Work pays off for Coláiste Ailigh students
By Aoife Shiels
Weeks of preparation, experiments, research, write-ups and stress preceded the week of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2011. Coliste Ailigh, on the Letterkenny High Road, has participated in the competition for several years and has developed a strong reputation for high-calibre projects in the exhibition over the years.
Students and staff eagerly anticipate the week spent in the RDS in Dublin, and once again we were not disappointed: The sleepless nights, mountains of food consumed, epic battles of cards in which inter-county rivalry was paramount, races to grab as many freebies as we could carry and several mishaps involving malfunctioning alarm clocks contributed to a montage of memories that will be recounted time and time again.
Despite the light-hearted atmosphere, Coliste Ailigh also took the competition very seriously and came away with two prizes. Fifth-year students, Niamh N Ghailn, Lra Nic Lochlainn, Sorcha N Bhuaidh, Dnal Nill and Conchr Mac Giolla Bhin, took second place in their category for the project "An cuidi n contirt iad sat navs?" This marked their final year as participants in the competition, and their prize meant they had succeeded in leaving their mark on the prestigious science competition.
In addition, three second-year students, Nase Bheir, Caoimhn Lionnin and Pdraig Riain, placed third in their category with their project, "An dearcadh at ag saornaigh sinsearach i dtreo osteoporosis". The students surveyed pensioners to investigate the attitudes of older people in relation to osteoporosis. Their success was an indication of confidence in the new generation making their impact on the world of science.
The experience of presenting the result of weeks of hard work was rewarding and stimulating for each of the 23 Coliste Ailigh students whose work was accepted into the exhibition. The experience was further enhanced by the opportunity to interact with other students from every corner of the country who shared their interest in science and technology.
While the Coliste Ailigh students were overwhelmed by the standard of projects before them, we felt the seven projects we were proud to call our own were a credit to ourselves, our families and school, and flew the flag for science in Donegal to great effect.
It was with sadness that we waved good-bye to the friends we made during our Young Scientist experience. However, after promising to stay in contact, we agreed that we would be back next year, ready to ignite the fire of competition once again.
Aoife is currently on work experience with the Donegal Democrat.