Abbey Vs Newsletter – Tues 29th Oct.

Abbey Vocational School Newspaper

21st October- 27th October 2019

Midterm Breakhalloween-pumpkin-4364284_960_720

Wishing all of our staff and students a well-deserved midterm break and look forward to our next busy half term. 


Upcoming Events

Parents of Leaving Cert Students: November 5th 

An information evening for parents/guardians of Leaving Cert students will take place in the library on Tuesday, 05 Nov. 2019; 7-9 p.m. Maria Flaherty, Guidance Counsellor will present.  The presentation will cover all the options available to students including 3rd level, FET, Apprenticeships & Traineeships. Parental, financial & other supports will also be discussed.


This week Students from the AVS participated in the Credit Union Art competition. This year’s theme is ‘The Walk of Life’ and the high standard and amazing talent of the Abbey Vocational School was in abundance.


 ‘Walk of Life’ piece by Transition Year Student Emma Thomas

Restorative Practices

On Wednesday the 23rd of October, the Abbey Vocational School was delighted to welcome back Tony Kearney to deliver restorative practice sessions with students from the AVS. Restorative practice aims to view wrongdoing through a ‘relational’ lens – understanding that harm has been done to people and relationships. Understanding that when such harm is done, it creates obligations and liabilities. Also, focusing on repairing the harm and making things right.

When harm has been caused by inappropriate, sometimes thoughtless, negative behaviour then all sides need a chance to tell their side of the story and feel heard, to understand better how the situation happened, to understand how it can be avoided another time, to feel understood by the others involved and to find a way to move on and feel better about themselves.

Ray Langan Motivational Talk for Leaving Certificate Students


On Monday the 21st October, the Abbey Vocational School welcomed Ray Langan to the school to talk to leaving certificate students about the importance of study skills. The talk highlighted many topics, including:

  • ‘Miracle Morning’ This was about how a good start to your day can affect the rest of the day and is key to avoid being stressed and having anxiety before you go to school. To have a miracle morning, you need to have a full eight hours of sleep, have a healthy breakfast, full of nutrients that are essential for energy, and fifteen minutes of exercise every morning
  • ‘Keys to Memory’
    • Association – what does the topic associate with?
    • Location – Where?
    • Imagination – use your imagination to create an image.
  • ‘Distractions’
    • The main distractions when studying are mobile phones. Turn your phone on flight mode when you are studying. Spend 30 minutes studying and use your phone as an award when you are satisfied that you learned enough in that half hour. “DITCH THE PHONE – GET INTO THE ZONE”.

Donegal Castle Trip


On Thursday the 24th of October Abbey Vocational School Students visited Donegal Castle as part of their Level 2 Short Course in Music and Living in the Community.


  1. An information evening for parents/guardians of Leaving Cert students will take place in the library on Tuesday, 05 Nov. 2019; 7-9 p.m. Maria Faherty, Guidance Counsellor will present.  The presentation will cover all the options available to students including 3rd level, FET, Apprenticeships & Traineeships. Parental, financial & other supports will also be discussed.
  2. Donegal ETB’s Further Education & Training (FET) Fair 2019 takes place in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny on Wednesday, 06 Nov. 2019 (7.00-9.00pm) for Leaving Certificate students and their parents.
  3. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the school over the coming weeks:
  • North-West Regional College: 06 Nov. 2019 @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • University of Limerick: 11   Nov. 2019 @ 11.55 – 12.35
  • Donegal ETB Apprenticeship & Traineeships: 13 Nov. 2019 @ 10.20-11.00
  1. UCAS registration took place on Wednesday, 16 October. All Leaving Certs wishing to apply to 3rd level college should now be registered and working on the final parts of their application. 
  2. Maynooth University Open Day will take place on 29 Nov. 2019. The Guidance department will bring 5th years to this event. Further information will be provided during Guidance class after mid-term.

Bebras. A big congratulations to 12 of our students who received certification this week in recognition of their achievement of reaching the National Finals of the Bebras Competition in May. Bebras is an International competition testing student’s logical and computational thinking. 

The Music Department

The 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.


