Abbey V.S. Newsletter – Monday 7th Oct

Junior Certificate Results

On the 4th of October Abbey Vocational Students congregated with their parents and staff to receive their Junior Cycle results. We are very proud of each and every one of our students and the excellent results they have achieved. The School was delighted with the results and student’s individual performances were outstanding in many cases. We wish you all well and hope that you bring learning into the next phase of your education.


Parent Association AGM: 

The AVS Parents Association Annual General Meeting will take place on Monday 7th October 2019 at 8 pm in the AVS school library.  All parents are members of the Parents Association and are encouraged to attend the AGM.

First Year Information Evening:

An important Information Evening for parents of first year students will take place on Thursday 10th October at 7 pm .This has been rescheduled from the planned event of the 3rd which was postponed due to the poor weather.

Please see the First Year Transition Survey along with the First Year Parent Survey on the school website at

These surveys will provide us with information from both a student and parent perspective regarding the transition process in Abbey Vocational School. This valuable feedback will assist in highlighting some areas for discussion during the Parent’s Information Night as well as indicating some key areas that parents may want further information on during the night itself. Many thanks to those of you who have already completed the survey and we look forward to hearing from those who will contribute to this in the coming days.

Environmental Initiative goes viral: 


Environmental Initiative @ the AVS

On Monday the 30th of September students at the Abbey Vocational School received their personalized, reusable water bottles. There has been a very positive reaction from our students, and they are making good use of their bottles to stay hydrated during the school day, while doing their small part to help the environment. Students are reminded to look after their bottle and to take care when refilling their bottles.

There was a huge reaction on social media regarding our water bottles. The news also featured in several local papers and radio. Mr. Clarke was interviewed on BBC Radio on Tuesday and on Wednesday, Barry White, a presenter working on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk visited the school to talk to students and staff.


The new Student Council were elected this week and they will be working on various environmental issues during their tenure. Ms. Carr, Ms. Mulrain and Mr. Clarke will work closely with students on this. Four students from our Student Council attended The Donegal Regional Council of Schools which took place on Wednesday 2nd October in Letterkenny IT. The event brought together Student Councils from all over Donegal for a day of debates, workshops, presentations and elections. Topics explored included effective student councils climate action, direct provision and education reform.  It will be an excellent introduction to our students for their year of work with the Abbey Vocational Student Council, and a very worthwhile day of collaboration with young people from Co. Donegal.

Our Student Council will have their first meeting on Wednesday next where committee roles will be decided.

  • 1st year – Holly Fleming, Tadhg Mc Garrigle
  • 2nd Year – Roisin Lynch, Mikey Duke
  • 3rd Year- Rosie Campbell, Ben Mc Neely
  • 4th – Abbie Chambers, Leo Carey Mc Dermott
  • 5th Year – India Kennedy, Kevin Canny
  • 6th Year – Karina Drury, Joseph Reid
  • LCA – Danny Doherty

Prefects Assigned in the AVS

This week students at the Abbey Vocational School received their prefects badges from the Principal Ms Diver.


Senior AVS student Conor McGroary being presented with his Prefects badge by Principal Geraldine Diver at this morning’s ceremony.

What is the job of the prefect? A prefect should act as a role model for all the students in the school, adhering to School Rules and Regulations at all times, maintain an atmosphere of friendly cooperation, peace, discipline and unity in the School. Also, Prefects must liaise and collaborate with each other, as a team, to ensure the efficiency and smooth running of their own area of responsibility and of the school as a whole. Congratulations to those students who became prefects this week!

Teaching and Learning 

A new Teaching & Learning section has been added to our school website. It can be found under the Curriculum tab. It currently includes links to the following: Literacy, Numeracy, Learning Intentions, Student Reflection on Learning and Effective Questioning. New pages will be added in the near future to include student learning resources and teaching resources. Please see for more.



Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the library over the coming weeks:

  • IT Sligo:                      09 Oct. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • Maynooth University: 10 Oct. 2019 @ 2.00 – 2.40
  • St. Angela’s:                23 Oct. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00

UCAS registration will take place on Wednesday, 16 October @ 10.20 in room 44. Any Leaving Cert wishing to apply to UCAS must attend this event.

IT Sligo Open Day will take place on 17 Oct. 2019. The Guidance department will bring 5th years to this event. Further info. will be provided during Guidance class.

Leaving Certs: 1-1 appointments are available; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instructions.

