Abbey Vocational School News

News for week commencing October 10th, 2016

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter

Abbey Vocational School News

Parents Association AGM

The Parents’ Association AGM was held on Monday night last. Thank you to all of those parents who attended on the night. A new committee was formed and their first meeting was held this week. We thank those parents who have served their time to date on the committee and wish the incoming members well for the coming year. The first activity which they plan are the Mock Interviews for our Leaving Cert students.

Traditional Music Visit 

On Thursday 6th, Zoe Conway, Dónal Lunny and Máirtin O'Connor came to our school and performed for our music students.  They played a wide variety of tunes from jigs to polkas. At one stage, our own Traditional Group from the school joined in along with these renowned musicians and played the "Kerry Polka", "Boys of Blue Hill" and "Harvest Home".  These traditional instrumentalists really showed off their skills by performing pieces that they had composed themselves. The School Traditional Group serenaded the musicians by playing "O'Donnell Abu."

The group began by playing Dónal Lunny's "Tolka Polka" and finished with Máirtin O'Connor's "Journey West." Zoe Conway sang a beautiful Donegal air with her angelic voice. 

The musicians were very kind as they answered many questions from students about where they started and their journey to date.  We were privileged to have these fabulous people play for us and we wish to thank them again.

A group of 5th year Art students visited the Glebe House and Gallery recently. ‘Babe Rainbow’, an exhibition of artwork on loan from the British Council's Art collection was on display. The exhibition included works by such renowned artists as Henry Moore, Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin, Howard Hodgkin and Damien Hirst. Curator Adrian Kelly spoke to students about the works that were being exhibited. Later the students were taken on a guided tour of the former house of renowned artist and Tory Island painter’s patron Derek Hill. The students also visited Letterkenny Institute of Technology’s Design and Creative Media Department to find out about the courses that are on offer there.

Study Workshops

Throughout the week our 6th, 5th and 3rd year students will have the chance to attend a workshop on study skills which will help them prepare for the coming months. These workshops will be delivered by 'Amazing Brains'. In this series of workshops the students will learn to understand the complex nature of resilience and develop a personalised academic resilience plan. They will learn to explore interdependence and states of maturity, to develop effective study and research skills, to apply time management techniques and organise themselves in a systematic way. They will also investigate the importance of showing initiative and taking on leadership roles, critically assess their current learning strategy and develop a learning plan and develop the tools to engage successfully in collaborative work.

Mental Health Week

This will be a busy week within the Abbey Vocational School this week, there are many excellent and worthwhile talks and workshops taking place over the week. The Connect Mental Health group support us in the planning and will present “Real Talks” founded by Alan O’Mara, where they create environments that allow students to have real, open and meaningful conversations about the importance of Mental Health and Wellbeing and build greater resilience to pressures. “The Shona Project” looks at how we can make our school a safe place for everyone, where differences are embraced, and we take care of each other.

The #Livelife Foundation, continues and promotes the challenge of the conversation that Kerry teenager Donal started about Teenage Suicide Awareness and the provision of teenage facilities in care centres. Donal’s mother Elma Walsh will deliver the inspirational story of Donal, his life, his illness, his spirit and his untimely death. 

Connect Mental Health and Foróige National Youth Organisation have invited our students to participate in an interactive, energetic and fun Health and Well-Being event that will encourage young people to make healthier choices. This includes eating well, being active, building strong friendships, the importance of balance and relaxation and minding their mental health. All the above will take place during school for our students.

On Tuesday evening all parents are invited into the school to attend a workshop, this is also provided by Connect Mental Health. This workshop is aiming to support young people’s Mental Health (SYPMH) it is a 1-hour workshop aimed at parents/guardians and others in the community who are concerned about the mental health of young people. The workshop aims to build understanding of the mental health issues affecting young people and to provide guidance on how to support young people who may be struggling with their mental health.

