Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 20th May 2019

History Department

This week the History Department and the Abbey Vocational School celebrated the launch of the ‘Path to Nationhood ‘ Project on Monday the 13th of May.  Members of the Abbey Vocational School Community gathered pay tribute to the historic, unique tribute to the Men and Women of Ireland who played an indelible role in forming the future of our country. The ‘Path to Nationhood’ initiative was coordinated by Mr Michael Lafferty with the aid of ten Transition Year Students; Mikaela Mc Connon, Katelyn Duffy, Cathleen Gallagher, Thomas White, Annabell O’Donnell, Ciara Joyce, Kevin Canny, Tom Daly, Aoife Greene, Lucy Clinton and Sophie Kee.


The project could not have been completed without the help and support of Michael Lafferty, Martin Gallagher, John Daly and the Caretaker Sean Boyle. The project displays images of Iconic Irish Figures from our historical past, hence the name ‘Path to Nationhood’. Iconic Irish Figures included are Revolutionary Leader Theobald Wolfe Tone, Eamon De Valera and Padraig Pearse. The ‘Path to Nationhood’ Project is a reminder to us all of how much our ancestors endured and achieved so that we could have a better, brighter future!

AVS Awards Night!

On Wednesday the 15th May the Abbey Vocational School hosted an awards evening to celebrate the academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular activities of Students in the AVS Community.

Teachers nominated Students from the Abbey Vocational School across a variety of categories earlier in the school year.  Students nominated were sent invitations home welcoming the nominee and their Parents and Guardians to the Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to all our outstanding students!


Leaving Certificate Ecumenical Service

The  Leaving  Cert  Ecumenical  Service  will  take  place  on  Wednesday  22th  May at 7pm.

Parents and Guardians of our Leaving Cert students are most welcome.  This  is  a  very  special  service  as  we  see  our  students  move  on  to the  next  chapter in their educational careers.  The  students  are  invited  to  a  meal  prior  to  the service  with all of our staff to celebrate  their end of journey in the Abbey Vocational School!

LCCS Workshop

‘The  Leaving  Certificate  Computer  Science specification  is  designed  for  all  students’ according to the Professional Development Service for Teachers and ‘It  applies  to  many  aspects  of  students’ lives  and  is  therefore  relevant  to  a  wide range  of  student  interests’.

Students from the Abbey Vocational School engaged in a Leaving Certificate Computer Science Workshop with Keith Quill on Tuesday the 14th of May. Computer science is the study of computing and algorithmic processes. Leaving Certificate Computer Science includes how programming and computational thinking can be applied to the solution of problems, and how computing technology impacts the world around us.

The specification of Leaving Certificate Computer Science was explained Leaving Cert Students and how it is constructed into 3 strands: practices and principles, core concepts and computer science in practice. The workshop highlighted characteristics of the course, programming languages and how to read, write, test and modify computer programs and also the ethical, historical, environmental and technological aspects of computer science, and how it impacts the social and economic development of society.

Students learn programming by solving problems through computational thinking processes and through practical applications such as applied learning tasks. Leaving Certs agreed the Computer Science Workshop was educational and enlightening.

AVS PA Golf Classic

The AVS Parents’ Association hosted their AVS PA Golf Classic on Wednesday 15th May at Donegal Golf Club, Murvagh. This event is hosted every 2 years and the beautiful weather on the day added to a very successful event.

The Parents’ Association would like to take this opportunity to thank Donegal Golf Club members for their support and participation in the event and to all the businesses and people who sponsored teams, prizes and tees and whose contribution was very much appreciated by all!

The staff and management of the AVS would like to take this opportunity to thank the PA for their trojan work in organising this event

Birthday Celebrations in the Hub!

We recently had two special birthdays in the Abbey Vocational School with Ava Harold celebrating her 17th birthday and Aine McBrearty turning 18!

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Art Department

Here are some of the entries from this year’s Transition Year Student photography competition!

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LCPE Workshop

On Tuesday 14th of May Senior Cycle Students from the Abbey Vocational School engaged in a Leaving Certificate Physical Education Workshop with Owen Mooney. The ethos of Physical Education in the Senior Cycle is to develop the Student’s capacity to participate in physical education and physical activity in a confident and informed way.

The workshop aimed to highlight the theory of LCPE which is to develop the Student’s capacity to become an informed, skilled, self-directed and reflective performer in physical education and physical activity in senior cycle and in their future life!

Students learn to apply knowledge and understanding about physical activity to inform how they prepare for, participate and perform in physical activity. Through participation and performance in physical activity, students learn about being personally effective as individual performers but also as part of a team or group. They develop different social skills and competences as they work in collaboration with others towards a common goal. Students learn about the importance of physical activity as part of a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle!

