High Points and Even More Important Points!

It is understandable that students and their parents and teachers get obsessed with the ‘points race’ when it comes to the Leaving Certificate: for better or worse, that mid-August sum is quite significant when it comes to plotting one’s immediate future.   And this year’s Results Day was particularly nerve-wracking, as a new system of grades was instituted with Hs and Os replacing ABCs and totals no longer finishing in multiples of 5.  Mr. ODulaing and even Ms. Hopkins were pushed to their arithmetical limits mastering the new arcane numerology necessary to find out if you were likely to be doing Medicine at UCD with Sean Pettitt or Basketweaving in Bangor with the kid from the next estate.  We will soon do further number-crunching of the results overall but we can say already that there were many satisfied smiles on the day, as you can see below!

 

 

St. Conleth’s recognises the value of those CAO points but we also know there is much more to the education and development of children and young men and women.  Coincidentally, on that day of the cut-and-dry points totals, we also received a letter from parents, Irene Bloemraad and David St-Jean, who wished to thank St. Conleth’s for all the good things that made up their son Maxime’s year at the school.  We will leave you with their points!

We write to express our thanks for everything the school has done during our year in Ireland. Please feel free to share our very positive experience with other prospective families. 

St. Conleth’s College was a wonderful school. It is not easy, as a teenager, to transition to a new school, especially when this involves moving to a new country and learning a new educational system. Maxime’s experience was made more of a challenge by the fact that he was coming into Third Year and had to catch up on two years of material for his Junior Certificate exam. His teachers were very supportive in making sure that he succeeded. 

The St. Conleth’s students deserve special praise. They welcomed Maxime without question, including him in their activities, and provided a warm, friendly community. St. Conleth’s small school environment meant that he quickly felt comfortable. The students have a strong ethos of embracing the unique interests and talents of their peers—letting them be individuals—while including and accepting everyone within the community. 

Despite being a small school, Maxime had the opportunity to try new activities that he had never done before. He was welcomed into the rugby team and enjoyed learning and playing the sport. He participated in a math challenge team. He became involved in debating and really enjoyed participating in regional debating tournaments. He has now developed an enthusiasm for debating that he plans to take to his next school…

 

Thank you Irene and David, and best of luck to you and Maxime!

From East Wicklow to East Africa!

Inveterate explorer, Gav Maguire,  is at it again: he is deep into preparations with a group of select Conlethian students and the expedition company Earth’s Edge getting ready for a trip next summer to East Africa.  Over the summer the gang have been walking up and down the hills of the Dublin and Wicklow Coast in preparation for the slightly higher (and drier) topography of East Africa.

 

 

The planning started as soon as Gav landed back from India last summer (their last destination) and the students have been busy all year working to raise funds for the trip.  And over the last few weeks Gav has led the group from Bray to Greystones (and Greystones to Bray) and to the top of Howth Head.  Check out the pics above and below from these hikes and stay tuned for more information of the latest chapter in a now long-established Conlethian tradition of partcipation in exploration and develomemet around the world.

 

Where Do the Builders Go in August?

28 Clyde Road, Apparently!  Only our older students will remember personally the last, heady days of the Celtic Tiger when cranes crowded the horizon and a postage stamp apartment near Five Lamps cost a half a million.  Another feature of the high times was the absolute scarcity of tradesmen and builders, especially during August, the traditional month of “builders’ holidays”, when you had a better chance of getting a chippy named Murphy or a sparky named Kelly on the Costa da Sol then in Phibsborough.  Well, as we all know, times have changed, and that is good news regarding the construction of the Kevin D. Kelleher Wing.   Our Fundraising and Development specialist, Mr. Carvill, has been keeping an eye on things better than a quantity surveyor from Cavan, and he reports back that the bricks and beams are going in on schedule and that the coming weeks will certainly see our new gymnasium, performance hall and fitness suite taking shape.  Enjoy the pics below and stay tuned as we get closer to  opening day!

 

 

 

St. Conleth’s Marches Onwards!

Mr. Kelleher would surely be proud of the drive and efficiency with which Robert Quinn Ltd. have taken to the construction of the new wing which is to bear his illustrious name.   It is interesting that Mr. K’s most famous rugby feat has been in the news again thanks to ‘Sonny’ Bill Williams’s recent misdemeanours against the Lions.  Mr. K was justly proud of sending Colin Meads to the showers all those years ago, and was not shy about recounting the event over the breakfast table, but he was never one to dwell solely on the past.  He knew that those who stand still inevitably get left behind.   Mr. K., himself, oversaw several expansions to St. Conleth’s and we know he would be thrilled with the next step in development, now taken by CEO Ann Sheppard, Principals Donal ODulaing and Tony Kilcommons and the Board of Trustees.

