Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 9th Dec


Abbey Vocational School Dec 2nd- Dec 8th 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. Deadline for enrolment is Monday, 16th December 2019 at 4 p.m.

Apple Hill String Quartet

The Abbey Vocational School was privileged to be visited by the America world-renowned Applehill String Quartet on Friday the 6th of December.


The world renowned and critically acclaimed quartet were in Donegal performing, teaching and visiting schools throughout Ireland.

Our 1st, 2nd and 6th year music students were treated to a top class performance of wonderful chamber music. After the concert, the members of the quartet answered various questions from the students. They learned all kinds of interesting things about practicing to make perfect!

The quartet was presented with new tin whistles by the students.

The school would like to acknowledge the work of Evan Mc Garrigle and Martin Meehan who helped to get the quartet to the school.

Picture shows the Apple Hill quartet with Evan Mc Garrigle, Martin Meehan, and music teachers Sinead Mc Carty, Caitriona Doherty and Eileen Carr.


Donegal Enterprise Awards 2019

image008On Friday the 6th of December Students from the Abbey Vocational School and their Teacher Ms Lucy Gordon attended the Donegal Enterprise Awards, receiving awards for their ingenuity, enterprise and innovation!




Science Department

image009Erin Britton, Jane Faulkner Ciara Friel are investigating if an education programme that they have designed will encourage AVS students to reduce their use of single-use plastics. To make their data as reliable as possible the girls are involving hundreds of students in both their test and control groups. Students in the control group have taken a survey to analyse their use of single-use plastics and their knowledge of the harm that plastics are causing to the environment. The test group have also taken the same survey before they embarked on the girls’ six-step programme about single-use plastics, their effects in the environment, their potential effect on human health and reducing their use. The programme has commenced with several classes and the girls hope to see a reduction in the use of single-use plastic at home and in school in the test group compared to their control group when they resurvey them again at the end of the education programme

Sustainable Development Goals

Some of the brilliant work completed by our Wellbeing Classes this week to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.


What are the 17 Goals to Transform Our World? The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

Student Voice News

As members of the Donegal Youth Council, Frank Duffy and I, Aodain Mc Crudden were invited to attend Dail Éireann on Sat. 23rd November. We were called at 10:30 into the Dáil Chamber and the day was opened by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl. We heard from several speakers that are National Representatives from all the Comhairles throughout the country. After we left the Dáil one group went to do workshops on the topic that was chosen which was Climate Change. We discussed the three sub headings which were Public Transport, Single Use Plastic and Climate Awareness. At the end of the workshop we voted on which topic we most strongly supported to deal with climate change. The top two topics voted on were Public Transport and Single Use Plastic. While one group were doing the workshop, the other were doing a tour of Leinster House. We learned about the different owners and parts of the building and the years they were built. We went into the Seanad and learned how the process of being elected to the Seanad works. At the end of the day we voted the traditional way on the two most supported topics which were Public Transport and Single-Use Plastic. Public Transport won the vote by 101 votes to 57. The day was closed by Dr Katherine Zappone TD, who is the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Aodain Mc Crudden

French Department

Jeudi dernier (le 5 décembre), une grève générale a eu lieu en France. Des professeurs en passant par les étudiants et le personnel soignant, des milliers de Français se sont mobilisés et sont descendus dans les rues pour protester contre la réforme des retraites proposée par le gouvernement. De nombreux Parisiens n’ont pas pu aller travailler car le réseau de transports en commun ne fonctionnait pas : ni métros, ni bus, ni trains ! Certains ont même dormi sur leur lieu de travail pour être sûr d’arriver à temps…


  1. HEAR & DARE – Leaving Cert students applying to HEAR & DARE should start on their application(s) immediately. Guidance Counsellors are always available to answer questions
  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. Students have been advised of the process.
  3. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the school in the new year: 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
  4. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance logo.

The Music Department

Lunchtime Guitar Lessons

image015AVS Student Jack Lennox is holding guitar lessons in room 16 on Fridays.  Choir continues to meet on Tuesdays at lunchtime.  We are working for the Carol Service now.



Traditional group meet now on Thursdays and are preparing for the carol service!


Aware Positive Mental Health Programme

Thank you to Margaret Gilbert from Aware for delivering an excellent workshop on positive mental health to TYB students over the last 4 weeks. There are eight modules in total delivered over the four weeks.

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.

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.

Football All-Star Team

Congratulations to Abbey Vocational School past pupil Peadar Mogan who has been shortlisted for the FOOTBALL ALL-STAR TEAM, the final Ulster Club Football All-Star team will be announced in Gaelic Life on Thursday 12th December 2019. Good luck to Peadar!


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 with Maths.

Trip to An Grianan

AVS Students studying the Level 2 programme in the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed a Christmas Trip to An Grianan in Letterkenny, this week, to see the captivating show ‘Twas the night before Christmas’. Located in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, An Grianán Theatre is an integral part of the county’s thriving cultural life and a flagship venue in the North West of Ireland.

Giving audiences and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the very best local, national and international arts and entertainment events including drama, comedy, music, dance and much more, students from the Abbey Vocational School enjoyed their school trip to An Grianan.


