Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 19th Oct

12th to 18th Oct 2020

Young Social Innovators

Congratulations to TYD 2019/20 on receiving their Young Social Innovators Award for outstanding achievement in social and digital media. 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 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, Louise Tighe’s show on Dublin’s fm104 and iRadio to discuss their project.

The YSI Awards Ceremony will be live streamed on Tuesday the 20th of October. This initiative was led out by Ms Kelly.

BT Young Scientist 2021

Congratulations to the 8 students who entered projects into BTYS 2021 competition in the Technology, Biological and Ecological and Social and Behavioural Science categories. Thank you to Ms Donna Furey for all of her work on this area

The projects are as follows: 

1. The effect of alpha, beta and gamma binaural beats on working memory in Donegal Teenagers by Anna Mitchell and Sarah Canny.

2. Antimicrobial Barks by Eadaoin Murphy and Joseph Woods.

3. The best household preservative for cut flowers by Jane Faulkner, Amy McGroary and Jayne Glenn.

4. A reusable biodegradable solution for coffee on the go by Grace Masterson. 

The students worked hard on their proposals before entering them for consideration to take part in the 2021 online BTYS competition. Judges will now consider each of these projects in terms of the work that has been carried out to date and the validity of the project in terms of the scientific method applied and value of the research conducted. Over the coming weeks we will profile the students’ four projects as we wait to see if our bids are successful in this first round of the rigorous BTYS selection process.

Zeeko Workshops for First Years

This week AVS First Year Students participated in online Zeeko workshops in the Abbey Vocational School. Zeeko has created a world where young people can safely benefit from technology and the internet, visiting around 400 schools across Ireland per year delivering Internet Safety Seminars to pupils, teachers and parents. Zeeko has the knowledge & experience in children’s internet safety to help make a difference. Zeeko have surveyed over 35,000 children in Ireland and the UK on their digital habits. 

Zeeko aims to reduce the negative consequences of cyberbullying and exposure to user-generated content promoting toxic issues. Zeeko has a significant positive impact on the health and wellbeing of young people and families across Ireland.

First Year Parents Information Evening

We will hold an online Information Evening for first year parents on Tuesday 20th October from 7pm to 8pm. All parents of our present first year students are welcome to attend, we will send you the link to this event. This meeting will give parents an update on all of the various matters relating to first year students who are new to our school. It will allow us the opportunity to outline the various supports which have and will be put in place to target the varying needs of our first year students. We also wish to complement the students on their very smooth transition and excellent engagement and behaviour in a very challenging time.

Incoming first years 2020/2021 

All Primary schools have received the induction pack for the 6th class students who will be joining us in Sept 2021. This pack includes the form that is required to start the process of enrolling in the AVS. If you have a younger brother or sister in 6th class will you tell them to make sure they have shown this pack to their parents/guardians at home. We will be in touch at a later date on subject choice matters.

Virtual Learning Week

All students should be in a position to engage online learning following our virtual learning week here in the AVS. Students must all ensure that they can access google classroom and other such tools that their teachers have been using with them this week. 

Covid – 19

We would like to thank all our school community for their diligence in adhering to protocols regarding Coronavirus. As we have now moved into Level 4 of the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid – 19 and we would ask everyone to strictly adhere to HSE guidelines regarding social distancing and hand hygiene. 

The AVS are operating an ‘If  Unwell,  Stay  at  Home’ policy. Should a  member  of  our community  experience  any  of  the  symptoms  of  Covid-19  –  Cough, high  temperature,  shortness  of  breath, difficulty  breathing,  that  member  of  our  community must stay at home  and  seek  appropriate medical  intervention.  

Parent Teacher Meetings

At present these are not possible in their usual face to face format. We are currently awaiting direction from the DES on what is required in this regard. We will let you know as soon as we have any clear direction on this area. 


If a student is absent from school then a note for the dates of the absence must be submitted to the office upon the students return. Alternatively we will accept an email to This email must clearly state the name of the student, the year group and it has to state clearly the dates that the email is referring to. The attendance record of the student can then be updated with this information. 

New School Fleece 

‪Have a look at the latest addition to our school uniform. The new school fleece can be purchased from All Sports and Peters Man shop in Donegal town. Junior and Adults sizes are available. This warm and cozy fleece is a great addition coming into the cold winter morning.

Career Guidance

1. A virtual information evening for parents/guardians of Leaving Cert students will take place on Tuesday, 03 Nov. 2020 @ 7.00 p.m. The presentation will cover all options available to students including 3rd level, FET, Apprenticeships & Traineeships. Parental, financial & other supports will also be discussed.  Log-in details will be communicated closer to the time.

2. Leaving Certs: 1-1 appointments are available throughout the week; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction. 

3. Our Guidance website is updated regularly. Go to – click on the Guidance button on the far right of the screen.

* The Noticeboard has a number of important notices for Leaving Certs.