 

 

Indeed, St. Conleth’s never sits still… and continuous development is so important to the school that Mr. John Carvill has taken on a new position which will allow him the time to organise and co-ordinate the fundraising which is essential to the future development of the school.  Read all about it in Mr. Carvill’s Development Newsletter and check out the photos and video of the early stages of construction.  Stay tuned for more news as St. Conleth’s strives to be bigger and better from the very first day of school this autumn!

 

St. Conleth’s ‘School Self-Evaluation’

Those highly paid and well-benefitted civil servants of the Department of Education are certainly earning their keep!  We recently enjoyed a one-day ‘drive-by’ inspection and earned an overwhelmingly positive appraisal (Inspector’s feedback), with the girls and boys of 1B (and their teachers) impressing their official visitor…for six class periods in a row!   This follows several subject specific inspections and a ‘Whole School Evaluation’ not too long ago, all of which may be read about in previous ‘News’ posts.  But the sun may be setting on the ‘Age of the Cigera’ as the Department is now promoting ‘School Self-Evaluation’ as the way forward.  Or as they say themselves: School self-evaluation (SSE) is a collaborative, reflective process of internal school review. It provides teachers with a means of systematically looking at how they teach and how pupils learn and helps schools and teachers to improve outcomes for learners (link).  And St. Conleth’s has responded enthusiastically to this challenge, with Assistant Principal Ms. NiAonghusa leading the way with a comprehensive survey of students and parents about their perception of the overall effectiveness of the school, with special emphasis on assessment and learning, numeracy and literacy.  Ms. NiAonghusa’s report on her findings can be found here and please do stay tuned for more news and information from St. Conleth’s implementation of School Self-Evaluation.

 

2017-18 Junior and Senior School Calendars are Here!

Rumour has it that the tiger is back and with it, for the lucky ones, the custom of multiple, exotic, annual family holidays! So, to help you plan that mid-term adventure in Thailand (and/or the long weekend in Bundoran) we attach the school calendars for next year.

Junior (and Preparatory) School Calendar 2017-18

Senior School Calendar 2017-18

So it Begins…

Yes, the sun is shining once more for the beginning of State Exam Season!  Remember, showing up is half the battle, so here are your JC and LC schedules.  Good luck and remember, as your official Examination Aide, Mr. Trenier is at your beck and call!

2017 Junior Certificate Schedule

2017 Leaving Certificate Schedule

The New Parents Association Newsletter Is Here!

The Parents’ Associations not only do loads for the school: they also write it up and publish it in a slick, attractive and easily digestible package!  Michael Mansfield and Peter O’Neill, Chairpersons of the Senior and Junior School Parents’ Associations, and Paul Allen, Chairperson Emeritus and Editor in Chief, organised a small army of active parents and once again they have finished it off just in time for you to pack it away for some beach reading!  Click below and enjoy!

Parents Association Newsletter- May 2017

 

And the Winner is…

Mr. ODulaing avoided any Oscars-style adventures at the Annual Awards Assembly and, aided by the ivory-tinkling of Sam Lynch and the rather oddly verbose speechifying by DOS (Direct of Sport) Gavin Maguire, he presided over a dignified yet joyous affair.  It was great to see so many students rewarded for their talents and effort but even more pleasing was the general bonhomie and good sportsmanship which characterised the event: we like to win at St. Conleth’s but we know that friendship and teamwork are more important.  Without further ado, here are the individual winners of awards:

 

 

And lest we forget the people who will soon run the world (or turn on the machines that do), we also have some group shots of STEM stars, who tend to stick together in groups like the ionic pawns of a crystal lattice structure… obviously for the banter and scientifically themed similes!

 

 

Mogwai Meets Mr. Potato Head!

Maestros Howe and Hartnett and the Prep School Team of Ms. Kelly, Ms. Murphy and Mr. O’Brien once managed to create a masterpiece out of a cacophony of diverse voices, talents and story-lines.  Mr. Kelleher would have particularly loved this Summer Spectacular as The Jungle Book is one of the few ‘modern’ books to have made his quite selective list of approved classics!  And who does not love the simple but timeless characters and themes of Toy Story and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

 

 

Ms. Hartnett’s Junior School Choir were in top form opening the show, thrilling parents and guests with their spot-on vocal performances and Mr. Howe led each class through a skit which perfectly matched the class’s particular strengths in performance and cuteness.  And the school hall itself served as the perfect backdrop, with artwork from all the Junior School classes covering the walls and demonstrating the creativity of the kids, and the perseverance of Art Teacher Ms. Long and all the class teachers.  Check out the snaps of the concert above and the artwork below.  Bravo, boys and girls!

 

 

TY’s Rockin’ Finale!

