Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 2nd Dec

Abbey Vocational School Newsletter

25th Nov- 1st Dec 2019

Open Evening Poster

We would be delighted for you to take a tour of our school and see practical demonstrations and displays of students’ work from all of our subject departments.  I hope that the people of Donegal Town and the wider community will take this opportunity to view our excellent facilities.  We especially hope that all of our incoming students will attend with their parents.  An adult must accompany all persons under 18.

We will have a table set up to facilitate anyone who wishes to return the admission form on the night of the Open Evening.  We encourage you to please do this. The deadline for enrolment is Monday, 16th December 2019 at 4 p.m.

The Abbey’s ‘West Side Story’ Extravaganza!


The Abbey Vocational School Transition Year Students had the pleasure of meeting Drama Adjudicator Paddy Molloy, who gave wonderful feedback and a fantastic critique of the Production of ‘West Side Story’.


The Cast of ‘West Side Story’.

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West Side Story

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transported to modern-day New York City as two young, idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the American Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence, and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.


This week the Abbey Vocational School presented the amazing classic theatre extravaganza of “West Side Story”. The show was not to be missed with an amazing cast of over 135 students from Transition Year of the Abbey Vocational School and some first and second-year students. The talent was mind-blowing and was a show that would take your breath away.


Set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid 1950’s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood we have the exotic skirts of the Shark Girls with the vibrant & exciting dances contrasting with the shabby shirts & converse of the Puerto Rican and New York gang members. This reinforces their tough, deprived backgrounds in a spectacle to behold.

The Abbey boys produced a fabulous display of choreographed action and dancing in the rumble scene which cannot be equaled!

Our modern-day Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria embark on a romance doomed from the outset. Our Lead Protagonists Rachel, Ryan and lead actors told the story through song with some exceptional talent on display here.

The Abbey Vocational School Musical Community were delighted to present ‘West Side Story’.


The Abbey was honoured once again to have Rachel O’Connor back directing for us this year and she’s done a wonderful job of coaxing powerful and nuanced performances from the cast. Eileen Carr has once again helped bring the school show to a whole other level of professionalism, every note that is sung on stage she has been over and over with the cast and the effect of the harmonies is truly magnificent. She was assisted this year by musical teacher Sinead McCarthy. Lauren Kelly has worked tirelessly behind the scenes, giving every spare minute to create beautiful elegant and muscular choreography that was simply not to be missed.

Many thanks must go to Martin Gallagher and his team for the carefully crafted wooden frames for all the pieces. Mr Daly and his crew of Transition Year artists who painted the sets. Also, for Sean O’Connor’s expertise.

Many thanks must go to Rosemary Myers and Mary Crawford going to great lengths to ensure the costumes were perfect! West Side Story was a fantastic success!


All-Ireland Scholarship Award


Former AVS Student Síofra Maurhofer, 2019 All Ireland Scholarship Award recipient, sponsored by JP McManus.

The Abbey Vocational School Community is delighted for past student Síofra Mauerhofer who has been chosen to receive a 2019 All Ireland Scholarship as part of the JP McManus scholarships programme. Síofra is studying music at Trinity College and is loving every minute of it.

The JP McManus Scholarship Programme was established in 2008 to support many young students across Ireland by providing them with financial support thus enabling them to participate in all aspects of university life. 125 All Ireland Scholarships from the 32 counties are awarded each year and 2019 will see the total number rise to 1,496, with 905 successful graduates having emerged with primary and post graduate degrees.

According to JP McManus “I fundamentally believe that education is the key to success and now more than ever is a time for the true spirit of education to be fostered”.

Congratulations Siofra Mauerhofer!

First Year News

A big thank you to parents/guardians for attending our First Year Parent Teacher Meeting last Thursday. We value these opportunities to meet with parents/guardians to discuss the progress and achievements of the students to date. We are very proud of our first years and we are happy that they are all settling in so well. Meetings like these are always another chance to further remind parents of the many teams, clubs and activities available to our students. Our numerous competitive and non-competitive clubs/teams are listed at the end of the newsletter as well as the many lunchtime clubs. This is a great way to meet new friends and develop further areas of interest. Well done to our first-year students who were involved in the school musical West Side Story. We hope it was as enjoyable as it looked and that you are all looking forward to your chance to be involved again when the time comes.  Also, well done to our first years involved in the mini-companies over the three nights of the musical in the St. John Bosco Centre. Our positive behaviour initiative is ongoing and students are working very well in this regard. It is fantastic to see the pride students are taking in their journals. We are looking forward to seeing more tokens being added to the basket this week. Keep up the good work

Agricultural Science Fifth Year Trip

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On Tuesday the 26th of November Abbey Vocational School Students took a trip to a local Dairy Farm and Processing Plant. This was invaluable for students, allowing them to experience in practical the theory of dairying which they have learned in class.

The Music Department


Our 2nd Year music classes were singing on the Diamond for the Donegal Town Business Focus Group event on Friday the 29th of November from 2pm to 3pm, 3rd year singing group 4pm to 4.30pm and Matthew and Gabriella Byrne from 3.30pm to 4pm.

