Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 13th Jan

Abbey Vocational School January 6th- 12th January 2020

BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2020

Innovative Abbey Vocational School Students attend the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in the RDS in Dublin 2020! The Abbey Vocational School Community are so proud of our Science Students who are exhibiting their inventive, cutting- edge displays @ the Royal Dublin Society, better known as the RDS!


Jane  Faulkner, Ciara Friel, Erin Brittion, Shane Harvey, Ella Doherty, Ailbhe Loughney and Eadaoin Murphy at BTYS 2020 in the RDS.

Can an education programme reduce the use of single use plastics?


In a sample of 291 students we compared the results of students’ opinions and attitudes to the use of single-use plastics. 147 of these students became the test group in our survey and they completed an education programme about the use of single-use plastics. The remaining 114 students formed our control group and did not take part in the tailored education programme. We then carried out a survey with 101 members of the test group after they completed the education programme to see if they had altered their attitudes to the use of single-use plastics. We found that our education programme increased student awareness of the impact of single-use plastics, encouraged better use of the school provided hydro flasks and discouraged the use of single-use plastic bottles and plastic cutlery and although the percentage differences were not statistically significant, in terms of actual reduced use of single-use plastics, the education programme proved effective. The girls were also delighted that their project got a mention in the Irish Independent on Friday.


Antimicrobial Seaweeds 

This project investigated the antimicrobial properties of native seaweeds on different bacterial cultures using an aseptic laboratory technique and equipment provided by the Microbiology Laboratory at Letterkenny Hospital. We found that our test seaweed extracts only proved effective on the gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus. The seaweed extract proved ineffective on the other test gram-positive bacteria Enterococcus faecalis and on both test gram-negative bacteria, Esheresia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and all effective seaweed extracts showed statistically significant antimicrobial activity on Staphylococcus aureus.


Flax as an alternative to heavy-duty plastic strapping 

Polypropylene is used in a variety of applications including in packaging for consumer products, in plastic parts and in textiles but this plastic has a toxic effect on the environment due to its manufacturing process and its non-biodegradability.  We created a more eco-friendly alternative from flax fibres because of their high tensile strength and durability and we found that flax is a comparable alternative to polypropylene plastic strapping. We tested flax and polypropylene plastic strapping automatically at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and we also conducted manual strength tests of flax, polypropylene plastic strapping and of linen, another biodegradable material made from flax. We used CES 2019 Edupack software to compare the properties of flax fibres, polypropylene plastic and carbon steel and we found that flax has a greater tensile strength than polypropylene and carbon steel. This is in agreement with our automatic testing results which showed that flax fibres have a tensile strength of 5443.11 kg and polypropylene plastic has a tensile strength of 1810.11 kg. We also found that, flax with a greater Young’s Modulus, would be more easily reused for the same purpose, as the flax fibers will not stretch out of shape. In conclusion we feel that flax is a viable alternative to plastic strapping. 


Second year students Jane  Faulkner, Ciara Friel, Erin Brittion, Shane Harvey, Ella Doherty with Minister for Education and Skills, Joe Mc Hugh


TY students Ella Doherty and Ailbhe Loughney with Professor Niall Moyna.


Micheál Ó Gioúin príomhoide Coláiste Ailigh, Geraldine Diver principal of the AVS, Micheál Martin and Donna Furey Teacher at the AVS at the BTYS 2020 exhibition in the RDS, Dublin.

Caith Amach É Irish Orals Show

On Friday the 10th of January Abbey Vocational School Leaving Cert Students attended the ‘Caith Amach É’ smash hit comedy. The Leaving Cert Irish Orals Workshop is based on the Leaving Cert Irish Oral picture sequences. It’s a fast-paced, physical, comic sketch show covering each of the 20 picture sequences for the 2020 Leaving Cert.

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AVS Teachers Stuart McFadden and Patrick McDevitt.

Information Evening for 6th Class Parents

14th January 2020: Information Evening for 6th Class Parents in the AVS.(7.00pm – 8.00pm). A variety of talks will be given, some of which will assist you in supporting your son or daughter in making their subject choices for the year ahead. Talks will be given on the school’s mission and vision and ethos as well as the day to day practicalities of school life in the AVS. Parents can meet with Ms Diver Principal, Deputy Principals, SEN staff and Guidance Staff  to discuss any concerns they might have going forward. 

