Abbey VS Newsletter – 18th Feb

Streetwise Workshop for First Years

On Monday the 11th February first year Students of the Abbey Vocational School were treated to a workshop entitled “Streetwise”. This workshop was an informative and enlightening workshop for Students highlighting the dangers faced by Students in today’s world.


NASA Astronaut Jon McBride

On Monday, fifth year Students of the Abbey Vocational School welcomed retired American Naval Officer, Aviator and NASA Astronaut Jon McBride.

Having graduated from West Virginia University in 1964 Jon McBride joined the Navy in 1965 with flight training at Pensacola, Florida. After winning his wings as a Naval Aviator, he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 101 based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. An illustrious career followed where Jon McBride was awarded honours such as the Legion of Merit and the Medal of Honour.

On the 5th October 1984 McBride piloted an 8 day mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida into space in the orbiter “Challenger”.

During their eight day mission, crew members deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite and conducted scientific observations of the Earth.

Students of the Abbey Vocational School were inspired by the tales and experiences of Jon McBride and were moved by his motivational speech. The Abbey Vocational School Community were honoured to have presence of the Veteran Astronaut in Donegal! We sincerely thank Goeffrey Browne for organisng this event.


Teaching & Learning: Student Survey

As part of our School Self Evaluation processes, senior students have been undertaking a survey: “Engaging with Questions”. For link, please click HERE. (Requires student login)


This week sees the birthday of  “Beloved” author Toni Morrison. The English Department would like to recommend the 1987 novel. Set after the American Civil War, “Beloved” is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky in late January in 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state.

This week sees the birthday of Matthew Groening the American cartoonist, writer, producer, animator, and voice actor. He is the creator of  the television series “The Simpsons” (1989–present). “The Simpsons” is the longest-running U.S. animated series and sitcom.

Finally, English Department would like to wish Mr Donegan our Maths Teacher the very best of luck in the role of Algernon Moncrieff in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”. A Ballyshannon Drama Society Production, the show will open in the Abbey Arts Centre on February 12th 13th, 14th and 16th February, before heading out on the road to festivals around the country.


Drama Club

This week, on Valentine’s Day, members of the Abbey Vocational School Drama Society made the trip to the Abbey Arts Centre in Ballyshannon to watch the world Ballyshannon Drama Society’s Production of Oscar Wilde’s  “The Importance of Being Earnest”. The “Importance of Being Earnest” is an enlightening example of comedy of manners as it makes fun of the behaviour of Victorian aristocracy.

The Drama Students of the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed the escapades of two carefree Bachelors, Jack and Algernon, each with a carefully hidden double life. When Algernon discovers that Jack has been posing as a man named Ernest to escape to the city, he promptly travels to Jack’s country estate to pose as the fictional figure himself! A wonderful night’s fun for all the Students!


On Friday the 15th February Students from the Abbey Vocational School were treated to a performance of “Chatroom” by Emily Erskine, Saerlaith Lusson and Robyn Harvey-Moulding. Winning awards at the Butt Drama Circle’s Secondary Schools Festival at the Balor Arts Theatre on the 4th of February “Chatroom” is written by Enda Walsh and directed by Sean Donegan. Both Emily Erskine and Saerlaith Lusson were awarded Best Supporting Actress and Robyn Harvey-Moulding succeeded in claiming the award for Best Actress!


The History Department

This week in 2008 the first ever Students of a University Course for Students with Special Educational Needs graduate in a ceremony at Trinity College, Dublin. The pioneering two-year course aimed to promote the inclusion of people with Special Educational Needs in College life. Nineteen Students receive certificates in Contemporary Living.

Also this week, in 1939 Eamon De Valera stated his intention to preserve Irish Neutrality in the event of a Second World War.

Finally, the History Department are preparing for the Mock Examinations for the Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle Examinations. The History Department recommends Students get plenty of sleep, eat well and drink lots of water in order to maintain their wellbeing and mental health.

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 Chess Club meets on Tuesdays at lunchtime in room 3. If you are interested in following in the footsteps of the famous chess player Vasily Smyslov please come along to our meetings as everyone is welcome!

The Abbey Vocational School Maths Club meets on Fridays at lunchtime in room 30. The Maths Club runs an enrichment program that focuses on having fun with mathematics and learning! Everyone is welcome!


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

What is the Science Club? It is a fun, intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through  observation and experiment. The group meets every Wednesday in room 33 during lunch break. All welcome!