We are preparing for the School Carol Service which will take place in the Church of Ireland, Donegal Town at 7pm on Wednesday 18th December.

AVS Student Jack Lennox is holding guitar lessons in room 16 on Fridays.  These boys may be the future Rory Gallaghers and Jemi Hendrixes!!


The Readathon       ‘The Readathon’ initiative is nearing its completion and Students are asked to bring in their Sponsorship Cards to their English Teachers. This initiative was 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 French Department

La comédie musicale de l’école a eu lieu la semaine dernière et ce fut un franc succès ! Les élèves de l’école (en particulier de l’année de transition ainsi que des élèves de 2è et 3è années) et des professeurs de l’école ont travaillé depuis la rentrée afin de produire un spectacle de qualité. Les trois représentations ont rempli la salle et tout le monde a apprécié ! Bravo à tous !

Drama Class    

Drama classes are continuing after school, with excellent work from a group of dedicated students. These pupils will be performing at the Donegal Schools Drama Festival in February, competing against all the other schools in Donegal. If you would like to be part of this project, please see Mr. Donegan to join. No previous experience required. All pupils welcome.

AVS Students wish Leo McLoone good luck!


Abbey Vocational School Students wish Mr McLoone good luck in his match on Sunday against Kilcoo in the Healy Park, Omagh in the Ulster Club Senior Championship!

Christmas Tests for 5th and 6th years

The Christmas tests for the 5th and 6th years take place this week from 2nd to the 6th of December. All students will receive a report home based on these results which account for 50% of the grade. The other 50% will come from ongoing formative and summative assessments over the term.

Students in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year will receive a report home based on an average of class tests for the terms work as well as their ongoing Junior Cycle formative Assessment. All students will receive a report home at Christmas


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 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 helping Students with Maths.

Maynooth University Open Day

On Friday the 29th of November Students from the AVS traveled to Maynooth University’s Open Day. Maynooth University is an internationally recognised institution located 25 kilometres outside of Dublin, Ireland, and is the nation’s fastest-growing university. One of four constituent universities of the National University of Ireland.

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


  1. HEAR & DARE – Leaving Cert students applying to HEAR & DARE should start on their application(s) immediately.
  2. A Mock Interview night for Leaving Cert students organised by the Parents Association will take place in the school on the evening of Tuesday, 10 Dec. 2019. The Guidance Counsellors will provide students with further info. during career guidance class.
  3. NUI Galway are holding an Open Evening for Leaving Cert students, parents & guardians in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny on Thursday, 05 December @ 7 p.m. See for further info.
  4. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the school over the coming weeks:
  • Greencastle Fishery School: 04 Dec. @ 10.20 – 11.00
  • Donegal ETB Further Education & Training (FET): 20 Jan. @ 2.00 – 2.40
  • Work-Based Degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering – IT Sligo: 29 Jan. @ 10.20


Aware Positive Mental Health Programme

TYB students have completed 3 weeks of the Positive Mental Health programme delivered by AWARE. There are eight modules in total delivered over the four sessions and the programme includes the following topics:


Module-Understanding your feelings

-This session introduces cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and helps students to understand that what we think and do influences how we feel.

Module- Are You Strong Enough To Keep Your Temper (1,2,3, Breathe)

-This session helps students to recognise what winds them up and teaches them how to control your anger and improve their happiness and relationships.


Module –Looking at things differently

-This session teaches students to recognise and control unhelpful thinking patterns and encourages them to challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more helpful ones.

Module–Building inner confidence

-Things other people say to us creep into our heads and we begin to believe them. This session helps students to re-build their self-confidence and learn to like themselves again.


Module–The Things You Do That Mess You Up

-This session helps students identify things in their life such as comfort eating or spending money which may make them feel better initially but which may lead to problems over time, and how to deal with the temptation to do them.

Module– How to Fix Almost Everything

-Everything is achievable if it’s broken down into small enough steps. This session introduces a 4-step plan to help students tackle problems and make positive changes in their life.


Module –Doing things that make you feel better

-We’ve all said this to ourselves when we’re feeling down. This session focuses on encouraging students to start doing things which can make them feel better.

Module – Ten Things You Can Do to Feel Happier

-The last session sums everything up and shows students some simple things that they can build into them everyday life to help them feel happier, fitter and more positive.


Forensic Science Workshop

A forensic science workshop will take place this coming week for all TY students. During this workshop the students will investigate a crime scene. They will have several pieces of evidence for example fingerprints, GPS, Tyre marks, DNA and microscope analysis.

History Trip

On Tuesday 3rd December  TYB, D and E History students will travel to Derry. The students will visit the Siege Museum, walk the walls of Derry and visit the Museum of Free Derry. They will learn more about the Northern Ireland Troubles in greater detail from people who experienced the troubles themselves. The information they will learn will benefit them greatly in the projects they are completing on The Northern Ireland Troubles.

