Abbey VS Newsletter – 18th March 2019

World Book Day Winners!

The Abbey Vocational School were delighted to celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 7th March 2019. The English Department held competitions for the best book cover, engaged in D.E.A.R., Drop , Everything and Read, and many more initiatives throughout the day. Over the last 22 years, World Book Day has become firmly established as Ireland’s biggest annual event promoting the enjoyment of books and reading. The main aim is to encourage children to explore the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with an opportunity to have a book of their own.


N.F.T.E. Finals

image003Congratulations to Aodhan McCrudden, Cormac MacSuibhne and Luke Kelly, Students from the Abbey Vocational School, who took part in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in Letterkenny with their Mini Company ‘Growth’ on Wednesday the 13th of March.

The Mini Company ‘Growth’ is dedicated to promoting greener and more environmentally friendly garden products. The three Students 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.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a cutting edge, world recognised, youth entrepreneurship education and development programme.  It is managed and provided by Foróige in Ireland and is affiliated to NFTE International.

image004The NFTE programme has been shown to improve the business, academic and life skills of young people. Foróige NFTE is committed to changing the lives of young people in communities by enabling them to develop core skills in business and enterprise, and in doing so help them to unlock their individual talents and potential. Foróige NFTE operates in-school and out-of-school programmes, both of which have been shown to be successful in increasing school completion and college attendance rates.

image005Aodhan, Cormac and Luke are now through to the NFTE National Semi-Final in Dublin at the end of the month!

Art Department

This week 5th year Art students of the Abbey Vocational School are currently working on the Jigsaw Donegal Art Competition. The theme of the competition is ‘Reflections’ and entries are due Friday 22nd March.

Also. Transition Year students are working on signs for ’The Path to Nationhood’ history project which will be located in the main assembly area of the school.

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!


Abbeys Got Talent Finalists.
Finalists are working hard at rehearsal for our talent show that takes place on Thursday 11th April in the Abbey Hotel . 

The finalists are:
Gavan Tanham and Joseph Hearty
Bree Hanna, Anna Mitchell and Erin Ryder
Rachel Reid and Eadaoin Rush
Luke Kelly
Oisin O’Donnell
Marie McGirr
Joseph Edwards
Robyn Harvey-Moulding
Conor McAllister and Gabriella Byrne
Matthew and Davy Byrne
Luke O’Sullivan
This show promises to be a fantastic night of high quality entertainment with MC Noel Cunningham and judges such as Conal Gallan and Martin Mc Ginley as well as other exciting acts. Rumour has it that staff members are featuring also !!

Seachtain na Gaeilge

This week the Abbey Vocational School celebrated Seachtain na Gaeilge with First Year Students creating  posters of the National Anthem and wonderful St. Patrick’s day cards.

Is féile idirnáisiúnta í Seachtain na Gaeilge, atá ar an gceiliúradh is mó dár dteanga agus dár gcultúr dúchais in Éirinn agus in go leor tíortha eile gach bliain.

Rinneamar ár gceiliúadh féin anseo i nGairmscoil na Mainistreach i mBaile Dhún na nGall. Féach ar na pictiúir bheomhara bhríomhara thíos.

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Second Year winners of the Seachtain na Gaeilge competitions are: 1st Rosie Campbell, 2nd Stacey McHugh and 3rd place Kiernan Degnan McDevitt.

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Fifth Year winners of the Seachtain na Gaeilge are; Eoin Gorrell, Carl McCarry and Jack Byrne;



  • 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 or parent/guardian might have.
  • Leaving Certs should at this stage be researching all relevant Scholarship This information has been covered in their career guidance classes.  The student’s Guidance Counsellor is on hand to assist.
  • 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.
  • A Google Classroom for Apprenticeships & Traineeships is regularly updated. The classroom is available to all students interested in this further education & training route. The classroom code is available from Ms Faherty.
  • GMIT will present to Leaving Certs on Thursday, 04 April @ 11.55 – 12.35 in the library.
  • All senior cycle students (6th, LCA & 5th years) are welcome to book a 1:1 appointment with their Guidance Counsellor.
  • Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance logo.