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

NUIG Careers Talk  

The Abbey Vocational School welcomed the National University of Galway to the school on Monday the 30th of September. The Speakers from NUI Galway explained how the University was founded in 1845 and 2020 marks the 175th anniversary of its foundation. NUI Galway want to build on the Student’s passion for learning and encourage and support their desire to develop as a person, to explore new interests and to remain curious. Undergraduate Courses were explained and discussed, and NUI Galway explained how Students will be given the support, knowledge, skills and self-confidence to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

Science Club

This was a very busy week in Science club as we began our literature reviews and prepared our project proposals for the BT Young Scientist competition in the RDS in January. In total, 13 students submitted an impressive six projects for selection by the young Scientist judging panel. Over the next few weeks we will profile the projects that have been entered into BT Young Scientist. These projects will also compete in the regional Scifest final in LYIT in May.

Rounding Up Knotweed Without ‘Round-Up’ by Grace  Masterson, Ellie Campbell and Millie Hughes-Perc.


PROJECT OVERVIEW: Himalayan Knotweed is not native to Ireland and was first discovered here in 1907. It is a robust, rhizomatous perennial with thin bamboo like stem that can grow up to 1.8m in height. It is a very persistent and rapid grower and its upright stems and pointed leaves result in very dense coverage so it can often outcompete native species. Our project aims to examine if common household agents are as an effective means of eradicating knotweed species as commercial weed killers such as ‘round-up’.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT/BACKGROUND: In the last number of years invasive species plaques have become a more frequent sight in our local countryside and given the potential cancer risk of using weed killers such as ‘round-up’ we wondered if household agents, that are less harmful to human health and the environment, could be used as an alternative in the treatment of invasive species like knotweed. Our preliminary research identified possible agents and a method of effective treatment using stem injection in the on-site treatment of knotweed.

APPROACH: We have already tested a number of household agents to identify the better test agents relative to the killing power of ‘round-up’ by treating cut knotweed stems in the lab. Due to the invasive nature of the plant, we contacted the knotweed officer from Donegal County Council for advice on the safe disposal of the test plants we have already used and for the stems that we will remove in our intended on-site cut stem treatment of knotweed with our household agents. We will inject the agents into the cut knotweed stems directly as our research has suggested that this is a more effective means of treatment and to reduce any harmful effects of our household agents in the environment. We will continue our on-site treatment of knotweed throughout October and November and we will measure the effects of our agents relative to the killing power of ‘round-up’. We will aim to interpret our results by calculating mean growth values in our on-site test stems and we will use a ‘t test’ to see if growth differences between our household agent and ‘round-up’ treated plants are statistically significant.

Medicine Response Variability in Narcolepsy Sufferers by Ciara Cannon


PROJECT OVERVIEW: I have close hand experience of narcolepsy as a near relative is a sufferer of the condition, so this insight has led me to develop a special interest in the condition and consequently, I wish to investigate the medicine response variability for Xyrem, Wakix, Clarithromycin, Concerta, Ritalin and Provigil in narcolepsy patients through a survey analysis of narcolepsy sufferers.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT/BACKGROUND: Before drafting my survey, I consulted with narcolepsy sufferers and these contributions helped me to design a survey that asked relevant questions about medicine response variability. In addition, my own research into the condition also enabled me to gain a comprehensive knowledge into the medications commonly prescribed in Ireland for narcolepsy, as well as a newer medication that has recently gone to general prescription in Ireland. This has enabled me to construct my survey questions effectively.

APPROACH: I requested the assistance of the narcolepsy support group ‘SOUND’ in my initial interviews of narcolepsy sufferers and I have also sought the consent of ‘SOUND’ as a vehicle for distributing my survey. They have agreed to encourage its members to complete the survey and for convenience they will post a link to the survey on their Facebook page. Therefore, I will use targeted survey sampling of sufferers of narcolepsy and my survey will ask volunteers about their current prescribed medication, their past prescribed medication, if they have experienced any side effects due to the medication or why there has been discontinued use of a specific medication. There are approximately 100 members of the organisation ‘SOUND’ and I am hoping to gain completed surveys from at least half of its members. Finally, I will aim to interpret the results of my survey using statistical analysis.

Mural Fundraiser

On Friday the 27th of September, Students participating in Level 2, held a bake sale in order to raise funds to paint a mural in room 12a. The AVS Students were delighted to raise €145.50 in aid of the mural. The Principal Ms Diver praised the students for their initiative and hard work in raising the funds. Well done!



English Department: ‘The Readathon’

The English Department will be embarking on the ‘The Readathon’ initiative in the coming weeks. This initiative is an amazing opportunity for Students to engage and challenge themselves establishing a lifelong love of books all while raising funds for multiple sclerosis!

The Well Read Award 

The English Department has been working with The PDST ‘Well Read National Award’. This is a national initiative designed and organised by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). It aims to create heightened awareness about the importance of creating a culture of reading in school communities for students as part of their personal and academic development.

The Reading Club

The Reading Club has started 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, new members are most welcome!

The Music Department 

Choir continues to meet on Tuesdays at lunchtime.  New members welcome.  Musical rehearsals every lunchtime and after school.  Leads and chorus are working hard for the musical and they are really beginning to understand their parts.