Drama Club

The Drama Club will meet as normal on Wednesday this week – in the library straight after school……all welcome. Mr Donegan will be facilitating this session and is delighted to have the chance to get back to work with the club after being busy lately with his tour of “The Importance of Being Ernest”. The play featured at the All Ireland Drama Finals in Athlone last Wednesday and was warmly received by a full-house of 450 people who never stopped laughing from the first line of the play. The adjudicator on the night Imelda McDonagh, said lots of good things about the show in her feedback afterwards.

We received four nominations: Best Stage Setting, Best Stage Management, Best Actress for Rachel O’Connor our School Musical Director and Mr Donegan was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

Pictured are Abbey Vocational School SNA Terence McEneaney and our School Musical Director of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Rachel O’Connor and members of the Ballyshannon Drama Society!

Second Year Environmental Initiative

On Friday the 17th May Second Year Students under the mentorship of Mr Clarke highlighted the issue of plastic bottles and the damage they do to the environment. The bottled water industry has grown rapidly over the past few years. Today, the convenience of disposable water bottles means that we can find bottled water almost everywhere we go.

It’s no question that plastic bottles are bad for the environment. Not only do they require a lot of energy to manufacture, but they pollute the environment as well. Biodegrading is when an object gets broken down (digested) by living organisms. This means that the object can be naturally recycled (by decomposers like bacteria and fungi) into new organic molecules and new life. On the other hand, degrading is just the process of breaking down into smaller pieces.

Plastic cannot be recycled by living organisms. Instead, a combination of the sun’s energy and environmental factors like rain will continue to degrade plastic down into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces of plastic (also known as microplastics) will always remain on Earth as plastic. With that being said, it can take up to 1000 years for a plastic bottle to degrade. However, plastic bottles do not biodegrade, so they will remain in our environment forever!



Students from the Abbey Vocational School participate in Active Schools Initiatives taking active breaks in the School day to concentrate on mental health and wellbeing!

Lunchtime football engages the Students in activities which raises the heartbeat and keeps our Students active!


Transition from TY to Fifth Year Talk

Transition Years from the Abbey Vocational School engaged in a workshop with Guest Speaker Sean McGee who explained that there is reliable evidence that Students who partake in TY achieve higher performances in the Leaving Certificate.

Sean elaborated that possible contributors may include self-regulatory or organisational skills learned by TY participants. Also, Students are motivated by being exposed to a variety of subjects, work environments, and other experiences which helps students to acquire more focused goals and aspirations for the senior cycle or post-school life.

By working with Teachers during the Transition Year, Students perceive stronger relationships with Teachers and are more likely to ask for help, which supports subject content knowledge and broader learning strategies. Most importantly, Students make better informed subject choices going into fifth year, helped by TY sampling and work experience placements.

Transition Year Showcase

Preparation for the Transition Year Showcase on Tuesday the 21st of May is well under way! TY Students are actively working in collaboration with Ms Rooney, Ms O Donnell and Mr Donegan preparing for the night. The showcase focuses on all the events, talks, activities, trips and outings the TY’s ventured on this year. It promises to be fun filled highlighting the TY year!

Third Year ‘Other Areas of Learning’ Workshop

On Monday the 13th of May Junior Cycle Students took part in the ‘Other Areas of Learning’ Workshop. ‘Other Areas of Learning’ is an indelible part of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement.

What is the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)?  As part of the Framework for Junior Cycle the reporting process at junior cycle culminates in the award of the JCPA to students. The School will report on Student achievement across a broad range of areas of learning in junior cycle and will offer Students, Teachers, Parents/Guardians a clear, broad picture of a child’s learning journey over the three years of junior cycle.

How should a school decide what aspects of a students’ “Other Areas of Learning” should be reported on in the JCPA?  This section of the JCPA has a limit of 150 words and should focus on recognising learning achieved (skills and knowledge) rather than on activities.

For example if students have participated in the BT Young Scientist Competition, or an enterprise project, the school could ask students to identify the learning that had taken place (skills, including key skills and knowledge) and this could be included in this section of the JCPA. Teachers could maintain a record of students’ significant learning experiences during junior cycle and could decide in conjunction with the student which experiences should be included in the JCPA

Transition Year

Transition Year YSI Homeless Project

On Monday the 13th of May Transition Year Students Halim and Eoin handed over homeless care packs produced by Transition Year Students as part of their Young Social Innovators Project to Collette Ferguson from the North West Simon Community to distribute to homeless people in the region.


Students from the Abbey Vocational School took part in the Young Social Innovators Event in the Clayton Hotel in March. The Y.S.I. Event aimed to highlight innovative initiatives developed by Students. Students and Young Innovators were challenged to look at the world around them and to identify and explore issues affecting us, our friends, our community and wider society. More than just coming up with a solution, Young Innovators were asked to put that idea into action and to create change. Gaining real experience working in a team and developing skills in leadership, communication and project planning and management.

