Abbey V.S. Newsletter – Mon 14th Oct

Abbey Vocational School Newspaper 7th Oct- 13th Oct 2019

Parent Teacher Meeting for 6th year and LCA2:

Parent/Teacher meeting for 6th Yr and LCA 2 students takes place on Thursday 17th October. Please attend between 3.45pm and 6.15pm. Thank you

Parents Information Evening for First year Students:

Thank you to all those who attended our first year Parents Information Evening on Thursday Night last. We had a large turn out and were delighted to see so many of you there.

Mental Health Week

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”


This week the Abbey Vocational School celebrated Mental Health Week from Monday the 7th of October – Friday the 11th of October 2019. Mental Health Week is a firm fixture in the AVS Calendar as staff and students highlight, discuss and embrace mental health. Positive affirmations, solution board, drop all and walk initiatives have embodied Mental Health Week as the AVS Community join together to celebrate the ethos of the Abbey Vocational School; The Abbey Vocational School is dedicated to the holistic development of students in a caring environment where tolerance and respect are nurtured and valued.

ETB Drugs & Alcohol Talk

On Monday the 7th of October Students from the Abbey Vocational School welcomed Christina McEleney to the school. Ms McEleney is employed by the Donegal Education & Training Board and is funded by North West Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force with responsibility for coordinating alcohol & other drugs education and training in the North West Region, believing that there is ‘always something to learn’. Factual information in respect of  a harm reduction approach is said to be a more informed approach towards drug use. Christina delivered an excellent presentation in this regard and we thank her very much for this. 


Teaching & Learning

A new Teaching & Learning section has been added to our school website. It can be found under the Curriculum tab. 

T&L Webpage

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.

Level 2 Students enjoying Road Safety Day


Aine McBrearty and Eoin Rooney enjoying the Road Safety Day in Letterkenny.


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 12. 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 12, if you have a love of drama and enjoy treading the boards then please come along, new members are most welcome!

Non Uniform Day

Jersey day saw the Abbey Vocational School enjoy a non uniform day as part of Mental Health Week and as a fundraiser for the school.

Student Council

Our new Student Council held their first meeting of the year and elected the following officers….Chairperson: India kennedy, Secretary: Kevin Canny. 

Frank Duffy represented the Donegal Youth Council at the meeting and described some of the activities of the DYC over the summer. The Council discussed their areas of interest and projects for the year, and will decide on one key area at their next meeting. The student voice box is in the assembly area for the main student body, if there are issues that they may like to bring to the attention of the Student Council. 

The Music Department  

Preparations took place this week for `The Big Sing’. Singing is proven to be a powerful way to improve your positive mental health. 

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!

image006Pictured 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



Chess Club

image007The 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 helping students enjoy Maths!


  1. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the library over the coming weeks:
  • Angela’s: 23 Oct. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • North-West Regional College: 06 Nov. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • University of Limerick: 11   Nov. 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35
  1. 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. 
  2. IT Sligo Open Day will take place on 17 Oct. 2019. The Guidance department will bring 5th years to this event. The bus is €7, payable to Ms Rooney. The bus will leave the school @ 8.45 a.m. and return @ 3.20 p.m.
  3. Leaving Certs: 1-1 appointments are available; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instructions.
  4. Be sure to keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance logo.

Maynooth University Talk

Representatives of Maynooth University came the Abbey Vocational School to deliver a talk to our Leaving Certificate Students about the careers that lay ahead of them. This talk was very beneficial, giving AVS Students a good idea of the career path that they may want to take. 

Maynooth University is a well recognised university, situated 25km outside of Dublin. Some skills that Maynooth have to offer to their students include Academic writing, Analysis and use of data, Analytical thinking, Communication, Critical thinking, Developing learning skills, Information processing and Interpersonal skills. On the 16 of June 2017, Maynooth University celebrated its 20th birthday, having been formally established as an autonomous university in 1997. 

There are 13,000 students from more than 90 countries and the Maynooth University offers a range of programmes at undergraduate, Master’s and PhD level in the humanities, science or engineering, and social sciences, including business, law, and education.

Science Club

This week we continue our young scientist project profiles and in Science club we are busy conducting our background knowledge and preparing our project literature reviews.  

Treating psoriasis with snail slime by Robyn Given and Katie Furey

image008OVERVIEW: Psoriasis is an autoimmune and inflammatory condition of the skin. Currently, psoriasis is treated with topical steroids which have the following side effects: tingling skin, numbness or pins and needles, headaches, joint pain, muscle twitching, increased hair growth and even high blood pressure. Our project will aim to see if treatment with mucin or snail slime is as effective as treatment with topical steroids in volunteer subjects with psoriasis.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT/BACKGROUND: A friend’s parents recently travelled to Spain and while there they purchased a commercial mucin and aloe vera enhanced emollient cream. The sellers told them that it was effective in the treatment of psoriasis so they brought it back to their daughter to see if it would help to ease her skin rash. After a few applications the psoriasis rash seemed a lot less angry and after a few weeks of treatment the improvement was noticeable. This led us to research which ingredient, the aloe vera or the mucin, was effective in treating psoriasis. 