AVS Students  enjoying tea and brownies @ lunchtime while working on songs for the musical.

The Trad Music Club has now commenced in room 13 on Fridays.  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!


Chess Club The Chess Club has resumed on Mondays 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!


‘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!

Student Voice

Ten of our Student Council and Donegal Youth Council members attended the AGM of Comhairle na nOg on Wednesday 23rd October in Letterkenny.  The day provided a forum where young people discussed issues relevant to them and their community, with a series of facilitated workshops on the theme ‘Minding your Mental Health’.   

As part of the day Frank Duffy, 5th Year, gave an address to the adult supervisors and teachers present.  He was outstanding, and he along with our council members are excellent ambassadors for our school.  It was a great day and our students brought back many ideas to our student council.  Thank you to Ms. Hegarty for accompanying our students. 

If you spot any of our Student Council taking photos of bins, do not be concerned…Over the midterm, they are researching successful ways to recycle that may work well in buildings the size of our school with such a large cohort of young people.  After the break they will survey the student body in relation to their understanding and engagement with recycling. There are so many positive steps in this direction including our new metal bottles, green cutlery and biodegradable cups in the canteen to name just a few.  The committee hope to involve the entire school, staff and students, in ‘Recycling, Reducing and Reusing’’.

French Department

La semaine dernière, Abbey Vocational organisait une semaine consacrée à la santé mentale des élèves. Des messages de soutien étaient diffusés tous les jours et des affiches étaient accrochées dans l’école. Les étudiants se sont réunis mercredi après-midi afin de jouer de la musique ! Un grand moment de convivialité qui a fait du bien à tout le monde ! 

La semaine prochaine, ce sont les vacances de la Toussaint. C’est l’occasion de se reposer un peu après deux mois de cours et surtout l’occasion de fêter Halloween. Sorcières, vampires et fantômes hanteront les rues de Donegal et vous donneront la chair de poule ! En quoi allez-vous vous déguiser ?

Les collégiens et lycéens français ont quant à eux deux semaines de vacances. Quelle chance ! 
Science Club

Again, we continue our young scientist project profiles with our last two group entries in the junior Biological and Ecological category.  

Can education reduce the use of single use plastics?


By Jane Faulkner, Erin Britton and Ciara Friel

OVERVIEW: We wish to solve the overuse of single use plastics in our school environment by conducting a survey analysis into the reduction of the use of single use plastics through the use of a tailored education programme among randomly selected members of our school community. 

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT/BACKGROUND: Since the 1st of April a government wide ban means that public bodies, including schools, are no longer allowed to purchase single-use plastics. Our principal is purchasing refillable water bottles for all students in our school community. In addition, the school will also install multiple water fountains throughout the school. We want to know if a tailored education programme will encourage students to make better use of their refillable water bottle and consequently reduce the number of single use plastics used by students.

APPROACH: We have spoken to the waste management officer in the Donegal County Council to learn about recycling patterns and trends in Donegal schools and to seek advice into the development of our tailored education programme. We have also obtained advice from a professional survey writer to ensure that our survey questions are relevant and effective. Initially we will conduct a baseline survey into the use of single use plastics in our test and control students and then we will conduct our education programme with test students across multiple year groups. We intend to select classes at random across all year groups to act as our control and test group who we will conduct our education programme with. In this way we will be able to compare attitudes between year groups and between genders. We will use a sample size of approximately 280 students. 140 of these students will be our test group and they will take part in our tailored education programme and the other 140 students will act as our control group. We will source students from Science classes within our school community as we have spoken to our school Science teachers and they have agreed to run the education programme with randomly selected classes. Once the programme is finished, we will resurvey our test and control students to see if our tailored education programme encourages less single-use plastics and we will aim to interpret our results using statistical analysis.