Return of Subject Choice Form for incoming 6th class students: 

  • 31st January 2020: Return of Subject Choice Form to Abbey Vocational School office please.

Bakesale in aid of Australian Red Cross 


This week innovative TY Students held a bake sale in aid of the Australian Red Cross. Pictured are Eoin Rooney and SNA Mary Doogan supporting the TY Bake Sale in aid of the Australian Red Cross.

Drama Class 

Auditions were held in the Library during lunchtime this week for the Drama Schools Festival 2020 held in Ballybofey at the end of February. The enthusiasm and talent of the Students auditioning was immense and we look forward to entering the festival with AVS Talent!


Drama classes are continuing after school, with excellent work from a group of dedicated students and Mr Donegan. All pupils welcome.

Computer Science

Congratulations goes to Emily Erskine, Daithi Mullaney, Joe Reid and Eamon Devlin who participated in the promotional video in collaboration with NCCA and the PDST, for Computer Science.

The Professional Development Service for Teachers or PDST is the country’s largest single support service offering professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders in a range of pedagogical, curricular and educational areas. 

The PDST was established in September 2010 as a generic, integrated and cross-sectoral support service for schools. The establishment of the organisation was synonymous with the amalgamation and restructuring of a number of stand-alone services which now operate under the PDST providing their services to schools in the context of PDST’s overall vision and mission. 

The work of the PDST contributes to school improvement by fostering reflective practice through the school self-evaluation process and through the ongoing development of teachers and school leaders through a range of CPD models. Students from the AVS were privileged to work and such a progressive project!


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.

French Department Bonne année et bonne santé ! En France, on célèbre la nouvelle année en famille ou entre amis. Peu de temps après, on fête l’Epiphanie avec la galette des rois, un gâteau avec de la crème et de la pâte feuilletée. Une fève est cachée dans le gâteau. La tradition veut que le plus jeune de la tablée aille sous la table pour distribuer les parts. Celui ou celle qui trouve la fève est sacré(e) roi ou reine pour la journée.


  1. LYIT will host two Information Evenings in January 2020: Letterkenny and Killybegs Campuses:  5 – 8 pm on Wednesday, 15 January and the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town: 5 – 8 pm on Tuesday, 21 January.
  2. 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
  3. Leaving Cert students should be working on their DARE & HEAR applications. All online requirements must be completed by 01 March 2020 @ 5.15 p.m. and all paperwork must reach CAO by 15 March 2020 @ 5.15 p.m.
  4. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance Guidance button.

Student Council The council met on Friday the 10th of January for their first meeting of this decade! They finalised the recycling survey which will go out online to all tutor groups.  They are working with the environment committee and will consult caretaking staff this week with a view to bringing in recycling bins, some of which will be painted large boxes that have been used to deliver goods to the school. 

They also discussed issues relating to wearing our school uniform with respect and pride.

Best wishes to our five Donegal Youth Council members whose first meeting takes place next Saturday with  guest speaker, Majella O Donnell addressing the group in relation to positive mental health.



Students enjoying lunchtime Zumba in the library with Ms Kelly.

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.


Leaving Cert Mentoring Programme: 

Leaving Cert Students from the Abbey Vocational School will be completing their Mock Examinations in a few weeks. Each Leaving Cert Student has an individual Mentor who had been working with them around the challenges of the Leaving Cert exam and how they individually need to be supported. Thanks to all of the staff in the school who give of their time to become a mentor and to offer such invaluable support to our students at this very challenging time. Mentors will link in with students to see what each student now needs to address in order to be in the best possible place for the exams. Year Head Ms Dillon will be offering ongoing support to all students in her year group also.

Transition Year

This week the AVS Transition Year Students engaged in the fascinating Law Education for Schools Workshop with Barrister James T Fahy.

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Barrister James T Fahy enlightening AVS Students on the Irish Justice System.

The Public Access to Law Programme(PAL) strives to make the workings of the legal system more accessible to the public. Since 1997 PAL’s large panel of practising barristers have presented the PAL visiting law module (with follow up exam) to Transition Year classes throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. This module also prepares teams interested in partaking in the PAL annual mock trials competition. Over 150,000 pupils have partaken in this law programme since its inception. For the past 19 consecutive years (with the invaluable assistance of the Courts Service and members of the Judiciary), PAL organises the transition year national mock trials competition. This is the most popular team competition in transition year. Each year PAL nominates 4 Irish schools to partake in the annual mock trials world championships held in New York.