All orders for the canteen must now be done through Click on the AVS school crest picture at the bottom of the page and this will take you to the menu that you can order from. The cashless card will then be used to identify the student and you pay by your regular debit/credit card at the moment. Do not top up the cashless card at the moment. 

Music Department

The students are learning to upload their practical work and many are enjoying this way of performing from the comfort of their own home.

Great Reads Award 

This year students from the Abbey Vocational School will participate in the ‘Great Reads Award (GRA)’. The ‘Great Reads Award’ is an Award judged by students for debut writing for Young Adults. Presented by the School Library Association in the Republic of Ireland and short listed by librarians and teacher-librarians. The short list titles offer a range of reading levels and interests, by authors from a variety of backgrounds, including an Irish language title for which a glossary is available.


Positive Points Initiative

The positive point’s initiative in our school is aimed at promoting positive behaviour and acknowledging the good things that our students do. Students can be awarded points from teachers for things such as good effort in class, co-operation , helping others, contributing to group work, extracurricular contribution etc.

Each monthly class winner will be rewarded. Any individual who is acknowledged with five positive points/comments will be recognised by the school and parents/guardians will be informed by a postcard sent home from the appropriate year head in appreciation for the positive contribution to school life. A big thank you to the facilitator of this initiative, Mr Carty.

Leaving Cert Prefects

The run/walk for your wellbeing will take place every Tuesday on the school track from 4-5. If you would like to take part in this please give your name to Hannah Crawford, Shane Meehan or Ms Rooney before a Tuesday lunchtime. 

Keep an eye out for more of these initiatives over the next few months and if anyone would like to suggest or assist with an initiative throughout the year please let any of the prefects or Ms Rooney know. 

Peer Mentoring 

This week Peer Mentors had the opportunity to work with 1st years focusing on organisational skills. They gave useful tips to help them get organised for school every day and how best to use their journals to ensure they get all their work completed. One of the big changes for 1st years to adapt to is the use of their lockers. Peer Mentors spent time discussing how they should organise their lockers and gave them the opportunity to create a checklist for every subject to ensure they always bring the correct equipment to class. As the quote says “being organised is being in control”.

Cycle Against Suicide 

We are pleased and honoured to announce that we have received the Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador School Award for the fourth year in a row. The Ambassador School Programme established in 2013 aims to encourage schools to become actively involved in mental health promotion. The programme provides a framework, structure and incentive for schools to integrate mental health activities into their school planning and rewards schools that go the extra mile. We look forward to take part in this worthwhile programme again this year.

Positive Wellbeing Week

This week the Abbey Vocational School celebrated Positive Wellbeing Week from Monday the 19th of October – Friday the 23rd of October 2019. Positive Wellbeing and Mental Health Week is a firm fixture in the AVS Calendar as staff and students highlight, discuss and embrace mental health. Positive affirmations, motivational talks, sharing of kindness within our school have embodied Mental Health Week as the AVS Community join together to celebrate the ethos of the Abbey Vocational School; The Abbey Vocational School is dedicated to the holistic development of students in a caring environment where tolerance and respect are nurtured and valued. Activities from the week included, motivational talks, sharing of positive messages, “Humans of AVS” sharing of kindness stories within the AVS, music at lunch, Poem/letter writing to our friends in the local hospitals and nursing homes, Covid poster design, Tik Tok and crazy mask competitions. Each day there will be a different positive quote read out by Ms Diver over the intercom.

Tik Tok Competition


Create a Tik Tok video. The theme of the video is Happiness/Kindness/Fun. If there is more than one person in the video social distancing must take place. Max length of the video is 15 seconds. Please submit your video to before 5pm on Wednesday the 21/10/20.

Due Date: 21/10/20

Prize for the best video – Halloween Hamper

Crazy Mask Competition with disposal masks!  

Instructions – Wear a fancy face covering on Friday the 23th October to be in with a chance to win a prize.Create a Halloween themed face mask using a disposal mask. 

Teaching and Learning

Mind Mapping for Learning: Traditionally, when studying, we make notes in list style by making lines and lines of information. A Mind Map is a visual map of your ideas, laid out in a radial format around a central thought. To use Mind Mapping for study, simply take the central subject and then organise your notes around this point. A mind map is a useful way to come up with new ideas or make sense of complex topics or see how pieces of information fit together. They are also very useful for planning essays, summarising topics or working on projects in teams. Useful Mind-Mapping apps include, SimpleMind, or However, a pen, paper and a little creativity are just as good!

Transition Year

TY Musical Auditions

This week TY Students from the Abbey Vocational School took part in auditions for the school production of Broadway smash “Curtains” is a musical mystery comedy. The musical is a send-up of backstage murder mystery plots, set in 1959 Boston, Massachusetts and follows the fallout when Jessica Cranshaw, the supremely untalented star of ‘Robbin’ Hood of the Old West’ is murdered during her opening night curtain call. 

