Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 2nd Feb 2020

Abbey Vocational School 24th Feb- 1st Mar 2020

Young Environmentalist Award

TYs and the flax project is through to the semi-finals of the Young Environmentalists Award!

Congratulations to Ella Doherty and AIlbhe Loughney on an excellent environmental action project! Well done to the team for all of their hard work, their project really caught the eyes of the judges and now they want to hear from our team in person at the  Eco-Dens.

The Young Environmentalist Awards semi-finals are known as ‘ECO-Dens’, and they give YEA participants a chance to showcase their projects. 

On the day, up to 6 young people from our group have the opportunity to give a 5-minute presentation of their project to a panel of ECO-Experts. This will then be followed by a few friendly questions.

All team members of successful projects will be invited to attend the Final Showcase & Awards Ceremony on 21st May 2020 in the Convention Centre Dublin. 

The French Club

En France aussi, on a fêté Mardi Gras la semaine dernière. Dans la plupart des écoles, on célèbre aussi le carnaval, une célébration où les gens se déguisent et font la fête une dernière fois avant le Carême. A Caen, les étudiants célèbrent le carnaval bien plus tard lors du plus grand carnaval étudiant d’Europe !

Science Club

Science club resumed this week after school on Tuesday to help students prepare for the regional SciFest final at LYIT on Thursday 14 May.  In all, 6 groups hope to bring projects to the competition and they are working hard on developing their experimental method before embarking on their data collection experimental work in the coming weeks. TY students, Ella Doherty and Ailbhe Loughney have also extended their highly commended BTYS project, Flax as an alternative to heavy duty plastic strapping, and with the cooperation of local businesses, have entered the waste category of the Young Environmentalist Awards. The girls worked hard on their video presentation and project bid before midterm and are hoping that their project will be successful in this the first round of judging before progressing to the next round, the regional Eco Dens finals, in March. Ths project has also been entered into the STEM category of the Donegal ETB awards so we wish the girls well in both endeavours.

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. Many of our students are involved in maths competitions and we congratulate all of our students who represent us so well. 

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!


  1. Leaving Cert students should be working on their DARE & HEAR applications. All online requirements had to be completed by 01 March 2020 and all paperwork must reach CAO by 15 March 2020 @ 5.15 p.m.
  2. The SUSI Grant application system is due to open in early April 2020.  Further info. will be available to students closer to this time. for details.
  3. Donegal Family Resource Centre is running a “Managing Exam Pressure” course on

Thursday 16th, 23rd and 30th of April 2020  for Junior & Leaving Cert students. Booking is essential, call phone 074 97 25337 to book a place.

  1. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance Guidance button.


The Art Department

Amazing entries for this year’s Texaco Art competition by AVS students Laura Kelly and Emma Thomas!

AVS Drama Success at the Balor in Donegal Drama Schools Festival

Congratulations to the cast and crew of the Abbey Vocational School Drama production of ‘The Good Doctor’ by Neil Simon, featuring pupils from 2nd, 3rd, 6th year and TY, which took second place at the Schools Drama festival in the Balor Theatre in Ballybofey last Thursday night. We were up against stiff competition from other schools in the county but the pupils gave excellent performances on the night and all concerned were so calm, focused and professional. We were narrowly beaten by Errigal College, Letterkenny with Coláiste Cholmcille in Ballyshannon finishing in 3rd place.

As well as coming second overall, Susanna Martin 2A and Robyn Harvey-Moulding 6B won best actress prizes for their performances. The full cast was:

Robyn Harvey-Moulding, Kian O’Donnell, Aoibheann Gallagher, Ryan Glenn, Lily Doherty

Scott Li, Jack Myers, Ava Campbell, Savannah Timony, Xiuhong “Jason” Yang, Jamie Cassidy-Callaghan, Oran Sweeney, Susanna Martin, Pianist: Nora Carr.  The play also featured original music composed by Rachel Reid, Jennifer Martin, Natasha Prendiville and Eadaoin Rush, performed by Nora Carr.

The Play was directed by Sean Donegan and we thank him for all of his outstanding work. A huge thank you also to Rosemary Myers, Paddy McMenamin and Ms Carr for the invaluable assistance and support.


Our thirteen absolutely superb and committed actors who have been worked tirelessly during lunchtimes and after school to create this fine piece of theatre.


The Art Department

Abbey Vocational School Students have the opportunity to take part in the Jigsaw Donegal Art Competition in the coming weeks. Jigsaw offers a one-to-one support service for young people aged between 15 and 25. Jigsaw will help and support students to reach goals, through talking things out, problem solving, learning new skills and other services that might be able to help (e.g. education & training; youth services etc).

Jigsaw helps young people through the current hurdles, learning skills along the way that will help them overcome the next challenge that comes their way. Jigsaw is a free and confidential service that is built on really listening to you and your experience, and working with you to make things better.

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!

Transition Year

Transition Year Work Experience

This week Transition Year Students from the Abbey Vocational School have been participating in a week of work experience.


Emma Mohan enjoys the Transition Year Work Experience with  ITUS Secure Technologies as TY Work Experience gives students an opportunity to develop different kinds of skills such as communication skills, social skills and group work skills. The key skills in the Framework for Junior Cycle include communicating and working with others. AVS Transition Year Students have gained access to work experience locally in Donegal Town and as far-flung as Canada!


Transition Year Students are preparing projects for Dice. Dice is a conference which aims to spark a discussion on the value of creativity and design to both business and society. 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 demonstrate the value they bring to business and society at large! 

Orienteering for incoming first years!

Before the midterm break Transition Year Students welcomed and tasked incoming first-years with orienteering!


