Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 20th Jan

 Abbey Vocational School 13th January- 19th January 2020

2nd Year Parent Teacher Meeting 

Second-year Parent Teacher Meeting takes place on Wednesday January 29th. Please attend between 3.45pm and 6.15pm

JCT Staff In-service 

The School will be closed to students on Thursday January 23rd as staff will attend Junior Cycle in-service training. 

Information Night on  TY and LCA programmes and subject Options for students going into 5th year .

This takes place on Tuesday, 11 February 2020 at 7 p.m

  1. An overview of the LCA Programme will be given at 6.30 pm for those interested. 
  2. Talk for Parents of 3rd year students commences at 7 pm on the TY Programme. 
  3. Talk for Parents of TY students takes place at 7.40  pm on Subject Options for 5th year . Parents of 3rd year students can remain seated if they wish to listen to a talk on this area or if their child is progressing to 5th year.

Incoming First Years 2020 2021

A reminder to all parents that subject Choice forms should be returned to the school office by Jan 31st, with the students name included please. 

BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2020

An absolute huge congratulations to our TY students Ella Doherty & Ailbhe Loughney whose project on ‘Flax as an alternative to heavy duty plastic strapping’ was highly commended in the Intermediate Technology Category at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2020! 


We are extremely proud of you & our other five amazing students who took part in the Exhibition – a fantastic achievement to take part in such a prestigious competition & you are all winners in our eyes!!! 

 Huge congratulations to teacher Ms Furey also for all her hard work & dedication in guiding the students throughout the whole process.


The Abbey Vocational School Community are so proud of our Science Students who exhibited their inventive, cutting- edge displays @ the Royal Dublin Society, better known as the RDS!


Innovative and creative Abbey Vocational School Students attended the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in the RDS in Dublin 2020 last week.


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.

LCA Christmas Card Competition


AVS Leaving Cert Applied students John Connolly, Kyle Walsh and Drew Mitchell present Veronica Gillen and Pauline McGee from MS Donegal with the proceeds of their Christmas card competition and sale

One of the Christmas Scenes used by the LCA Christmas Card Initiative.


Drama Club

AVS Drama Club is buzzing this week as students are involved in auditions for a part in the school’s entry to the Donegal Schools’ Drama Festival taking place at the Balor Theatre in Ballybofey at the end of February. Our entry is a comedy called The Good Doctor by award-winning American Broadway writer Neil Simon. We had lots of students from all year groups attending initial auditions last week and this week the students are working hard to prepare scenes for their second-round audition. The full cast list will be announced soon. We will then be approaching students to help out with stage management, set, props and music. If you are interested in getting involved please speak to Mr Donegan.

Last year our entry Chatroom by Enda Walsh came second overall in Donegal with Robyn Harvey-Moulding (6th year) winning best actress. We will be keen to repeat our success this year with another fantastic show.


Art Department


Congratulations to Abbey Vocational School students Callum O’Donnell and Holly Towey who were prize-winners in this year’s Credit Union Art competition at local, Chapter and National Level!

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..


  1. LYIT will host two Information Evenings in January 2020:
  • Letterkenny and Killybegs Campuses:  5 – 8 pm on Wednesday, 15 January 
  • Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town:  5 – 8 pm on Tuesday, 21 January.
  1. Career talks for Leaving Certs taking place in the school this month:
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance button.  


Teaching & Learning: ‘Students Reflecting on their Learning’

Being able to reflect on one’s learning and learning how to become a better learner are key elements of the junior cycle key skills. When students learn to reflect on their learning through dialogue, writing or using a computer, they are developing many of these skills.

Through reflection ‘in’ and ‘on’ learning students can:

  • become more aware of the knowledge and skills that they have developed
  • identify strengths and areas for development
  • develop and action plan for future learning
  • gain a greater understanding of themselves and how they learn
  • take more responsibility for their learning

As “Students Reflecting on their Learning” is one of our school improvement targets, our staff are employing a range of strategies to help our students develop the skills to look at their own and others’ work critically and constructively. Such strategies include peer assessment, exit ticket and reflection sheets. These approaches help our students to develop a ‘nose’ for quality and to begin to understand the features of quality in a piece of work. They see areas where they can improve themselves by recognising them in the work of others.