Our School Concert this past Spring was once again a magnificent spectacle of student musical talent but we did notice a decline in the number of shouting and jumping, hairy retro-rock aficionados who used to frequent and shake the stage (and our eardrums).  We had at least thirteen tasteful classical piano solos but not a single note of grungy reverb!  So, Transition Year took it on themselves to bring back all three chords of modern music and ‘rock the Casbah’, staging their very own version of the classic Jack Black vehicle, ‘School of Rock.’  Maestros deBhal and Gallagher concocted a daring, ‘fourth-wall-breaking’ Ionescuesque pastiche, with multiple stages and plays within plays and concerts within concerts.  And the boys and girls responded with a veritable explosion of enthusiasm for stage-stomping, hip-shaking, concert-shirt-wearing, chorus-crooning and cross-dressing!

 

 

The last, of course, is a long-standing St. Conleth’s tradition and earlier in the year the male TYs were beside themselves with worry that the presence of females in TY might eliminate the need for them to break free from their La Cage aux Folles.  But turns out they had nothing to fear as Mr. Trenier, TY Co-ordinator, runs a very tight camp indeed, but it is quite a camp camp!  In all seriousness, Mr. T. did a brilliant job integrating the girls as smoothly as possible this year and further fine-tuning an already impressive programme, from trips all over Dublin (see recent pics from the Viking Splash Tour below), through pushing the boys and girls to the completion of their various courses, projects and competitions and dragging them over the Wicklow Mountains to complete their Gaisce Hike.  It was a great year with a fitting finale.  Check out the snaps of their performance and the individual TY Awards winners, above.

 

That’s No Moon… It’s Your Summer Exam Schedule!

Yes, they are looming on the horizon like the Deathstar… but with plenty of study and a bit of the force, you will do fine!  Here are the Exam Schedules for each year, as well as Third Year Block Classes:

First Year Exam Schedule

Second Year Exam Schedule

Third Year Block Classes

Fifth Year Exam Schedule

Junior Certificate 2017  Timetable

Leaving Certificate 2017  Timetable

(All exam info such as this is always available under the headings ‘Information’/ ‘Senior Calendar’.)

Latina in Gramina!

‘filia, consuetis ut erat comitata puellis, errabat nudo per sua prata pede…‘  So begins one of the most famous sections of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  ‘Attended, as was usual, by her friends, her daughter wandered barefoot through the familiar meadows…’  Well, our First Year Latin class decided to emulate Proserpina and headed off to Herbert Park ‘with their usual companions’ and a bag full of pomegranates, grapes and wine (gums).  As you can see from the photos below, the mezzogiorno climate on the day helped instil the proper mood and the ‘puerique puellae‘ frolicked to their hearts’ content, and they even learned some Latin, reinforcing their first conjugation endings in a special ‘Latin Relay’.  Only the ‘girls-only’ pyramid (barely) stood the test of time but fair is fair when Greco-Romans start messing with Egyptian architecture!

 

 

 

 

Grand Designs

Somewhere back in the mists of time, not long after the Norman invasion itself, Mr. Peter Gallagher inaugurated a Castle-building Competition amongst the First Years at St. Conleth’s and over the subsequent centuries it has developed into one of the most prestigious competitive events at the school. The rules are simple: build a castle (by yourself, not with your parents or your architect auntie!) and earn points for historical accuracy and creativity. We always enjoy the influx of inspired and even outlandish concoctions which for a few weeks take up every horizontal surface in the school. Yes, apparently not all Conlethians build their castles merely out of air!  This year, Dr. Fallon and Mr. Ahern were in charge and the latter, having been raised in a fortified tower house in the badlands of County Limerick, certainly had the required experience to draw the best from the boys. We had castles made of Lego, wood, styrofoam, cardboard and something edible (at least we hope it was!). And who is the 2017 ‘King of the Castle’?  You will have to wait till the Awards Ceremony on Thursday for the dramatic announcement.  In the meantime, enjoy the pictures below of the semi-finalists and finalists and if you have a spare farthing, Mr. Ahern is running a book, for purely charitable purposes- of course.

 

A Lyrical Leaving for the Class of 2017

Master of Ceremonies Mr. Carvill presided over a fitting finale to the Graduating Class of 2017’s time at St. Conleth’s and the marking of a bittersweet historical moment for the school: 2017 was the first class to not benefit at their graduation from the personal warmth and wit of KD Kelleher.  Unsurprisingly, however, Mr. Kelleher’s physical absence only highlighted his spiritual presence in terms of the legacy which he has left behind and which was so evident on the night: of a school which is ‘a home away from home’.

