Abbey V.S. Newsletter – 9th Sept 2019

Welcome Back!

We would like to take the opportunity to give a warm welcome back all Staff and Students to the Abbey Vocational School. A special welcome goes out to all our new Students, particularly our First Years!  Finally, a wonderful welcome to all new Staff Members who have joined us for this Academic Year. We look forward to a rewarding and successful year!

Leaving Cert Results

Congratulations to our many Leaving Certificate Students on outstanding leaving Cert Results. Our students received beyond expectations and performed exceptionally well. We are very proud of each and every one of them. Congratulations to you all.

Optum Scholarships: Wonderful News for students in the Abbey Vocational School !

We are delighted to announce that two students from Abbey Vocational School, Shaneen Graham and Charlotte Timony have been awarded an Optum Regional Healthcare Scholarship to support them in their studies in NUI Galway. The scholarship scheme is designed to support students from County Donegal who are studying healthcare and technology-related courses in the region. The six Optum Healthcare Scholars selected will formally receive their award at an Awards Ceremony in the Autumn hosted by Optum Ireland. This is a wonderful achievement for our students. Optum Ireland is a Health Services and Innovation company based in Letterkenny with over 1000 employees and aims to support the enhancement of the healthcare system in the Northwest region and invest in a health workforce that meets the needs of the future. Optum have developed a scholarship scheme to particularly support young people in County Donegal, in order to give access to third-level education and to allow successful candidates to fully participate in college life The scholarship is open to students resident in Donegal for the last two years at least,  applying to selected courses through the CAO.

image001Shaneen Graham is second from left and and Charlotte Timony is fourth from left.

First Year Information Evening

An important Information Evening for the parents of first year students will take place on Thursday 3rd October at 7 pm.

Staff Training Day

There will be no school for students on Wed 18th September as Staff will be on In-service for the New Junior Cycle

LCA1 Parents Information Session for parents

This session will take place Tuesday Sept 10th at 12 o clock in the school

Retirement of valued Staff Members from the Abbey Vocational School

The Abbey Vocational School staff and students came together on Thursday the 5th of September to celebrate the retirement of six of its valued members of Staff, Celine Markey, Brid Duane, Michael Lafferty, Mary Keeney, Miriam Bennett and Ann Marie McCormick. The honorary guests were greeted by their former students, a guard of honour, tributes and musical treats from their colleagues and students. The retiring Staff Members dedicated years of service to the betterment of the Students. Their continuous commitment to hard work helped enrich the lives of both Staff and Students. According to Principal Geraldine Diver “We will never forget their dedication, passion and commitment to the school and the  immense contribution they have all made to the school”.



First Year Transition Programme:

In AVS we recognise the significance and importance of transitioning from primary to post primary school. It is a major life event for students and as a result we strive to facilitate a smooth transition. During their welcome week, First years were given time to familiarise themselves with the school, the school norms and to meet new friends & teachers.

All First-year classes has have own Tutor.  The class Tutor acts in a pastoral position and supports & assists students with any matters that arise.  First years meet with their class Tutor every day and these Tutors are the  first point of contact to support students.

Students were given locker training, help on the area of organisation skills and advice for classroom prep during this welcome week also. Fun games and team building activities were included in welcome week to encourage bonding and new friendships.  Games were inclusive and welcoming. Other important areas that were addressed were internet safety by Zeeko and NGRT activities.

Assemblies were held to assist 1st years with the school journal and the processes around absences. A big thank you to our TY Mentors who were at hand to help and guide our new first years during their first days in AVS.

Student Voice

September is a busy time for all students getting settled into school, particularly 1st years who had 2 days of timetabled classes, tutor classes and bonding activities on their own in the school before the main school body arrived. Thank you to our TY mentors and Mr Monaghan who came in for 2 days training over the summer and have assisted in making the 1st years feel safe, happy and welcome. Over the next few weeks, we will select Class Captains from each year group. They will represent the voice of the class and link people for important school business relating to classes.

6th year students have completed their applications for the positions of Senior and Junior Prefects. The main duty of prefects is to maintain an atmosphere of friendly cooperation, peace, discipline and unity in the School as well as being supportive to other students and showing good example academically and in behavior. Interviews will take place during September. The Student Council of the Abbey Vocational School is a representative structure for students only, through which they can become involved in the affairs of the school, working in partnership with school management, staff and parents for the benefit of the school and its students.

