Sunday, 14 May 2017

Gaisce 2017

4pm on Friday arrived in the blink of an eye. It was as if all us Gaisce students were in the chorus of HSM singing 'WHAT TIME IS IT? SUMMER TIME!' With great excitement, we ran to SuperValu and grabbed all the goodies we could find, then sprinted to the bus. We couldn't wait.

The hour long journey was filled with booming music, laughter and catching up on the latest Riverdale episode! On the way, we spotted the looming mountains and our hearts skipped a beat as we realised we would be climbing them that night and the next morning. As soon as we arrived, we gathered in the games room and were introduced to our guides. We then pushed our way to the rooms list to grab a room with our friends. We were shown to our rooms; ours was filled with 10 bunk beds. Then the clock struck 6pm. It was time; the hike had finally arrived.

That evening, we hiked 10km. While the first hill was almost impossible to walk up (considering it was basically a vertical wall!) we made it eventually, and we were all extremely proud afterwards. Some of us even jogged the last few hundred metres! We all whooped with joy at the finish line, and scurried back inside to enjoy a delicious pasta dish, followed by ice cream wafers and biscuits. 

At 10:30pm, the guides called us to the games room over the intercom. We fretfully played a game of Heads Up, and then headed straight to bed. Well, bed as in staying up chatting and laughing all night long! At precisely 8am, the intercom burst into loud music, waking us up from our sweet dreams. Breakfast was served, followed by sandwiches, popcorn, fruit and millions of sweets. The last 15km of the trip stood before us. Could we do it?

These last few kilometres were extremely hard, as we were constantly climbing up a gradual hill. At least our thighs and calves felt fabulously toned afterwards!! Hiking up the Cooleys was next to impossible, and the Haribos really came in handy to provide us with extra energy...!!! 

After we had finally completed the 25km in total, we collapsed on the benches and waited for the bus to bring us back to home sweet home. We were all so proud of ourselves for completing the hike, as we were the fastest year to do so! Overall, it was an amazing weekend and I can't believe I'm saying it, but I'd love to do it again!

TY Musical 2017

From the 4th to the 7th of April the 4th years preformed a standout performance of Beauty and the Beast. Sold out every night, with an amazing cast and brilliant Costume and makeup team, Props, Lighting, Set design and PR, the show was a huge success. With exceptional help and preparation
from the teachers. It was enjoyed by everyone and they memories will stay with us forever.

Walton's Music Competition 2017

Well, I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be standing on the stage of the National Concert Hall, singing to my hearts content! 

I remember asking my principal as a 5th class student if we could enter the Waltons music competition, but my request was denied as we apparently were not good enough to compete. Well wouldn't you know - we made it to the top 6 in Ireland this year, in TY! 

The theme of this years competitions was crossing musical borders, so we all put together a mix of three modern pop songs that suited this theme - Same Love (Macklemore), It's Alright Not to Feel Okay (Heathers) and Drive it Like You Stole it (from Sing Street, the movie). We added in a cello, which was played like a guitar, and a guitar which was played like a cello (crossing musical borders). We also used body percussion, rattled old coins in our pockets, and boom whackers. About 30 of us sang the songs along with the instruments. The end result sounded really professional, and being up on stage in front of the different schools and audience members felt amazing! 

After all the weeks of time and effort we had put in after and during school, we felt really proud to have finally performed our finished piece. While we didn't place in the top 3, we still had the most wonderfully fun experience and day out in town with our friends. I can't wait to compete in Waltons again next year, and be in charge of rearranging the songs and music!

Mock Trial 2017

This years TY Mock Trial team had a brilliant day in the Criminal Courts on Saturday the 8th of April. The team had a very unlucky defeat but performed very well in all three of cases.

There were many different roles involved with our team. There were barristers, solicitors, witnesses, photographers, sketch artists and the research team.The barristers had to present the case in court and either defend or prosecute the accused. They had to prepare questions for witnesses and write opening and closing statements. The solicitors had to advise the barristers on objections and help their witnesses to prepare.The witnesses had to learn of their statements and practise being questioned.  

This year the team had to prepare three cases; The defence and prosecution of Francis Cara and the prosecution of Jackie O' Faolain. The team worked extremely hard in and outside school. The week prior to the competition the girls came in at 8am and stayed til 11pm for the musical, as many girls also had vital jobs for the musical (chorus, costume, props etc.)