School Service

On the 20th October all students in the school will attend a whole school service in the school gym. The service will be attended by our local priests, reverends and ministers. 

Safety Roadshow

TY students will attend the Annual Car Safety roadshow in Letterkenny. This is a hard-hitting road safety message delivered to Donegal students in the Aura Letterkenny Leisure Centre. The award winning show, which is in its fifth year is hosted by Donegal County Council in association with the Donegal Road Safety Working Group (DRSWG). 

TY PE Activities

All TYs are continuing with their PE activities every Thursday evening. During this time one class goes to Rossnowlagh to take part in surfing under the guidance of the ‘Surf n Turf’ instructors. Another group goes down to the Central Hotel to attend an aqua aerobics class. Zumba is provided in the school gym for another group and the final group takes part in a yoga class in the school library. Every six weeks each group changes activity. 

CAO/UCAS/DARE/HEAR Information Night for parents of Leaving Cert students

The Guidance Department will host an Information Night for parents of Leaving Cert students on October 18th at 7.00pm here in the school. Many aspects will be covered on the night including how best to support your son/daughter throughout this very difficult year.

School Tour

This year’s Educational School Tour will be to Barcelona during the Easter holidays. Deposits should have all been paid to School Tour leader M Leyden at this stage.

The Spirit of Community Awards

The Spirit of Community Awards are an All-Ireland recognition programme for volunteers. There are two categories, Junior and Senior. The programme is funded by Pramerica and supported by the NAPD and the GTCNI. The candidates will be chosen to represent and compete for prizes, such as: €500, a crystal trophy for the school and a €1000 donation to a charity of your choice. In addition, two volunteers will be chosen to attend the Spirit of Community recognition event in Washington D.C. The closing date for applications is the 21st October 2016. More information can be found at

Student Council 2016/2017

The newly elected Student Council will meet on Wednesday for the first time this school year. With two students from each year, one boy and one girl, the Council represents the entire student body of our school. The Student Council members for 2016/2017 are Dermot Slevin and Caitlin Ward from first year, Hannah Crawford and Hugh Mc Donnell from second year, Anaoise Alvey and David Keaney from third year, Killian Faulkner, Aidan Mc Hugh, Molly Quinn and Jessica Henry from TY, Shaun Kennedy and Rosin Ward from fifth year and Michael Drzewiecki, Damaris Scott and Chloe Kennedy from Leaving Cert.  We wish them luck in their new roles. 


TY Human Rights Talk

Danielle Bonner from the Donegal Women's Network has visited the school over a number of weeks delivering workshops about the respect needed towards other humans and gender equality.
The committee behind these workshops promotes women's rights and equality. It gives students space to have a conversation about what gender equality includes and the importance of breaking stereotypes.

Carnival Workshop for TY's
On the 4th October, TY students attended a Carnival Workshop in the Parish Centre which was organised by Maura Logue.  The students were taught how to face paint by Paula and Maria, they also took part in drama exercises.  This workshop took place ahead of the Ballyshannon Carnival last weekend.

TY students attended NUIG open day on Friday 7th.  They were shown around the campus and got to see what the courses were like. Students attended courses ranging from Nursing, Performing Arts, Marine Science and Law. This helped students decide which courses they liked and which ones didn't appeal to them.  This was a very beneficial career trip, some students now hope that they will attend this University in the near future.


The Business Department will run a Dragons Den competition this year for transition year students in order to help them plan for their mini company business which they will set up over the coming months.


All companies. FINAL: Wednesday 26th October - Successful 6 from Heat 1. Prize Start – Up Capital €75 for 1st Place and €50 for 2nd Place. Each group must provide, a printed Business Plan (handed in Friday 14th October), Prototype, PowerPoint Presentation – max 6 slides (on memory stick) and a speech – max 3 mins (all members take part). Companies will be at the start up/planning stage of the process but the idea has to be fully thought through. Each team member should have a clearly defined role and able to answer relevant questions. Sales are not required and you need to show the Dragon’s what the start-up money will be used for.

