Abbey V.S. Newsletter – Mon 9th Mar

Abbey Vocational School  – 2nd to 8th March 2020

Design, Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise:

AVS take First Place with a Sign Language APP.


Sentoia – Amy Carr, Ella Doherty, Olivia Garczarek, Holly Quigley, Jamie Callaghan-Cassidy and Patryk Babik also pictured is Tena and Crona from LYIT.


Sentoia presentation on the day.

On Thursday 5th March Transition Year Students travelled to LYIT Letterkenny to attend the DICE final.  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! Well done to our four groups who took part in this wonderful programme. Since January the students have been working here in the school and also in LYIT to develop a product or service that would bring happiness to a target market. The final products produced by our teams were:

  • Sentoia- An app that teaches primary and secondary school students sign language.
  • hAppiness- An app that helps people with a disability find a sport, club, activity near them that they can enjoy
  • A sports socks that can be used to store your gum shield or inhaler.
  • A service that delivers cinema popcorn and treats to your home.

A massive well done to all and especially Sentoia who won the competition and hAppiness who came 3rd after they pitched their project to a panel of judges.

A big thank you to Ms Gordon for accompanying the AVS Transition Year Students to DICE!


Happiness – Laura Geary, Bronagh Boyle, Senan Quinn, Clara Bustard, Conor Campbell  also pictured is Tena and Crona from LYIT.


hAppiness presentation on the day.

Young Environmentalist Awards Regional Finalists:

Congratulations to TY students Ella Doherty and Ailbhe Loughney on getting through to the regional ECO dens finals of the Junior waste of the young environmentalist competition in DCU on Friday 3rd of April.


The girls have taken part in several local beach clean ups and because they found large quantities of plastic strapping on each of these clean-ups they felt that this problem needed to be addressed. The girls will present their project to a team of judges and they will explain the impact of their action which is to showcase biodegradable flax and linen as an alternative to non-biodegradable plastic strapping. The girls hope to convince local manufacturing businesses that linen and flax could be as effective as the plastic strapping that they currently use because of its high tensile strength.

English Department

World Book Day

image012The Abbey Vocational School were delighted to celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 5th March 2020. The English Department held competitions for the best book cover, engaged in D.E.A.R., Drop , Everything and Read, and many more initiatives throughout the day.

Over the last 22 years, World Book Day has become firmly established as Ireland’s biggest annual event promoting the enjoyment of books and reading. The main aim is to encourage children to explore the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with an opportunity to have a book of their own.

World Book Day is a registered charity on a mission to give every child and young person a book of their own. It’s also a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.


Home Economics Homemade Pizza

image016AVS Home Economic Students engaging in the key skills of Junior Cycle: managing myself, staying well, communicating, being creative and working with others, by making delicious homemade pizza!

The Art Department

Congratulations to AVS Art students Callum O’Donnell and Holly Towey who received prizes in the All Island Credit Union Art competition where 30,000 students took part.

The Credit Union Art Competition Road began on a rainy Monday on the 11th of November 2019 where Callum O’Donnell and Holly Towey won the regional finals of the Credit Union Art Competition! Congratulations to our talented and inspiring students!

Agricultural Science trip to Ballyhaise

On Thursday 5th of March students from the Abbey Vocational School took a trip to Ballyhaise College, located 8km north of Cavan town. It is situated on an estate of 220 hectares of grass and woodlands.

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There are 120 cows plus replacements on 50 hectares. The college herd, which is spring calving, is part of the Teagasc Moorepark Dairy Research programme. The main focus of this programme is to improve grass growth and utilisation on heavy soils. Facilities include a modern 12 unit herringbone milking parlour with automatic drafting, slatted houses, an outdoor pad and calving and isolation boxes. A computerised management programme is used to facilitate record keeping.

In 1996, a number of leading agri-food businesses identified the need for an independent body to provide the general public with information and education on the importance of agriculture and food to the Irish economy.   As a result, Agri Aware was founded in 1996 by Bord Bia, FBD, the Irish Dairy Board, the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Irish Farmers’ Journal.

Abbey Vocational School Students were immersed in the world of agriculture on a trip that was highly beneficial to completing their Agricultural Science Portfolios.

The students found it very interesting and interactive. They had a guided farm tour followed by talks on the courses available to them. Some of our students are very interested in pursuing the level 8 honours degree course in Agriculture which is linked to the College. The college also provides Green Cert courses and level 5 courses in Agriculture.

Agricultural Science Bake Sale

image026Congratulations to our Fifth Year Ag Science Students who held a bake sale to raise funds for agricultural science resources. A big thank you to their Teacher Ms Doherty!

The French Department

Le coronavirus se propage en France et pourrait malheureusement avoir contaminé le gouvernement par l’intermédiaire qui a rencontré le Ministre de la Santé qui avait ensuite réunion avec l’ensemble du gouvernement, dont le président.


Hand Hygiene

All students are reminded at every class about the importance of hand hygiene. Each class is provided with a number of hand hygiene posters and teachers read the poster out to their students during the first period of the day aend first period before lunch every day. Students are also reminded to use the hand sanitisers in all classrooms, toilets and at all exit doors.



  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. See for further details.
  3. Donegal Family Resource Centre are 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.
  4. Leaving Certs considering further/3rd level education away from home should now be researching accommodation options. Advice and guidance is always available from their Guidance Counsellor.
  5. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance Guidance button.

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.

Congratulations to the following students who have been invited to participate in the Regional Finals of the IMTA Junior Maths Competition on March 20th Seoda Wang , Samaire Fern , Tommy Quinn, Tori Carr and Sean Meehan.

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!