Career Guidance

  1. Leaving Certs applying to DARE and/or HEAR should now be working on their application(s). It is the student’s responsibility to ensure all paperwork is completed by the specified dates. The student’s Guidance Counsellor will be happy to assist in any way that they can.
  2. Leaving Certs should at this stage be researching all relevant Scholarship This information has been covered in their career guidance classes.  Their Guidance Counsellor is on hand to assist.
  3. The SUSI Grant application process will open in early April 2019. Further information will be provided by the Guidance Counsellor during Career Guidance class.
  4. All senior cycle students (6th, LCA & 5th years) are welcome to book a 1:1 appointment with their Guidance Counsellor if they have not already done so.
  5. Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance logo.


Dragons Den

Well done to all our students that took part in our Dragons Den final today. Joint winners from today are Cute as a Button and Abbey Sportswear.  Thank you to our Dragons Mrs Begley and Miss Gillespie.


Coffee Morning in the Hub!

On Thursday 14th February, Valentine’s Day, Students held a coffee morning as part of the “Living in the Community” program, Staff and Students enjoyed an assortment of delightful cakes, coffee and tea!



First Year Enterprise

“Tweedelicious” is a hard working group of first year girls – Sorcha Walsh, Summer Mae Kerr, Aoife Cox, Lucy Campbell, Amy Mc Groary and Christina Gysling.

The company is using cutoffs of tweed from both Magees and Hanna Hats factories and upcycling plain coasters to produce a unique and useful tweed product. They wanted to give something that was destined for the waste bin a new lease of life. 

They faced the Dragon’s Den on Wednesday and met with the approval of Mr Stephen Friel from the County Enterprise Board on Thursday and have been chosen to represent the school in the Student Enterprise Awards competition on 21st March in the junior category.

Best of luck to them from all in the Business Department.




Ulster Schools 2019 Markey Cup Final

The Students of the Abbey Vocational School put on an impressive display in the first half against St Columbs, Derry in the Danske Bank Markey Cup final in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny today. However, the AVS team were unable to hold onto that lead.
Abbey VS 3-5

St Columbs, Derry 2-11
It was a disappointing end for the Donegal boys, especially after a very good first half showing.  Abbey led by two points at half-time after a pretty evenly contested first half. Shaun Kennedy and Cian Hegarty scored the goals for AVS.
St Columbs, through Fergal Mortimer, were the first to score when the centre-half-forward pointed from a close-in free.
But Abbey hit the next two scorers courtesy of two Cian Hegarty converted frees as they led 0-2 to 0-1 with eight minutes on the clock.
But they were rocked soon after when Tiernan O’Kane found a gap in the right wing of the Abbey defence before firing past Enda O’Hagan on 11 minutes. 
But the Abbey response was a positive one with Richard O’Rourke releasing Shaun Kennedy for a super goal.
Abbey were now back in front with a quarter hour on the clock and with Jamie Crawford landing two quick points they moved into a three point lead, 1-4 to 1-1 with 21 minutes on the clock.
And things got better for Michael Leyden’s young charges when Cian Hegarty polished off a brilliant move with a super goal.
Daniel Gallagher took the ball up the left wing and found Shaun Kennedy with an inch perfect pass. Kennedy squared across the small rectangle and Hegarty had the simple task of tapping to an empty net.
The goal opened up a six point lead 2-4 to 1-1 with a little over seven minutes remaining in the half.

This was a big score as it came after Jamie Crawford got back to clear off his own line with O’Hagan beaten.
But Abbey did not score again in the half as St Columbs clawed their way back into the game with three converted Mortimer frees and one from play from Eoghan Cassidy.

Half-time score 2-4 to 1-5.

Jude Og Moore scored the first point of the second half to reduce the Abbey lead to one. Further points from Shay Brown and Tiernan O’Kane put the Derry College a point ahead after 43 minutes.
Abbey were back in front three minutes later when Captain Jamie Crawford broke through to fire home a third Abbey goal.
But the lead was short lived as Fergal Mortimer pointed before substitute Ciaran Concannon, with his first touch, had the ball in the Abbey net on 52 minutes.
Cian Hegarty responded with a free, the only other Abbey score of the half, but just as they did in the first half, St Columbs finished well with points from Brown and James Lynch.

ABBEY VS: Enda O’Hagan; Shane Meehan, Brian Fegan, Aidan McHugh; Ryan Brogan, Michael Coughlan, Richard O’Rourke; Jamie Crawford (1-2,1f) , Oisín Reid; Cathal Feeney, Michael Statham, Daniel Gallagher; Shay Travers, Cian Hegarty (1-3,3f), Shaun Kennedy (1-0).