Antimicrobial Seaweeds


by Eadaoin Murphy and Shane Harvey

OVERVIEW: We wish to investigate the antimicrobial properties of different native seaweeds on different bacterial cultures using an aseptic laboratory technique.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT/BACKGROUND: Our older relatives believe that carrageen moss seaweed is a good remedy for colds and flus and for illness in general, so we have regularly picked it on our local shores so that there is always a fresh supply. This prompted us to wonder about the antimicrobial properties of Irish seaweeds in general and our initial research led us to a post-doctoral thesis that investigated the bioactivity of Irish seaweeds and potential applications as nutraceuticals by Sabrina Cox. In this thesis the author suggested that little work had been done on the antimicrobial properties of seaweed extracts, so we decided to investigate this for BTYS.

APPROACH: Firstly, we interviewed a local seaweed expert who has shown us how to identify our chosen red, green and brown seaweeds and we used published keys from websites to also help us in identifying our test species. We then conducted a beach analysis of local seaweeds to confirm that our test species are readily available locally and we have established a method to perfect the extraction and concentration of the seaweed oil extract using hot water before evaporating excess moisture to create a concentrated antimicrobial extract using an aseptic laboratory technique. We will then test our seaweed extracts on bacterial cultures, and we will measure their efficacy by measuring the cleared area around our extracts in our bacterial cultures to establish the antimicrobial value of each seaweed in the laboratory.

Head Boy/Vice Head Boy and Head Girl/Vice Head Girl


AVS Head Boy/Vice Head Boy and Head Girl/Vice Head Girl 2019-2020

LYIT Peer Mentoring

On Monday the 21st of October, members of the TY peer mentoring group travelled to Letterkenny IT to complete a training workshop. It was a very interesting workshop where they did many bonding activities and learned a lot on the day.   They will be returning to LYIT in January to do another workshop and will then receive an online peer mentoring badge for their efforts.

The Art Department

TY students continue to work on the mural for room 12. Work has begun on sets for the school musical. Non exam classes are currently working on the Credit Union Art competition. A number of Art students from the AVS are currently exhibiting work at the annual Suile na n’Og art exhibition at the Regional Cultural Centre. 


Students from the AVS at the opening of the annual Suile na n’Og art exhibition at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny


Blaithin’s model was part of the Súile na nÓg exhibition of Junior Cert art. Such a great display of creativity and skill and a lovely event to celebrate it. Well done to all the students from AbbeyVS and other schools in Donegal.

Junior Certificate Art Trip


On Tuesday the 22nd of October Junior Certificate Art students visited the annual Stiles na n’Og Junior Cert Art Exhibition at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny. The exhibition showcases the work of Junior Cert Art Students who sat their examinations in 2018-2019 and is an excellent opportunity for current Junior Certs Students to get ideas for their projects.

Teaching & Learning: Introduction to Success Criteria.

In each class students will hear about learning intentions. They may also hear teachers refer to Success Criteria. These are closely linked to learning intentions. (See Newsletter 16th Sept). Success criteria are designed by the teacher and/or the student and describe what success looks like. They help our students to make judgements about the quality of their learning.

In simple terms, success criteria are the things students need to do in order to make a piece of work, whether it be an essay, a project, a CBA or an exam answer, good!

For example, a learning intention might be: “To present a point of view in a persuasive manner”.

Success criteria for this learning intention might look like the following

  • I will begin with a good opening sentence.
  • I will present reasons and examples to back up my argument.
  • I will use emotive and persuasive language (such as ‘Surely’).
  • I will use humour, stories and/or questions to gain my audience’s attention.
  • I will conclude with a strong statement.

Transition Year Musical


This year the AVS Transition Year Musical Production is ‘Westside Story’, rehearsals have been taking part each day to perfect the musical!



Our TY’s rehearsing for West Side Story

Transition Year Trip to Delphi


This week Abbey Vocational School said goodbye to the Transition Year Students as they headed to the number one choice for adventure experiences and adventure holidays in Ireland!

Delphi Adventure Centre in Leenane provides a range of land and water activities in Connemara and Mayo including surfing in Louisburgh, coasteering in Westport, zip lining in the 300 acre Delphi forest, kayaking on the Killary Fjord, plus many more! 

Transition Years went walking in Connemara, cycling the Wild Atlantic Way and engaged in fun, team building activities, team challenges learning and bonding!