Elections to form our 2019-20 Council will be organised by a 3rd year CSPE class group.

Our representatives on the Donegal Youth Council met during the summer and will continue in their role for another academic year.  Thank you to all our outgoing Captains, Prefects and Student Council who did marvellous work last year.

Teaching & Learning

For our new Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle Students, organisation is key for success and well-being. 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 and project deadlines. It is available for iOS, Android and Windows platforms.

Links to both apps:

Students, parents, staff and the general public can sign up to receive the Abbey Vocational School Newsletter weekly. Simply enter your email address in the #Follow box and receive our newsletter to your inbox each week.@abbeyvs


Chess Club

With the beginning of a new academic year, we are delighted to announce our Chess Club will be resuming on Tuesdays in room 3 and all new members are welcome! Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide.  Chess is believed to be derived from the Indian game chaturanga sometime before the 7th century. If you have an interest in joining our Chess Club please come along to our meetings as everyone is welcome!

The Maths Club

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


Reading Club

The Reading Club will be beginning this term with Ms. O’Donnell at lunchtime on Wednesdays in room 9. If you have a love of reading, join our book club!. It is a reading group for Students who love to read and talk about books, if that is you then join our Club!

Music Department

TYs went to the Abbey Centre in Ballyshannon to watch the film West Side story in preparation for auditions that will begin next week… All TYs are invited to audition.

The choir, traditional group, and many soloists performed for our retired staff function on Thursday.

Lunchtime choir rehearsal will be on Tuesdays at 1.30 in room 16. All are welcome to attend.

Lunchtime traditional group will meet on Fridays at 12.50 in Room 13 all are welcome to attend. Please bring your own instrument if possible.

Congratulations to all of our students who recently took part in the Bosco Productions performance of High School Musical.

Transition Year

Extreme Adventure Centre Trip

Extreme Adventure Centre Letterkenny was delighted to host Transition Year Students from the Abbey Vocational School on Tuesday the 3rd of September!

Transition Years enjoyed a funny, muddy, dirty day, bonding as a Group starting their Transition Year Journey in a lively, exciting way.


An account of the mud run by Transition Year student Dermot Slevin;

“On Tuesday the 3rd of September, the TY class from the AVS went to Letterkenny Adventure Centre for a day full of activities. We left the school at around 9.30am and returned at around 3pm. When we arrived at the adventure centre we went straight to the water slide, where we went down the slide on an inflatable ring, it was brilliant fun! This was a fantastic first trip for Transition Years and I am so looking forward to the year ahead!”.

West Side Story Trip

On Wednesday the 9th of September TY students went to see ‘West Side Story’ in the Abbey Arts & Cultural Centre in Ballyshannon. The Abbey Arts & Cultural Centre opened its doors in 1959 and was originally a cinema. It has a rich programme of theatre, music, comedy, dance, visual arts and film. ‘Westside Story’ is the romantic musical which the Abbey Vocational School will be producing in November.  West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama about two rival gangs in a New York neighbourhood.

TY Leisure Activities

Our TY Leisure programme is running every Tuesday afternoon. Students get the opportunity to try a variety of activities during the year. Thank you to all the local coaches and clubs for accommodating us.

Classes are participating in the following activities this week:

  • 4A: Surfing
  • 4B: Pilates & Rowing
  • 4C: Pilates & Rowing
  • 4D: Fitness training with DT Fitness
  • 4E: Aqua-aerobics

TY Coaching

A large number of transition years have volunteered to coach athletics on Thursday evenings. They will gain valuable experience coaching primary school age children for the year. They will also be responsible for organising various athletic events throughout the year.

