Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 11th May

Spotlight Award for Social Media

Congratulations to AVS Transition Year Students TYD, who won the Spotlight Award for Social Media in the category of outstanding achievement in social and digital media for their project ‘Keeping Up With Reality’. A big thankyou must go to their Teacher Ms Lauren Kelly who guided, supported and helped the students on their path to victory!

Focusing on the effects of social media and reality television on young people, the ‘Keeping up with Reality’ team wanted their project to encourage young people to look past filtered and unrealistic expectations and be happy with themselves and their image. The Abbey Vocational School students created a social media campaign and collaborated with many influencers to share their message. The hashtag campaign #keepingupwithreality gained fantastic traction across social media platforms and was shared by influencers and members of the public alike. Their campaign to share unfiltered selfies on Instagram received national coverage and the team were invited on to the Ray D’Arcy radio show and Louise Tighe’s show on Dublin’s fm104 to discuss their project.

The team also conducted a survey to gauge an understanding of how many students in their school watch reality TV and how they are influenced by it. Their aim is to get people talking about this issue that is prominent in the lives of teenagers around Ireland.


The students also held a Bake Sale and a Reality TV show Quiz in school in an effort to fundraise for Cycle Against Suicide.

In the future they plan to create a podcast in which they invite different influencers to discuss their social media experience, the use of filters, photo editing and body image as well as promoting positive mental health. They are also working with 3 local cinemas in Bundoran, Letterkenny and Lifford aiming to run an advertising campaign before films are shown which would create an awareness even further. From Instagram campaigns to national press, this team have had great success in raising awareness about social media through social media!

Assessment for Students;

The information on assessment for all students in available on our school website

Junior Cycle Assessment

Third Year students will receive a  report in early June on the broad range of learning that they have achieved in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit at the end of Junior Cycle. This assessment of their learning will be provided by their teachers. This will be broken down generally as follows:

  • 60% Mock Exam which may be amended based on a class average cross the Subject Department.
  • 30% for class tests/ assessments up to school closure.
  • 10% for online engagement/ assignments since school closure
  • All Subjects, Short Courses and Wellbeing subjects will be included in this report.
  • “Other areas of learning” will also be included in this report and Mr Hegarty will be in touch with you on the manner in which students around how to send these to us for entry.

Third-year students will also receive a State Certificate of Completion of the Junior Cycle from the Department of Education and Skills early in the 2020/2021 school year.

Ms Diver would like to thank the Abbey Vocational School Junior Cycle Students for their patience and continued support and cooperation in the wonderful community here in the AVS.

AVS Virtual Awards Ceremony

On Tuesday the 26th May the Abbey Vocational School will host the AVS Virtual Awards Ceremony, which is an evening to celebrate the academic achievement and involvement in extracurricular activities of Students in the AVS Community.

Teachers will nominate students from the Abbey Vocational School across a variety of categories in the school year.  Students nominated will be sent invitations welcoming the nominee and their Parents and Guardians to the Awards Ceremony. Good luck to all our outstanding students!

Transition Year Showcase 2020

On Monday the 25th of May the Transition Year Virtual Showcase 2020 will take place in the presence of parents and guardians in the virtual AVS community. The Transition Year Students will finish off an action-packed year on a high note with a magical night. A big thank you must go to Ms Rooney & Mr Hegarty for organising the event.   The Showcase will highlight the events, talks, activities, trips and outings the TY’s ventured on this year!

The Sports Department will feature heavily with presentations on the many sporting activities experienced which included zumba, self defence, surfing, B Fit, DT Fitness, rowing and table tennis. Transition Years also enjoyed the Sports Leaders Programme, Healthy Lifestyle Programme, 20×20 and GAA Future Leaders.  The Business department will also be well represented with topics such as the TY Business Academy, Enterprise Day, Mini Companies, Dragons Den and the Enterprise Award.

This year the Transition Years were very busy partaking in workshops as diverse as Public Speaking, Human Trafficking to Law. Health and Safety will feature on the night with speeches regarding R.S.E., Sea Safety, Healthy Schools, Webwise Internet Safety and the Active Schools Programme.

It will be a night filled with fascinating insights, wonderful experiences and fond memories!


  1. The CAO Change of Mind facility opened on Tuesday, 05 May @ 12 noon. Students can add/take away/edit the order of their choices as many times as they want, right up until 01 July 2020 @ 5.15 p.m.
  2.  The SUSI Grant application system for Leaving Cert students is now open.  Further info. can be found in the Career Guidance section on the website.  The student is welcome to contact their Guidance Counsellor who will be happy to answer any questions relating to SUSI. The Guidance Counsellors e-mail addresses are as follows:
    • Ms Faherty:
    • Ms Mc Morrow:
  1. Leaving Certs should be working on any scholarship application(s) they’re eligible to apply for.  As above, their Guidance Counsellor will be happy to help in any way that they can.
  2. Leaving Year students that have applied to HEAR and/or DARE will be notified by email of the outcome of their application by the end of June.
  3. 5th year 1:1 meetings are ongoing during the school closure.  Any 5th year who has not yet made an appointment is encouraged to do so.  Each Guidance Counselor has explained to their class how they go about booking an appointment.
  4. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to – click on the Guidance Guidance button on the far right of the screen.