When the day had finally come, all girls put their tiredness aside and performed extremely well. Unfortunately, we lost our final case but winning and losing aside all girls worked really well together and should be very proud.It was a brilliant experience.

-Hazel Lattimore.

Junk Kouture - The Final 2017

After weeks of anticipation, Thursday the 27th of April finally came. The Junk Kouture Grand Final. Jumping on board the 8:50 train, we were nervous and discussed the schedule that had been emailed to us. The 3 Arena was buzzing with excitement from the moment we arrived. In our dressing room, Ms.Lennon, Ms.Lynch, Nicole, Ayman, Niamh, Roisin and I were immediately hard at work getting the models ready. We were lucky enough to be put in a dressing room with lights and mirrors running along each wall. Our teams, Luster and Taped, ft to share dressing room along with a team from another school. This was the lap of luxury compared to the makeshift tables some teams got in the huge space that served as a communal dressing room for the day.

Once the models’s costumes, hair and makeup were ready, the judges came around. They were impressed with our mood boards and our costumes. As it got later a large pizza was sent to each team (one of the highlights of our day!) Following this, everyone except for the models were asked to leave the dressing rooms. From this point forward it was a waiting game. We were excited and nervous for our models and wondered what they were doing as we were at “fun in the foyer.” Here we were given face paint, wrist bands and power banks. We left with more stuff than when we arrived! There was an “art-off,” a Virtual Reality Studio,  a variety of talks, meet and greets with Seo Linn, a 360 degree camera studio as well as other games which gave you the chance to win amazing prizes. Who wouldn’t join in when a Penney's voucher was up for grabs?

At last it was finally time for the show. The arena was trembling with anticipation and everyone was in high spirits. We were introduced to our Judges (which included Una Healy and Louis Walsh) and our hosts, then stunned by an extremely talented group of dancers. Seo Linn performed for us as well as two contestants from ‘dancing with the stars.’

From the beginning of the fashion show, it was immediately evident with each team that a lot of work went into not only the dresses but the hair and makeup and the performances. Luster was our first dress to come on stage, followed soon after by Taped. Ayman and Nicole’s performances were flawless- no one could have guessed how nervous they were backstage before coming on. A mass of supporters from our school arrived to cheer our models on waving the torches on their phones to the music. Unfortunately neither of the loreto teams placed in the Grand Final, but the hard work we put in was (to us) definitely something to be proud of.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Tips and Tricks for TY Interviews

It is the most stressful time of the year for TY’s, interviews coming up, and most of us do not have everything signed, and no projects printed out. Also there is some of us that have no clue what we need, and if you are one of those people you have clicked on the right blog post.

For your TY interview you will need:
● A folder with 5-9 pieces of work in it and along with that you will need the assignment record sheets. I recommend to include your English literacy journal and all of your module projects.
● Your work experience journal.
● Your module logs signed (those sheets in the back of your journal).
● Those 3 book reviews we were told about at the start of the year.
● Your journal completely filled out. Each interview lasts about 10 minutes, there will be two people interviewing you. Everyone who have done it already, have said it went really well and there was nothing asked they were not prepared for in the interview. If you have the work you need you will be fine!

Good luck!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

TY Work Experience 2017

On the 30th January, I walked through the gates of St Brendan’s National School in Loughshinny with a bag on my back. Obviously, I have grown a bit since the last time I did it! Working in my old primary school for a week was absolutely brilliant. Myself and the two girls I did my placement with had a very hands-on, enjoyable week. We were given the opportunity to try a variety of different jobs- from taking over the secretary’s office to making smoothies with the students! Some of my afternoons were spent in the sandpit with the Junior Infants while others were spent knee-deep in coloured paints and crepe paper. I particularly enjoyed working with children who had learning difficulties throughout the week. This aspect of my placement made me realise that I would love a career in speech therapy, something I had never considered before.

For my second week’s placement, I got the once in a lifetime opportunity to observe a landmark data-privacy case between Maximilien Schrems, Facebook and the Data Protection Commissioner in the Four Courts. My uncle is a solicitor and he was defending Maximilien Schrems, an Austrian data privacy activist and lawyer. Throughout the course of the week, I sat beside Mr Schrems in the High Court while Facebook’s team of lawyers, who they had flown in from the USA, stared at us from the other side of the courtroom. I must say that it was a totally unique experience that I really enjoyed. I was immersed into the case, just as the solicitors and barristers were. This gave me a valuable insight into different roles in the courtroom.

