Two Donegal teams at Junior Achievement National Finals

Aisling Doherty


Aisling Doherty

Two Donegal teams at Junior Achievement National Finals
Teams from two Donegal schools have made it through to the finals of this year’s Junior Achievement Ireland Awards.

Teams from two Donegal schools have made it through to the finals of this year’s Junior Achievement Ireland Awards.

More than 2,500 students entered the prestigious competition, which is sponsored by Chartered Accountants Ireland but just eight teams, two from each region, are currently going head to head at Citywest in Dublin.

St Columba’s, Stranorlar earned their place with ‘Bright Sparks’, a science pack for primary school students while Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair also impressed with ‘Number Ninjas’, a Junior Cert Maths revision book.

Number Ninjas

Number Ninjas is a new maths book created by students at Pobailscoil Gaoth Dobhair for students. The team behind it is: managing director Jamie MacUiginn (16); head of sales and marketing (16); head of design Sinéad Gallagher (15); and head of finance Catriona O’Donnell (15).

Jamie outlines their approach. “We first came up with the idea for Number Ninjas shortly after the Junior Certificate last year. Wewere talking about how stressful and confusing the maths exam was and how we wished there was a simple maths book to explain the important and basic parts of maths. We did a survey of other students, asking what they found most difficult, such as algebra and percentages and we worked from there.”

The team focused on what they saw as the essential material, kept things light by putting a maths-related joke at the start of each chapter and generally making the book user-friendly.

“As transition year students, we spent a lot of time in our computer room designing andwriting the book. We split the work of making the book up into four equal parts which we showed to our Maths teacher. We asked our English teacher to look over the grammar. Patricia Friel, who was our Business volunteer, also helped a lot, especially with the JA Ireland competion.”

In all, the process took nearly six months. The team are delighted with how well it’s been received, Jamie says.

“Getting through to the final was a huge surprise but the fact that Sprint and Eason’s carry our book really helped us. We’re quite happy with the level of sales.”

“We feel very lucky to have made to the finals but our aim is not to win competitions, or to make money. Our only true goal is to make the world a more math-friendly place.”

For more information on Number Ninjas, email: or call 086 224 9290. You can also like them on Faceboo or follow them on Twitter@NumberNinjas.

Bright Sparks

The ‘Bright Sparks Science Pack’ is a brilliant idea conceived by three students at St Columba’s, Maria Traynor (16) is Managing Director of the company, Ciara McGhee (15) is Finance Manager and James Carlin (16) is Sales and Marketing Manager of Logic Enterprise.

The mini-company created a science pack designed for primary school children. The pack includes a booklet containing instructions for 21 enjoyable experiments and most of the equipment necessary to do them.

“We all just love science and wanted to share that with children, to help them learn in a fun way,’’ Maria told the Democrat.

Bright Sparks Science Pack is on sale in the Book Centre in Ballybofey, Sprint Educational Supplies in Letterkenny and Donegal Town, and Donegal Stationery in Letterkenny.