AVS Notes 19th January 2018


Aonad Gaeilge – An Irish Medium Education Initiative
We are delighted to announce that the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, under the management of Donegal Education and Training Board are pleased to announce that from September 2018 they are establishing an Aonad Gaeilge within the school. The Aonad Gaeilge will cater for students who wish to be educated in an Irish medium environment, instilling a love of Irish language and culture among the students.

The introduction of the Aonad has been in response to a need identified by a community of parents who wish to have their children educated in an Irish-medium post primary setting. The initial commitment by the school will be to offer the curriculum up to the completion of the Junior Cycle with an ongoing review of provision. The subjects offered in the Aonad Gaeilge will include: Gaeilge, Maths, History, Geography, Science, Religion, Physical Education, Civics Social and Political Education and Social Personal and Health Education will come under the new Wellbeing subject in the Aonad. Pupils will integrate with the wider school community for optional subjects, for example Metalwork, Woodwork, Technical Graphics, Music and Art. English and Modern Languages will be taught through the language of the subject.

There will also be a strong emphasis on Irish culture and language through a range of new extra-curricular activities. Ms Geraldine Diver, Principal Abbey VS when speaking on the initiative said ‘I am pleased to be in a position whereby we have the capacity within our staff to respond to the needs of our local community. I am delighted that the staff of the Abbey Vocational School are excited about the delivery of this new venture and we all look forward to embracing the benefits that the promotion and enhancement of our Irish culture will bring to these students and the wider school population’.

Dr Martin Gormley, Director of Schools in Donegal ETB, paid tribute to the management and staff of our school. He said that ‘the commitment and expertise of the staff and management of the Abbey Vocational School to this initiative has resulted in a clear plan for provision and an exciting opportunity for students. The community of parents has indicated a clear need and support for the Aonad and we are now looking forward to delivering on the initiative. Ms Rosanna O Donnell, Irish Department Coordinator, with a team of interested teachers have come forward with a range of exciting ideas for the Aonad.’

The Abbey Vocational School will host an information evening on Wednesday, 31st January at 7pm in the school for all interested parents in the community. At the information evening further details will be provided and there will be an opportunity for a question and answer session. (www.donegaletb.ie)


Open Night

Open Evening Wednesday, 31st January 2017
Our school will be open to the general public from 5pm until 8pm on Wednesday 31st.  We would be delighted for you to take a tour of our school and see practical demonstrations and displays of students’ work from all of our Subject Departments.  We hope that parents of prospective students of Donegal Town and the wider community will take this opportunity to view our excellent facilities.  We especially hope that all of our incoming students will attend with their parents.  All persons under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

We will have a table set up to facilitate anyone who wishes to return the enrolment form on the night of the Open Evening.  We encourage you to please do this. Deadline for enrolment is Friday, 9th February 2018.

We will host an Open Day/Induction Day for our incoming 6th class students on March 6th 2018. Our new video for incoming 6th class students is now available on the website – we welcome you all to have a look at this!


Young Americans
The Young Americans will be returning to the AVS on the 26th, 27th and 28th January. This is a very exciting event for the students of the AVS and we very much encourage all to take part in this event. This is a confidence building workshop where the aim is to enable the students to use the medium of music to express themselves. Students really enjoy these days and there has always been excellent feedback on this event. We are delighted that to have the Young American back to our school

The Young Americans is a performing arts college which tour around the world inspiring students through music. The Young Americans have Completed 134 international tours and have been a huge hit in the AVS for several years. Students who sign up will participate in dancing, singing and acting in the Bosco Centre. At the end of the 3 days the students will put on a show for the public to showcase what they have been taking part in over the 3 days. Students can register in the school office now.


Young American Homestays
Many thanks to all families who are welcoming the Young Americans into their homes for the duration of their stay in Donegal Town. We appreciate your support in accommodating the crew and hope that you will enjoy being part of the experience.

We still require a number of homes for the Young Americans for the duration of their stay here, anyone that is interested in accommodating any of these young people can contact the school on 074 9721105.

Launch of Sportshall Facilities
The launch of the work done on the changing facilities in the AVS Sportshall will be this week. The fundraising committee which consisted of Abbey Hotel, AIB  Donegal Town, Anderson Auctioneers, Begley’s Pharmacy, Blas, Britton Insurance, Credit Union Donegal Town, Donegal Plumbing and Heating, Donegal Ocean Deep Oysters, Friel Meehan Accountants, Gallagher’s Bakery, Gallagher McCartney Solicitors, Glebe Builders, Harvey’s Point Hotel, Herron Auto, InterNETalia, Kelly Group, Laghey Waste Ltd, Magees, Millpark Hotel, North West Alarms, Sandhouse Hotel and Marine Spa, Total Splicing Solution and Vodafone Donegal.

At this event the Sports capital grant plans will be outlined with the rowing club and the next fundraising phase will be launched which is the upgrading of the school Gaelic football pitch. This event will be attended by representatives from all of the local clubs and many past Gaelic football players to note.

