Abbey VS Newsletter for 28th Jan 2019

Abbey’s Got Talent

There has been a huge interest in our ‘Abbey’s Got Talent’ Event. Auditions will be held next week! This takes place on April 11th in the Abbey Hotel with Noel Cunningham as our M.C. A variety of acts will be selected to perform on the night and it promises to be an excellent event.

Parent Teacher Meetings

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

Parents Information Evening for Parents of 3rd and TY students

An information evening will take place on Tuesday February 5th for parents of third year and TY students. This will look at subject options for those students progressing to 5th year. There will be a presentation on the TY Programme also at this time for students considering going into TY.

  • 7pm: Talk on TY for all 3rd years. Short Talk on LCA programme.
  • 7.45 pm: Subject Option Talk for students going into 5th year

Leaving Certificate & Junior Cycle Examination Timetables

As Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle Students prepare for their Mock Examinations, the Leaving Certificate & Junior Cycle Examination timetables are now available for 6th Year and 3rd Year students on our school website at the link below.

Scene of the Crime!

There was lots of excitement this week in one of the classrooms of the Abbey Vocational School. Delighted Students were greeted by a mock crime scene set up by Ms Mc Guinness as part of her science class. Students were then tasked with finding the culprit(s)!


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 in joining our club, please talk to Mr Harvey. All welcome!

Active Schools

Wednesday afternoon saw the gym busy with the ‘Active Schools Programme’ where Students from all years engaged in the timeless activity of Skipping. Students spent their lunchtime enjoying the art of skipping, interacting with other Students and improving their physical and mental health!

Music Department

Tuesday the 29th February will see thirty five Transition Year Students from the Abbey Vocational School travel to Letterkenny to take part in preparations for the ‘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

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

Finally, with the Mock Examinations around the corner, exam classes are preparing for Mock Practical’s on during the first week of February.

One Voice Choir


Teaching & Learning

With mocks exams approaching, organisation is key for success and well-being, and student study planning apps are becoming increasingly popular.

As well as saving on paper, many student planner apps also send reminders and alerts straight to your phone or device. Two such apps include  ‘Timetable’ and “iStudiez”.

‘Timetable’ is an intuitive app on Google Play for managing your study planning. Students can save their timetable and all tasks from homework to exams. You only need to enter them once, because Timetable syncs across all your Android devices. 

iStudiez allows students not only to create a study timetable but also tracking of daily tasks, upcoming homework assignments, Oral exams, SEC project deadlines etc. It is available for iOS, Android and Windows platforms.


As part of Maths week, we ran a “Have You Got Maths Eyes” competition for Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle students. The challenge was using your ‘Maths Eyes’ to find something interesting in their environment, take a photograph and write a tagline highlighting the Maths in the picture. The students uploaded their entries online and these were judged by Mr. Donegan and Ms. Lockhart.

The winners of the Junior category were:

  • 1st Anna Foster McDaid and 2nd Amy McGroary
  • The winners of the Senior category were: 1st Brian Gallagher and 2nd Jessica Henry

Thanks to all who took part!

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


January sees the birthday of African-American Novelist Zora Neale Hurston. Born in Eatonville, Florida, Hurston became part of the Harlem Renaissance, the black literati in New York City, writing novels such as ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’, ‘Dust Tracks on a Road’ and ‘Mules and Men’. The English Department would like to recommend the American classic ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’, it brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last “Black Cargo” ship to arrive in the United States.

The English Department would also like to wish Claire Breslin the very best as she tackles the lead role in the upcoming Musical ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Rehearsals are well under way and we wish Claire all the very best!

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, 4th February.

Art Department

Fifth year students from the Abbey Vocational School are channelling their inner creativity this week and are beginning work on this year’s Texaco Art Competition. Entries are due on Thursday 28th February.

Science Club

The Science Club meets every Wednesday during lunch in room 33. The Science Club provides exciting, engaging, experimental practical, interactive STEM experiences, professionally delivered in a Structured, Safe, Supervised, Educational and Fun environment. All are welcome.

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 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.

Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the library over the coming weeks:

  • 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

Leaving Certs applying to DARE and/or HEAR should now be working on their application(s). The Guidance Counsellors will be happy to assist in any way that they can.

The SUSI Grant application process will open in early April 2019. Further information will be provided by the Guidance Department during Career Guidance class.

6th Year students & LCAs are welcome to book a 1:1 appointment with their Guidance Counsellor if they have not already done so.

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.

Donegal Youth Council

Congratulations to Shaun Meehan, Aodhán McCrudden and Eoin Rooney who join Frank Duffy on Donegal Youth Council

Leaving Cert Applied Students

LCA1 Students from the Abbey Vocational Schools ‘Art Department made a presentation this week to Veronica Gillen from MS Donegal. The presentation was made with money that the Students had raised through the sale of beautifully designed Christmas cards made by Students. Ms Gillen was delighted to accept the money raised on behalf of MS Donegal.


Girls Active

Girls Active continues this week with the theme of ‘Rowing’. Students enjoyed the activity as a fantastic way to improve their fitness, mental health and wellbeing. Girls Active continues every Thursday from 3.20-4.20 in the gym!


Drama Club

image008Fantastic turnout for the first ever meeting of the new AVS Drama Club – over 45 students attended lunchtime Thursday and all expressed great enthusiasm for the project which will see students regularly meeting to work on their acting and rehearse pieces for performance. It was decided at the meeting that drama sessions will initially take place Wednesdays after school 3:25-4:30 pm and Thursday lunchtime 12:40-1:15 pm.

Even if you were not there last Thursday – feel free to drop in and join in any time – all that is required is an interest in acting – see you there!

Also, Abbey Vocational Fifth Year Drama Students Robyn Harvey Moulding, Saerlaith Lusson and Emily Erskine are performing an extract from Irish Film Awards Best Director Nominee Enda Walsh entitled ‘Chatroom’. Their performance is part of the Donegal Secondary Schools Drama Festival which is being held in the Balor Theatre on the 4th and 5th February. Saerlaith, Robyn and Emily will be performing on the 4th February. Good luck Ladies!


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.


AVS Student Conor Campbell on the Irish U15 Squad!

Abbey Vocational Student and Finn Harps Player Conor Campbell (left) has been selected to play on the Republic of Ireland U15 Team for an International Tournament in Spain. Conor Campbell and Luke McGlynn were included in the twenty-man squad named by the Republic of Ireland’s Head Coach Jason Donohue.

Over five days in January and early February, Ireland will play Spain, the Netherlands and Hungary at the Pinatar Arena in Spain. According to Head Coach Jason Donohue “We had an assessment game leading in before Christmas. The four lads did really well and deserve this opportunity”.


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. After two great opening games, next up for both teams is a trip to Carrick on Shannon during the week of 4th – 9th February. Good luck lads!



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 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 minutes, 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.

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.  Mr. Carty and Mr. Clayton previously held trials and teams had been selected to participate in the event. Abbey Vocational Students displayed great flair and aptitude and had a great day.

District Cross-Country Competition

A number of runners took part in the District Cross-Country Competition on Thursday 24th January at Necarne Estate, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh.

Despite the damp conditions, Students from the Abbey Vocational School gave wonderful accomplished performances.

One of the highlights of the meeting were Mia McCalmont 1st place in the Senior Girls’ Race, with automatic qualification for the Ulster Finals. Kitty McNulty also qualified for the Ulster finals, finishing in 9th place. Caolan Sweeney finished 7th in the Junior Boys’ race and Seanan Carr 15th in the Minor Boys, both qualifying for the Ulster Finals.

The Intermediate Boys’ team finished 6th out of 12 teams, and all ran with great determination on a tough 4.5km course. The Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ Teams both finished in 12th position.

Congratulations to all the runners who took part and to the 4 runners who have qualified for the Ulster Finals in particular!

