AVS Newsletter -Mon 3rd

Abbey Vocational School 27th January- 3rd of February 2020

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

Tuesday, 11th  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.

Subject Options Awareness Week:

For the next two weeks our TYs and some of our 5th year will be thinking about the various subject options available to them and will use the opportunity to speak to teachers on their subject area. The students will be given talks and presentations on subject options and programmes.

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 plea

Jack Keeney is awarded  UCD AD ASTRA Elite Sports Scholarship 

Well done to past pupil Jack Keaney who received a UCD AD ASTRA Elite sports scholarship this week. Jack is studying Maths and Science in UCD. Recently he was also named as captain of the UCD senior soccer team. Well done Jack we are all very proud of you!

The pursuit of excellence is part of the mission of University College Dublin. In sport, support for talented sportsmen and women is delivered at two levels, the UCD Sports Scholarship programme and the Ad Astra Elite Sports Scholarship Programme.


Pictured are Jack Keaney and Ms Patrice Rooney.

According to Prof. Colin Boreham (Director) “Our mission is simply to maximise the potential of our sport athletes in their sporting and academic endeavours while studying at UCD”.

Donegal Sports Star Awards : 

The Donegal Sports Star Awards was founded in 1976. It is based on the simple philosophy that sports people of all disciplines should be honored in a suitable forum that transcended all religious and political divides. The awards banquet is a night when the sports communities meet and sportsmen and women are honored by the people of Donegal. It is inclusive of all and also gives recognition to many sports that generally don’t receive much public attention.

Over the years countless sports people have received these awards, many have gone on to represent Ireland with distinction and others have established themselves professionally in their sport. The honors recognises the success of competing sportsmen and sportswomen.

Winner of Best Secondary School Girl: Niamh Moohan


A huge congratulations  to  Niamh Moohan who won Best Secondary  School Sports Girls at the Donegal Sports Star Awards on Friday night in the Mount Errigal Hotel. Niamh has had a tremendous season at school level over a broad range of events. In November she finished 4th in the All Ireland Schools u15 Pentathlon in Athlone to gain the Irish vest. She represented Ireland at the International Schools Pentathlon in Glasgow in January where she competed against the top athletes from England, Scotland and Wales. She finished the day with an impressive overall score of 2,953 points. Her performance helped the Irish team win bronze on the day.

She was a valuable member of the Donegal Sportshall u15 team who finished 3rd overall in the British Sportshall Athletics Finals in March.

In May she won gold in the Ulster Schools 80m Hurdles and went on to win gold at the All Ireland Schools Track & Field Championships in Tullamore in June. This achievement was exceptional, considering she was competing a year out of her age group in the under 17 category.

She was selected to compete for Ulster in the Tailteann Games in July where she won gold in the u17 80m Hurdles. To conclude a very successful season, she gained the Irish vest again for the International Schools in Swansea in the 75m Hurdles. She won bronze on the day.


Niamh Mohan and Shane Breslin with their coach and teacher Ms Michelle Gallagher

Nomination for Secondary School Boy: Shane Breslin


Shane has been a valuable member to many of our sports teams in the school. He has a great attitude on and off the track and is a great role model to all. Shane is a versatile athlete and has won medals in several throwing, running and hurdle events over the past three years. He finished first in the Ulster District Shot Putt and 100m Hurdles.

In May he won bronze in the Ulster Schools 100m Hurdles in Antrim.

He was selected to compete for Ulster in the Tailteann Games in July where he won silver in the u17 Shot putt with a personal best throw of 13.10m. He gained his first Irish vest when he was selected to represent Ireland at the International Schools in Swansea in the u17 shot putt. He finished 8th on the day.

In September he represented the school in the Ulster Schools Pentathlon and finished 4th in the u17 to qualify for the All Ireland Schools finals in Athlone this November.

Well done also to Michael O’ Boyle and Cian Mhic Shuibne who are entered in the Rowing category for the awards.


Niamh Moohan pictured after receiving the Donegal Secondary School Sport Star award with other nominees Shane Breslin and Cian Mac Suibhne.

Transition Year

Junk Kouture

Transition Year Students from the Abbey Vocational School spent the last number of weeks and months perfecting their clothing for the Junk Kouture Competition!