It is up to Lt. Frank Cioffi, a police detective who moonlights as a musical theatre fan, to save the show, solve the case, and maybe even find love before the show reopens, without getting killed himself. As we prepare for this musical, we do so in a very different way. Social distancing and protocols in terms of singing etc makes the process very different. Indeed we may find ourselves in a situation where we have to live steam this virtual event or perform this virtually however the students are progressing with this learning as the opportunity to study the performing arts in this regard is really beneficial to all. 

Drama Workshop with Sinead Carey

“On the 14th of October the class TYB ventured to the Parish Hall where we are currently carrying out all of our workshops. This workshop focused on drama. It was taken by Sinead Carey. We started off the workshop by stretching in a large socially distanced circle. Once we were all stretched we played a quick ice-breaker game to get to know each other better and for Sinead to learn all of our names and we played some imaginative games to encourage us to think outside of the box. 

 Put into groups of 5 and told to create a snapshot of a chosen fairy-tale while keeping social distancing in mind, my group chose to create ‘Snow White & the Seven Dwarves’. This was something new for me and I really enjoyed the experience. We also created a 30 second advertisement for a product chosen by Sinead. This was very enjoyable. I found the workshop very beneficial as I had to step out of my comfort zone and think outside the box.  I am looking forward to the next workshop as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope to get to participate in more workshops like this throughout the year” Transition Year Diary Entry.

Heritage and Creative Workshops

AVS Students engaged in the Heritage and Creative Workshops with facilitator Maura Logue. Maura Logue is an actor, playwright, theatre director and producer from Donegal. She has created many memorable theatre works for Festivals, often on a theme of strong women from times past. Recent highlights have included Síle Molloy (2018), Mother Loss (2016) and Anna Katherine Kelly (2012).

Throughout the session the students learned about the history of Donegal through group discussion and drama re-enactment. Donegal castle and the O’Donnell family histories was the centre point of the session. Using the histories of the 1500s they explored historical characters, as part of an Animated Heritage/ Tourism. They looked at these historical characters and discussed their story, Inion Dubh, Aoidh Manus, Red Hugh O Donnell, Nuala O Donnell, Niall Garbh, Colmcille and monastic life / Cathach / Battle Book. 

Transition Year Surfing

TY Students’ introduction to surfing has now finished. At the end of last week the students had an opportunity to sign up for four more sessions to develop and to learn more skills at their surfing school. Thank you to Neill and his team and Finn McCool surf school for providing such enjoyable and safe lessons. The sessions took place on Rossnowlagh Beach and the students got to enjoy the natural beauty of Rossnowlagh Beach and engage in an exhilarating pastime! Surfing provides many health benefits including: cardiovascular fitness – from paddling; shoulder and back strength – these muscles will strengthen from the paddling; leg and core strength – once you’re standing up on the board, strong legs and a strong core will keep you up.

Student Voice

The Student Council held a meeting this week in person and have a virtual meeting scheduled on Monday evening.  They are organising a Crazy Mask day to create a sense of fun around the school for the final day before the holidays.  The council will judge these masks and there will be prizes for the best entry – Get creative!!

The election for 1st year rep for the Student Council representatives took place online.  Thank you to all our class captains and all who participated in the election.  Congratulations to Jon Farren and Ciara Kerrigan and welcome onboard to the AVS Student Council.  

TY Upcoming Activities:

We are coming to the end of a very busy first term for our TY students, they have sampled many workshops, trips and activities. This will continue after our midterm break with talks from local business entrepreneurs such as Gareth Britton, local chef Chis McMenamin of Harvey’s Point, local crafts woman Mona O’Connor, interview skills from Sean McGee, personal presentation workshop and much more. 


Online Leaving Certificate PE Tutorials 

Great application of learning this week from Leaving Cert PE Students Planes and Axes online tutorials and tests via @The_EverLearner and reinforced through practical’s.

Annotation through ‘Markup’ feature on the iPad.
LCPE Planes and Axes online tutorials

LCPE Planes and Axes online tutorials

Lunchtime Activities 2020

Students  in  the  Junior  years  who  remain  on  the  premises  at  lunchtime  in  addition  to  their  walks will have  the  activities at lunchtime. Thank you to all the teachers who have volunteered to help run such a large programme.

Our activities programme will run for all junior years from Tuesday, 29th September. All activities will be non-contact and follow current guidelines. Our main priority is the health and safety of everyone involved. 

  •  Activities will last 20 minutes in total.
  • Monday to Thursday: 1.02pm – 1.22pm
  • Friday: 12:24pm – 12.44pm

This allows for students to have 10 minutes to eat at the beginning of lunchtime in their base room and 10 minutes at the end of lunch to return to their base room and get organised for the next lesson.

We have tried as much as possible to assign students to their chosen activity. However, due to guidelines and limitations for space, students will not get all their choices straight away.

All other students will have the opportunity to go outside and walk during this time with their base room teacher. Each base room has a list of where students are to go each day.

Please note, students can participate in all activities in their school uniform but are advised to wear/bring appropriate footwear. 

Please see Mrs. Gallagher if you have any questions!

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