Monday, 28 November 2016

Photography Workshop

Over the past few weeks, some of the fourth years took part in a two-day photography workshop with Tim Durham. He shared his tips and tricks for taking photographs, we learned amazing skills and saw a real insight into the world of photography.
On the first morning we learnt how to view pictures differently and what makes a picture. After some quizzes of what the pictures were of, we talked about taking photos and he gave us a quote “The camera looks both ways” which tells us that a photo that one takes tells us as much about the photo itself as it does the person taking it.
We then walked around Balbriggan in groups taking photographs, which taught us that the place that the photo is taken in doesn’t make the photo amazing but the subject of the photo. During our time taking photos in balbriggan we had some specific tasks to carry out such as 10 Black and White pictures, 5 Reflections some perspective and colour as well.

We spent Tuesday then looking at more photographs and then examining our own what we all liked and what we could have done to make it better. The photos we ended up taking were of amazing quality and looked great. Needless to say we all extremely enjoyed the two days with Tim and we thank him for coming to our school for the past few weeks, as it was all really worth it.

TY Forensics Workshop

When the fourth years heard the words “Forensics Workshop”, I don't think any of us were exactly leaping with excitement. We all expected a day-long science lesson. In truth,  most of us only wanted to know how many classes we would miss because of it. We were, without doubt, mistaken. Not one of us knew that Scientific Sue would turn our school into an episode of  ‘CSI’ and let us decode secret messages, test blood samples, take part in a powder analysis experiment and take our fingerprints.

From the moment we walked into the hall and put on our high-fashion plastic aprons, we were itching to get started. We got into teams of four with our friends and got to work as soon as we knew where to start. There was so much fancy equipment laid out for us- I think it's safe to say we all felt extremely professional. We got to use magnifying glasses, special fingerprinting brushes (how often do you get to dust for fingerprints with squirrel hair?!) and a huge array of different chemicals and blood samples.

Once we had cracked the codes, found whose blood matched the blood at the crime scene, identified the unknown powder and compared our fingerprints, we thought the fun had finished. Once again; we were wrong. Not only did Scientific Sue demonstrate different indicators changing colour and a few chemical reactions- she also scared the life out of every audience member by setting a balloon ablaze in the middle of the school hall.

At the end of the day, after we had cleared up the hall, we were all devastated to see Scientific Sue depart.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

TY Fundraising Committtee: Face Painting

Slowly but surely “Facepaint Friday” posters began to creep up around the school, and all of us in Loreto got more and more excited for our latest out-of-the-ordinary school event. I’m sure we’re all well used to the crazy events that unfold at our school by now, (can we all just take a moment to appreciate ‘Funky Shoe Day’?) but this is one thing that we weren’t expecting. On Friday 14th October, TY members of the Fundraising Committee put on blue T-shirts and set off on a mission to paint students and teachers faces in aid of the Clown Doctors.

Who are the Clown Doctors, you ask? Well, the Clown Doctors are an organisation who have been working in Our Lady’s hospital in Crumlin. They’re professional entertainers who have a love for putting a smile on people's faces. They work to make it easier for children and their families to adapt to hospital life, dressed up as clowns. Basically, their main goal is to make sick children laugh and to lighten the mood around the hospital and they do a really good job of it.

When Ms.Ryan shared her idea with the Fundraising Committee, we all loved it. What could be better than turning your schoolmates (and teachers) into festival-goers for the day, all while raising money for a great cause? There was a huge rush of excitement as we opened brand new face paints, paintbrushes, sponges and gemstone stickers in the sewing room and got to work on our 2nd Year test dummies, who were kind enough to “volunteer” to let us practice on them (thanks Ms.Ryan!) Once we got our practice runs in, (and our mistakes out of the way) the face painters were ready for the big day.