 

 

Some of the boys have been at the school since First Class (Christian, Matt and Elliot) while the girls joined us just two years ago, but all involved seemed full of bittersweet emotions at leaving a place which for them had very much become a second home.  Mr. Hickey’s opening liturgy once again reminded us all of the ethos which helps make St. Conleth’s such a warm and welcoming place and the speeches and awards which followed both recalled the good times of the past and the promising deeds of the future.  Of course, this being St. Conleth’s where we are never at a loss for words, the musical challenge (detailed below) was more than met on the rhetorical front by Captain Oisín Herbots, Vice Captains Mati Remi and Isobel Nugent,  Principal Donal ODulaing and PPU President Donal Milmo-Penny.  Their speeches captured perfectly the nostalgic nature of the evening and Mati’s carefully composed and hilarious (even slanderous!) slideshow provided the perfect backdrop for their musings.  Of course, awards were on the agenda and the The Mr. Porzadny Show is getting so popular we fear we may soon lose him to the Oscars, such is his talent of combining genuine warmth, good humour and technical wizardry.  You can see our winners and their prizes on the slider below.  And Ms. Sheppard closed the ceremony with succinct words of celebration (and surely making Mr. K proud!). 

 

 

It is certainly no coincidence that a new music room cum performance hall is the central feature of this summer’s building plans.  Music is now at the heart of everything we do at St. Conleth’s, including last Friday’s beautiful graduation ceremony.  In both the religious ceremony and the awards and speeches event that followed, with maestro Ms. DeBhal pulling the strings, music was the perfect accompaniment for the prayers, thoughts and memories, from the delicate opening piano piece of Muireann Dempsey through the poignancy of Kerrie-Anne’s ‘May it Be’, accompanied on piano by her father, and Holly Stanley and Siobhán Moriarty’s ‘Let it Be’ and Ishan Prasai & Cian O’Connor’s ‘We Are Young’ to the familiar (and now to be sorely missed) traditional duo of Cian O’Connor and Sean Keane, with Ms. DeBhal truly ‘pulling the strings’ on her harp, and pitch perfect solo piano pieces  by Siobhán, Ciara McCracken and Sean Moran, Annalisa Sorenson & Lois Kelleher’s duet (with timely TY help), Eoin Collins’s brave ‘Proud of the Boy’ (We are sure they are!), group performances by Matt Finn, Kerrie Anne McGrath and Cian O’Connor and the whole Sixth Year Music class, culminating in the rousing whole-class rendition of ‘Mr. Blue Sky’.  And then it was outside for our first ever graduation class photo in front of our gazebo and on to the RDS for a classy dinner for students and staff and surely some classy activities afterwards downtown.  For specifics of those nocturnal celebrations you must, carefully, check social media, but for pics of the ceremony and details of the award-winners look above and below.  And here is the Graduation Booklet, a testament to the hard work put in by Messrs. Carvill, Porzadny, Hickey and Ms. DeBhal and Ms. Hopkins.  

 

 

 

TY Nuacht: Cáiliúil!

Mr. Ahern has made up for the disappointment amongst his many fans for not extending his scoring streak in the Staff/6th Year Soccer Match by orchestrating the creation and publication of ‘TY Nuacht’, a newsletter as Gaeilge by Transition Year Irish students which covers all that has been happening in the school, particularly regarding Transition Year.  The masthead says it all:

Picture6

See some excerpts below or get the full newsletter here.  It is a snazzy looking mag and we trust the grammar is spot-on and the humour to the wry side, if we know Mr. Ahern at all.

 

 

 

Great Sports!

The exodus from one side of Dublin 4 to the other began at breaktime, and though we lost a few stragglers in the meandering back allies and cowpaths of Ringsend and Irishtown, most of the students eventually arrived at he splendid sporting facilities of Irishtown Stadium, ready to enthusiastically take part in one of our most eagerly anticipated yearly rituals: St. Conleth’s Senior School Sportsday.  All the usual suspects were there: Gavin ‘Gav’ Maguire, witty yet deadly efficient Head of All Sport and Master of Ceremonies; Mr. Keenan, our rightly selective Bestower of Medals; the famous Herbots Belgian Waffle franchise; various teachers, now old hands at their various athletic stations; and, of course, hordes of waffle-fuelled adolescents, bouncing up-and-down with adrenalin and competitive zeal.  This last group spent the day, or at least the mid-afternoon, running, jumping and throwing things with glee and either winning or cheering (and laughing) as others took their turns.  Yes, we said running

 

 

jumping…

 

 

throwing…

 

 

winning…

 

 

or just hanging out!

 

Junior School Sportsday Shenanigans!