Mock Exams
The students have received their Mock Examination Timetables which are available also on the school website. Our exam students are now preparing for these exams which are very important in the overall preparation for the State Exams in June. Note, that evening study continues for students and we now have arrangements in place for lunchtime study groups for Leaving Certs in the Library.

Leaving Cert Computer Science
The Abbey Vocational School, will introduce Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject in September 2018, one of forty schools in Ireland chosen by the Department of Education and Skills to do so as part of the Government’s overall commitment to embedding digital technology in teaching and learning.

English Well Read Workshops
On Wednesday 17th January, some of our first year students took part in a storytelling and screenwriting workshop with Will Collins and Keith Corcoran. Will has written for a number of films including, ‘Song of the Sea’, ‘My Brothers’, ‘Wolf Wackers’ and ‘The Boy in the Bubble’. Keith is a well-known storyteller shanachie author and is currently working on a new book of stories. This workshop was part of the Schools ongoing “Well Read” initiative.  The ‘Well – Read’ initiative aims to create heightened awareness about the importance of creating a culture of reading in school communities for our young people as part of their personal and academic development. At the AVS we hope to foster an enjoyable reading culture for our students.


Big Brother Big Sister
The ‘Big Brother Big Sister’ initiative which was established before the holidays launched this week. ‘Big Brother, Big Sister’ is a mentoring training programme for a selection of Leaving Cert students. The students were paired with their first-year buddies for the year and they will meet every Thursday at lunch time.

Our students are working hard in preparation for their upcoming practical’s and the Open Night.  Well done to Anna Gillow, who sang a solo with the Donegal Abbey Singers this Christmas. A clip of her wonderful performance has received over 7,000 views on Facebook.

Career Guidance

  1. A HEAR & DARE Application Advice Clinic for Leaving Cert students will take place in the Villa Rose, Ballybofey and the Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo on Saturday, 20 January 2018 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. See AccessCollege.ie for further details.
  2. An NUI Galway Information Evening for Leaving Cert students and their parents will be held in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny on Thursday, 18 January 2018 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  3. A very informative Apprenticeship talk took place in the Library on Wednesday, 10 January, presented by the Donegal ETB Apprenticeship Department. Thank you to all of the 5th and 6th year students that attended. Thank you to Lorraine Murray for an excellent presentation.
  4. The Guidance Department have set up a Google Classroom for Apprenticeship information provision.  Please ask your Guidance Counsellor or one of your practical subject teachers for the code.
  5. Ms Mc Morrow & Ms Faherty would like to remind 6th year students that they should be making their 1:1 appointments as soon as possible.  The Guidance Department are here to help in any way we can over the course of the next very important couple of months.  5th year students are also welcome to request a 1:1 appointment.

Senior Cycle Options Night
The Senior Cycle Options Night for parents of those students going into TY or Fifth year will take place on Tuesday night 6th February in the school. The talk will cover the Transition Year Programme and the subject choice available for 5th years. We encourage all parents to attend.

Talk for Parents on Moving on to College and College Life
LYIT will present a talk to parents on “A guide on third level education’ in the school library on 25th January at 8pm. During this talk parents will get an insight into the people within third level education, the opportunity for students, the different options available to students and the key to success in third level support services.

Healthy Schools
The Health Promoting Schools committee are selling tickets for a Phaser bicycle.  Raffle tickets are one euro each and can be purchased at lunch time in the Assembly area.

Defib Awareness and Location App
Thank you to the community for your generous donations as a result this week TY students and staff presented members of the ambulance service with a cheque this week for €1,600 that was raised to provide the community with an outdoor defibrillator for the school. Our Health promoting schools committee have been working on a plan in order to raise awareness in the community of the importance of a defibrillator.  Defibrillators strengthen the Chain of Survival. They can restore a normal heart rhythm in victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Staff have undergone an overview of how to use a defibrillator in case of an emergency. A number of students have attended a certified Cardiac First Responder Training. The training comprised of CPR, Choking, Recovery Position and the use of a defibrillator.

Debate Club
Students in 1st year who were interested in Debate will participate in a workshop at the end of January. A date is yet to be confirmed. Maura Logue will be delivering the workshop on the day.

Couch to 5k
The couch to 5k programme begins on Monday, January 15th for staff and 6th year students. There are many mental health benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal. This is important as our 6th year students prepare for their mock exams in the coming weeks. Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression. The programme will run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after school on the track.

Operation Transformation
A number of staff members are participating in ‘Operation Transformation’. Last year was a fantastic success. In addition, many local GAA clubs are “working in partnership with RTÉ’s Operation Transformation, they are seeking to bring together communities across the 32 counties to enjoy healthy walks in the safe, bright, environs of their GAA club. In a bid to make exercise more accessible on the dark winter nights, ‘Ireland Lights Up’ will see participating clubs turn on their floodlights/lighting systems between 7pm – 9pm each Monday for a six-week period. Check out www.rté/getinvolved.ie for more information.

Healthy Eating Initiative
Our healthy schools committee are commencing work on the development of a survey to distribute to our students and staff to see what healthy options they would like to see served in the school canteen. Our committee believe this is a matter of large importance because healthy eating for adolescents is extremely important.  The school environment is a key setting to address healthy eating, because students spend a large part of their day in school.