The Trad Music Club has now commenced in room 13 on Friday the Music Department. The day will change starting next week to Thursdays. If you have a love of traditional music please come along, new members are most welcome!

Pictured below are pit singers for the musical ‘West Side Story’. There are 8 in total, boys and girls from 3rd to 6th year who auditioned earlier in Sept. They meet every lunchtime and are working hard on ensemble pieces for the show.




AVS Students enjoying Choir with Ms McCarthy on Tuesdays in room 13!

Chess Club

The Chess Club has resumed on Tuesdays in room 3 and all new members are welcome! The game of chess 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!



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!

Art Department 

AVS Art students are currently working on this year’s Credit Union Art Competition. The theme of this year’s competition is “Walk of Life. Closing date for entries is Friday 25th October.

Some of our TY students are working on the 2019 ‘China In My Eyes Art Competition’. Closing date for entries is 20th October 2019.


TY students Clara, Bronagh and Eva have begun working on a mural for room 12. Keep up to date with their progress on the school’s twitter page.

Irish Conversation Club 

An tseachtain seo bhí daltaí na hidirbhliana gnóthach ag déanamh éisteachtaí don cheoldráma ‘West Side Story’. Tá tallan na ndaltaí tharr barr! Tar chuig an ‘Ciorcal Cainte’ ag am lóin Dé hAoine i seomra 26. Tá an ‘Ciorcal Cainte’ a reachtáil ag Mr McFadden agus Ms Giblin.


On Wednesday the 2nd of October the Abbey Vocational School Leaving Cert Students had an informative talk with Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology is an amazing academic facility on our doorstep with every 1 in 2 Donegal students leaving to go to college go to  LYIT.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology are developing psychology and arts programmes and have a great emphasis on sports with scholarships available for sports with 55 scholarships given out in the last 6 months!

There is an inclusive campus in Letterkenny and Killybegs with thirty five different nationalities at LYIT in 2019.

Next open day for students is 21st November 2019!

Transition Year

Youth Council Summit on Climate Change


On Wednesday the 2nd of October members of the AVS Youth Council; India Kennedy, Kevin Canny, Roisin Lynch and Leo Carey McDermot travelled to the Climate Change Summit in Letterkenny Institute of Technology. With fifty schools congregating for the summit, the main topic of the day was what can we do to help climate change.

The day was busy with Students participating in a walking debate discussing questions such as Brexit, the rights of Asylum Seekers and fears over a hard border.

Musical Rehearsals


Musical rehearsals of ‘West Side Story’ are in full swing at the Abbey Vocational School!

Diary of a TY student:The Musical by Savannah Timoney

Over the past week of rehearsals, the musical’s cast have been settling into the swing of rehearsals. We have been progressing in leaps & bounds, really beginning to understand our characters. The most difficult part for the main cast is definitely perfecting the various accents required but everyone has risen to the challenge, making convincing New Yorkers & Puerto Ricans. Our efforts have been greatly aided by Rachel, our wonderfully supportive director who is really bringing out the best in everyone.

We’ve been split into our gangs to learn the steps of the biggest dance in the musical “Dance at the Gym”. This is a complicated dance but so far the rehearsals have been going swimmingly so I’m confident that we will soon perfect the moves, thanks to the hard work Ms Kelly & Mrs O’Mahony. The combination of our enthusiastic cast & dedicated teachers will surely make this show a complete success!

Alan Devine Public Speaking

On Monday the 30th of Sept TY C and E class attended a public speaking workshop with Alan Devine. He went over the basics of public speaking such as a confident walk, good eye connection and granny devine’s smile.

Devine has had film roles including the Irish criminal Gerry “The Monk” Hutch in the movie ‘Veronica Guerin’, appearing in the Irish soap opera ‘Fair City’ as Louie Gleeson and has had numerous stage roles, including various works of Shakespeare. The Transition Year group were enthralled by Alan’s charisma and his energy!

TY Trip to Killybegs catering college for World tourism day

Transition year students were invited down to Killybegs Catering College for their World Tourism Day Workshop, twenty were selected along with twenty students from seven other secondary schools in Donegal including St. Catherine’s Vocational School Killybegs, Rosses Community School Dungloe, and St. Columba’s College Stranorlar. First they were taken to the Millennium restaurant for a mocktail making demonstration and taste testing. TY’s enjoyed a talk on world tourism and hotel management with Eamon one of the Managers of  Harvey’s Point Hotel, then went into a seafood introduction and demonstration on how to cut and fillet salmon. AVS Students were given samples of the salmon and potato and mushroom  to taste made by the students of the college. The college provided all the students with a dinner with goujons ,sausages, lasagne with chips and then for dessert  they were given baked buns made by the students of the college! Transition Year Students had a wonderful day out and would like to thank the College for an unforgettable day!



