Abbey VS Newsletteer – Mon 4th March 2019

Mock Examinations

Well done to our Third Year and Leaving Cert students who have completed their Mock examinations on Friday last.

Our Leaving Certs will attend a de-stress day on Monday following their exams. They will spend two hours with Motivational speaker Michael Bond where they will review their exam performance and set goals for going forward for the remainder of the year. The student will then head to Breezy Centre where they will enjoy a fun filled day and a relaxing lunch.

Subject and Programme Options

Students should by now have returned their programme Options forms for TY, LCA or fifth year to the school office. Those who have opted for Transition should be now completing an application form which they should return to the office in advance of the TY interviews which take place in the coming weeks. Those opting to do LCA will be invited to a talk with Mr Griffin and parents will be invited into a coffee morning. All subject option forms should be returned to the school for those going into fifth year please.

Careers Fair in Ballybofey

On Thursday 28th February, Jackson’s Hotel was the venue for the annual Careers Fair organised by the Donegal Branch of the Institute of Career Guidance Counsellors. Students of the Abbey Vocational School were among the 1500 Students from across Donegal who attended the Careers Fair. This was an excellent opportunity for the Students to immerse themselves in the world of third level education. Up to 40 further and higher education institutions from across Ireland and the United Kingdom gathered to inform the Students on the myriad of options available to them after their Leaving Certificate.

For many of the Students of the Abbey Vocational School questions were answered, details were taken and seeds were planted into the minds of the AVS Students.


Guidance Department

  1. Leaving Certs applying to DARE and/or HEAR – all accompanying documentation must reach the CAO by 01 April 2019 @ 5.15 p.m.  This is the student’s responsibility.  The CAO’s postal address is:  CAO, Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway. The Guidance department will be happy to answer any questions a student might have.
  2. Leaving Certs should at this stage be researching all relevant Scholarship options.  This information has been covered in their career guidance classes.  The student’s 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 student’s 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.
  5. Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance logo.

Youth Council Meeting

image002Students from the Abbey Vocational School travelled to Letterkenny on Saturday 23rd February for the Youth Council Meeting.

The National Youth Council of Ireland is the representative body for voluntary youth organisations in Ireland. It uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people. It seeks to ensure that all young people are empowered to develop the skills and confidence to fully participate as active citizens in an inclusive society.

Saturday’s meeting included a bonding session, preparations for a inclusive trip at Easter and also discussions regarding the design and production of a Youth Council Hoodie. Students of the Abbey Vocational School are also making plans to attend a Talk in Dublin raising awareness and highlighting sexual abuse.

Seachtain na Gaeilge

Seachtain na Gaeilge is the biggest Irish language festival in Ireland and the world and it is held from 1st- 17th March 2019.

This week in the Abbey Vocational School Irish Teachers will be running several events in the classroom to celebrate this event.
Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Language Week) is an international Irish language festival and one of the biggest celebrations of our native language and culture that takes place each year in Ireland and in many other countries. To celebrate this Teachers at the AVS will be holding art competitions and Irish quizzes.

Music Department

All Junior Cycle and Leaving Certs are preparing programmes for the upcoming practical exams which take place before Easter.

One Voice Choir – 35 TY students will attend final rehearsals for the Donegal ETB showcase on Tue next in Radisson Hotel Letterkenny. They will sing in a choir of over 300 student voices representing DETB schools around the county.

Winners of auditions for talent Show will be announced on Monday when the mock examinations are complete. There were many entries representing every school year and many difficult decisions had to be made to whittle the entrants down to finalists. It is no surprise that the auditions brought to light the wealth of talent in the school. Many new kids on the block too!!

image013Congratulations to our music teacher Claire Breslin who played the lead role in Ballyshannon musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Many of her own students attended to support her and were blown away by her talents on stage. Also well done to 6th class pupils of Killymard School. Mark Meehan and Leah Herron. We look forward to seeing them in years to come treading the boards with the Abbey Vocational School Music and Drama events.


English Department

This week is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as the beloved Dr. Seuss. In his lifetime Dr. Seuss had written and illustrated 44 children’s books which have been translated into more than 15 languages and over 200 million copies have been sold worldwide. This week the English Department recommends “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss as it highlights the need to take care of the environment and reminds us of our carbon-footprint!

The English Department would also like to congratulate Claire Breslin on her extraordinary performance in the Ballyshannon Musical Society’s Production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.