It didn't hit us face painters what we were in for until Friday morning before school, when a flock of first years entered the hall. We sat, gobsmacked by the sheer size of our queues, and wasted no time in getting to work. We continued to face paint throughout the day, during classes, at break and during both lunchtimes. We eventually got used to having herds of people waiting on us and developed our speed-painting skills along the way. In short, the day was a huge success and everyone wanted to get involved (thanks guys!)

By the end of the day, we managed to raise €650 in aid of The Clown Doctors, and to create a more joyful atmosphere around our school. After all, who could be in a bad mood walking around on a Friday with flowers painted on their face or with multi-coloured dots above their eyebrows? I, for one, certainly couldn't. When we all left school, a smile wasn't the only thing on our faces- we had a great start to our weekends. I think it’s safe to say that we are all hoping ‘Facepaint Friday’ will make a re-appearance next year, with even more glitter and gemstones than before.

TY Road Safety Talk

On the 10th of October, David Barren, a Garda Traffic Officer from the Road Safety Authority came in as a guest speaker for all the transition year students. To our surprise, it was no ordinary road safety talk. The presentation was compelling and engaging and we feel like everyone benefited from the experience.

His first sentence immediately engaged us and he held our concentration for the duration of the talk: “Three of you will die in an accident on the road.” He made it clear, from the beginning, the importance of road safety, particularly for people our age. He warned us that teenage girls, like ourselves, are three times more likely to die as a passenger in a vehicle. On the other hand, young male drivers (YMD) are eight times more likely to die as the driver in a vehicle. This is probably because they have still not matured, they are naive, over-confident and feel the need to impress.
We were astonished by the graphic video clips as it shows us how easy it is to lose concentration for just a second and how oblivious people are to the dangers of these situations. We also became alarmed when he showed us the impact of speeding cars and the likelihood of survival. For example, the likelihood of someone surviving the impact of a car driving at 60kph is 15%. Whereas if you reduce it to 50kph, the likelihood of survival rises to 55%. If you further reduce the speed to 30kph, the likelihood of survival is 95%. We were all amazed by how 10kph slower can be the difference between life and death.

We benefited from the talk by learning to be conscious of many things when getting into a car, such as who is the driver, have they consumed alcohol, have they got a valid licence and are they someone you can trust? However, if you are the driver; don’t do anything you will regret. Make sure you have not consumed alcohol and that you’re completely concentrated and not going to fall asleep. Also, most importantly, make sure that you are wearing your seatbelt; properly.

Overall, we feel that every student and member of staff that attended the talk, benefited greatly and are thankful that David Barren came in to speak to us about the aspects of road safety.

TY Debate: Trump V Hillary

Last week, three of the transition year classes had an opportunity to attend a debate planned, written and rehearsed by the TY ‘Politics’ class. The debate was about the presidential election in the United States of America and there were two groups. One, had to support Hillary Clinton and one had to support Donald Trump. The debate was very intense to watch but also very interesting as it showed that the students really did know a lot about the person they were backing up. After the speeches were spoken the TY audience got to ask the two groups questions. The students really enjoyed the debate and said they really hope there will more debates in the upcoming year.

Homework Club

Every Tuesday and Thursday, TY students volunteer to help out first year students with their homework. We meet our first years at 4:15 (unless they are one of the eager ones who show up at 4 on the dot) and we usually discuss their day, talk about what they have been up to, or answer one of their many questions. Then they get going with their homework, which they seem to really get a lot of! We try to help them when they get stuck, even though half of the time we don't know the answer either. Of course the highlight for everyone involved is at 4:50 when the biscuits make an appearance and are snapped up because we all know the supply of chocolate ones are limited... Other than the biscuits, the hour is enjoyable, it’s refreshing to be around the first years since they find everything hilarious, and it is fun to be a mentor. We have a lot of experience and useful advice for them which hopefully they'll benefit from. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

TY Trip to Kippure 2016

It all began on Wednesday 21st September. We arrived in our tracksuits, and began to drag our cases, which contained everything but the kitchen sink, to the PE hall. From there, many of us set off to buy out SuperValu. After ambushing the cashiers with a combination of milk, tea bags and pot noodles, we came back with the innocent but misguided intentions of trying to fit them into our already packed cases. We were then bundled out on to the bus with the already- exhausted teachers hot on our heels. Unfortunately, we had to begin our journey without Vinny to guide us along the way.
We soon reached the land of the sheep, which came as a shock to many of us city girls. What with the abundance of potholes, the constant maa-ing of sheep and the forests galore, we knew we had arrived in a far distant land.