TY Mini Company

TY students have been planning and researching their mini company ideas over the past few weeks. All students will present their ideas and their business plans during their in-class Dragons Den competition over the next few weeks, the winners from each class will then go up against the other class winners in the AVS Dragons Den final after Christmas.  There is a wide variety of ideas from all groups. Some of these ideas include, personalised products such as t-shirts, string bags, football gloves and Year Book. Environmentally friendly products such as Pine cone crafts, reusable shopping bags and metal straws.

1st Yr and TY Mini Companies selling at the Musical


Sean Quinlan, Cillian Sweeney have a wonderful sweet company and Gary Taylor has a Christmas Tree Company.


Make-it-with-Millie is a company started by Millie Hughes.

‘Cookie Land’, sells cookies, pick ‘n mixes and American sweets. Members of the team are Eoghan McPartlan, Charlie Joe Mc Neely, Tommy Friel, Emma Kennedy, Niamh Caldwell pictured, Aine Mc Groarty and Zach Campbell. A big thank you must go to Ms Gordon for organising, supporting and coordinating the venture!


Mini desk Christmas Trees is coordinated by Lily Tanham.


The homemade chocolate chip cookies stand is run by Natalie Browne.


AVS Scrunchies is manned by Gabriella Byrne.


Enterprising first year Nela Piskunowicz sold homemade freshly salted popcorn on the night!


This week Transition Year Students and members of the Student Council took part in the Eco Unesco Workshop.

ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s Environmental Education and Youth Organisation that works to conserve the environment and empower young people. ECO-UNESCO is affiliated to the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA).

  • to raise environmental awareness, understanding and knowledge of the environment among young people
  • to promote the protection and conservation of the environment
  • to promote the personal development of young people through practical environmental projects and activities

Leaving Certificate Physical Education

LCPE students expand their learning around Topic 5: Promoting Physical Activity. Presenting PA biographies and debating the PA levels of our current generation vs older generations.

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Physical Activity Biographies presented by leaving Certificate P.E. students to first year students as part of the learning outcomes for Topic 5: Promoting Physical Activity; Presenting PA biographies and debating the PA levels of our current generation vs older generations.

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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. The first event that they will host is the Primary School Sportshall Athletics in December.


U14 Boys Gaelic

  • U14 Game Vs St Mary’s of Belfast


A hard fought victory made look easy by a seamless defense and clinical shooting. An Ulster final is on the cards for the boys from the Abbey Vocational School. It was nip and tuck at the off with Abbey scorers Ruairi and Kevin opening the score. St Mary’s couldn’t get through abbeys what seemed impenetrable defense . Goals from Ruairi and Kevin opened up a lead and as half time fame the score was 2-6 to 2 points to the Abbey. A game of two halves, as the second half began St Mary’s threw everything at the Abbey and getting off a few points but Abbey weathered the storm and with quick fire goals and lightning counter attack abbey opened up a healthy lead. It ended 5-7 to 0-5. A 17 point victory, a brilliant result for an Ulster Semi Final.

Boys Basketball

The under 16 boys team were away to St. Oliver’s Community College in Drogheda in the North A league semi-final. The Abbey were unfortunately no match for an exceptionally talented and well-coached Drogheda outfit losing out on a scoreline of 69-22. Some solace can be taken in the second half performance where the Abbey boys got to grips with their opponents winning the third quarter and drawing the fourth. The under 16 boys now face a playoff game against the loser of the other semi-final to book a place at this year’s playoffs.

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Girls Basketball

U16 Girls Regional Champions:

Our U16 team played Ballinamore, Leitrim in this year’s regional basketball final. The girls found it difficult to settle in the first quarter with Ballinamore taking the lead in the first few minutes of the game. Shauna Doherty and Sophia Maziri began to win the boards and in the 2md quarter assisting some great fast breaks from Sarah Donovan and Emma Meehan. The AVS girls took the lead for the rest of the game and won their third regional final in a row. The U16s play in the All Ireland cup semi-final December 9th and will compete in the All Ireland play offs in January. Well done to Ms O Mahoney and team for this excellent achievement.

U19 Girls:

The U19B girls’ basketball team played Colaiste Ailigh in the regional finals last week. This was the third meet between the two teams this year. Both teams got off to a great start. AVS played some excellent defense. In the first quarter to stop the sharp shooters from Colaiste Ailigh.  The teams went from end to end with fast breaks keeping the teams even for most of the first half.  Sophie Carr got some great drives to the basket scoring a total of 18 points in the game.  Sophia Maziri and Loaise Mc Gonigle dominated the boards and scored some crucial baskets keeping AVS in the game. Colaiste Ailigh found their stride in the last 6 minutes of the game scoring some great outside shots with no reply from the AVS girls. Sophie Carr scored a perfect on the buzzer 3 pointer but it wasn’t enough to put AVS head.  The game finished Colaiste 41 – 36 AVS.   The U19s still qualify for the All Ireland play offs in January.

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.


Lunchtime activities include football on the courts.

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



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