Young Social Innovators

Abbey Vocational School Transition Year Students are taking part in the Young Social Innovators Campaign where students are challenged to look at the world around them and to identify and explore issues affecting everyone, in our community and wider society. More than just coming up with a solution, students are asked to put that idea into action and to create change.   Students will see other perspectives, expertise and creativity to design solutions based on real human experience and need.  Students will gain real experience working in a team and develop skills in leadership, communication and project planning and management.

Instructed by Ms Kelly, TYD launched their enterprising power campaign which aims to highlight the negative impact that social media and reality television can have on the youth of today. The YSI project named “keeping up with reality” went completely viral and has been shared by hundreds of people, including a huge number of prominent social influencers. The YSI project is centred around the idea of the pressure and pretence that is associated with social media and reality television.  The students love social media and admit that while young people couldn’t imagine life without it they do feel that there is a lot of falseness associated with some reality shows and posts on social media and that they struggle to understand what is real and what is fake. To promote their campaign and spread the important message they called upon influencers to share an unfiltered image of themselves to their stories or Instagram grid tagging them with #keepingupwithreality2020 and #YSIproject

Junk Kouture

Transition Year Students from the Abbey Vocational School embraced the world of fashion and styled and modelled their amazing creations using recycled materials in the Junk Kouture Northern Regional Final in the Millennium Forum Theatre in Derry on Thursday 27th February with Ms Greene and Ms Mc Crea.


First to the stage was “TLC Tweed” @junkkouture design by Teelin Casey, Leah O’Donnell and Caoimhe Kerrigan. Their design was made from scraps of Donegal tweed, inspired by their local heritage and trade. The colours used in the girls’ outfit were characteristic of those found along the scenic routes of the Wild Atlantic Way and the renowned boglands of Ireland.


Next up to the catwalk was “Lost in Frills” @junkkouture design by TY student Emma Thomas, made entirely out of baling twine. Emma’s design was inspired by her family farm and the crocheting skills passed onto her from her Granny.

Last but not least, “Angel of Music” @junkkouture design by TY students Emma Farren, Gabrielle Byrne and Nora Carr, made out of broken CDs and old music sheets took to the stage. The girls’ design was inspired by their love of music.

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A massive well done to all three groups who represented the Abbey Vocational School at a regional level on Thursday. Unfortunately the standard of designs was extremely high and only 15 out of the 80 finalists on the night made it through to the National Final. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic achievement to make it this far – congratulations girls!


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 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 Foroige Leadership Programme           

image017Students 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 the 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. 

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 
  • Balmoral Shows
  • Lough Key Maths Trip 
  • Make up workshop 
  • Personal Presentation Workshop 
  • Internet Safety video production workshops 
  • Young Social Innovators competitions and attendance at event 
  • PE Expo 
  • ETB Awards 
  • GAA Future Leaders
  • Musical Trip to Sligo

SPORT 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

PE Expo Entry


Congrats to our AVS PE Xpo entries which examine the science behind the sport!

Ulster E District Cross Country 

Well done to Mia Mc Calmont on winning the senior race at the Ulster E District Cross Country in Irvinestown this week!


Ulster Schools Cross Country Finals 2020!


Congratulations to Kitty Mc Nulty, Mia Mc Calmont and Savannah Timony who have qualified for the Ulster Schools Cross Country final in Belfast next week! Three athletes competed in the Ulster Schools Cross Country final in Mallusk, Belfast on Wednesday 26th February. Savannah Timony coming back from a recent illness finished 30th in the Inter girls race. She suffered a fall early in the race and had a gutsy performance to recover and complete a tough course. Mia Mc Calmont returned from injury and showed great form to finish 5th in a highly competitive Senior girls race. Kitty Mc Nulty had a strong run to finish 44th in this race also.  Well done to all involved.

Athletics training continues every Tuesday after school in preparation for the track and field season ahead.


Girls Active in the Library every Thursday at 3.30pm – 4.30 pm. Zumba is the activity for the next five weeks. All girls welcome come along for an hour of fun and meet new friends. Girls Active is a non competitive activity.

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Thank you to our instructor Bridget Robins for such an enjoyable and lively class. All newcomers are welcome to join anytime.

1st and 2nd Year Boys Basketball


The 1st and 2nd year boy’s basketball team had a busy week this week. They played against St Macartan’s of Monaghan on Tuesday and the two teams were victorious. They played against St Patrick’s College Cavan on Thursday. The 2nd year team were defeated however they played well and it was a close game from beginning to end. The first year team had a comfortable win meaning that they have won all of their league matches so far. This is the end of the first stage of the league and both teams, as always, trained hard, played fantastically and done themselves and the school proud. The league quarter and semifinals will get underway in the coming weeks.

U14 Girls GAA

On Thursday the 27th our U14 ladies played in their group blitz in Gweedore. On the day they played St Catherine’s Killybegs, Holy Cross Strabane, St Columba’s Stranorlar and the Rosses Community College Dungloe.

The girls started off against Killybegs where they lost narrowly by 2 points. Next up was Holy Cross and the girls came out strong in the game and won the match by 6 points. The girls had a 20mins break before going back out to the pitch to play St Columbas, they continued with their strong  performance and had another impressive win. Last up for the girls was Rosses Community College, the girls from the Rosses started strong and got a 3 goals lead at half time. AVS girls came out strong in the second half but just fell short at the end losing by 1 goal.

The blitz ended in a 3 way tie at the end for 2nd place, AVS lost out on score difference to St Columbas. So the AVS girls now progress to the next round of the shield competition in the coming weeks.


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