It was outside in the wind that the instructor broke the news to us that we were being sent out into the Wiley woods of Kippure. When he said the words Masterchef and Bear Grylls in the same sentence, about 50% of our group began contemplating how long it would take to return to the bus. Reality hit like a tonne of bricks the moment that the box-fresh white superstars were playing hide and seek in the mud. After being split into teams, we were given the tasks of finding food, building a shelter, starting a fire and cooking the food. The alarm bells went off once we were told about the cooking part! The majority of us could just about manage the culinary skills required to whip up pot noodle. Armed with logs, a map, a gallon of water and a frying pan, we were left to our own devices. We seriously surprised ourselves when we managed to build a shelter fit for a king and to get the fire going. Another great feat we overcame was the cooking aspect of bushcraft. We successfully cooked a hearty meal of rashers, sausages and vegetable stirfry without poisoning any of our instructors. Bushcraft was definitely a highlight of the trip- despite the fact that we were knee deep in marsh!
Next we hopped, skipped and jumped over to the climbing wall. The activity allowed those of us who fancy ourselves to be mountain goats to shine out from the crowd. We scurried our way up the wall and abseiled smoothly back down. How easy could it get?! Amongst many other activities, archery included, our next stop was ziplining. We harnessed ourselves in. And enjoyed the movement of the zip line through the trees as we screamed in excitement, like Tarzans in the jungle. 'Twas great craic altogether!

Next, we hopped on a bus to the Blessington Lakes for a unique kayaking experience! After climbing into our wet suits and pairing up, we gritted our teeth and made our way into the bitter cold water, kayak in tow. Mr Brennan and Ms Davey joined us as we tried our hand at the water sport. Much to our surprise, we managed to actually stay in the kayaks for the most part! But of course, Mr Brennan was on hand to overturn the boats so we wouldn't miss out on the full Blessington lake experience (and getting pneumonia!) Kayaking was one of the favourite activities amongst the different groups. Despite the freezing cold, wet hair and running tan, we had such good craic in the kayaks! Even the people who were afraid of water gave it a go and ended up loving it! We welcomed night time orienteering with open arms, thinking it would be fairly tame compared to the rock climbing and kayaking. Boy were we wrong. A map was placed in front of our very eyes and we were sent off into the woods. Without a clue about how to read the gobbledygook in front of us. JC Geography didn't help.

We squelched through mud, marvelling at the thought of being independent women, wandering around the forest after all hours. We squinted in the pitch black, scribbling down clues we found along the way. Although rain pelted down on us, we remained determined and continued to trudge through puddles of country land. Eventually we made our way back, only to find out that we had to construct a rocket in 10 minutes.

Disc golf was a marvellous addition to the trip. In our group, we sauntered down the road, only to be greeted by a looming mountainous hill. The fondness left our eyes when we realised we had to climb this hill like mountain goats. Disc golf involved flinging a frisbee in the general direction of a basket, and continuing to hurl it towards the basket until finally we hit the jackpot. However, only approx. 4 out of 53 of us actually participated in this activity. Many of us thrust our phones into the trusted hands of our friends, demanding them to capture a tumblr- style picture of us looking off into the distant lands, to be put up on the insta upon the discovery of a bit of wifi.

After dinner was served to us in silver platters on the final night, the teachers sat us down and broke the news that we were going to have to write and perform a play. Immediately our reaction was to go into hiding in the dark woods, but we stuck it out. Within a short 40 minute brainstorming session in our houses with a table full of sweets and a few arguments, we had written plays worthy of Broadway (at least we thought so). With feigned confidence, we performed our plays under the scrutiny of Mr Brennan, Mr Daly, Mrs O'Reilly, Ms Davey, Ms Magliocco and Ms Ferris.

