AVS Newsletter – Monday 16th Sept 2019

Staff In-Service Day:

Staff will be attending In-service on the new Junior Cycle on Wednesday 18th September so there will be no school for students on this day.

First Year Information Evening

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

Study Skills Sessions for Students

This week the Abbey Vocational School welcomed the team from Amazing Brains for our Junior Students and Supergeneration for our 6th years. .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. In each session students participated in memory games, math games and shown effective methods of studying.


This was a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience for all attending. All students came away with some great tips and advice to help them in the coming academic year.


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 some time before the 7th century. If you have an interest in joining our Chess Club please come along to our meetings as everyone is welcome!

Irish Conversation Club 

If you have a love of the Irish Language please come along to our Irish Conversation Club on Wednesday’s in Room 26. Go raibh maith agat!

Science Club

The Science Club provides exciting, engaging, experimental practical, interactive STEM experiences, professionally delivered in a Structured, Safe, Supervised, Educational and Fun environment. Please join us on Mondays in room 47 with Ms Furey!

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!

Environmental Initiatives  As part of the School’s environmental initiative, and with a view to reducing the amount of plastic waste generated within the school, we will provide each student with a personal, reusable water bottle. These bottles are designed in the School colours – a red bottle emblazoned with the School crest and will be distributed to students in the coming weeks. Work is also ongoing to upgrade the provision of drinking water within the School. A number of new drinking fountains will be installed in various locations in the building which will provide fresh, cooled water.

Art Department

Congratulations to 6th year AVS Art student Sarah McGrory who was awarded a certificate of commendation in this year’s Texaco Art Competition. Sarah’s work reached the final stages of the judging process fo  this  year’s competition.


Teaching & Learning

One of our School Improvement targets for 2019 – 2020 is sharing of Learning Intentions with our students. So what are learning intentions? A learning intention for a lesson or series of lessons is a statement, created by the teacher, that describes clearly what the teacher wants the students to know, understand, and be able to do as a result of learning and teaching activities. In Junior Cycle learning intentions are always linked to one or more learning outcomes in the subject specification. Research shows that students who regularly receive this information in the classroom are more focused for longer periods of time, more motivated and active in their learning & better able to take responsibility for their own learning.


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!

Drama Club

The AVS Drama Club will now be commencing on Thursdays at lunchtime in room 9, if you have a love of drama and enjoy treading the boards then please come along! All newcomers are welcome!

Music Department

Musical News

Every TY student has been auditioned for the musical.  The directors have found some great talent.  The difficult task of casting the main parts and overall cast will be finalised with 2nd and 3rd rounds of call-backs.

Pit Singer auditions took place.  Out of 16 excellent singers,  8 have been chosen from 2nd to 6th year. Thank you to Rachel O’Connor who is directing the show, West Side Story.

Music Activities

Traditional Group (Friday) and  Choir (Tuesday) are up and running.  All new members welcome.

Student Voice

Over 40 6th Year students who applied to be prefect were interviewed this week.  Prefects will be announced soon and will begin their duties.

TY Mentors to the first years have been assigned lunchtime duties in order to keep  a close eye on and be a support to the first year students.

The Student Council election will take place at the end of the month.  Nomination forms are in the office for students to nominate candidates for election.  There will be 2 representatives from each year group on the Student Council.

Class Captains were selected during tutor class this week, two per class.

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

Level 2 Learning Programme

Students partaking in our Level 2 programme can now enjoy the Abbey Vocational’s School new Lunchtime Activity Plan; Mondays- Art Classes, Tuesday- Choir, Wednesday- Zumba, Thursday- Drama, Friday- Social Club.

Miss Universe Ireland 2019

Congratulations to Abbey Vocational School Teacher Ms.Holly Mc Crea who took part in Miss Universe Ireland 2019. The event was held at the stunning historical Round Room at the Mansion House in Dublin.


Healthy Schools

The Active School flag is a whole school initiative to motivate and promote physical activity in the Abbey Vocational School. The aim of the Active School Flag team is to reinforce the importance of health, well-being and the academic benefits of being physical. Ms O’Mahony highlights our Active School Map which can be enjoyed by the Abbey Vocational School Community engaging in physical activity throughout the school day and terms ahead!



  1. Leaving Certs: 1-1 appointments are available; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking an instruction.
  2. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the library over the coming weeks:
  • University of Ulster25 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
  1. Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to www.AVSDonegal.com – click on the Guidance logo.

Transition Year

Sliabh Liag


On Thursday 12th September, a large group of TY students traveled to Sliabh Liag. Thankfully the inclement weather of the morning gave way to clear skies and mild temperatures which made perfect conditions for the climb.

Sliabh Liag sits facing the Atlantic Sea off the coast of County Donegal. At 596 metres (1,955 ft), it has some of the highest sea cliffs on the island of Ireland. Although less famous than,  Sliabh Liag’s cliffs reach almost three times higher than, the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare

Students enjoyed an adventurous climb along the Donegal Coast and made Transition Year memories!