AVS Positive Behaviour

A positive points system was introduced in the Abbey Vocational School in February 2020 for first and second years. Each month the class with the most points getting a monthly reward. The initiative was introduced in order to reward and promote positive behaviour in our school. Teachers can give students points for things like, helping other students, good effort in homework and  project work, improvement in class work, extracurricular contribution  etc. Well done to the February winners 1C and 2A!

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

LYIT School of Tourism

Abbey Vocational School Transition Year Students have begun a four-day tourism-training programme delivered by the School of Tourism and in total 60 students will complete the programme.
The programme focuses on the following:
(a) Introduction to the Hospitality industry
(b) Tourism in Co. Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way
(c)Customer care
(d) Introduction to food hygiene and food handling and
(e) Restaurant service.

Programme Delivery
The programme is delivered by the School of Tourism’s experienced lecturers on the LYIT Killybegs Campus.  The programme will culminate in a live lunch service by the students to invited guests and a presentation of Certificates of Completion to all participants.  Guest speakers from the tourism/hospitality industry will be invited to address the groups.


Transition Year Students at the Killybegs School of Tourism.

Restorative practice

The Abbey Vocational School was delighted to welcome back Restorative Practice Advocate Tony Kearney.

Restorative practices is a social science that studies how to improve and repair relationships between people and communities. The purpose is to build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease crime and antisocial behaviour, repair harm and restore relationships.

Restorative practices promote inclusiveness, relationship-building and problem-solving, through such restorative methods as circles for teaching and conflict resolution to conferences that bring victims, offenders and their supporters together to address wrongdoing. Transition Year Students embraced the inspiring methodology and hope to use the mind-set on future occasions.

Transition Year Sports Leadership Award


Sports leadership awards and qualifications equip young people with employability skills for life improving motivation, self-esteem, communication, teamwork and confidence. Leadership volunteering is a vital part of all our courses allowing young people to practice and build their skills to help them in employment and education.


TY students taking part in the Sports Leadership Award with Mr Herron had a visit on Friday from their assessors, Maria McGill and Hugh Carlin of Donegal Sports Partnership.

TY Work Experience

Last week AVS TY Students engaged in a week of work experience. 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.

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 Foróige Leadership Programme


Students from the Abbey Vocational School are participating in the Foróige 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 up and coming events:

Over the coming weeks 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


PE EXPO: Two AVS Projects tie for second place:

  • “Overtraining” by Hannah Crawford, Evan Gallagher and Thomas White
  • “Effects of feedback” by Shane Meehan and Aisling Moohan

Think young scientist for physical activity and sport, and you are on the right track for this project-based schools competition. 5th year Leaving Cert PE students, as part of their ongoing assessments, all produced projects that were judged internally by the PE department. The highest scoring projects were selected to represent the school at the national event held in DCU on Wednesday March 4th.

Examples included:


Niamh Moohan and Eoin Sharkey presented their research around the use of ICT and photography in Athletics


Kirsty Harron and Anthony Coughlan who aimed at interrogating Keto or Vegan diets for elite athletes.

These projects and others shown below were accompanied by one TY project who grabbed the opportunity to be involved when presented to them (pictured below)


Students entered projects in the following categories:

  • ICT and Photography (In Athletics)
  • Wellbeing (Concussion)
  • Nutrition (Keto vs Vegan)
  • LCPE x2 (Psychology and Overtraining)
  • Components of Fitness (core muscular endurance)

As part of the days experience all participants were treated to panel discussions involving top level athletes such as former rugby Irish international Nora Stapleton, Dublin’s (GAA) Siobhán McGrath who was named TG4 players’ player of the year 2019, 5 time national champ of the triple jump Sarah Buggy, FIFA referee Michelle O’Neill and Ireland’s Olympic Taekwondo pioneer Jack Woolley.

On the day all projects were judged twice by professionals in the respective areas and additionally peer reviewed by DCU undergrad PE students. On this occasion AVS came close to winning with our LCPE projects tying for second in their category. Both excellent. They were just pipped by a psychological preparation project that finished second overall.


TY students Eilish McGroary, Rebecca Morrow, Ally McClay & Eloise Gallagher who presented their findings around concussion in sport


Laoise McGonigle and Alex McCalmont who investigated core muscular endurance.


Shane Meehan and Aisling Moohan with their LCPE project around the effects of positive and negative feedback on players.



Hannah Crawford, Evan Gallagher and Thomas White with their project looking at Overtraining in adolescent athletes.

A great opportunity for all involved to learn from and build on for future participation.


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.

1st & 2nd Yr Basketball

Well done to our boys’ teams who both won their quarter finals this week to qualify for the North East Regional semi-finals next week.


Our first year boys’ basketball team played against St Oliver’s, Drogheda on Thursday and had a great win.

Our second year team also played a fantastic game on Friday in Drogheda against St Joseph’s. The game was close but the team worked hard right throughout and secured the victory meaning they will also be playing in the regional semi-finals next week.

First years will play at home and Second years will travel to play St Malachy’s, Belfast in Belfast.

This is a great achievement in the “A” level of schools basketball.


Well done to Mr Mc Devitt and his management team. Good luck to all involved next week.

Girls Basketball

Good luck to our first and second year teams who have their first games of the league this week. They will host St Catherine’s VS, Killybegs on Monday 9th March.

Girls Active

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.

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

After School Extra-Curricular Training


  • Boys Basketball (1st and 2nd year)
  • Girls Gaelic (U14)


  • Athletics ( Boys and Girls)
  • Boys Soccer (1st years)


  • Girls Basketball (1st and 2nd year)


  • Girls Active



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