PAL has also compiled and presented a law programme for Irish male and female prisoners. At a graduation ceremony held in Mountjoy Prison, the late Mr. Justice Carney presented parchments to the prisoners who passed the PAL written law exam. AVS Transition Year Students relished the opportunity to question Mr Fahy about the Civil and Criminal Justice System in Ireland.

BOI Build a Bank

AIB have introduced their Build-A-Bank programme to the Abbey Vocational School. This programme challenges a group of 6 students to create, market & run a bank within their school in conjunction with AIB. The competing team of Aoibheann Gallagher, Emily McNulty, Savannah Timony, Catherine Whiteside, Eilish McGroary & Darcy Neil will be travelling to the National Final in the RDS in March where they will experience an amazing day out, meet other school bank teams, receive proper and professional feedback on their hard work and ultimately be in with the chance of being crowned Build A Bank Champions and win €5,000 for their school. 

The bank is required to have a creative & unique theme. The theme chosen by our team is Chitty Chitty Bankers & will revolve around saving up for your first car, driving lessons & paying for insurance. The bank will be open twice per week where students can open accounts, lodge money (the money will be stored in AIB for safety reasons) & withdraw from their account. Our hopes for this service will be to inspire young people to take more control over their finances & begin to save for their future!

Transition Year Bakesale

Enterprising Transition Year Students Olivia Garczarek, Holly Quigley and Laura Kelly organised a Bake Sale in aid of the Australian Red Cross.

TY upcoming events:

Over the next few months our TY students will take part in many activities, a sample of some of these activities and listed below: 

  • Public Access To Law course
  • Killybegs Tourism College taster day
  • Tourism Training Programme 
  • First Response Course 
  • Healthy Life Programme 
  • Balmoral Shows
  • Lough Key Maths Trip 
  • Make up workshop 
  • Personal Presentation Workshop 
  • Ambulance crew visit and defib overview
  • Internet Safety video production workshops 
  • Basketball table officiating course and Basketball coaching course 
  • Architect in school programme
  • Homeless workshop
  • Young Social Innovators competitions and attendance at event 
  • PE Expo 
  • ETB Awards 
  • Sports Leaders 
  • GAA Future Leaders 
  • Drama Production


U16 Basketball

Three of our basketball teams will be competing in the All Ireland School playoffs in their categories over the next week.


On Friday 10th of January our U16 Girls Team, managed by Ms O’Mahony and assisted by Stephen Carty hosted the All Ireland Schools playoffs in the gym. It was a great privilege for our school to host this competition. Well done to the team as they won both of their games against Carrick on Shannon and against Carrickmacross. They now progress to the All Ireland League quarter final . They are also preparing for the ALl Ireland Cup final. 

On Sunday the 12th of January          Mr Russell and our U16 Boys team travel to NUI, Galway for their playoffs. This again is a superb achievement as they represent our province and play at a very high level of competition. Good luck to all involved.

Finally, next weekend our U19 Girls will compete in their playoffs in Dundalk. This is a superb achievement for the girls teams. Well done to all involved. 

Well done and best of luck to all three teams!

All Ireland Cup Final

On Monday 20th of January our U16 Girls Team will play in the All Ireland Cup Final in the National Arena, Tallaght, Dublin. This team has had an outstanding season so far and have represented our school with great attitude. It is a fantastic achievement to get to compete at this high level.

In other Sport!

Good Luck to Mr Devlin and his 1st-year boy’s soccer team who will play against Rosses Community School, Dungloe on Monday.

Good luck to our senior Boy’s Gaelic Team and Management, Mr Carty and Mr Herron who will play against St. Mary’s, Belfast on Wednesday in Garvaghey, Co. Tyrone.

Donegal Sports Star Awards

image017Congratulations to Niamh Moohan and Shane Breslin who have been nominated for the Donegal Sports Star Awards in the Secondary School Categories. 

Both students have represented the school at the national and international level in athletics in the past year. The winners will be announced at the banquet on the 31st of January. They are both fantastic ambassadors for sport at the AVS and we are very proud of all their achievements. Good Luck on the night!




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.

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