President of Ireland Congratulates AVS Student

On April 12th 2020, Abbey Vocational School Transition Year Student Rachel Reid uploaded a song to youtube titled ‘We Are Strong’.   The song is written, composed and performed by Rachel and is a song of hope and support from all and for all the staff, students and families of the Abbey Vocational School.

Inspired by Rachel’s performance the President of Ireland, Michael D.Higgins confirmed  “your thoughtfulness in writing, together with your warm and encouraging words is very much appreciated by  President Higgins”. The President praised Rachel and the AVS students for their strength and resilience as we face the global health emergency, Covid 19.


The very talented Rachel Reid also played the role of Maria in our Abbey Vocational School Transition Year Production  ‘West Side Story. (pictured above). You can watch Rachel’s inspiring song on;

On Thursday the 30th of April, AVS Student Rachel Reid performed the inspiring ‘We Are Strong’ on highland radio highlighting the theme of hope as we face adversity. The interview can be found at 1:14:28 on

Leaving Certificate Virtual Graduation 2020

Leaving Certificate Students with their families & friends are invited to attend their Leaving Certificate Virtual Graduation Ceremony on May 27th at 7 pm. The Abbey Vocational School Community will be apart but together, sharing a virtual event, celebrating the Leaving Certificate Graduation 2020.

The theme of the evening is ‘hope’ as Students prepare to leave their real & virtual AVS home and move forward in their chosen career pathways. Parents and Guardians are invited to join the Leaving Cert Students to celebrate the evening, enjoying a trip down memory lane.Just a gentle reminder to students to keep sending those photos and messages in!

This special virtual evening would not be possible without the efforts of Ms Dillon and Ms Mulraine and Music Teachers Ms Carr, Ms McCarthy and Ms Doherty, led by Mr Donegan as Director.  This is a very special night as we see our Students move on to the next chapter in their lives.

AVS Student writes for the Irish Independent


This week AVS Leaving Certificate Student Emily Erskine contributed to the ‘Independent’ National Newspaper by composing a letter, discussing the unusual circumstances the Leaving Certificate Students of 2020 face.

Emily highlights the pressures Leaving Certificate Students face, the importance of wellbeing and the need for clarity in these uncharted times.

Donegal to Sene via Active Globe

During this time it is important to keep active and the Abbey Vocational School community is encouraged to join the Active Globe initiative.

The Active Globe community encourages us to turn our physical activity into a real world travel experience, taking us around the globe to complete fitness goals. We can enter our activity manually or track it automatically with Runkeeper, Fitbit or Moves.

Active Globe users can easily track their physical activity using the website’s intuitive interface. Once registered simply select a real world start and destination goal on a Google Map and your away. Users can log the distance they complete in various forms of Physical Activity, including walking, cycling, running or swimming. This information is then used to move their avatar along the google map towards their destination.

To date, many parents, family members and teachers and students have set their own goals to work toward a collective physical activity goal. To join the Donegal to Sene via Active Globe go to our twitter page @AbbeyVS


English Poetry Competition


Students are asked to write a poem based on the theme of ‘Hope’, the theme of the Leaving Certificate  Virtual Graduation Ceremony 2020.

In a new era, uncharted, we must strive to see the rays of hope and humility in human kindness. Mankind is evolving and beginning a new norm, how will that look?

Your finished pieces can be as long/short as you wish and can be emailed by Monday the 18th of May to or

Music Department

image008Music students from each year have been invited to share their musical performances from their homes which are uploaded during each week onto the school twitter.  Many are also involved in preparing for the virtual school events in May.

Congratulations to Rachel Reid on her inspiring composition ‘We are Strong’.

This time at home is a great opportunity to improve skills on an instrument and build up repertoire.

Congratulations also to Luke Kelly who composed a very entertaining blues number called ‘Sunshine but nothing to do’.  He will be appearing at the School Awards with this song at the request of Leaving Cert Prefects.

Student Voice

Best wishes to India Kennedy and Karina Drury who will attend the Irish Secondary Students Union Annual Assembly on May 9th.  India, our chairperson, is running for election as Education Officer and has worked hard to prepare and present her manifesto. It is wonderful that students from our school have a voice in national affairs, particularly at this time.  Best of luck to India.

India For Education

New Leadership For Changing Times


About Me

My name is India Kennedy and I’m 17. I’m a 5th year student in the Abbey Vocational School in Donegal Town. From a young age, I’ve always expressed an interest in politics and have grown up with a keen interest and involvement in the welfare of my community. I hope to study International Relations and Politics in UL after I finish school.

Why Vote For Me?

In response to the challenges around examinations in 2020, I feel it is time for a positive change. Extenuating circumstances have forced us to be introduced to a new strategy of teaching and learning and the time is now for a reassessment of the Junior and Leaving Cert Examinations. I would like the opportunity to provide a voice for the young people of Ireland to ensure we are given the best possible academic start to our future.