Mr. Keenan is at Irishtown Stadium so often these days, rumours are flying that he has a hand in coaching one of the Irish youth soccer teams which are based there.  And it may well be true: Shay has rugby, athletics, tennis, basketball, cricket and a bit of snooker on the resumé so why not soccer, too?  Well, this time, it was for the Junior School Sportsday and Shay has this annual event so well-planned and organised that it always runs like clockwork, especially when the rain keeps away.  Wellies were thrown, penalties were taken, the jumps were both long and high, and the races were run, with and without the sacks.  And medals were handed out like confetti, much to Shay’s ‘old school’ consternation about supply decreasing demand etc…   But then someone handed him a serving of the legendary Herbots’ Belgian waffles and ice cream and all was forgiven!   This tasty treat proved to be the ideal pre-(and post)-race nourishment though we imagine a few backseats needed a bit of cleaning when the day was done.   The Parents’ Race is becoming more impressive every year: not because they are getting any faster, it is just the spectator Staff are getting older!   (Which explains why the Staff Race itself was cancelled:  due to the previous day’s efforts vanquishing (as in ‘drawing with’) the Sixth Years.)   Amongst the kids themselves, there were too many inspiring wins (and a few hilarious ‘fails’) to mention any one in particular- except for the Junior Infants doing a spot-on ensemble Forrest Gump impersonation: they took off on their 50 metre dash with enthusiasm, revved it up in the first 10 metres, hit the 25 in good form and were in reasonable condition bearing down on the finish line… but they just didn’t stop!   Shocked parents laughed and laughed and then grew a little worried as the little black spots faded over the horizon, so they immediately set off in pursuit- well, after another serving of those Herbots waffles, that is!

 

 

 

 

 

Straight Outta Conleth’s: Chess Playas With Attitude!

We are not sure with which gang Charlie and James are associated, but we are happy that they have a chess-playing ‘wing’!   James recently faced off against Antonia in a late-round match-up of the Annual St. Conleth’s Chess Tournament, run by Chess Moderator Ms. NiAonghusa, and even though James’s wingman, Charlie, was there wearing his colours and flashing some intimidating signs, Anontonia was not to be cowed so easily and she almost pulled off the upset.  The tournament is nearing its business end so both participants should be proud of getting this far, where guys named Suyash and Mati roam with true chess swagger.  Stay tuned for the finale and if you want more TY posing and posturing, make sure you catch James, Charlie, Antonia and all the gang in the musical ‘School of Rock’, premiering next Wednesday evening!

 

Action from the Annual St. Conleth's Chess Tournament: Antonia loses narrowly to James.

Fencing for Free!

Whenever chess makes the headlines, the other great Conlethian tradition, fencing, is sure to follow!  Luke Sherlock, Sixth Form and Claudio Sosa, First Year, have both been awarded an Adrian Lee & Partners Fencing scholarship for 2017.  Adrian Lee is both a past pupil and a past parent of St. Conleth’s.  These scholarships are based solely on competitive fencing performance to date and potential to perform in the future.  This  annual scholarship covers fencing expenses such as memberships fees,  lessons, competition expenses such as entries and transportation.  Stay tuned as Luke moves into the Senior School and joins Claudio and other notable fencers such as James Moriarty-Smyth and Michael Li.   More medals and trophies are sure to come St. Conleth’s way!

 

 

 

Conlethian Chessmen Making Moves for Ireland!

More great news on the chess front!  Both Junior and Senior School teams have been hitting the headlines with regularity this year and now two of our inter-school competition regulars have earned international distinction. Sixth Form Eoin Hunter and First Year Utkarsh Gupta have been selected to play for Ireland in the U-14 section of the annual Glorney Gilbert International – a world renowned tournament which involves the ‘five nations’ of chess: Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and France.  The event is being hosted this year by the Welsh Chess Union in Cardiff from the 23rd to the 27th July. It is a great achievement for St. Conleth’s to have two representatives at the international level!

 

Goblet Retained: Staff Survive 6th Year Skullduggery!

Things did not look good for the Staff Team in the moments leading up to kick-off.  Yes, we had retained the legendary ‘Goblet of Fire’ for over ten years.  Yes, we always play a stylish sort of football, which leaves the various Irish national teams which frequent the Irishtown facility gnashing their teeth in jealousy on the sidelines.  And yes, the current 6th Year soccer-heads did not look remotely capable of organising the proverbial beverage imbibery in a brewery.  And yet, doubts had sneaked in and multiplied as the team news leaked onto Twitter:  Willie Malone, an absolute beast between the posts,  was indeed staying retired.  Mr. ODulaing, our Paul McGrath, was unavailable.  Mike Travers, the quintessential ‘modern fullback’, was out with an ICT injury.  Mr. Stephen Sheridan was busy at his new school, playing croquet and cricket.  Our talisman, Mr. Ahern, he who had somehow scored three times without using his feet or head, was likewise unavailable.  And everyone, especially Mr. Bolger, was a year older.  But Pat McGrath, our Director of Football showed up and steadied the ship and we soldiered on, taking heart in some of the newer blood: literally in the case of Mr. Gleeson, who left copious amounts of his in puddles where he had withstood the vicious lunges of various 6th Years.  Also answering the call were Mr. Tony ‘Adams’ Kilcommons, ‘Twelvetrees’  Trenier and Mr. ‘Show-Me’ Sheridan, the anchors of our defence; Mr. Magee, an agile giant between the sticks; Mr. O’Brien, who somehow brought his skater-punk ethic and fashion to the right wing; two eager young Latvii; Mr. Sweeney, our Maths ace in the hole who had all the angles measured; and the surprise signee from Brazil via the canteen, Zay, whose flickery and trickery amazed the opposition’s rugby grunts.  Supersub Gav Maguire’s last expedition must have followed Ponce de Léon, as he played like a man half his near forty years.  And tirelessly running, or jogging, everything down up front was the soon-not-to-be-so-lonely figure of Mr. Bolger.