History Department

In the spring of 1916, the IRB fix Easter Sunday as the date for their planned insurrection. The 1916 Rising was one of the pivotal moments in Irish History. Austin Clarke, a student of Thomas MacDonagh exclaimed “Ireland can only win freedom by force”.

In March 1889,the Eiffel Tower was opened to the public despite not being quite finished. Crucially, the lifts were not yet working, so visitors had to trudge up the stairs on foot. Most gave up and remained on the lower levels; only a handful made it to the top, where Eiffel hoisted a gigantic French flag, greeted by fireworks and a 21-gun salute.

The tower was an instant hit: illuminated every night by gas lamps, in the first week alone, almost 30,000 people climbed to the top. The Eiffel Tower is still the centrepiece of Paris’ cityscape. More than 7 million people visit this iconic tower every year.


Health Promoting Schools

Before the midterm students and staff at the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed healthy eating tasting at lunchtime in the assembly area. The Health Promoting Schools Committee and the Home Economics Department prepared and served the healthy option dishes on the day. As a result of this great event and positive feedback from the students and staff of the Abbey Vocational School, more healthy options have been introduced into the school canteen and tuck shop.

This initiative by the Health Promoting Schools Team focused on food and nutrition as one of the vital areas students need to be aware of the importance of healthy eating practices.

Library Activities

As the mocks are over the library will reopen during lunch throughout the week, here students will be able to play table tennis and different indoor active activities to keep them entertained during lunch. The area has been introduced alongside the lunchtime activities up in the gym and also outside on our playing courts. We encourage all students to take part in the physical activities offered or one of our clubs such as coding, science, drama, choir and book club.

Student Voice

The student Council have distributed a questionnaire to the students in the school who come from non-national backgrounds… 17 different countries in total in order to find out about their culture and the challenges that they may have faced due to language and culture when they came to Ireland or when they started school. On March 15th there will be a multinational event organised by the council. Along with the multinational students, they will help to represent each country in the school with traditional foods.

Leaving Cert Bonding Trip

On Monday 4th March all Leaving Certificate students will visit the Bluestack Centre where they will take part in many fun filled activities to help our students to relax after working so hard during their mock over the past week. Before going out to the Bluestacks Centre, Michael Bond will do a review of the mock with all the students. Michael was in the school at the start of the year were he delivered a study skills seminar, focusing on motivating students on timetabling study for maximum results.

Active Schools Flag

image003On Friday 1st March the Abbey Vocational School welcomed a visit from Active Schools Flag representative Ms O’Donnell.

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

The Abbey Vocational School began this process by self-evaluating; Physical Education, Physical Activity and Partnerships. The school also pledged to organise an Active School Week programme and committing to having it as part of their annual school calendar. Agreeing to adhere to the Active Schools Flag success criteria the Abbey Vocational School is forging a path of active, healthy living for the whole school community.

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!

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!


Art Department

There was a huge response to the Texaco Art Competition entries from the Students of the Abbey Vocational School. Work by Mia McCalmont, Saerlaith Lusson, Katie Daly and Sarah McGrory.

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Drama Club


Drama club continues every Wednesday after school with a very nice group meeting to improve acting and performance skills and have lots of fun. There is a short-film project in the pipeline and drama club members will be playing the roles in this film – more details to follow when the project is all confirmed.


Mr Donegan’s play “The Importance of being Earnest “at Abbey Centre in Ballyshannon went very well with great crowds and lots of critical acclaim. Members of the drama club attended one of the performances and got to come backstage after the show to meet the cast. Mr Donegan’s play will be touring the drama festivals around Ireland over the next few weeks and we wish him well with his tour.

The Drama festival is coming to Ballyshannon the week of the 11th March and there will be a school trip to see some of the shows there – anyone interested to should let Mr Donegan or Ms O’Donnell know and attend drama club next Wednesday for further details.


Leo McLoone’s Momentous 100 Games

image004This week the Students of the Abbey Vocational School celebrated the G.A.A. Career of AVS Teacher Leo McLoone who celebrates 100 appearances for Donegal’s Senior Team.

Leo McLoone started his G.A.A. football career at the age of 16 when he was introduced as a substitute in the final of the 2005 Donegal Senior Football Championship.

In a glittering career spanning 14 years Leo has amassed illustrious titles including 1 All Ireland Senior Football Championship 2012, 4 Ulster Senior Football Championships, 3 Donegal Senior Football Championships and 3 Donegal U21 Football Championships.

However, Mr McLoone will be best known as the much admired and respected Teacher of the Abbey Vocational. Congratulations Leo!