Even though our plays were all one-of-a-kind, only one house could go home with the life changing prize of €20. After the winners had received their 'Apache money', we trudged back to the houses in a state of exhaustion. All that flinging of cauliflower props and what not had exhausted us to the point where not one of us wasn't feeling sympathetic for ourselves.We woke up the next morning, 99% of us after catching the beloved cold. We coughed and sniffed the whole way home, finally arriving back home at 3:30pm. We hopped off the bus with tears in our eyes as we realised that Kippure was no more.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

TY Blog Committee 2016/2017

Are you starting to feel overwhelmed by all the activities so far in TY? Is it, feeling like a hurricane of committees, clubs, talks, sports, and trips already? And it’s only October?! We will be keeping you up to date on the latest and greatest parts of your Transition Year so you can be positive that you haven’t missed a single thing.

This year, the TY Blog Committee hope to post articles that students are both interested and involved in. Here we will keep a diary of our Transition Year experience. We hope to have a collection of entries including articles, photographs and videos so that we can look back on all the memories we made together.

Welcome to the TY Blog!

From Erin, Tara, Megan, Karin, Emma-Jane, Naomi, Alice, Hannah, Aoife, Laura, Isabelle and Aisling.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Final Farewell

The TY Blog Committee has had another great year. We've recorded all our special memories and even gave out some tips and tricks for TY's to use. We hope we can look back on this year in time to come through the TY Blog. The TY Blog members would like to thank Ms. White, especially, as she pushed us to do our best and encouraged us to write memorable pieces!

Good luck to next year's team.

Gaisce 2016

On the 29th of April, 37 TY students participated in the Gaisce Adventure Journey which took place in Carlingford and consisted of a 31 kilometre hike. The hike overall took 9 hours to complete. Every student contributed to cleaning up and preparing the meals throughout the journey. This year the TY students got very lucky with the weather which kept us in high spirits throughout the hike. We would like to congratulate everyone who took part on their fantastic achievement.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Junk Kouture Final 2016

Well done to 'Ethereal Dreams' designed by Dagmara Dobkowska which lit up the stage of the massive 3 Arena. She blew away the judges with her design and was awarded the Junk Kouture Hair and Make-up Prize along with 200 euro worth of vouchers for Blank Canvas Make-up. It was a night to remember and the supporters enjoyed this exclusive event.

Bring Your Brain Back into Study Habit

Believe it or not, Transition year is nearly over and it's time to face the music and bring your heads back into the books. Here are a few helpful tips on getting back into the study habit.

1) Find your learning style: People process information in different ways.Classic studying, which is reading straight from a book and writing notes works for some people. For others they need to listen to a recording of the information they need to learn. Find a learning style that works for you. Your studies will then flow by smoothly.

2) Invest in colourful stationery: This will not only brighten up your notes, but your brain will associate the colour of the notes with a certain subject or section you learned, making you more likely to remember the information.

3) Create a study timetable: If you organise your time into regular 20 minute study sessions instead of 6 hour monstrosities to prevent cramming in information and allow time for much needed breaks.

4) Take regular breaks: Taking a break such as listening to music, exercise  and reading allows you to process all the information you have studied over your study session.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Transition Year Musical

The TY Musical, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” was held from the 19th - 22nd April. Transition year students performed exceptionally well each night with the help of the Costume and Make Up Team, PR, Set Design, Props and Lighting. The leads, Katie Phelan and Niamh Price worked well together on stage and the chorus’s performed well by dancing and singing. Overall, the musical was remarked as "funny and creative" by the people who watched it.

The TY musical would like to thank all the teachers who were involved in the preparation of the musical.