During the third week, I did work experience in Fighting Words, a creative writing centre founded by Roddy Doyle. Fighting Words provides children, teenagers and adults with intellectual disabilities with the opportunity to use their creativity and write their own original stories. My focus for the week was on the primary school workshops. A class came in to the centre every morning from different primary schools across the country. We created a magical, creative environment for them while they wrote a story as a group. We were each assigned a child who we would help and encourage to write their own unique ending to the story. Complete with the beginning, unique ending, professional illustrations and their picture on the back; each child went home with their own book- as a ‘published’ author. I thoroughly enjoyed this placement. My favourite part was seeing children who had no confidence in their ability to be creative leave with a copy of their book and a smile on their face!


Ever since I was a fretful First Year, the anticipation of Transition Year has got me through difficult times such as the Junior Cert. I’ve been looking forward to going on work experience for years! Recently the long awaited time came for me to venture out into the big bad world of professionalism and public transport. My most enjoyable placement happened to be the one I least expected to like. To be blunt about it, I didn’t know what the function of a PR company was until I spent a week working in one in Dublin City. I was petrified by my lack of knowledge before I arrived on my first day, but as soon as I met my co-workers (four people who were all experts in their own right) I was put at ease! All week I was extremely busy in the best way possible. I was given tasks to do almost all of the time. Of course I still managed to drink five cups of tea a day but that’s beside the point! I wrote press releases, answered phones, did administrative work, researched events and companies, collected news stories, and created a possible social media campaign. By the end of the week I felt like I was a PR master ready to take on any bad press a client could get!

Overall it was a very rewarding, positive experience.


For 3 weeks TY students embarked on work experience in an attempt to gain a sense of what careers we would/wouldn’t like to do in the future. I went to 3 different places, Murray Flynn Maguire Solicitors, the Photo Centre Balbriggan and O’Briens.

My favourite was the solicitor's office because that is where I gained the most experience and law is a career I would like to pursue. During that week I learned very quickly that it is nothing like you see on TV, in real life solicitors are buried in paperwork and most of the time they are not working on high profile cases. I also got the chance to talk to one of the practising solicitors and she gave me a step by step guide on how to qualify as a solicitor and she also gave me advice on how to enjoy the process since it does take roughly… 7 years!!

My least favourite placement was the Photo Centre. Although I did enjoy the independence he gave me, I felt like there was a lot he did not explain clearly no matter how many times I asked. I also didn’t learn much about photography or owning and running your own business, which I had hopped to do. However one of the valuable skills I learned, was how to improve my people skills improved.

I enjoyed my week in O'Brien's, the staff were all really kind and so were all the customers I dealt with. I was able to handle the fast pace needed to keep up with the flow of customers. During that week I was able to improve my communication skills.

Overall I enjoyed work experience, I feel it helped me improve on some of my transferable skills and gave me a real sense of what I want to do in the future.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Study Tips TY Exams

With exams for TY’s fast approaching (January 26th and 27th), most of us aren’t prepared since this year has mainly consisted of project deadlines and sheer panic over getting our dresses completed for Junk Kouture. This blog post will hopefully give you some study tips to help you get back on track with studying.

Tip no. 1: Highlighters
Invest in a pack of highlighters, and only highlight the key words and phrase, in your notes, textbook etc. Highlighters can aid in the memory of material, especially if you are a visual learner. If you highlight the whole page it will look like a 3 year old got to your notes and coloured them in neon yellow and you won't know where to start. REMEMBER ONLY HIGHLIGHT KEY WORDS AND PHRASES!

Tip no. 2: Multi Coloured Pens
These come in handy when writing key words or for different topics within the same subject. For example pink pen for Shakespeare and blue for media studies. Doing this will make you more likely to remember material in the exam!

Tip no. 3: Sticky Notes
These will be one of your best friends from now on. They are so handy for taking quick notes or for putting definitions on them and sticking them into your textbooks or notes! They are also really handy for short to do lists.

Tip no. 4: Test Yourself
Testing yourself is one of the best things you can do. How many times have you walked in thinking you were prepared for an exam and then you sit down and forget everything you know, and all you can remember is that it is something to do with X or maybe Y…..? Well if you test yourself (you can find past papers online or use questions from your textbook) on important names and dates etc., you’ll become better equipped to handle a stressful exam situation.