TY Upcoming Eents:

Over the next few months our TY students will take part in many activities, a sample of some of these activities are listed below:

  • College taster day
  • First Response Course
  • Balmoral Shows
  • CSI Workshop
  • Make up workshop
  • Personal Presentation Workshop
  • Young Social Innovators competitions and attendance at event
  • Zeeko (internet Safety Workshop)
  • Law Course
  • Road Safety Roadshow
  • Personal Development Workshop
  • College open days
  • TY Overnight Bonding (Delphi)
  • Musical (West Side Story)

Guidance Department

  1. Leaving Certs: 1-1 appointments are available throughout the week; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction
  2. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the library over the coming weeks:
  • University of Ulster: 25 Sept. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • NUI Galway: 30 Sept. 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35
  • LYIT: 02 Oct. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • IT Sligo: 09 Oct. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • Maynooth University: 10 Oct. 2019 @ 2.00 – 2.40

3. Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance logo

Study Skills

Junior Cycle – Amazing Brains

The Amazing Brains workshop is coming to the school this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students will get the chance to take part in this workshop. The Amazing Brains approach is to engage and empower young people by teaching them about the power of having a positive mindset, brain plasticity and effective, evidenced-based study strategies.  This hopes to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience for all attending.  All students will come away with some great tips and advice to help them in the coming academic year.

Leaving Cert – Super Generation

All our leaving cert students will get the opportunity to take part in a learning and study skills seminars next Thursday. This study skills programme is designed to support students at Senior Cycle to prepare for the Leaving Certificate examination.  Along with motivating students to engage fully in their study, they look at how to cope better with stress and develop resilience. The students are also brought through the super generations unique study system – POKER. To reinforce the learning after the seminar and assist students in organising their study, each student receives a copy of our Senior Cycle Study Journal.

Mental Health Workshops

As our school has been an Ambassador School for Cycle Against Suicide for the past three years, a number of our TY students will travel to Dublin in the coming weeks and they will receive a training day with Cycle Against Suicide School Programme – Headstrong. Cycle Against Suicide has merged its Ambassador School Programme with the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s HEADSTRONG programme to create a very strong evidence based mental health education programme available to secondary schools. This new programme, HEADSTRONG supports mental health education in schools reduces stigma and promotes resilience.

Donegal Comhairle na nÓg – “Minding Your Mental Health”

Donegal County Council in partnership with Foróige and Health Promotion Donegal, are hosting Donegal Comhairle na nÓg – “Minding Your Mental Health” for the students of Donegal. The event will take place on 23rd October in the Clanree Letterkenny. 6 students from our school will be attending the event, along with our Donegal Youth Council members. The day will consist of a series of facilitated workshops to discuss themes relevant to young people.

Lunchtime Activities

Our lunchtime SPORTS FOR ALL programme is running every day. There will be at least two activities on each day, indoors in the sports hall and outdoors on the tennis courts.

ALL students are encouraged to come out and get active during their lunch break. We hope to offer a variety of activities throughout the year. The activities schedule is posted on the sports notice board in the school and gym. 

Students can participate in their uniform but must wear proper footwear/runners. 

Special word of thanks to all the teachers who have volunteered to help run such a large programme.

Activities for this term are as follows:

Lunchtime Activities 002_001

After School Sports Clubs

The following staff members will be coaching our sports teams this year. Training times for each team will be posted on sports boards this week. Thank you to the many coaches and staff members who give their time to extracurricular at the AVS.

  • Athletics: Mrs M Gallagher
  • Cross Country: Mrs M Gallagher
  • Basketball 1st & 2nd Year Boys: Mr. P Mc Devitt, Mr. S Carty
  • Basketball Senior & U16 Boys: Ms P Rooney, Mr. S Carty
  • Basketball 1st & 2nd Year Girls: Mrs. E O’ Mahony, Ms V Lockhart
  • Basketball Senior & U16 Girls: Mr. D Russell, Mrs. S Mogan
  • Camogie: Ms. G Creane, Mrs. R Myers
  • Gaelic Girls U14 & U16: Mr. P Rooney, Mrs. A Sweeney
  • Gaelic Girls Senior: Mrs M Crawford Ms. G Creane
  • Gaelic Boys U14: Mr. L McLoone, Mr. C Monahan
  • Gaelic Boys U16: Mr P O’Donnell, Mr. S Mc Fadden
  • Gaelic Boys Senior: Mr. B Carty, Mr. C Herron
  • Girls Active: Mrs. PA Gavigan, Mrs. R Myers
  • Golf: Mr. O Plunkett
  • Hurling: Mr C Herron, Mr. S O’Neill
  • Soccer Boys U14: Mr. I O’Mahony, Mr. L Gallagher
  • Soccer Boys  U17: Mr S Devlin
  • Soccer Boys Senior: Mr. G Gorman

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