 

 

But the real star of the show was Mr. Lonergan: like Steve Sidwell in his prime, or Neil Lennon slightly after his, our top Tipp man was everywhere, chasing down the ball, taking every single dead-ball kick, tackling with abandon and making sure to tell everyone else exactly what they should be doing, even our august referee, Shay Keenan.  ‘Ubiquitous’ you say?  At one point Mr. Lonergan not only took a corner, but he was also there on the other end, trying to head it in.  If you slow down the replay, you can just barely see a flash of ginger charging at light-speed into the box!   Which brings us to Christian, surely the most annoying member of the 6th Year team, and that is saying something!  Christian actually scored quite a stylish goal but quickly reminded us who he was with his ridiculous celebration.  To give the students their due, they did push, kick, grab, fall down, and moan much better than we expected.  And after matching Fernando Torres for magnitude of miss, Oscar ‘Hamlet’ Harley-Monks did balance the ledger.  Our major complaint was that at the end of full time, they begged us not to play extra-time, as they had had enough.  We kindly acquiesced and kept the goblet!

Friday Night Lights!

In Texas, if you ain’t at the high-school football game on a Friday night, you’re either a communist or something worse…  Similarly, amongst the St. Conleth’s mathematicians, if you are not attending a maths quiz or Pi party on a Friday night, people start to talk.  Well, Ms. NiAonghusa for one is certainly beyond suspicion!  You read here previously about the Sixth and Third Years’ after-hours mathematics, well this time it was the First Years’ turn as  Joymarita and Trevor qualified for the Finals of the IMTA (Irish Maths Teachers Association) Maths Competition. The format is an hour of tricky mind-bending maths problems (even tougher after a long week of school!).  The Finals were held at Oatlands College and Joymarita and Trevor more than held their own against some of the biggest brainiacs in Leinster.  The UCD professor who awarded the prizes dubbed them all- ‘Problem solvers of the future’.  And the accompanying Ms. NiAonghusa definitely had more fun than her colleagues who were at the same time at Crowe’s Mathematical Think-Tank, analysing the vectors of Gav Maguire’s scintillating (and mathematically impossible) runs during the Staff/6th Year Soccer Match.

 

Cross-Curricular Creativity!

Ms. Killen’s class recently completed a cross-curricular project on a topic that is very much in the news lately: secret sugar consumption.  Second Years Nollaig, Matthew and Nickolay combined Science, Maths and Health in their investigation into how much sugar students at St. Conleth’s are actually consuming when lunching in the canteen or gobbling down goodies from the Tuck Shop at break-time (and during certain classes- but certainly not Ms. Killen’s!).   The results were shocking and can clearly be seen in their project which is on display in the ground floor corridor.  Interestingly, the project had to be done twice: the first time, the boys actually measured, bagged and displayed the sugar present in each item, but then some particularly desperate Conlethian sugar junkie went and siphoned off most of the display!  Now, there are just the safer figures on view, but we implore the person responsible to get some help and, above all, stop sucking down those Capri Suns (18 grams of sugar)!

 

The End of the Debate

Yes, the motion has been carried: St. Conleth’s is the pre-eminent school in the country for student debating.  We have seen repeatedly how the Senior School debaters dominate their field, and now the Juniors are starting to do the same.  Fifth Year Oisín Dowling, one of our Senior School champion debaters, provides this report on the recent Association of Irish Junior Schools Debate which is always hosted by St. Conleth’s.

On Wednesday, the 10th of May, St. Conleth’s became a proud host for junior debaters, ranging from 10-12 years of age, whom will surely become the leaders of tomorrow. Several primary schools assembled for their various prepared debates on a variety of motions ranging from the serious such as renegotiating voting rights and decisions to arm our police to the outright hypothetical decisions to attend Hogwart’s School for Witchcraft and Wizardry if given the choice and determining once and for all if debates are indeed a waste of time.

The debaters were all judged by veterans of the industry: Conlethians and college students et al were full of congratulations by the end for the talent possessed by the future politicians and barristers. It was unanimously agreed that all competitors have strong debating careers ahead of them. The school wishes also to extend their congratulations to the Alexandra college team that won overall and of course our thanks to Dr. Fallon for organising the tournament and the various staff who ensured all were kept happy during their visit.

2’nd Years Hike Ahead in CSPE! (with new photos!)