Tip no. 5: Flashcards

Using flashcards is an easy way of testing yourself or simply just studying. Write a date or word on the front of the card, then the definition or what happened on the date on the back. Go through all the flashcards, the ones you get right go in one pile and the ones you don’t get right go in another pile. You can even get apps to create stacks of flashcards. Hopefully these tips helped you study more efficiently, and helped you prepare for exams.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Christmas Cake Workshop 2016

We are in the run up to Christmas, with only less than 2 weeks to go, TY Home Economics students jumped at the chance to take part in a Christmas cake workshop. Ms.Ryan informed us that there were spaces left and it was now open to non Home - Economics students, I  jumped at the chance to attend. Thye next day I came in with my money to secure a place in the workshop. We went to kitchen two to make a chocolate biscuit cake, the smell of chocolate was heavenly. We put it in a pudding bowl so it would look vaguely like an igloo which was the goal of this cake. The following Monday all the students taking part showed up to kitchen two again, buzzing with excitement to ice the cakes. We were handed a bag with three different colours of icing and our cakes. Then we set off icing our cakes. The goal was to ice them to look like igloos with at least three penguins. Every student was in the Christmas spirit singing Christmas songs, while the teachers were impressed with what the finished cakes look liked. After the cakes were well documented, we cleaned the kitchen and brought our cakes home, hoping they tasted as good as they looked!

TY Shakespeare Festival 2016

Well done to all TY English students who participated in this year’s Shakespeare Festival – an amateur drama initiative based on the celebrated works of William Shakespeare. On Wednesday 7th December last, all seven Form groups within TY performed their unique ten-minute drama productions in front of a packed audience in the school hall. This year’s group of TY students proved to be exceptionally gifted in the art of directing, acting, script writing and stage designing and some of the creative, spellbinding adaptations on show included scenes from ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘High School Musical’. Special congratulations to Ms Malone’s 4D class who were crowned Overall Winners with a memorable ‘Northside V Southside’ adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

SVP Food Drive 2016

Twas the 14th of December 
In the school hall 
When an abundance of food was brought in by all.
The best part.. it's all for St Vincent de Paul

4th years with xmas jumpers and a festive attitude 
Packed bags full to the brim with food.

All hands were on deck, carols were sung,
A sure sign that the Christmas season has begun.
A great day of fun for a fantastic charity,
Reminded us all that Christmas is a time of giving and generosity.

On Wednesday the 14th of December, a huge team of 4th years, assisted by Ms Gaughan and the Student Council gathered in the hall to collect and pack food for our school's Annual St Vincent De Paul food drive. All students and teachers were invited to dress in Christmas jumpers and bring in food, particularly Christmas treats, to be donated to St Vincent de Paul. In the true spirit of Christmas, both students and teachers were extremely generous and we collected a huge amount of food for families in need, bringing some holiday cheer to them at Christmas.

The hall was quite literally packed with food, from mince pies to selection boxes. We all organised the food and packed it into bags before it was taken to the local St Vincent De Paul branch. It will be distributed to families just in time for the Christmas holidays. A great day was had by everybody. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the hall, the fact that we were able to contribute so much to such a fantastic charity really helped everybody to get into the Christmas mood!

We would like to thank everybody who contributed so generously to our food drive this year. Happy Christmas!

Santa Flight 2016

Some of us might be sitting at home wondering “What exactly is the Santa Flight?”

If you happen to be one of those people, I can assure you, you’re not alone. When I found myself standing in Ms. Gallen’s office about a month ago, I was wondering the same thing.

I was fortunate enough to have had the honor of being chosen to go on the Santa Flight this year, as well as nine other girls in our year. We prepared our Christmas carols and co-coordinating Christmas costumes on short notice, and before we knew it, we were on our way to Dublin Airport. We busied ourselves on board the coach with face painting and rehearsals, which made it seem like only a second before we were staring Dublin airport in the face.

We arrived at the airport with reindeer, holly and snowflakes painted on our faces, with Santa hats on and guitars in hand. Walking through the airport embarrassed some of us momentarily as heads turned in our direction to look at our matching Christmas attire. It wasn’t long until Ms. McHugh had us belting out ‘Frosty the Snowman’ while we searched for our terminal. We had now doubled the size of our audience, but at this point we were positive any attention on us was good; Christmas had come and it was only the 7th of December.