Junk Kouture is a fashion competition using recycled materials, which challenges young people to design, create and model high end couture from everyday junk! It takes in elements of fashion, design, engineering and environmental sustainability and transforms them into a creative contest like no other. Hitting its tenth year running, Junk Kouture has already captivated over 40,000 students, 8,000 Teachers and 100,000 audience members.

Junk Kouture 2020 was open to all pupils who are enrolled in post – primary education in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland in the 2019/2020 school year. In short, the whole idea of Junk Kouture is to create striking works of recycled couture that wouldn’t look out of place on the world’s most famous runways or in some of the best Hollywood movies!

AVS Students were busy designing and crafting from modern to male, to high fashion and feminine. However, THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE was that it’s made from 100% recycled materials.

This week, the regional finalists across the country were announced. We are absolutely over the moon that 3 of our TY Junk Kouture entries have been selected to compete at the Northern Regional Final in the Millennium Forum, Derry on the 27th of February.image001


A massive well done to the groups who created and submitted entries. We are so excited for the next stage of the competition. Below are some photos of the following groups that got through:

We look forward to seeing the girls working their magic on the runway on the 27th of February!!

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“Angel of Music” by Nora Carr, Gabriella Byrne & Emma Farren

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“TLC Tweed” by Teelin Casey, Leah O’Donnell & Caoimhe Kerrigan

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“Lost in Frills” by Emma Thomas

The French Department

La semaine dernière, le coronavirus est arrivé en France à cause de touristes chinois ayant pris l’avion jusqu’à Paris. On recense pour l’instant quelques cas de personnes infectées mais tout le monde reste très prudent pour éviter de répandre le virus.

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 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


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.

Student Council 

Student Council Meeting held on Friday 30th Jan.  Committee decided they would like to have a representative on the Irish Secondary School Union and voted. A subcommittee will follow up on the ISU Student ID card, and the School Council liaised with Donegal Youth Council members in advance of their meeting next week with the Donegal Municipal District Council. They will discuss previous objectives and future goals at this meeting. Traffic congestion and the safety of students and drivers was a key concern of our council. The DYC  students suggested a pedestrian crossing at the school which they hope to bring up at their meeting.

The council will hold a competition for the design of a ‘Waste to Beauty Bin’ and artwork for the school. They acknowledged the great progress of our ‘Junk Kouture’ entrants and could link the ‘Junk Kouture’ ethos here.


Mock technology and music exams at Leaving Cert have begun.  All exam classes will have mock practical exams over the next two weeks.

Healthy Schools

First Year Abbey Vocational School Students working on healthy recipes for the month of January. Looking forward to a healthy & happy 2020.

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First-Year Students promoting Healthy Eating!

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.


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.

Caring for Animals

On Wednesday the 22nd of January some of our students visited Seaview Veterinary in Donegal Town with their Teacher Ms Doherty as part of their Caring for Animals course.  They had a tour of the facility, met a few furry patients and asked lots of questions about caring for their pets.


Aine McBrearty, Ava Harold & David Crawford.

Career Guidance: 


  1. Thank you to Donegal ETB’s FET department, the Defence Forces and IT Sligo (Work-Based Degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering) who spoke to our Senior Cycle students over the past couple of weeks regarding further learning and career opportunities.
  2. Sligo College of Further Education will present to Leaving Cert students on Wednesday, 05 Feb. @ 10.20 in room 45
  3. An information evening for parents/guardians of Incoming 5th Years regarding Senior Cycle subject choices will take place in the school on Tuesday, 11 Feb. 7-9 p.m. Maria Faherty, Guidance Counsellor will present.
  4. 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.
  5. The SUSI Grant application system is due to open in early-mid April 2020.  Further info. will be available to students closer to this time. See SUSI.ie

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.

Sligo Institute of Technology

On Wednesday the 29th of January the Abbey Vocational School welcomed Brian Mulligan from Sligo Institute of Technology. The presentation to Leaving Cert Students introduced the new work-based Degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering.


Since it first opened in September 1970, IT Sligo has been one of Ireland’s leading third level institutions and is home to 6,000 students across the Institute’s full-time, part-time and apprenticeship programmes. Of those, 2,000 are studying online.