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 judgments 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

First Years:

Some of our TY Peer Mentors led by Ms. Kelly and Ms. Hegarty met with first-year students this week to reflect on the first years’ first term at the AVS. Students were extremely positive about their experience of school life in AVS so far commenting on the wide range of subjects available to them and the opportunity to take part in various extra-curricular activities such as soccer, mini-companies, and Zumba. Many of our first-year students also got involved in the recent production of West Side Story which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Forensic workshop:

image020This Tuesday the school hosted a forensics workshop for the transition year students. The workshop involved investigating a murder and arson case and sleuthing out the perpetrator. There was a variety of different aspects to investigate often used in real life crime solving such as fingerprints, tyre tracks, GPS and previous phone use as well. The speaker first gave us a de-brief of the investigation so far and told us a little bit of background information about the main suspects. They set up different stations each with a different piece of evidence and gave us a sheet with questions to answer using the pieces given to us. Using this information, we were to make a decision on who committed the murder. The workshop had a lot of work and time and effort put into it and it paid off as it was extremely detailed and realistic. The whole experience was very informative and extremely enjoyable for everyone involved.

The Derry History Trip

On Tuesday 3rd, TYB, TYD and TYE accompanied by their teachers Ms. Gallagher, Mr. Clarke and Ms Kelly travelled to Derry as part of their studies on Northern Ireland and the Troubles.


First students had a guided tour of the Walls of Derry, which was highly information and interesting, as the guides detailed the history of the city from its foundation during the Plantations in the 16th century to the difficult years of the Troubles. Along the ways various landmarks were brought to their attention such as St. Columb’s Cathedral, the Fergie Gate, the Free Derry Corner Memorial, the War Memorial, the Brandywell and Celtic Park GAA grounds.


Later students visited the Museum of Free Derry in the Bogside area of the city. Here they had a talk given by those whose relatives were killed on Bloody

Sunday and had a tour of the museum. Which explains the story of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s as well at the events of Bloody Sunday itself.



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 on 10th December.

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 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.

Gaelic Football practice on Wednesdays @ lunchtime.

Girls Get Active

We have many activities during lunchtime and after school for girls. We would encourage everyone to get out and get active. This is an excellent opportunity for girls to get physically active as well as socialise and make new friends. Come and try a new sport if you haven’t been there before.

Activities taking place are:

  • First Year Girls Unihoc – Monday & Friday at lunchtime in the sportshall.
  • Girls Gaelic – Monday from 4pm – 5pm in the school field.
  • Athletics for All – Tuesday from 4pm – 5.30pm in the sportshall.
  • Girls Zumba – Wednesday at lunchtime in the library.
  • Girls Dance club – Thursday at lunchtime in the sportshall.
  • Girls Basketball – Thursday from 3.30pm – 5pm in the sportshall.
  • I Run for Fun – Wednesday & Thursday at lunchtime on the school track.

Soccer: First Years

AVS v St.Eunans

St.Eunans 6 AVS 0. The big score line flattered the Letterkenny team in what was a much tighter and well matched affair. After a slow start, AVS had the first chance of the half when Rose was played through, but his shot was straight at the keeper on the 6 minute mark. 10 minutes later AVS found themselves 3-0 down after a combination of good St. Eunans play and failure to clear our lines. HT 3-0With nothing to lose AVS regathered and halftime and came out of the blocks fast. Turluch Carr was causing problems on the right hand side and created a good chance for Rose who headed narrowly wide. Carr and Muldoon were linking up well and created a number of chances in quick succession but to no avail. As AVS were chasing the game, St. Eunans added further goals to seal the victory. All still left to play for in the league and AVS will be looking for revenge when they take on the Letterkenny outfit again in the new year for the first round of the Cup.


Primary School Sportshall Athletics

Our LCPE class in conjunction with Donegal Sports Partnership are preparing to host the Small Primary Schools Regional final on Tuesday 10th December in our sports hall. There will be 8 schools competing in a number of team events in running, jumping and throwing. Good luck to all involved.

Sportshall Athletics

Our First-year team are preparing for the regional finals on Monday 16th December in Glenties. The team consists of 12 boys and 12 girls in first year. They will compete against schools from South Donegal in a number of running, jumping and throwing events.

Athletics Training

Training is on every Tuesday after school from 4 pm – 5.15 pm. This training is for all students wishing training for cross country and track & field.

Gaelic – Boys U14.5 Ulster Final

U14.5 Ulster Final. Abbey VS Patrician High School. Tuesday 10th Dec in Bawnboy, Co Cavan. Throw in: 11.30am. All support welcome.

Teachers: P O’ Donnell and S Mc Fadden


Girls Basketball: U 16 Girls All Ireland Final

Good luck to the U 16 girls’ basketball team and their coaches Emer O Mahoney and Stephen Carty as they play in the All Ireland semi-final of the cup this week. They play against St Pats Dungannon in the University of Ulster in Colraine


Amy Carr
Ellie Timoney
Emma Meehan
Amy Gardner
Shauna Doherty
Sophia Maziuri
Roisin Gillespie
Ella McKinney
Katie Gillespie
Sarah Donovan
Anna Mitchell
Orlagh Conaghan


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