'Aisling' the Musical

The TY students along with the Music Department will travel to the Hawkswell Theatre in Sligo for a performance of 'Aisling' a musical composed by Shaun Purcell. This musical has been highly rated by many in the media. 'It's power sends tingles down the spine.... full of many toe tapping tones, Broadway style belters and ballads.' - The Irish Times.

Lunchtime Activities
A variety of lunchtime activities takes place this term as follows:
Monday: Ultimate Frisbee for all: Sportshall. 1st year Soccer: Tennis Court
Tuesday: Futsal Leagues for all: Sportshall. 3rd Year soccer: Tennis Court
Wednesday: 2nd Year Soccer: Tennis Court. Senior Gaelic: All weather, Senior Soccer in gym
Thursday: 1st Year Gaelic: Sportshall. 2nd Year Soccer: Tennis Court.
Friday: 3rd Year Soccer: Gym. Senior Soccer: Tennis Court


U-16 Boys
The boys U-16 Gaelic team travelled to Glenties on Thursday 6th October to take on the home side. When these sides last met at U-14 level Glenties came out on top so we knew we would have to put in a strong performance to prevail. At half time the AVS were up by 6 points, but had played with a very strong wind during the first half. Playing against the wind in the second half the AVS boys dug deep and with goals by Daniel Gallagher and Brian Gallagher they emerged victorious on a score line of AVS 3-10 Glenties 1-09. We have 2 games remaining in our group, away to Killybegs and home to Rosses.

U-14 boys

The U-14 boys travelled to Carrick last week where they played Coláiste Na Carraige. The AVS came out on top in a very competitive match. There was some excellent footballing talent on show from both teams, but in the end the AVS students proved to be too strong for the Carrick lads. As a result of the win AVS are now in top position in the league. Well done to all the lads and their managers.

Girls GAA

U-20s will play their first match against St Columba’s Glenties on the 20th September at home. The U-16s will play their first game against the Rosses Dungloe on 25th September, this will also be a home fixture for the girls. All the girls have been working hard at training and it is great to see such big numbers attending training every Wednesday after school.  

Girls Soccer:

It is great to see Girls soccer back in the school again, and is great to see such big numbers turning out for training every Wednesday during lunch. The girls will play their first match against Loreto Letterkenny on Thursday 27th September at home.


Boys Basketball

The U-16 and U-20 will travel to St Louis Community School in Kiltimagh on Monday 24th October to play their first match of the league. Good luck to all the boys in their first match. Training continues every Friday at 3:30 – 5.00 for 1st and 2nd years and 5.00 - 6:30 for U-16 and U-19. 

Girls Basketball:

The U-16 and U-19 will play their second game of the league this Wednesday 12th September in Ballyshannon against Coláiste Cholmcille. Good luck to all the girls and their management team. Training continues every Monday and Thursday after school in the school Gym.


The Boys rugby team had their first outing last week where they took part in a tournament. The first game was against St Eunan’s from Letterkenny, where they came out on top with a 19-0 win. Tries were scored by Carl McCarry, Denis McMenamin and Jamie Crawford. They were not as successful in their second game against Finn Valley where they lost narrowly by 12-7, try scored by Jamie Crawford. To end the day off on a successful note the AVS won their last game against Ballyshannon on a score line of 33-0. Tries scored by Jamie Crawford, Victor Joe Mitchell and James Kerrigan. Well done to all the boys.


The School Golf team put in an excellent performance last Thursday in the first round of this year's championship. With a combined score of 156pts, Abbey were comfortable winners over last year's finalists Gweedore and St Columba’s. Best overall score on the day went to our team captain, Shaun Meehan 6th year, with excellent scoring too from Connor Mc Goldrick, Freddie Cullen and Joseph Timoney. New to the team was Jaden Mgbam and he accredited himself very well on his first outing. Next round is to be played before Halloween in Dunfanaghy.