Subs: Ian Campbell for S Travers 47; Alex McCalmont for C Feeney 51; Thomas White for S Kennedy 58;

ST COLUMB’S: Matthew Stephenson; Michael Lynch, Naoise Meenan, Patrick Nelis; Conor McLaughlin, Shane McElhinney, Tiernan O’Kane (1-1); Conor Mooney, James Lynch (0-1); Ryan Brown, Fergal Mortimer (0-4,4f), Eoghan Cassidy (0-1); Cathir McMonagle, Jude Og Moore (0-1), Shay Brown (0-3).

Subs: Ciaran Concannon (1-0) for J Og Moore 51; Donnacha Gilmore for R Brown 61



First and Second Year Girls Basketball

On Friday the 15th February the first year Students of the Abbey Vocational School took on Carrick on Shannon. The girls fought hard and enjoyed a superb win against Carrick on Shannon. The second year girls basketball team also enjoyed a win on Friday in the Abbey Vocational School Sports Hall, winning 36-28.Both teams played exceptionally well and enjoyed well deserved success!



In conjunction with the Active Schools Initiative Ms O’Mahony has been running dance classes in the gym for Students of the Abbey Vocational School.Students have been awarded prizes for most improved. Oisin Brogan is a worthy winner of most Improved!


Transition Year News

Croke Park

On Monday the 11th February Transition Year Students from the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed a trip to Croke Park, Dublin. Croke Park has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over 100 years. Transition Year Students immersed themselves in the historical and momentous world of G.A.A.

Boasting a capacity for 82,300 people, Croke Park stadium is the home of Gaelic games and the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association.


Computer Science Workshops

On Tuesday the 12th February Transition Year Students at the Abbey Vocational School were immersed in the world of Computer Science. Computer Science is the study of computer software and computational systems resulting in a career as a computer programmer, software engineer or architect, database designer, web developer, network engineer, digital circuit designer, systems administrator or manager, and IT consultant.



Visit to Harvey’s Point for Transition Year Students

On Wednesday 13th February Transition Year Students from the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed a day in Harvey’s Point, Lough Eske, County Donegal. The Students were greeted very warmly by Television Legend Noel Cunningham, Head Chef Chris McMenamin and Food and Beverages Manager Sarah McMenamin.With 64 palatial suites in the main Hotel as well as the Lodge which features 13 compact style rooms, Harvey’s Point is one of the most successful, family-run, businesses in the North West.

Teachers from the Home Economics Department, Caroline Kennedy, Gladys Stewart and Mary Keaney accompanied the Transition Year Students into the realm customer service and hospitality. The day included a guided tour of the Majestic Hotel, modern Kitchens and beautiful surroundings. The Students were treated to an inspiring, motivational talk by Head Chef Chris McMenamin who highlighted the importance of customer care, respect and good manners when dealing with the client.


Look Into Law

Congratulations to Abbey Vocational School student Christopher Darby who participated in the Bar of Ireland’s “Look into Law” Transition Year Programme. The Bar of Ireland’s “Look into Law” Transition Year Programme is an exciting initiative aimed at increasing students’ awareness of the work of The Bar of Ireland and to encourage students to consider a career as a barrister.

At the beginning of the programme students are assigned to groups where they are shadowed by a designated barrister. They are introduced to the many different facets of a barrister’s working life and have the opportunity to experience the reality of life as a barrister.


Students also participate in a range of different activities;

  • Trial viewing
  • A tour of King’s Inns
  • A tour of the Four Courts
  • A walk-through of the Criminal Courts of Justice
  • A talk from a member of An Garda Siochana
  • A talk from a member of the DPP and a defence solicitor
  • A talk from a sitting Judge
  • A talk from a Legal Affair Correspondent
  • Participate in an interactive Mock Trial

The highlight of the week is the mock trial, held in the Green Street Courthouse, where students participate in a case complete with judge and barristers. This provides the students with a unique, interactive experience where each student is given a role to play in the courtroom including defendant, witnesses and jury members.

Upon completion of the programme, each student is presented with a certificate to mark their participation. Congratulations Christopher!

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


Homeless kit

TYC 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 the 12th February TYA 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.

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 go to the Central Hotel Leisure center were they will take part in aqua aerobic.
  • TYB will start Rowing.
  • TYC will Leaving Cert PE induction workshop for the four weeks with Mr O’Mahony.
  • TYD will complete four weeks of boxersie with Ms 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
  • First Response Course
  • Healthy Life Programme
  • 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
  • Foroige 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 




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