Teaching & Learning / Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) is organising 23 individual interactive webinars across a three week period, something for practically everyone! Teachers can register now by visiting & go to Announcements section. All webinars will be recorded & uploaded subsequent to the webinar broadcast.



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!


First Year Anti-Bullying Workshops

First Year Anti-Bullying Workshops were held on Tuesday the 12th of March in the gym of the Abbey Vocational School. The Bullying Prevention Session engaged Students in an interactive play, presentation and workshop on school bullying.

The workshop discussed many issues including the many types of bullying; verbal, physical, cyber bullying and extortion etc. Also, how to prevent bullying and what has proven effective in preventing and stopping bullying.

Students engage in role-play and drama to aid bullying awareness and prevention.

The drama is written by Dr. Peadar Donohoe a part-time lecturer and drama coach for the CIT Cork School of Music Youth Theatre. Peadar has been highly interested in the transformative uses of Applied Drama.  With both his Master’s in Education and his Doctorate he has investigated the uses of Drama and Role-play to create awareness about and to prevent bullying.  He has been highly successful in this regard where his research has proven that role-play can be used to reduce bullying by more than 50%.

First Year Students of the AVS took part in drama and role-play as it can be a highly effective anti-bullying resource.


Student Voice

Also Student Voice for this coming week – Students are preparing for a Culture and Food tasting day on March 22nd.  They have surveyed non-national students to see what challenges may be when someone comes to Ireland and starts school here, particularly when language is a barrier.  They will present food on the day from many of the countries represented by the international students in the school.

A.W.A.R.E. Workshops

Aware undertakes to create a society where people affected by stress, depression, bipolar disorder and mood related conditions are understood, supported, free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies.


  • To inform and educate on the nature, extent and consequences of depression
  • To provide emotional and practical support to those affected by depression, bipolar and related disorders
  • To provide positive mental health and resilience training
  • To support research into the development and treatment of depression and related issues


Active Schools

As part of the Active Schools Flag initiative, the Students of the Abbey Vocational School take part in soccer during lunchtime!


Drama Club

The Drama Club is continuing this week with a tutorial after school on Wednesday and also at lunchtime on Thursday. If you are interested in joining an innovative and engaging group to improve acting and performance skills and have lots of fun then come along to the Drama Club!

 There is a short-film project in the process of being produced by creative, inspiring and determined fifth year Students with members of the Drama Club w playing the roles in this short educational film to raise awareness around the issue of anxiety.

Mr Donegan’s play “The Importance of being Earnest” is now touring the drama circuit and can be seen at the Ballyshannon 67th Drama Festival on the 16th of March and in Strabane on the 21st of March 2019.

Oscar Wilde’s “ The Importance of Being Earnest” is an enlightening example of comedy of manners as it makes fun of the behaviour of Victorian aristocracy.

The play explores 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!

The 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!


History Department

The History Department is continuing to work on the ‘Path to Nationhood’ initiative. This initiative will see ten Transition Year Students, under the Mentorship of History Teacher Mr. Lafferty. The exciting exhibition will encompass a wall in the assembly area.

The project will display images of Iconic Irish Figures from our historical past, hence the name ‘Path to Nationhood’.


First and Second Year Basketball

Congratulations to the Abbey Vocational School First Years who had a triumphant win on Thursday winning by twenty points! Second years also won their match, congratulations!

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First Year Boys Soccer

Congratulations to our First Year Boys Soccer Team won 5-2 on Friday 15th of March against Letterkenny, a big thank you to our support Eoghan Rooney and David Crawford!

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Transition Year

Webwise Safer Internet Winners!