Semi Final Mock Trials 2016

On the 16th of April, a team of transition year students went to the Criminal Courts in Dublin to compete in the Semi Final Mock Trials. We had prepared two cases which we would try to win in a series of three court sittings. Before it began there was an opening ceremony which introduced us to the barristers who would be our judges for the day and the importance of the competition. We faced Eureka as the prosecution and won the jury's verdict but not the Judge's in a close battle of scores.

We won our next two rounds as defence against a school from Portlaoise and another school from Galway. All the schools we competed against were great opponents and really friendly people. It was a great day and we all wanted to do it again but unfortunately we did not make it through to the finals. However, Grace O'Driscoll won first prize as court photographer which is a huge achievement within the Mock Trials. 

On behalf of the Mock Trial team, we would like to thank Mr. Daly and all the fifth and sixth year students that helped us prepare, gave us insight and encouraged us on the day.





TY Mock Trials 2016: Preparation

Orla Thompson

I am a witness (Briefni Breathnach) in the Mock Trial case. My role as a witness is to testify at court about the events that occurred on the day in question. Preparation for this includes learning my script off by heart and this, therefore, gives an air of professionalism on the day in question. I have to be ready for any questions that make me seem guilty and to make sure I can be sure the jury will prove me innocent. I look forward to going to trial on Saturday 16th April. 

The Busy Barristers

As part of the Transition Year mock trial auditions, there have been central roles assigned to barristers. These are students who present the case in court and who either take the side of the defence or the prosecution. 
This year, the barristers are Amelie Bates, Mahnoor Choudhry, Maria Louise Fufezan and Orla Thompson. They are working on either prosecuting or defending the witnesses of their cases. 
This years' cases are the Pat Parker and the Jackie O' Faolain cases. The Pat Parker case refers to a referee/ P.E. teacher who allegedly assaulted Chris Connor, a student and player in the match on the day in question. Therefore, the barristers must speak to the witnesses of both the defence and the prosecution and portray Pat Parker as either guilty or innocent, depending on their side.
In the Jackie O' Faolain case, the barristers must either defend or prosecute the accused, with the initial statement being that Jackie O' Faolain assaulted Breifni Breathnach during a conflict that resulted from a road incident.
At the moment, the barristers are working closely with the witnesses, in order to make sure that;

 i) questions for the witnesses are strengthened 
ii) that the witnesses' statements are strengthened. 

Also, the barristers have to prepare opening and closing speeches for the defence and the prosecution. In these 3 minute speeches, they try to outline their strongest points in the hope to persuade the jury members and the judge to believe their side of the stories. 
The solicitors are also very helpful in undertaking research for the barristers and in advising them and their witnesses.

This years' TY mock trial team guided by Mr. Daly is hopeful that Loreto Balbriggan can get a high position in the competition that will take place 
on Saturday, 16th of April in the Four Courts in Dublin, if not even get through to the finals that may result in travelling to America for the international stage later this year.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

History Trip

On the 10th of March, students from the transition year history classes went on a trip to the Michael Collins Barracks, Asgard Museum, Arbour Hill and Glasnevin Cemetery.

The students explored the '1916' museum within the Collins Barracks and were deeply interested by the facts and objects from the rebellion. Students were able to use interactive computers to look up interviews with survivors for the 1916 and see the surrender letters between Pearse and General Lowe.

Next, the students visited the Asgard Museum where the restored Asgard, the boat used in the Howth gun-running, is situated. There, students saw the restored boat and some artefacts related to it such as uniforms, materials and the guns they were transporting.

After the Asgard, students visited Arbour Hill where the seven signatories of the Proclamation and other leaders were laid to rest. It was a very peaceful and inspiring place to visit. 

In the afternoon we visited Glasnevin Cemetery. It was a guided tour and we learned many interesting facts about the Irish Greats and about burials in the cemetery as well as the guarding of the cemetery when it was founded.