Our 3rd Years recently completed their CSPE Action Project and though it was a smashing success, it is something that all schools do.  But St. Conleth’s CSPE Czar Ronan Bolger is not happy with just having his subject taught like it is art any other school, so this week he took 2nd Years on a pre-Action Project!  Yes, 2nd Years- those oft neglected middle children between the over-coddled 1st Years and the exam-oriented 3rd Years.  Well, Mr. Bolger and Mr. Maguire, quickly developing into our very own Bear Grylls, took the boys and girls of 2nd Year on the hike of their life in the Wicklow Mountains, taking advantage of the beautiful weather and turning it to a good cause- raising money for Dogs’ Trust.

 

 

Along the way, Mr. Maguire thought it would be great to run a competition and asked the kids to bombard us with emailed photographs of the splendid scenery: you can see the impressive results below.  There were several stunning pics, but we believe the last one above, taken by Sophie Lee, is the deserved winner!

 

She Blinded Them With Science! (updated!)

We never really knew what Thomas Dolby meant with that synthy hit of his in the 80s, but Julia O’Callaghan’s extraordinary win at the SciFest Science Fair has finally brought it home.  First Year Julia stunned the judges with the coolest science project ever (it was about Super Cooling Liquids) and after the panel of renowned researchers recovered their senses, they awarded her first prize in the  Junior Physical Sciences section.  And as you can see in the pics below, Julia had plenty of Conlethian company at the competition, with Ms. Phelan and Mr. Callaghan having helped prompt and prepare a veritable army of little Prof. Frinks!  Alexis Peers and Eva Stylianides examined Trypophobia  which is not the fear of giving it a go in popular music but the more important ‘fear of small holes’.  Keane Acosta and Sophie Lee titled their project ‘Bubblrific’ which sounds like one of those expensive plastic  ‘crafty’ toys your kids see advertised during Scooby-Doo and will absolutely die for but it is actually a very serious study of the science of bubble blowing.  Daniel Coady, Anthony Steyn and Rory Clarke put their musical talents and knowledge to use- ‘Using Pitch to measure Volume of a liquid in a glass’.  Second Years Max Brennan, Matthew Lynch and Fergal McCullagh got all synaesthesic on us with ‘The Wonderful Taste of Colour’, wondering if colour makes a difference to taste (and we have to say their presentation was both sweet and savoury). And, old pro at science fairs, Stephen Rockett dared to rhyme at a STEM gathering, titling his project  ‘Perception Deception’:  we noticed the judges lingered long over this one!  Ms. Phelan noticed that not only did all the students perform top-notch science but they also demonstrated great ability to communicate their ideas to the judges.  So, well done to their English teachers, too!

 

 

Stephen Rockett’s eye-witness report:

Scifest is a national competition for second-level students in science, technology, engineering and maths. This year St Conleth’s was represented by no less than 11 students from first and second year across individual and group competitions.
We exhibited our projects at the Helix, DCU, and the judges visited each of our stands and spoke to us. I enjoyed explaining my project, which was about subliminally influencing people, and though three of the judges were very enthusiastic, one of them didn’t really get it. Although I didn’t get a prize in my section (junior life science) this year, I was delighted that Julia O’Callaghan from first year won the junior physical sciences section.
After lunch (of free sandwiches) there were a number of presentations given by different scientists. The woman who spoke about being a chemist was particularly interesting, such that I think I might pursue a career in chemistry. It was a great day and a big thanks to Ms Phelan and Mr Callaghan.

 

First Holy Steps! *(New Photos!)

Second Form’s First Holy Communion took place on a sunny Saturday on May 6th, last.  Another first that day was the fact that there were two girls to celebrate the Sacrament that day with the boys in St. Conleths! The girls were beautiful in white dresses alongside the boys in their smart blazers.   Our chaplain, Fr. Fachtna celebrated mass in St. Mary’s, Haddington Road, and he has got to know the children as they progressed through the year.  Parents, families, godparents, grandparents, teachers and Ms. Ann Sheppard all returned to the school afterwards for a welcome tea/coffee and lovely spread put on by the parents of 3rd Form.  A memorable day for all!

 

 

The front steps of 28 Clyde Road have always been a favourite spot for the photographic capture of significant moments in the lives of Conlethians but we have to admit that those arrayed in smiling ranks have not always been the purest in mind and motive, such as the Sixth Years pausing briefly after their Graduation ceremony and before a raucous night of celebration.  How refreshing to have a chance then to take the snap above, of surely the most angelic boys and girls in Greater Dublin!

 

Lucy Lights Up The East Leinsters!

Mr. Keenan’s track and field boys were at it again, but this time at the East Leinsters, there were also some Conlethian girls there to show them how it was done!  Fifth Year Lucy Colman-Black shook up the competition with her mighty shot putts and then lit up Morton Stadium with her smile as she received her Bronze Medal.  This storied athletics venue also witnessed our boys relay team making it to the semi-finals and dozens of Conlethian athletes giving it there all in a variety of events, from the long jump to the race-walk.  It was a great accomplishment for the boys and a ringing endorsement of Mr. Keenan and Mr. Maguire’s efforts to mix athletics into the sports schedule this past few years.  Stay tuned for the Leinsters!