To our surprise, we were greeted by a group of elves, members of the press, a filming crew and a choir. The place was buzzing with anticipation for the children's arrival. ‘Santa’s helpers’ (as was our official title for the day) were only a small piece of the puzzle for the Cityjet Santa Flight. Everyone was enthusiastic about making this a memorable day for the young Temple Street patients and their families.

As soon as the children arrived we were in our places with guitars at the ready to play our Christmas songs. About ten songs later (along with countless photographs) we were ready to get on the plane. On board the plane the songs continued as well as extremely cheesy Christmas-themed jokes. Throughout the flight we kept our eyes peeled for Rudolph’s red nose, which would be the easiest indication of where Santa’s sleigh was. We all looked out the windows, when all of a sudden Santa himself arrived on board the plane. The children were the most excited of all of us to meet him. He spoke to each child and shook their hand, promising to meet them again very soon.

Following the flight, we headed back into the airport where a party awaited us. The children were gobsmacked to see tables full of gingerbread men waiting to be decorated, Santa cupcakes, candy canes and hot chocolate. Santa waited (along with a pile of presents) in the corner of the room in front of a huge christmas tree. The children each got their turn to sit on Santa’s lap and receive an early Christmas present. Meanwhile, myself and my fellow ‘Santa’s Helpers’ continued to sing as well as Face Painting and playing with the children.
By the end of the day we had all made loads of new friends, and loads of amazing memories. Every one of us was honored to have been chosen to go on the flight. The whole way home we talked about the children we had each spoken to and the funny little things they said to us throughout the day. The children were an inspiration to us all. Despite what the children and their families were going through, there was nothing but smiles and laughter from every one of them. It was a pleasure for us to have been able to attend such a beneficial event and we are extremely grateful to everyone who was involved.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Gael Linn 2016

Raidió na Life - The Radio Station
During our time in Gael Linn, we studied and listened to different radio adverts before preparing our own. We all added to our vocabulary while preparing and we had lots of fun creating a radio programme. We got to play different celebrities as part of the radio program. Once we had produced and printed our final scripts we continued to practise our lines and our voices for the different people we had to portray. On the Wednesday, we walked down to Raidió na Life, which is an Irish-speaking radio studio. One of the staff there showed us how to use the different recording equipment and then in our groups we all took a turn inside the recording studio. Although he explained everything in Irish, we were, surprisingly, able to understand. We all found it very hard to not laugh when we were recording ourselves; eventually we managed to pull it off.

Everyday, we had a 10 minute break, as well as a 40 minute lunchtime (we even had an extra 20 minutes on Wednesday to gobble down as many donuts as possible!!!)

Coincidentally, there were 3 deliciously tempting donut shops in our surroundings - Aungier Danger, which was simply indescribable, OffBeat, just beside the train station, which made donut-shopping extremely accessible, and Boston Donuts, which was full of huge, luscious, sweet, mouthwatering donuts. It’s safe to say we flocked to them at every lunchtime… we paid no heed to the calories…!!! All 16 of us lived on donuts for the entire week! We had millions to choose from… the choices ranged from butter-cream filled, lush, icing-topped Red Velvet ‘Crime Scene’ donuts to heavenly, rich ferrero rocher donuts.


Movie Making
I think we can all agree that making an actual movie and editing it, was one of the highlights of the Gael Linn course.  We started off by getting into groups and then planning a movie around an Irish Sheanfhocail. Maggie, one the leaders showed us how to use the proper filming camera , although we all had no idea what she was saying because it was all in Irish, but eventually we just kinda got it.

We chose to base our major motion picture on the seanfhocail “Má tá tú ag lorg cara gan locht, béidh tú gan cara go deo.” which means, for those of you who cannot bring your brain to decipher the mind boggling code that is the Irish language, “If you are looking for a friend without fault, you will be without a friend forever.”

As you can imagine, it was not an easy task to write a movie script as Gaeilge. Armed with nothing but an old Irish saying and a professional camera, we were left to our own devices entirely. You’d be surprised what oscar-worthy scripts can be produced under time pressure with nine people and google translate! Once the script was written, we had the task of picking the actors. Some were more enthusiastic than others, let me tell you. After a few minutes of us shrinking back into our seats, our leading actors were volunteered. We all came out of our shells a bit during the filming process and I’m delighted to say that everybody appeared in the movie in some shape or form!! After editing our movies, they turned out to be quite a success! We all had a great laugh watching them, if nothing else.

Overall, we had brilliant craic during the week while brushing up on our cúpla focail as Gaeilge!

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.