Cycle Against Suicide

AVS 5th yr. student India Kennedy attended the Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders Congress in Dublin on Friday the 17th of January as a student leader. Our mental health community has been working hard all year to promote positive mental health around our school community, we would also like to thank a number of our staff who have helped to promote the message that “IT’S OK NOT TO FEEL OK: AND IT’S ABSOLUTELY OK TO ASK FOR HELP”. 

Leaving Cert Mentoring Programme: 

Leaving Cert Students from the Abbey Vocational School will be completing their Mock Examinations in a few weeks. The Mock timetable is available on the school website. 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

Mentoring for Access Programme By Savannah Timoney.


On Monday 14th January, all of the Transition Year peer mentors attended the Mentoring for Access programme held by Letterkenny Institute of Technology. This was an event designed to guide the students into a career path that suits them, while also building skills that will be necessary later in life as well as while they mentor their peers. The day began with a lecture from prominent figures in different careers who work in conjunction with LYIT. The speakers had five minutes to outline their path towards the career they now have, detailing all the different twists & turns their path took before they reached their current positions. This approach was taken to help the students understand that there are many different ways you can achieve your goals and you can always branch out or change career to find something you truly love.

The middle of the day consisted of a disability access workshop, in which all the different ways in which students can help people with disabilities were explained. This workshop armed the students with the knowledge and skills needed to make our school community a safer, more welcoming environment for all. This was especially beneficial to us as peer mentors, so we can apply what we have learned to help our mentees.

The programme ended with some “career speed-dating”. This was where students had three minutes with someone of a certain profession, to ask them questions about their job & how they worked towards it before the time was up and they were moved to the next person. This was a wonderful way to learn what career options are actually available to students.

The Mentoring for Access programme was an exemplary way for students to get a feel for different careers & learn what interests them in the crucial time before they make their Leaving Cert subject choices. It also gave us the knowledge & skills to better ourselves as well as our school community.

By Savannah Timoney.

DICE   (Design Innovation Creativity and Enterprise and Initiative)

On 14th, 15th and 16th of January Transition Year Students visited LYIT to take part in the DICE programme. DICE believes that designers and creative thinkers can bring real value and growth to business, helping them to communicate with clarity and impact, identify opportunities and innovate.

During the DICE programme, which will run from January to March with three days in LYIT in January and three in March, 17 of our TY students will work in groups to create a product, service or event to a target market to promote ‘Happiness’, under the guidance of lecturers from LYIT and teachers from the AVS. 

Design should be seen not as a cost but as an investment. Over the course of DICE, an eclectic mix of speakers working across animation, fashion, film and broadcast media, graphic and design, innovation and design thinking shared their creative process and demonstrated the value they bring to business and society at large.


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LYIT Open Day

On Wednesday the 15th of January Transition Year Students enjoyed the LYIT Open Day.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) fosters one of the most progressive learning environments in Ireland.

LYIT attracts a diverse student body of more than 4,000 students from Ireland and 31 countries across the globe. Students choose LYIT because of their unique ethos that harnesses academic excellence with career-focused practical experience. It’s an approach that positions students for future success in line with their aspirations.

LYIT also foster close relationships with the wider local community. Engagement and partnerships with indigenous and international businesses leaders strengthens student’s prospects in tandem with the prosperity of the region’s economy.

The modern integrated campuses in Letterkenny and Killybegs are not just gateways to a bright future, but to one of the most breath-taking corners of the world – with Donegal named National Geographic’s ‘Coolest Place on the Planet 2017. 

Abbey Vocational School Students had the opportunity to discover and explore Letterkenny Institute of Technology and all it has to offer in the School of Business and the School of Science. This was a great opportunity for our students to experience college life for a day as they had the chance to attend different lectures throughout the day. 

AIB 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 Timoney, 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!