We were all delighted to be a part if this trip and the TY Blog would like to thank Mr.Cox and Ms.Buckley for the opportunity.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Junk Kouture Semi Final 2016

The Junk Kouture Eastern Semi-final took place on the 7th of March. It was a fantastic and exciting event where Loreto Balbriggan's costumes were presented to the judges along with schools from all over Leinster. The fabulous Creations that lit up the Catwalk were Pink Crocodile by Ella Ceban, illuminated Cells by Maya Brezing and Aoife Scott, Meltdown by Aisling Egan and Megan O'Regan Artaud, Intothevein by Cara Dowling and Katie McManus, Dream Queen by Ciara Murray, Roisin Bentely and Rachel Downes, Queen Galactica by Giovanna Elliot and Sophie Hardman, Capsulated by Ciara Fullam, Chloe O'Neill and Sarah Harris, Spring loaded by Rebecca O'Reilly, Mary McKeown and Amy Louise Hall and Ethereal Dreams by Dagmara Dobkowska. 

The judges were impressed with the overall creativity and hard work of the Students in Loreto Balbriggan and chose Ethereal Dreams to go to the Grand Final in the 3 Arena on April 14th in which the Editor in Chief of "Vogue India" and Louis Walsh will be featured in the judging Panel. How exciting!

TY Mini Company Award 2016

Before Easter Niamh Corry, a transition year student, won the overall “Fingal Mini Company” prize. Niamh told us about her project and the experience.

How did you come up with the idea for the business?
I have a massive binder at home full of notes from the Junior Cert and every time I had a test I had to drag this binder out which I hated doing so when I found out I would be doing Mini Company I immediately thought of that binder and how I could make easier for students.

What was your business about?
My company which is called 'Skim it Quick' is an educational playing and revision card company.
I custom designed these cards in a range of subjects and topics. The topics and subjects were compressed into shorter versions of the curriculum.

Who was your target audience?
I aimed the cards originally for Junior Cert students but I realised on 'Market Day', the business fair in school, that a lot of Leaving Cert students were also interested so I extended my market.

What were the prizes that you won?
I won a large trophy and a trip to Barcelona which I'm very excited about!

On behalf of the school, TY Blog would like to congratulate Niamh on her fantastic win.

TY Driving Course 2016

On the 14th and 15th of March a number of transition year students attended a driving course for the full day in Mondello park, Co. Kildare. Experienced, professional race instructors had three classes prepared for us; Safety Class, Driving Class and a tour of the park. In the safety class we were explained the rules of the road and how important it is to follow them. We were shown short video clips of what could happen if the rules of the road weren't obeyed. Everyone leaving the class felt more aware and alert of road safety.

Following the road safety talk we then proceeded out onto the race tracks to get into a car with our driving instructors. There were two people per car and each person did four laps around the race track learning and practicing how to drive a car. We were shown how to properly steer the car, how to hold the wheel, how to make a turn, how to stop and how to change gears. The experience was very helpful and exciting.

Lastly to finish the day off we got a tour of Mondello Park. We were shown around the race track and brought up to the watch towers where instructors would monitor the races. We were also brought to the emergency room and shown how a racer would be treated if an accident was to occur. We were then lastly brought to a museum situated in the park which contained a collection of old and new racing cars. The Driving Course was well worth attending and was an extremely fun and exciting experience. All of the transition year students were delighted to have participated in this course and would like to thank the instructors for their time and effort.

Monday, 14 March 2016

History Week 2016

Last week it was “History Week” and we commemorated the centenary of the 1916 Rising. Our history classes decorated the Atrium in honour of 1916 with projects, artwork and letters.

Last Friday, we also had a former student and who is now a member of the Irish Defence Force read out the Proclamation followed by a film created by 4th years, Jordan Kane and Amy Louise Hall on 'Being Irish'. We had a variety of events on in the school which included talks with different guest speakers, a 4th year history trip to Collins Barracks and Glasnevin Cemetery, a re-enactment of the rising on Friday and announcements that reported the events that happened during the week of the rising. We also received a flag to be raised in a national ceremony on the 15th March.

Here is a collection of some of the projects that were on display last week.