IT Sligo is also a fiercely ambitious third level institution. Working towards re-designation as a Technological University, a €60 million investment in campus facilities over the last decade has created a stunning 21st century learning environment.

There is no standing still. Across the Institute’s three Schools of Learning in Business & Social Sciences; Engineering & Design; and Science, IT Sligo is constantly developing and enhancing its courses and facilities to provide an overall package which matches the needs of the student today – and tomorrow.

Safer Internet Day 2020

Students are busy this week preparing for the Safer Internet Day 2020 which will be held on Tuesday the 11th of February.


Safer Internet Day (SID) is an EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. It is promoted in Ireland by the PDST Technology in Education and Webwise.

Chemistry Workshop : Spectroscopy in a Suitcase 


Transition Year Students enjoying the Chemistry Workshop.

Transition Year Students immersed themselves in the world of Chemistry on Friday the 31st of January. Spectroscopy in a Suitcase Chemistry Workshop was held in collaboration with Sligo Institute of Technology.

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Spectroscopy is the branch of science concerned with the investigation and measurement of spectra produced when matter interacts with or emits electromagnetic radiation.

AIB Build a Bank

AIB has 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 traveling 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 Foroige Leadership Programme

image022Students from the Abbey Vocational School are participating in the Foroige Youth Leadership Programme and will receive a Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action.

The 2020 Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action will be awarded to young people who have completed all three modules of Foróige’s Leadership for Life programme by June 2020.

By registering AVS Students are committing to having all three modules of the Foróige Leadership for Life Programme completed by June 2020. It is recommended that all participants should have Module 1&2 complete prior to registering for NUIG certificate. It is important that participants have adequate time in between the modules to use and practice their leadership skills.

Those participating in the programme are asked to provide the name and email address of a mentor. Mentors can be the facilitator of previous modules, a volunteer, Foróige staff member, coach, teacher etc.

Donegal Castle Visit

On Friday the 31st of January a number of our TY students visited   Donegal Castle for a tour. While there the group received a very interesting talk on the history of the castle and Donegal town. After the talk all the students went in and walked around the castle. Thank you to Sean and all the staff at the castle.

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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:

  • Hotel taster day
  • Sports leadership
  • First Response Course
  • Personal safety workshop
  • Balmoral Shows
  • Lough Key Maths Trip
  • Makeup workshop
  • Personal Presentation Workshop
  • Internet Safety video production workshops
  • Young Social Innovators competitions and attendance at event
  • PE Expo
  • ETB Awards
  • GAA Future Leaders


Leo McLoone retires from inter-county football

image025Dedicated Abbey Vocational School Teacher and long-time supporter of the G.A.A. Leo McLoone has decided to retire from inter-County football. A driving force in Naomh Conaill’s Senior Championship win and progression to the Ulster club final last year, Leo made his debut as a young, enthusiastic 18 year old. Veteran Leo McLoone has played under five different senior managers, winning a pocketful of Ulster, League and All-Ireland medals. He was accurately described by Declan Bonner as a “brilliant servant to Donegal football … and a very important part of the panel”.

Basketball – Boys Second Year Basketball

Second year boys basketball game who played against Our Lady’s Secondary School on Monday the 27th of January.


Boys First Year BasketballWell done to the 1st years boys basketball team who won today against Our Lady’s Secondary School. Score 47-27

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Slideshow photos of the 1st year boys basketball game on Monday.

First Year Boys Soccer

First Year Boys Soccer on their way home after a hard fought 3-2 victory over Loreto Milford. Goals coming from Lee McNamara and 2 from Turlough Carr, including a header!!


Sportshall Athletics

Congratulations to our first-year girls team who have qualified for the county final on Monday 10th February in Dungloe. The team consists of 12 athletes who will compete against the top schools from Donegal in a number of running, jumping and throwing events. Training will be on every Monday at lunchtime and after school on Tuesdays.

 Cross Country

District Cross-Country Competition

A number of our athletes will compete  in the Ulster District Cross-Country Competition on Tuesday 4th February at Necarne Estate, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh. Good luck to all involved.

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.

U16 Girls Basketball 

Good luck to our U16 girls team who will travel to Tallaght for the All Ireland Schools League quarter-final on Wednesday the 5th of February!

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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