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: 

  • Killybegs Tourism College taster day
  • Tourism Training Programme 
  • Sports leadership 
  • First Response Course 
  • Personal safety workshop 
  • Balmoral Shows
  • Lough Key Maths Trip  
  • Make up workshop 
  • Personal Presentation Workshop 
  • Ambulance crew visit and defib overview
  • Internet Safety video production workshops 
  • Young Social Innovators competitions and attendance at event 
  • PE Expo 
  • ETB Awards 
  • GAA Future Leaders 
  • Drama Production

Student Voice

Student Council met this week and worked on issues relating to environment, recycling and uniform.

Best wishes to our students in the Donegal Youth Council who will meet on Saturday 18th where they will be addressed by Majella O Donnell.


U16 Boys Basketball

On Sunday the 12th of January  Mr Russell and our U16 Boys team travelled to NUI, Galway for their playoffs. This again is a superb achievement as they represent our province and played at a very high level of competition. Congratulations!


U16 Girls Basketball

Good luck to our U-16 girls basketball team who will compete in the All-Ireland B Cup final next Monday the 20th of January. They travel to the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght where they will take on Colaiste Mhuire, Crosshaven.


The girls have been training consistently since September,  up to three times a week and over the school holidays. This shows huge commitment from the whole team, with all members attending, both experienced players and players that are new to the game. The hard work is paying off for these busy students. The team have played some very competitive games this season having fought hard for their wins. League games included victories over neighbours KIllybegs and Ballinamore, Co.Leitrim.

Just recently Abbey VS hosted the All-Ireland play-offs beating experienced teams from Castlebar and Carrickmacross. This hard working team are now through to the All-Ireland quarter-finals in Tallaght NBA January 27.

But before all that, they are focusing on the All-Ireland Schools cup final on Monday next, January 20. The team beat Carrick-on-Shannon 42-19 in November. The next game was against a defensive side from OLSPK, Belfast in which they won 44-32. The All-Ireland semi was played in Coleraine against St. Pats, Dungannon, which the girls won in the final minutes 49-42. The team consists of 12 dedicated and committed players who have remained focused this entire season. Emma Meehan fills the skilful role as point guard and is also the team captain. Emma is a great leader and fights hard when games get really tough. Abbey VS are fortunate to have four tall guards on the team in Sophia Maziuri, Ella McKinney, Katie Gillespie and Shauna Doherty. These girls have made the difference in so many games . They have great ability to drive to the basket, rebound and block shots, making some crucial lay ups when the team has needed the scores.

Amy Carr, Sarah Donovan and Roisin Gillespie are the solid guards for the team. Amy and Roisin have assisted in many fast breaks and also play some great defence, communicating well with others on the team. Sarah has been a key player this season, saving the day more than once! Sarah scored 8 points in the final quarter of the last two games to bring the team through to the final stages! Orlaith Conaghan, Amy Gardner, Anna Mitchell, Ellie Timoney and Emily Gallagher were new to the game of basketball in first year but their commitment to training has really improved their basketball skills.

The team is coached by Ms Emer O’Mahony, who is an expert both on and off the courts. She had played at a very high standard of basketball herself and represented the province on many occasions. Emer is assisted by Stephen Carty and Siobhan Mogan. Speaking ahead of the final, Ms O’Mahony said: “This is a superb team of girls. They are both hardworking on the court and also in their studies.

“They are great role models to all girls in AVS. They have been so focused all year on getting to the finals stages, after being knocked out in last year’s play-offs. So far the hard work has paid off and the cup title is really up for grabs. I’m really excited for them that they get to experience an All-Ireland final in the National Basketball Arena. It’s such a memorable day win or lose and these girls will have that connection long after they leave AVS,” she said.

MacLarnon Cup

The AVS Senior Boys Gaelic Team had a comprehensive victory over St. Mary’s Belfast in the first round of the MacLarnon Cup knockout stage. The game was played at the Tyrone Centre of excellence at Garvaghy on Wednesday 15th January. The Abbey got off to a great start with goals from Cian Rooney, Shay Travers and Alex McCalmont putting the game beyond the reach of St. Mary’s by half time. 

The second half followed a similar pattern with another dominant 30 minute performance from the AVS boys to leave the final score 10-12 to 2-5. This victory sets up a tie against St. Pauls, Bessbrook in the next round.


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 football activity.



Students enjoying lunchtime Zumba in the library with Ms Kelly.

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