Congratulations to Jack Lennox, Brandon Billingsley, Jessica Given, Kevin Canny, Frank Duffy, Katelyn Duffy, Emma Coulter, Chris Darby, Ciara Joyce and Hannah Crawford for winning the Overall Best Anti- Bullying Video in Ireland.


Safer Internet Day (SID) is an EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. It is promoted in Ireland by the PDST Technology in Education and Webwise.

The Theme for Safer Internet Day is “Together for a Better Internet“. This year almost 145,000 people in Ireland celebrated Safer Internet Day 2019.


Transition Year Students, under the mentorship of their English Teacher Ms. Cunningham, produced a short film which tackled the relevant issue of bullying.

The TY Students wrote, directed and produced the award-winning short film in conjunction with Safer Internet Day.

Healthy Lifestyle Program

This week Transition Year Students will engage in the Healthy Lifestyle Program. This revolutionary program is specially designed for transition year students. The Healthy Lifestyle Program (HLP) works over two days of group discussions, lectures and a group fitness assessment.

The main topics covered over these two days are Nutrition, Fitness, life coping skills, goal setting and applying proper logic and understanding to a balanced lifestyle.

Each student receives an individualised life chart to provide structure, understanding and motivation as well as participating in a group fitness assessment designed to measure the level of fitness of the group and to help them implement possible improvements for optimum performance and health.

The Program Coordinators are Jeff Allen and Agatha Hidalgo.

Jeff is a sports therapist, life coach, fitness instructor and ex special forces. He enlisted on a Non Commissioned Officer course, studied for a health and fitness instructor qualification at the National Council for Exercises & Fitness and completed the army’s Physical Training Instructors and Reconnaissance courses.Based in Waterford, Ireland, Jeff is a keen sports enthusiast. Jeff is a veteran of the Irish Permanent Defence Force (PDF) having joined in 1985 and retired after 21 years’ service in 2006. Since retiring from the PDF, Jeff has been involved in an outdoor pursuits business and has also been occupying his time as a sports therapist and life coach.

Agatha Hidalgo Caubin Dip NT, is a Nutritional Therapist having trained with the College of Naturopathic Medicine in Cork and a Nutrition and Health education provider.


TY Architect in Schools Project

Ms Tara Quinn will visit AVS to work with TY students on Friday the 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.


Cardiac First Responder (CFR) Training

On the 14th and 15th of March Transition Year Students at AVS took part in CFR training. This involved 62 Transition Year students training in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), recognition of cardiac arrest, respiratory emergencies, choking and use of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).  

Last year in Ireland there were more than 5,000 cardiac arrests – 70 per cent of these happened in the home.

CPR is a vital step in the chain of survival after a cardiac arrest. Someone who is trained in in CPR and use of an AED is 10 times more likely to respond appropriately in an emergency.

This course focused on practical skills and student participation. By the end of the course the students had to complete numerous cycles of CPR while using a defibrillator. This is all designed to make the student more comfortable and confident, if ever asked to carry out the skills for real.

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One Voice Choir

The Donegal E.T.B. ‘One Voice Choir’ will take to the stage in March in one of the biggest choral ensembles ever seen on stage in Donegal under well-known Choral Conductor Ms Margaret McAteer. The ‘One Voice Choir’ will include 200 Students from the 15 Education and Training Board Schools in Donegal including Students from the Abbey Vocational School.

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Transition Year Sports Leadership Training Program

The “Future Leaders Transition Year Programme” is a joint initiative from the GAA and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). It is a cross-curricular programme comprising of eight modules, each designed to encourage maturity, initiative, responsibility and leadership skills in pupils.

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:
(a) ​Introduction to the Hospitality industry
(b) ​Tourism in Co. Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way
(c)​Customer care
(d) ​Introduction to food hygiene and food handling and
(e) ​Restaurant service.
Programme Delivery
The programme is delivered by the School of Tourism’s experienced lecturers on the LYIT 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.


TY upcoming 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

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