Transition Year Workshop with Alan Devine

image014The Abbey Vocational School is looking forward to welcoming Alan Devine to the school in the coming weeks. Alan Devine has enjoyed a rewarding career of acting in both film and on the stage, where his credits include numerous stage roles, including various works of Shakespeare.  Devine appeared in Glenroe during the 1990s as Ray O’Driscoll and He subsequently appeared in the Irish soap opera ‘Fair City’ as Louie Gleeson.

Transition Year Students will engage in roleplay, public speaking and hear motivational words from Mr. Devine, helping Students improve their key skills.

Mental Health Workshops

As our school has been an Ambassador School for Cycle Against Suicide for the past three years, this programme will continue this year. This year  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.

Careers Focus by Chloe Montgomery.

This term Transition Year Students are investigating career paths of interest. Sports Career paths: If you have an interest in a Sporting Career path then sports therapy college courses in Portobello institute Dublin could be of interest. Students can now specialise across 4 distinct disciplines from BSc (Hons) in Performance Analysis, Physical Education & Coaching and Psychology. These degrees have been specifically developed and will be positioned alongside current BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy.

Course Options are BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy – Full Time.

Are you interested in becoming a professionally qualified sports therapist with a BSc in Sports Therapy? Or perhaps Physiotherapy is your ultimate career goal – with this degree, you can access a direct path of progression to a Masters in Physiotherapy.  During this three year BSc honours degree, you will develop a knowledge and understanding of Sports Therapy through an integrated programme of lectures, tutorials, seminars and laboratory based practical sessions.

If you are interested in working with athletes to support the prevention of injury and rehabilitate them back to peak fitness, then a role in Sports Therapy will be of interest to you. When working in this particular aspect of healthcare, you will support athletes to return to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of their age and ability.

Studying this degree, you will have career opportunities as a Sports Therapist working with teams, in a clinic or as a self-employed practitioner. You will also have the option, like some of our past pupils, to use this qualification as a route to study a Masters in Physiotherapy.

Upon completing this degree you will hold a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy awarded by London Metropolitan University (LMU). When you begin your second year of this course you are invited to become registered as a student member of The Society of Sports Therapists. You may become a full member of the society when you complete your degree.  Members of the Society of Sports Therapy are eligible for Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.

Written by Chloe Montgomery.

 TY Upcoming Events:

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
  • Cardiac 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)


Basketball: Our u16 boys start their league campaign this Monday when they travel to Our’s Lady Castleblayney for the first league game in division A. Good luck to all the boys and their coaches.

Training for U16 and U19 boys takes place every Monday from 4-5:45. 1st and 2nd year boys training will start in the coming weeks.

U16 and U19 girls training will be every Wednesday after school in the school gym.

1st and 2nd year girls training will be every Thursday after school from 3:20 – 4:30 in the school gym.

Athletics: Well done to our athletics team who competed at the Ulster Schools Multi Events in Antrim last Thursday. They participated against the best athletes from Ulster in a multi-discipline competition consisting of running, jumping, hurdling and throwing events.

In the U17 Boys competition Eoin Sharkey won gold and Shane Breslin finished fourth. In the U17 Girls competition Laoise Mc Gonagle won bronze and Rachel Gallagher finished fourth.

Cross-country: The first cross country event of the season will take place at the Holmes Rugby grounds in the coming weeks. Training is on every Thursday at lunchtime. Everyone is welcome.

Running club:  Running club is on every Thursday on the school track. This club is open to all students wanting to improve their fitness and run in a non competitive environment. It’s a great way to meet new friends and is suitable for students of varying abilities. Most students in the group come along just to keep up a reasonable level of fitness, although some use it as part of their training.

Zumba club:  Zumba is every Wednesday at lunchtime in the school library. This club is open to all students wanting to get active in a fun and energetic environment.  Classes are geared for all fitness levels.

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.


Well done to our athletics team who competed at the Ulster Schools Multi Events in Antrim last Thursday. They participated against the best athletes from Ulster in a multi-discipline competition consisting of running, jumping, hurdling and throwing events. In the U17 Boys competition Eoin Sharkey won gold and Shane Breslin finished fourth. In the U17 Girls competition Laoise Mc Gonagle won bronze and Rachel Gallagher finished fourth

image016Eoin came second in the 100m Hurdles, Shot put and Long Jump with a jump of 5 meters 75 cm! Eoin also came first in the 200m Sprint, second in the 800m and first overall!

Shane Breslin came fourth in the 100m hurdles and Long jump. In the 200m Shane came third in his heat. Shane came first with the Shot putt with 11 meters 48. Shane also came sixth in the 800m.

Weather conditions were poor in the morning but improved as the morning wore on. The team warmed up and did stretches and hurdle jumps to warm up the muscles before their events.  Congratulations to all who took part!




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 extra curricular at the AVS.

After School Activities 2019-09-16_001

After School Activities 2019-09-16_002

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