TY PE   Our TY’s have started their Sports Leader training as part of the PE programme. This programme is run in conjunction with Donegal Sports Partnership. Through this course, students will learn and demonstrate important life skills such as effective communication and organisation, whilst leading basic physical and sports activities with younger students, their peers, and within primary schools in the community. The transferable skills learned will be useful in college, the workplace and life in general.

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.



Thank you to Lidl Ireland in Donegal town for their sponsorship of Jerseys and Equipment for our Junior and Senior Girls Football Teams

Boys u15 Soccer

The Boys U15 soccer team travelled to Rosses Community School to play their second and final league match. The local crowd that came out to watch at the Maghery grounds saw 5 goals scored in the first half from two very entertaining and highly skilled teams exchanging encounters. Rosses scored first after only 1 min from a defensive error that was nonetheless finished well. AVS were forced to quickly settle into the game showing good resilience in creating chances and winning possession all over the pitch. Daniel Quinn showing good strength and touch up front. First real chance came from Senan Carr who whipped in a great cross which Ruairi McLoughlin uncharacteristically missed. Rosses responded with a second goal immediately from the kick out. AVS re started quickly with Caolan Sweeney passing to Ruairi who found the bottom left hand corner of the net from a long range shot outside the box. Both teams now competing for every ball it was guaranteed to be a quality game.


The next goal was scored by centre half Jake Graham who headed a corner kick cross from Ruairi. The score was all square and it felt like AVS was on the front foot. However, it was Rosses who scored the final goal of the game before halftime. Kiernan Diegnan and Leo McGowan both impressed but made way for John Bell and Daniel McIntyre to re energise and potentially find an equaliser in the second half. A super strike from man of the match Kevin Muldoon was saved and despite consistent pressure from AVS, Rosses held out for the 3-2 win. Many thanks to coaches Mr. O’Mahony and Leo Gallagher for their continued work with the team. Thanks also to Mr. Lipsett helping out on the day.

U14 Game vs Carndonagh C.S.


Perfect playing conditions accompanied by an excellent performance capped another victory for Mr McFaddens under 14 boys. An excellent start with 5 points coming from Ruari McLaughlin and Seanan Carr, sparked a huge 1-11 from the home team unanswered by the men from Carndonagh, but quick fire from the visitors and a lapse in concentration gave the opposition an unexpected 2-2 but then another goal from Kevin Muldoon meant at half time it was 2-12 to 2-02, the Abbey boys leading confidently. A stern team talk from Mr Herron and Mr McFadden encouraged our boys to finish confidently. Inspiring performances from Daniel McIntyre scoring 2-2 and also an impenetrable defence, lead by none other than John Bell meant Carndonagh had a mountain to climb. The boys fought until the bitter end and won 4-19 to 5-4. A very convincing win for the boys, Mr McFadden hopes his own Gaoth Dobhair boys can perform as well as our boys did. Comhghairdeas de na buachaillí ón Baile Dhun na nGall.

U19 Girls Basketball 

On Monday the 21st of October Students from the AVS travelled to Killybegs. The Abbey fought hard to command a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. With confidence the Abbey opened the second quarter and continued their lead 22-10. In the third quarter the opposition came back, and the Abbey had a match on their hands. The third quarter finished 41-33. The fourth quarter saw the lead slip from the hands of the Abbey and a dramatic match saw the opposition take the glory from the grasp of the Abbey Girls. Final score 44-55. A fantastically fought match by the AVS! 

County Finals


On Wednesday the 23rd of October Abbey Vocational School boys took part in the County Final against Loreto Community School Milford. 

It was a blistering final with both sides aiming for glory. The final score was 12-09 to the opposition, well done to both teams, showing great talent and calibre of dedication!

 U20 Girls Gaelic

The AVS girls senior team were playing against Thorn Hill Derry in Naomh Bríd today. It was a very close game finishing 4-5 to 4-3 to AVS. The girls fought hard for each other, and there were some great individual performances There were some great scores from Sarah Canny and Laoise McGonagle, both scoring a goal each and Caoimhe Walsh scoring two. The girls will now go on to play their last two games after the midterm. 


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.