U15 Girls Soccer


The Abbey Vocational U15 girls took on the Loreto in Milford on Friday the 25th January and had to play against a hard wind in the first half. Twenty minutes into the game it remained scoreless until the referee awarded a penalty to Milford putting the score at 1- 0 Loreto. At half time the score was 4-0 to Loreto as Milford kept up the pressure, and aided by the breeze, scored three more quick goals.
However, the Abbey Vocational School Girls never dropped their heads, kept up the pace and played some great football in the second half. Chance after chance saw Milford clear the ball away. Despite this, a great pass forward from Holly Roarty saw Roisin Lynch score low into the Milford net leaving the final score at the end of the second half at 4 – 1 to Loreto. A contender for best player for Abbey Vocational School was the marvellous Holly Roarty!

TY News


TY Life Skills Talk

On Friday the 25th January all TY students took part in a life skills talk delivered by Sean McGee, It was a very informative talk for all students as they were given tips on how to focus on the research involved in job and career options suited to them. Sean focused on how important it is to choose a career path that you enjoy and explained how TY gives you the opportunity to explore all of your career options.


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.

This week the students started rehearsing the start of the play and some of the songs. The students are really enjoying taking on the programme!

TY “Growth” Mini Company

image016This week we feature another of our mini-companies:- “Growth

Run by three 4B enterprising students, Aodhán Mc Crudden, Luke Kelly and Cormac Mc Suibhne, Growth is dedicated to promoting greener and more environmentally friendly garden products. The boys are environmentalists by nature and wanted to come up with a business idea that involved recycling. They have a working wormery that produces miracle grow liquid fertiliser and compost from food waste. Studies have proven that these products will boost plant growth by a factor of three.

They also sell the complete wormery kits to community groups/schools/households where they supply the vermiculture equipment, set it up and give advice on how best to care for the worms etc.

Later in the growing season they will have several nettle composters that will produce bottles of nutrient rich nettle tea fertiliser.

They are currently in preparations for the upcoming Foroige NFTE and Local Enterprise Board Enterprise competitions.


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. The class are looking for donations of the following items, if you have any of these to spare can you please drop them into the school for please:

  • Drawstring Backpacks
  • Waterproofs

 Personal care items:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Shower Gel or soap
  • Baby wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Roll on deodorants (please do not include spray deodorants)
  • Treat personal care items – moisturisers, facial creams, hair gel, etc.
  • Cereal or energy bars
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves or snoods
  • Thermal items (socks etc)
  • Base layers

TY Craft workshop

On Tuesday 22nd January TYD took part in a craft workshop with Morna from Morna’s Patch. During this workshop the students learned how to cross stitch and each student made a love heart fridge magnet. It was a very enjoyable experience for all the students and they left the workshop with some lovely homemade fridge magnet just in time for Valentine’s day! Morna will be back over the next few weeks to work with the other TY classes.

PAL – Law course

On Friday the 1st February the school will welcome three Barristers from the Public Access To Law group (PAL). PAL has a large panel of practising barristers who present a law module to Transition year classes throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. This module also prepares teams interested in partaking in the PAL annual mock trials competition. Over 150,000 pupils have partaken in this law programme since its inception. For the past 19 consecutive years (with the invaluable assistance of the Courts Service and members of the Judiciary), PAL organises the transition year national mock trials competition. This is the most popular team competition in transition year. Each year PAL nominates 4 Irish schools to partake in the annual mock trials world championships held in New York.

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 where 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 many activities, a sample of some of these activities and listed below:

  • Public Access To Law course
  • Personal Safety Workshop
  • First Response Course
  • Healthy Life Programme
  • Dublin History Trip
  • Hotel Training
  • Balmoral Shows
  • Lough Key Maths Trip
  • CSI Workshop
  • Make up workshop
  • Personal Presentation Workshop
  • Ambulance Crew visit and Defib overview
  • Internet Safety video production workshops
  • Basketball table officiating course and Basketball coaching course
  • Architect in school programme
  • Foróige Leadership programme
  • Homeless workshop
  • Young Social Innovators competitions and attendance at event
  • PE Expo
  • ETB Awards
  • Sports Leaders
  • GAA Future Leaders
  • Drama Production

TY Newsletter team:

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

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