Senior Team

Congratulations to our senior team who qualified for the county final against Loreto Milford.


The county competition was in a blitz format this year. Abbey beat Colaiste Cholmcille , Rosses, Carndonagh  and finally PCC Falcarragh . The games were played in excellent conditions at the Convoy Centre of Excellence. A total of 35 players were used throughout the competition.  Abbey being winners of their section will come up against  Loreto Milford winners of their section of five teams in a repeat of last year’s final.

Good luck to the team and their managers Mr Carty and Mr Herron.

Lunchtime Activities:


Our lunchtime SPORTS FOR ALL programme is running every day. Thank you to all the teachers who have volunteered to help run such a large programme.

There are at least two activities on each day, indoors in the sports hall and outdoors on the tennis courts. The timetable is posted on the notice boards around the school. ALL students are encouraged to come out and get active during their lunch break. Students can participate in their uniform but must wear proper footwear/runners.  Please see Mrs. Gallagher if you have any questions.

The timetable for this term is as follows:







Girls Badminton

(open to all girls)

Mrs Gallagher Sports Hall
TY Boys Soccer Mr Gorman Tennis Court


1st Year Boys Soccer Mr O’ Mahony Sports Hall
Senior Boys Soccer Mr Daly Tennis Court


2nd Year Boys  Soccer Mr McLoone Sports Hall
1st Year Boys Soccer Mr O Donnell Tennis Court

(open to all girls)

Ms. Kelly Library


Ultimate Frisbee

(open to all students)

Mrs. O’Mahony Sports Hall
2nd Year Boys Soccer Mr Russell Tennis Court
Keep Fit Running club

(open to all students)

Mrs Gallagher School track


1st  & 2nd Year Girls Unihoc Ms. Rooney Sports Hall
3rd Year Boys Soccer Mr Herron Tennis Court
Dance Club

(open to all girls)

Ms. Kelly Library


Most of our after school training sessions have started this week. The timetable as follows is posted on the sports boards. Thank you to the many coaches and staff members who give their time to our sports teams. Please see your coach if you have any questions

Sports Team Coach Training time Venue
Athletics    Mrs M Gallagher      Tuesday

4pm – 5.30pm

 Sports hall & track

1st & 2nd Year Boys

  Mr. P Mc Devitt,

Mr. S Carty



Sports hall

Senior & U16 Boys

     Mr. D Russell,

Mr. S Carty

        Monday 4- 6pm Sports hall

1st & 2nd Year Girls

  Ms P Rooney,

Ms S Mogan


3.30pm – 4:30pm

Sports hall

Senior & U16 Girl

Mrs. E O’ Mahony,

Ms V Lockhart


3.30 – 5.30pm

Sports hall
Cross Country  Mrs M Gallagher Tuesday 4.15- 5.30pm

Thursday Lunchtime

   School track
Gaelic Girls


 Mrs M Crawford

Ms. G Creane


4.15 – 5.30pm

School field /

All weather pitch

Gaelic Girls

U16 & Senior:

 Mrs M Crawford

Ms. P Rooney


4.15 – 5.30pm

School field /

All weather pitch

Gaelic Boys


 Mr P O’Donnell,

Mr. S Mc Fadden


3:30 – 4:30pm

 School field /

All weather pitch

Gaelic Boys


Mr. L McLoone,

Mr. C Monahan


4.15 – 5.30pm

School field /

All weather pitch

Gaelic Boys


Mr. B Carty,

Mr. C Herron


3.30pm -4.30pm

School field /

All weather pitch

Girls Active Mrs. PA Gavigan,

Mrs. R Myers


3.30pm -4.30pm

Parish hall / Library


The following sports managers will meet their teams in the coming weeks to plan for their upcoming season.

  • Golf – Mr O Plunkett,
  • Soccer (1st Year) – Mr S Devlin,
  • Soccer – U15 – Mr I O’ Mahony & Mr L Gallagher,
  • Rowing – Mr S Maguire


Non Competitive Sports For All
Activity Boys/Girls Teacher Day/Time Room
Badminton Girls Mrs. Gallagher Monday Lunchtime Sports hall
Indoor soccer Boys Mr O’ Mahony Tuesday Lunchtime Sports hall
Soccer Boys Mr O’ Donnell Wednesday Lunchtime Tennis Courts
Zumba Girls Ms Kelly Wednesday Lunchtime Library
Ultimate Frisbee Boys & Girls Mrs O’ Mahony Thursday Lunchtime Sports hall
Keep fit running club Boys & Girls Mrs Gallagher Thursday Lunchtime School track
Girls Active Girls Mrs Gavigan Thursday 3.30 – 4.30pm Library
Unihoc Girls Ms. Rooney Friday Lunchtime Sports hall
Dance club Girls Ms Kelly Friday Lunchtime Library



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