example, we went to Galway for the NUIG open day. The excitement of getting away for the day with my friends was great. We left at 6.30 in the morning on a bus with everyone in my class. When we arrived at the college and we went to really interesting talks which explained the courses available. We were allowed to walk around the college by ourselves to get a feel for the place. We had great fun and a really good day away.

The TY experience is really enjoyable and I am finding every day beneficial to me as a Student, a Teenager and as a Friend.

TY Mini Company

Our TY students continue to work on their mini companies. The mini company is a very rewarding project. The idea of the project is for a group to come together, think of a creative enterprise by providing a product or service, market this good, and sell it to the target audience, hoping to make a profit. All groups involved are now putting the final touches onto their business plans. TYA will get the chance to present theirs plans to the rest of their class next Tuesday in preparation for their official presentation in the coming weeks. Some of the ideas that will be presented are Button frames, Abbey sports tops, portable chargers, cookie dough jars and scratch maps of the world. 

Performing Arts

During this term the TYs will take part in four different modules, these will be rotated every four weeks. The following modules will be on offer:

  • Drama Workshop
  • PE Expo competition – this is a national competition
  • YSI- Young Social Innovators – this is a national competition
  • Guitar Workshop
  • GAA Future Leaders – Wellbeing


Young Social Innovator

Young Social Innovators is Ireland’s largest social awareness and active citizenship and education programme for 15- to 18-year-old teens. Its main goal is to get young people involved in action which helps improve the lives of others in their community.

This term TYC have decided that they will base their projects around the area of homelessness. The aim of the project is to put together a care pack that they will distribute to a homeless charity. The students will develop this pack through research online and will make communication with homeless charities to gather further information needed.

TY Activities

This term the students will experience a different range of activities during their Monday activity slot. These activities will be rotated every four weeks.

  • TYA will take part in GAA coaching Skills with Mr Monaghan.
  • TYB will go to the Central Hotel Leisure Centre were they will take part in aqua aerobic.
  • TYC will complete four weeks of boxercise with Ms O’Mahony.
  • TYD will Leaving Cert PE induction workshop for the four weeks with Mr O’Mahony.

TY up and coming event

Over the next few months our TY students will take part in my activities, a sample of some of these activities and listed below:

  • Public Access To Law Course
  • Personal Safety Workshop
  • Cardiac First Response Course
  • Healthy Life Programme
  • Dublin History Trip
  • Hotel Training
  • Balmoral Shows
  • Lough Key Maths Trip


TY Newsletter team: Frank Duffy

                                     Christopher Darby

                                     Meabh Morrow Herbert

                                     Hannah Crawford

                                     Tom Daly

                                     Emma Coulter

                                     Shona O’Brien 


Students, parents, staff and general public can sign up to receive the Abbey Vocational School Newsletter weekly. Simply enter your email address in the #Follow box and receive our newsletter to your inbox each week.@abbeyvs

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