Boys Basketball

1st year boys

The first year basketball team put up a great effort against Carrick on Shannon but sadly couldn’t get the win. From the start the boys were off to a great start but over time the boys just couldn’t get the lead. In the fourth quarter towards the end the boys kept fighting and after Jonathan O Driscoll scored a great free throw the boys got the ball back and Morgan Cassidy scored a great three pointer the boys were level. But in the final seconds Carrick scored and the boys lost 39-41.

2nd year boys

The second year boy of the Abbey Vocational School took on Carrick on Shannon on Friday 1st March. Our boys started off strong, they showed great teamwork throughout the match. Niall Prendeville showed great leadership to push the boys on when Carrick started to come back into the game. The boys finished out the match winning by 4 points the final score was 41-37 to the Abbey Vocational School. Outstanding on the day for the Abbey were Niall Prendeville, Ben McNeely and Ethan Kenny.

Transition Year

Work Experience

This week Transition Year Students of the Abbey Vocational School left the nest and ventured into the realms of work experience. It is intended that the Transition Year should create opportunities to vary the learning environment and to dispel the notion that learning is something that happens only, or even most effectively, within the classroom. One of the ways of doing this, and of providing an orientation towards the world of work, is to include a component of actual work experience.

Diary entry of an AVS Transition Year Student’s work experience:

image012“Hello my name is Hannah Crawford and I am a TY Student in the AVS. For my work experience, I decided to go to Statsports in Newry. I stayed with a family friend Kate Keaney, in Belfast and travelled to work with her each day. The working day started at 9 and finished at 5, with an hour long lunch. I had to get up at 7.20 each morning and would get home at about 6 each evening, depending on the traffic.

Statsports is a company that collects and analyses data from sporting performances using GPS Tracking Units. Statsports is the world’s leading GPS Player Tracking Company and work with many elite teams such as Liverpool F.C., Manchester United, the I.R.F.U. and many more.

Within the company there are many departments including; marketing, finance, computer software, graphic design and sports scientist. My work experience was mainly located in the Sport Scientist Department. This involved testing the GPS Units by wearing the equipment and running 3×100 metre distances. My job also involved sticking stickers on the beacons, which track the units that were being sent off to Portsmouth F.C.

Working in the Sports Scientist Department educated me of the role of the Sports Scientist; meeting a client, supplying the Client with the equipment they require, teaching them how to use it , visiting the Client wherever they may be in the world, analysing the data from the team’s performance and providing the information to the Sports Managers. I found this process fascinating!

Overall, I loved my time in Newry and thought it as a great experience. It really opened my eyes to the world of business in the workplace. I found the work experience hugely beneficial as it gives you an opportunity to see what the real world is like outside the realms of the Abbey Vocational School and discover a career you might consider in the future!

Tourism Training Programme

The School of Tourism will be delivering a four-day tourism-training programme for Transition Year students one day per week, over four weeks during March and April 2019.  Fifteen TY students will have the opportunity to participate in the programme. In total 60 students will complete the programme.

The programme focuses on the following:

  • Introduction to the Hospitality Industry
  • Tourism in Co. Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way
  • Customer Care
  • Introduction to food hygiene and food handling and
  • Restaurant service

Programme Delivery

The programme is delivered by the School of Tourism’s experienced lecturers on the LYIT’s Killybegs Campus.  The programme will culminate in a live lunch service by the students to invited guests and a presentation of Certificates of Completion to all participants. Guest speakers from the tourism/hospitality industry will be invited to address the groups.

LYIT (Killybegs) Taster Day

On 6th March all TY students will get the opportunity to visit LYIT School of Tourism in Killybegs. The School of Tourism provides business and practical training which prepares graduates for a wide variety of careers in culinary arts, hospitality management and tourism. Our students are very lucky to get this opportunity and we thank LYIT for facilitating our visit.
TY Architect in Schools Project

Ms Tara Quinn will visit AVS to work with TY students on Friday 8th March on the TY Architect in Schools Project. The National Architects in Schools Initiative is an exciting programme for Transition Year students. Architects are placed in schools to facilitate hands-on design workshops with student groups in 25 schools across Ireland. This initiative builds on five years of successful schools programming from the Irish Architecture Foundation and provides students with the opportunity to develop an appreciation of architecture and design, learn a variety of new skills and gain insight to the professional life of designers and architects. Participating architects are recruited and mentored by the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) and placed in schools to devise and facilitate workshops in collaboration with teachers.

TY up and coming events:

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
  • Killybegs Tourism College taster day
  • Tourism Training Programme
  • 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
  • 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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