Activities for this term are as follows:


Day Event Teacher Venue


Girls Badminton 

(open to all students)

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
Sports Hall


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


Sports Team Coach Training time Venue
Athletics Mrs M Gallagher Tuesday

4pm – 5.30pm

Sports hall and track

1st & 2nd Year Boys 

Mr. P Mc Devitt, 

L. Gallagher,

(Mr. S Carty)


3.30 – 4.30 pm

Sports hall

Senior & U16 Boys

Mr. D Russell, 

S. Mogan, 

(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 Girls

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 

P Rooney


4.15 – 5.30pm

School field / All weather pitch
Gaelic Boys 


Mr P O’Donnell, 

Mr. S Mc Fadden


3.30 – 4.45pm

School field / All weather pitch
Gaelic Boys 


Mr. L McLoone, 

Mr. C Monahan


4:10 – 5:10

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 Thursday 

3.30pm -4.30pm

Parish hall / Library
Soccer Boys – 1st yr  Mr S Devlin Tuesday

4pm – 5p2k8m

Soccer Boys – U15 Mr. I O’Mahony, 

Mr. L Gallagher


3.30pm -4.30pm

School field / All weather pitch
Soccer Boys – U17 Mr C Hegarty
Soccer Boys – Senior  Mr. G Gorman Wednesday

3.30pm – 4.30pm

Squash Mr I O’Mahony
Rowing Mr. S Maguire


Day  Activity Teacher Room
Monday Science Club Ms. Furey  Room 47
Art Class Ms O’Donnell Room12A


Chess Club Ms. Mohan Room 3
Coding Club Mr Harvey & Mr Herron  Room 45
School Choir Ms Doherty & Mrs Carr Room 16
Wednesday Reading Club Ms. O’ Donnell Room 12a
Irish Conversation Club Mr Mc Fadden & Ms. Giblin Room 26
Thursday Drama Class Ms O’Donnell  Room 9
Friday Maths Club Ms Lockhart Room 30
Trad Music Club Ms Doherty Room 13

These are the clubs that are not included but will start in the coming weeks once they are organised. 

  • Drama Club – Sean Donegan – After Halloween – to confirm start date
  • Art Club – Ms Green – To confirm room/start date
  • Junk Couture/ Fashion club – Holly Mc Crea – to confirm room/start date


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
Non Sport Related Activities
Science Club  Boys & Girls Ms Furey Monday Lunchtime

Tuesday 4pm – 5pm

Room 45
Art Club  Boys & Girls Ms O Donnell Monday Lunchtime Room 12A
Coding Club  Boys & Girls Mr Harvey & Mr Herron Tuesday Lunchtime Room 45
Chess Club Boys & Girls Ms. Mohan Tuesday Lunchtime Room 3
School Choir Boys & Girls Ms Doherty Tuesday Lunchtime Room 16
Reading Club Boys & Girls Ms. O’ Donnell Wednesday Lunchtime Room 9

Irish Conversation Club

Boys & Girls Mr Mc Fadden

Ms. Giblin

Wednesday Lunchtime Room 26
Drama Class Boys & Girls Ms. O’ Donnell Thursday Lunchtime Room 9
Maths Club Boys & Girls Ms Lockhart Friday Lunchtime Room 30
Trad Music Club Boys & Girls Ms Doherty Friday Lunchtime Room 13

Competitive Sports for First Years
Activity Boys/Girls Teacher Day/Time Room
Athletics &

Cross Country

Boys & Girls Mrs. Gallagher Tuesday 

4.15 – 5.30pm

Sports hall & Track
Basketball Girls Ms Rooney Thursday 

3.30 – 5pm

Sports hall
Basketball Boys Mr Mc Devitt Friday 

3.30 – 4.30 pm

Sports hall
Gaelic U14 Girls Mrs M Crawford

Ms G. Creane


4.15 – 5.30pm

School field / All weather pitch
Gaelic U14 Boys Mr O’ Donnell

Mr Mc Fadden


3.30 – 4.45pm

School field / All weather pitch
Soccer Boys Mr Devlin  TBC School field / All weather pitch
Rowing Boys & Girls Mr Maguire TBC School gym

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