Transition Years:

PE Xpo
The TYs are currently working in class on their PE Xpo project which is due at the end of the month. The PE Xpo is a competition that examines the science behind sport. It will take place in the sport facilities of Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun on the 7th March.

John Paul II Awards
Ms Feeney accompanied 20 TY students and one fifth year to Letterkenny on Thursday, 18th January. Mass was held with the Bishop in the Cathedral at 11.30 as part of the John Paul 11 Awards. Aoibhe Timoney and Shaun Meehan read prayers of the faithful and Kieran Byrne carried a gift to the altar. A light lunch was then provided for the students.

 Work experience
The second week of work experience for our TY students will take part on the week of the 14th February.

Mobile Phone and Social Media Talk
On Friday 19th January, Mr Eamonn Mc Cooey, Juvenile Liaison Office with An Garda Síochana visited the AVS to speak with TY students on the safety aspects associated with social media and the relevant laws associated re same. We thank Mr Mc Cooey who has now spoken to the entire student community of the Abbey Vocational School on the following areas – Internet Safety, Mobile Phone Use, Substance Misuse and Road Safety. These talks were very informative and extremely important to our students. Thank you Mr Mc Cooey on behalf of all here in the AVS.

TY Christmas card competition
4B and their Irish teacher Ms Mc Hugh organised an Irish Christmas card competition for all 1st, 2nd and 3rd years before the Christmas holidays. We would like to thank the community, staff and students of the AVS who donated as over €200 was collected which will be presented to St. Vincent de Paul by TY students.

Seó Bothar
The Irish language roadshow will be coming to the AVS on Monday 22nd January. It is an interactive workshop about the Irish language including games, debates and role play. The aim of the workshop is to encourage and empower students to use their Irish more often both inside and outside of school. Students are informed about where they can use Irish and about their language rights. There are stickers, CDs, wristbands and lots of other prizes to win on the day. The Road Show was held in more than 170 schools last year and is expanding all the time. Thank you to Ms Mc Hugh who organised the workshop for TY students.

Personal Presentation workshop
On Tuesday, 23rd January TY students will be taking part in a makeup and personal presentation workshop. Students will be taught new makeup skills and how to present well.

Debating workshop
A debating workshop has been organised for TY students on Wednesday, 31st January. The Debating Workshop is being held in the Library by Maura Logue.

TY students can take part in beginner Jujitsu classes in DT Fitness. Students will learn self-defense skills in a fun and friendly environment. The classes will take place every Tuesday for 3 weeks.


Donegal Sport Star Awards
Congratulations to all in the school involved in sport as the AVS was nominated for a Donegal Sports Award in the category – Best Sports School. Congratulations also to Ms Harvey and Ms Carr for their nominations as Best Sports Teachers. Good luck to Mia Mc Calmont as she has been nominated for the best Donegal Sports Girl Award, in recognition for her international achievements this year in the area of athletics.

Training continues every Tuesday after school for all age groups. Cross country training is on Friday at lunch time. The Donegal School’s cross-country final was cancelled this week but will be rescheduled for next week. Our cross-country team will also be travelling to Irvinestown for the Ulster Schools Competition on the 7th February. Our 1st year girls Sportshall Athletics team are training hard for the county final, this takes place on the 1st February in Gweedore also. On the 2nd February our TY students will host a small primary school sports hall competition. This will be part of their sports leadership.

Girls Basketball
1st year girls training continues every Wednesday after school in the school gym. The 2nd year girls training has been moved to Monday after school in the school gym. Good luck to the senior girls who play away in Mullingar this Saturday in the All Ireland qualifiers.

Boys Basketball
1st and 2nd year boys’ basketball training has moved to Thursday after school with Mr McHugh and Saturday morning from 9-11 pm in the school gym. The 1st and 2nd year league will start in the coming weeks.

U15 Soccer
Good luck the U15 boys who play St Eunan’s in the Donegal minor league final in Killygordon on Wednesday 24th.

1st year Boys’ Soccer
Good luck to the 1st year boys who play Buncrana in the coming weeks.

Senior Boys Gaelic Football
Well done to the AVS boys’ Gaelic team who performed very well throughout the year. Unfortunately, it was a toss between us and Dungloe to go through to the semi and Dungloe won the toss.

1st year Boys Gaelic
The boys have begun training for the U13’s competition in March. We are delighted also to have county coach Paddy Hegarty visiting the school to do some coaching.

Ladies Gaelic Football
U14 and U20 girls training will continue after school every Tuesday. Please bring runners, a warm top, water and a gum shield. The U14 league will start in February. Good luck to the U20’s who have progressed to the Ulster stage in their competition. Details of their next game will be available in the coming weeks.

Girls Active
Girls Active started Friday 19th in the Parish Hall. It continues every Friday 3:45- 4:45pm. We will be taking part in Zumba, an activity the girl’s will surely enjoy as it incorporates dance and exercise to various types of music.

U16 hurling training continues Tuesday at lunch time.

Lunch time activities
Lunch time activities continue as normal. Please check the notice board in the gym. There is a least two activities a day.