APPROACH: We have conducted a trial on a volunteer using a commercial mucin enhanced emollient cream to see if it is as effective as a topical steroid in the treatment of psoriasis. Our test with this volunteer showed that it is as useful as a prescribed topical steroid treatment in reducing skin inflammation in scaly patches in this volunteer. We now intend on creating our own mucin enhanced emollient cream using comercial mucin and a cheap emollient cream so that we can use the same non-mucin enhanced emollient cream as our control. We then intend to test our mucin enhanced emollient cream on volunteers who have psoriasis patches on their skin to see if the snail slime helps to alleviate/cure any of the scaly skin rash symptoms. We will compare the mucin enhanced emollient cream with non mucin enhanced emollient cream by measuring the area reduction in scaly skin patches. Additionally, we will test another patch with a typically prescribed topical steroid and we will again compare the plaque area reduction in both the mucin enhanced emollient cream treated patches with the topical steroid treated patches. We will aim to interpret our results by calculating differences between our mucin enhanced emollient cream and our non-mucin enhanced emollient mean area reduction in scaly skin patches and we will use a ‘t test’ to see if scaly skin reduction in treated scaly patches are statistically significant to each other.

Flax as an alternative to heavy duty plastic strapping for packaging by Ella Doherty and Ailbhe Loughney

image009PROJECT OVERVIEW: Flax is a natural and biodegradable material that has very high inherent tensile strength. Its usage in packaging has yet to be tested. Flax is an indigenous crop to Donegal and the greater requirement for this material could help to sustain Tillage framing in parts of our county. We will examine the process of obtaining strong fibres from the Flax plant and we will test the strength of these Flax fibres in one of the Engineering laboratories at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, using both the strap test and the ASTM D5034 Textile Elongation and Breaking Strength Testing. We will examine the knots/ joins required to secure the flax as a durable joint and we will test the flax strapping on waxed card packaging to ensure waterproofing. We will create a cost analysis comparison for the existing plastic production and disposal versus the natural flax alternative.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT/BACKGROUND: Climate change and being ‘eco-friendly’ is one of the biggest topics of conversation between young people today. We are more aware of the challenges our planet is facing and we, the millennials of today, have chosen responsibility over complacency and are taking action against climate change in the hope of saving our future. Packaging of goods has become a major pollutant, especially with the growth of online shopping in recent years. We live on the Atlantic coast and have been involved in beach ‘clean-ups’ and we have noticed the very large amount of heavy duty plastic strapping that washes up on our shores. Polypropylene plastic is not biodegradable. Plastic is known to be one of the biggest causes of pollution today, due to its toxic fast production and lack of reusability, as well as the use of fossil fuels in its production. Flax is a naturally grown fibre crop, usually cultivated in cooler regions of the world such as Ireland. Flax is a very strong material which cannot be easily cut but instead torn/stripped from the top to the bottom of each fibre. Flax absorbs CO2   during its growth phase and is likely to be carbon neutral even after processing to produce strapping, (in the way timber is carbon neutral as a building material) . Flax has been used for hundreds of years in the yarn industry (linen) and is an indigienous crop of Donegal. Flax oil has many health benefits as it contains omega 3 and antioxidants. Flax has also  been used for hundreds of years in thatching the roofs of stone cottages. In all of its uses the fibre of flax has proven to be extremely strong and it endures the harsh Atlantic weather.

APPROACH: We intend to use flax as an alternative to thin heavy duty plastic strapping around boxes, crates  and canned beverages. We intend to study the proliferation of flax as a crop in Donegal currently, and to then examine its uses today. We will then test the replacement of plastic strapping with a variety of assemblies of flax strands and joining methods (plaiting, knotting etc.) and we intend to examine the use of this flax strapping with bales of briquettes and other uses where strong plastic strapping is normally found. 

We will then strength-test the flax strapping designs in an engineering  laboratory at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the results of this will guide our preferred design. 

We also hope to research the financial cost of plastic strapping (manufacture, supply and disposal) through Spectrum printing and logistics, City West, Dublin and we hope to compare this to the cost of a flax alternative.

Skipathon & Rowathon

image010The skipathon and rowathon took place on Friday the 11th of October in the AVS Gym, both of these events were to raise money for mental health and wellbeing supports in the school. First and Second Years received sponsorship cards to collect money from their friends and family. Cealan Boyle, our local DJ provided the school with upbeat music and dance tunes to keep the participants energised and happy. This allowed everyone to perform fantastically well and to the best of their ability!

Drop everything and walk 

Drop Everything and Walk is an initiative taken by the Active School Flag (ASF) team. Ms O‘Mahony is in charge of ASF in the school. This week saw many classes partake in the drop everything and walk initiative as the benefits of exercise are huge, not only does it keep the body fit and healthy by burning calories but Vitamin D is essential for the skin and absorption of nutrients but it also keeps the brain healthy. Exercise and fresh air helps you sleep better and in turn learn better and it improves your memory.



Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) is a vibrant, dynamic and modern learning environment where you can pursue your academic and career ambitions with confidence. This is what Abbey Vocational School Students were told when they received a visit from LYIT. Whatever you’re studying, their reputation for academic excellence and their close relationships with employers ensure their graduates can always be confident about their future. In fact, they are leading the way in college-collaboration with employers to ensure their courses are future-proofed to meet the evolving demands of the modern workplace. There are 130 programmes across four schools of Business, Tourism, Engineering and Science and range from one to four years; combining academic theory with practical skills development. Some of their programmes include animation, sports and exercise, accounting, agriculture and nursing. LYIT is also a gateway to the highest level of education. 70% of their full-time students are grant recipients, with awards available from certificate level up to PhDs.

There are many people of note who have studied at LYIT. Nikki Hayes  is a DJ on East Coast FM and 4FM. She previously presented on RTÉ 2fm and has also DJ’ed in numerous clubs across the country. Jerome Hughes is an Irish television reporter from Laghey. 

Road Safety Talk in Letterkenny


On Tuesday the 8th of October, our Transition Year Students went to the Aura Leisure Center Letterkenny to see a talk on Road Safety hosted by the Donegal County Council in association with the Donegal Road Safety Working Group (DRSWG). It is a hard-hitting show that offers young people the opportunity to learn about the consequences of poor driving behaviour on roads. The hope is that this show will have a positive influence on all students and help to keep them safe on the roads in the future. It details the work of the emergency services in the aftermath of the crash and all the events that occur after a fatal crash. 

Transition Year Diary Entry – By Jamie Meehan.

Thanks to Donegal County Council Road Safety 1600 TY’s from the County attended the Aura centre for a road safety information talk to make students aware of the dangers of driving . Our TY’s left the school and had an enjoyable bus journey to the Aura centre which was filled with excitement and laughter. When the students arrived they got off their bus and went inside where they were greeted and shown to the massive theatre and to their seats.

The students were seated and inspirational, happy music started playing which got everyone fired up and excited. The spokesperson came on stage and introduced Sean, the central character. We were told Sean was a young boy who had just got his licence and was taking his girlfriend out for a drive. The TYs were then told the reality of the story, of what happens at a road traffic collision from the perspective of each person at the scene, guards, firemen, ambulance and parents.

This put things into perspective for our students who soon realized the seriousness of the situation and the importance of safety on the roads. We were then introduced to the very brave Mother of Kym Harley. Kym Harley lost her life minutes away from her house in a car accident and her Mother shared her hard experience of the situation’.


U16 Basketball game AVS v Summerhill


On Wednesday the 9th of October, the Abbey U16 boys basketball team, led by captain Niall Prendeville, took on Summerhill College. The A.V.S boys got off to a promising start after draining two three-point shots to kick off the game. The Summerhill boys got into the game eventually though, as they entered the first time out down by just a single point. Conor Campbell and Niall Prendeville were only two of Abbeys star performers in the 1st quarter, with 12 points between them in the first quarter. The boys continued to perform well in the 2nd quarter, dominating on the boards and winning the majority of fifty-fifty balls. Half-Time score AVS 29 | Summerhill 23.

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Abbey’s centre  Jake Graham opened the scoring with a good layup at the start of the second half. Leo McGowan and Ethan Kenny then scored a layup and a free throw. Ben mcNeely then put two more points on the board which left Abbey well ahead at the start of the fourth quarter. The Abbey kept the scoring going despite Niall Prenderville coming off with a knee injury. Leo mcGowan took over the point-guard position and dictated the game well. The final score in the game was 52-37 to Abbey. This was a good outing for the boys and they’ll be hoping to push on from this impressive win!

U15 Soccer

AVS faced tough opposition in St. Columbas for their opening fixture in the U15 soccer league. Man of the match and captain Jake Graham. led the team through a high standard game that we unfortunately lost 3 -1.

It was never going to be an easy task finding the right balance with players spanning across 2 years but the boys learned fast. John Bell combining well with Jake and keeper Antonio Huertas to ensure no goal was conceded from open play.

Caolan Sweeney and Daniel McIntyre resumed their influential pairing in midfield creating opportunities for Ruairi McLauglin and Rory Kelly up front. However, it was St Columbas to score first with a goal from a corner and a second shortly after from a free kick. If you’re not winning you’re learning, and certainly dealing with defending, set pieces now becomes the focus of training on Tuesday. Matthew McGinty impressed when he came on for injured Ryan Kennedy and gave hope of a comeback when he got on the end of ball to make it 2-1.

Solid performances from Senan Carr, Matthew Byrne and Kiernan Degnan all added to a great overall team effort. Subs Leo McGowan, Shea Byrne and Conor Meehan all put their stamp on the match which will inevitably keep competition for places high.

We look forward to the next fixture against Rosses Community School in the last week of term.

Thanks to Mr. O’Mahony and Leo Gallagher for their continued work with the team.


Girls Basketball


After School Football


AVS Students enjoying after football on Wednesdays.


Lunchtime Sports


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:


Day Event Teacher Venue


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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