Last Year, I was picked to be a student leader for the Cycle Against Suicide. I really enjoyed the experience and felt that I made a positive impact in my school.   I was also nominated to be the 5th year representative for my school and was later elected to be chairperson which was a huge honour. I used my role on the student council to shed a light on the issues relating to young people in my area.I have always gone out of my way to help others and fight for what I believe in.



Students are asked to produce a painting, sculpture or photograph based on the theme ‘The new normal’.
‘The new normal’ is a phrase that has been coined to describe the manner in which people will have to change the way that they live their daily lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Will social distancing continue to be the norm, will people be able to shake hands again, how will they shop, how will they socialise, will they be able to travel, will they be able to go to restaurants, to the cinema or to a nite club, will they be able to take part in sports again and If so then how? What will a world learning to live with coronavirus look like?
You can use any materials; paint, coloured pencils, markers, pen, collage, inks etc.
A photograph (a good quality photograph or scan is required for judging) of the finished artwork can be emailed to by Monday 18th May 2020.


National Educational Psychological Support Service Resources for Parents & Student.

The Department of Education and Skills’ NEPS psychologists have developed advice and some resources for young people to manage and stay well when schools are closed. Advice to young people while schools are closed;

Follow the HSE advice on its website on protecting yourself, practicing social/physical distancing and on ways to avoid spreading the virus. Keep up-to-date with information posted on the Department of Education and Skills’ Twitter account. Remember that the Government is working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy and safe. Take breaks from the news and social media as this makes us less vulnerable to ‘fake news’ and limits our exposure to unhelpful or inaccurate information. Without the facts we may believe rumours and imagine situations far worse than reality. Stick to reliable, trustworthy sources of information such as the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills, the World Health Organization and trustworthy mainstream news sources,
such as RTÉ.

Remember, too, that not everyone will get the virus and the vast majority who get it will recover fully. At times like this we all need to support each other:
Be kind and look out for each other, remember no individual or group is ‘responsible’ for the virus. If people you know get the virus remember that it’s not their fault. They have been unlucky and need our support.

Active Schools Flag

The Abbey Vocational School was proud to be involved in the pilot programme for the Active Schools Flag last year in collaboration with University of Limerick & the HSE with only 3 schools in the country taking part in this exciting program: Colaiste Bride, Clondalkin, St. Olivers CC, Drogheda and ourselves Abbey Vocational School. The program involved our pupils and staff engaging in a unique research project in how to solve the global issue of getting our teenagers moving more often.

The Active School flag is a whole school process to move away from the mindset that the promotion of physical activity is the sole responsibility of the PE department. It is really important that the health, well being, and academic benefits of being physically active are reinforced at all levels and by many voices throughout the year.

The research team from the University of Limerick (UL) has been continuing to work with the Abbey Vocational School during this past year to co-design the new Active School Flag model for post primary schools. The Active School Flag is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community, aiming to get more schools, more active, more often.

The Abbey Vocational School began this process by self-evaluating; Physical Education, Physical Activity and Partnerships.  The school also pledged to organise an Active School Week programme and committing to having it as part of their annual school calendar. Agreeing to adhere to the Active Schools Flag success criteria, the Abbey Vocational School is forging a path of active, healthy living for the whole school community. You can join the Active Schools Campaign on the Abbey Vocational School website.

Active Home Week

image012National ‘Active SCHOOL Week’ takes place every April and is a really enjoyable part of the school year for many children.   This year, because of COVID-19, it is not possible for this to go ahead so we are asking you to invite the families of your school to participate in the ‘Active HOME Week‘ challenge instead.

To complete the challenge students have to find 4 different ways of being active each day making sure that this adds up to 60mins or more. We encourage you to try something new, have fun with a family activity and enjoy the week. As always you can evidence your activity in our School Physical Activity at home Padlet. A big thank you to Ivan O’Mahony for creating our AVS Physical Activity at Home.


Young Environmentalist Award Finals

image016Congratulations to Ella Donehrty and Ailbhe Loughney who are competing in the Junior Waste category of the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Award with their project on ‘Flax as an alternative to heavy duty plastic strapping’. The Young Environmentalist Award is an all-Ireland environmental awards programme that recognises and rewards young people who raise environmental awareness through the development and implementation of projects that improve the environment.The girls have now progressed to live voting for the People’s Choice Award and need as many votes as possible. They are asking that all members of our school community vote for them by clicking on the link below and entering 2020-350, their project registration number, in box number 2.


Home Economics ‘Recipes of the Week’

This week’s ‘Recipes of the Week’ theme is ‘Breakfasts’ – the most important meal of the day! Why not try these delicious morning muffins or poached eggs with smashed avocado and cherry tomatoes from Laura Healy’s @HOME Junior Cycle Home Economics Recipe Book! You won’t be disappointed!


Daily P.E. Activities

Daily P.E. Activities are a fantastic way to keep moving and improving our wellbeing! You can access the amazing Joe Wicks’ workout on YouTube at the following address:


Coronavirus Public Health Advice


Learn about hand hygiene and preventing the spread of virus such as the coronavirus

Log on to YouTube at this address


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