The Abbey Vocational School project is called ‘AVS Homeless Campaign’, the aim of the project is to make a care park that can be handed out to homeless people to give them a little comfort during a difficult time.

The YSI Students decided on their project in class and felt it is a very serious issue in Ireland and wanted to try and do something that may make someone a little bit more comfortable while they are experiencing homeless.

In November 2018, the official rough sleeping count confirmed 156 people sleeping rough in Dublin, with an additional number in the Night Café, without a place to sleep.

After doing research, AVS Students found out that there are 12 people officially homeless in Co Donegal so this is where they will distribute their first homeless care packs. After this they will look to work with other charities around Ireland.

When making the packs, the Students contacted Peter McVerry trust to ask their advice on what could be included in the packs. After receiving a list they then sourced the items, from local shops and organizations.

Transition Year Balmoral Show

On Wednesday the 15th of May Transition Year Students enjoyed a day trip to the Balmoral Show in Belfast. The Main Area of the Show was packed with many exhilarating attractions over four days of the show. It is home to the International Show Jumping classes as well as the stunning Cattle Parade which showcases winners and breeds.

Transition Year Students had the opportunity to see top quality livestock, competing for prized red rosettes at the prestigious Balmoral Championship titles. With 3,500 animals entered displayed the excellence and variety of livestock classes in Northern Ireland farm animal from cattle, sheep, pigs and goats to poultry and rabbits.

The SPAR Arena was a dedicated area for entertainment and fun. The Students were educated and entertained with a variety of acts including circus workshops, cooking demonstrations, petting zoo and jiving competitions! Country and Western Singer Derrick Ryan hosted a jiving competition in which TY Students Annie McGroary and Annie McFadden were victorious!

Transition Year Interviews

Transition Year Interviews were held this week as a form of an assessment, in culmination of a busy interactive year.

According to the Department of Education and skills and ‘The Transition Year Experience’ Student’s experience was of TY is “unique when it comes to  second-level education;  it provides  the opportunity for students and schools to  innovate and to be creative with their learning methods, as well as giving  students the chance to develop numerous  skills”.

As the Students of the Abbey Vocational School prepare for their TY Showcase and come to the end of their Transition Year Journey, we wish them well in their future endeavours!


U14 Ulster Final Champions!

Congratulations to the Abbey Vocational School U13.5 boys on becoming Ulster Champions on Tuesday 14th May and lifting the Faul Cup.

Full time score AVS 4-10 and Stranraer 4-8.

A huge thanks has to be given to Coach Leo McLoone Michael Lafferty and Pauric O Donnell who were part of the coaching and management of this team.


First Year Boys Soccer

Abbey Vocational School v Scoil Mhuire


Our first years boys travelled to Letterkenny Community Centre to play their Semi final soccer fixture against Scoil Mhuire Buncrana. Both teams qualifying from respective league groups. With ideal weather conditions on a new 3G playing surface it always promised to be a exciting fixture. AVS opened the scoring with a great individual goal from Ruairi McLoughlin after 10mins. Scoil Mhuire equalised shortly after. This set the tone for a tight encounter in which both teams went tit for tat throughout the match. AVS took the lead on 3 more occasions only for Scoil Mhuire to equalise each time. The score was 3-3 at the end of normal time, a hat trick from, an in form Ruairi. Extra time saw a Senan Carr strike from outside the box. 4- 3 up in extra time. In the 2mins additional time of extra time AVS conceded a free outside the box and a Scoil Mhuire strike found the back of the net. It had to take penalties to separate these two sides. In total 9 penalties were taken to separate them. Peadar Shallow with some fine saves keeping AVS in the running. Unfortunately the lottery that penalties are saw AVS lose out ultimately. A superb performance that school and clubs can be very proud of. There is great potential for these boys going forward and they will no doubt learn from the experience. Many of the players have a taste for victory with their basketball and Gaelic football spoils and will no doubt bring winning ways to their future football encounters.

AVS team in no particular order: Callum McCrea, Ruairi McLaughlin, Shea Byrne, Daniel McIntyre, Matthew Byrne, David McGettigan, Ryan Kennedy, John Anderson, Caolan Sweeney, Donal Gallagher, Daniel Coughlin, Seanan Carr, David Monaghan, Conor Meehan, Peadar Shallow, James Boyd, Cormac Carr, John Bell, Callum McCafferty, Calum Dunnion, & Oisin Moogan


A fantastic day at the Ulster E Districts Track and Field yesterday. Our Students came home with 6 golds, 4 silver and 2 bronze. Medal winners: Mia McCalmont, Shane Breslin, Alex Anderson, Niamh Moohan, Rachel Gallagher, Savannah Timoney, Kitty McNulty, Diarmuid O’Donnell.

These results are an excellent achievement for these athletic students and it promotes and encourage others to participate in track and field athletics and cross country running in secondary schools. Well done to all on these outstanding results!

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