Maths Whizzes are Super-friends!

A select group of our Third Year Maths students did the Maths department and St. Conleth’s proud at the Pi Quiz for Junior Certificate Maths over the weekend at Wesley College.  Suyash, Oisín, Maxime and Joe reasoned and calculated with aplomb, leading half-way through and then finishing came joint fifth overall.  And they did so well despite missing out on a few precious minutes: although they were there in plenty of time, they were chatting so much amongst themselves at the start that they didn’t realise that they weren’t given a set of questions and the quiz started without them!  Even this little hiccup is a credit to our young Conlethians: whereas many of the other ‘Mathsy’ kids there were just staring at their calculator watches in numerical rapture but social isolation, our students proved they are the complete holistic package, valuing companionship and companionship as well as academic success!

 

 

It’s Gonna Be A Bright, Bright Sun-Shiny Day!

Every year in early May, as the TYs trudge onto the coach for the Gaisce hike, the irrepressible Gav Maguire treats them to a virtuoso performance of the Johnny Nash/Jimmy Cliff classic ‘I Can See Clearly Now’.  He nimbly cavorts up and down the aisle of the bus, effortlessly reaching the high notes and hi-fiving and back-slapping as he predicts a ‘sun-shiny day’… and lies through his mellifluous teeth!  Because, despite Gav’s upbeat and sunny disposition, it always rains on the TY Gaisce hike!  And not just a ‘soft day’ drizzle…the boys usually get the kind of downpour which turns the Wicklow mountains into a series of torrents and mudslides.  Well this year, the clubs came and went, but it was a bright, bright sun-shiny day in the end and even notorious curmudgeons Mark, Charlie and James begrudgingly admitted that they enjoyed the experience, completing 31km over two days!  Well done, Gav, on the singing and the hiking!

 

 

Worried About Internet Safety?

Well, whom better to ask then the kids themselves?  Vodaphone and the ISPCC have teamed up in a new initiative to get teenagers together in a symposium to discuss all the complicated issues around internet safety and come up with some potential solutions.  Last week 10 of our 5th Years went along with Mr. Porzadny, our resident ICT and  meditation guru, to Vodafone headquarters to take part in one such meeting, and all involved agreed that it was an interesting and useful experience.  We look forward to hearing the ideas discussed and perhaps implementing some of the symposium’s suggestions.  We hope they do not include the blocking of school websites with an inherently bad sense of humour!

 

 

Shocker as Stylish Staff Team Loses to 6th Year Yahoos!

In the annals of basketball there are a few upsets that stand out for their utter, incomprehensible unpredictability: the 1994 defeat of the Lakers in the NBA Finals by the Detroit Pistons, the recent defeat of the supposedly undefeatable Connecticut ladies team by Mississippi State in the NCAAs, and, now, the loss by the St. Conleth’s Staff Basketball Team to a ragtag gang of Sixth Year louts.  If points were awarded for style, it would not have been close, as player-coach ‘Noctor J’ had assembled a collection of basketballing excellence and artistry not seen since the 1988 NBA Dunk Contest, with the doctor running the point himself, Louis Magee and Mr. Sheridan elegantly patrolling the paint, Mr. ‘Swish’ Sweeney shooting out the lights and Mark Ryan doing a very creditable Lebron James imitation.  Where did it all go wrong? Well, West Brom do beat Arsenal once in a while!  Referee Luke Gilligan did his best to call a tight game but it was a combination of Christian Foul-rell’s thug life defence, birthday boy Oscar Harley-Monk’s incredibly fortuitous outside shooting, Ross Murphy’s illegal occupation of the key and the sneaky slinkiness of Jamie Connolly and Tim O’Gorman which combined with the Dellavedova-like tenacity of Shane Byrne and Kerrie-Ann McGrath to scrape a one point win.   Not since the Bad Boys of 1980’s Detroit have we seen a victory so devoid of style!  After the match, the Staff team immediately began preparations for next week’s victory in soccer and the Sixth Years resorted to cavorting about the court, dabbing and pulling whips, not believing their luck.  And somewhere, we know, the basketball gods were crying…

 

Up and Over!

The 2017 AIJS Athletics Meeting was hosted  by St Conleth’s in sunny Irishtown Stadium on Wednesday 26th April. Sixteen teams from ten different Junior Schools meant that there were 240 athletes competing on the day, with plenty of support on the sidelines from parents and teachers leading to a great atmosphere for the competitors. In the girls section, Mount Anville and Teresian School had another ding-dong battle this year at the top of the leaderboard with Mount Anville eventually prevailing by a point.

The leading boys team and overall winners was a superbly drilled Castlepark team who eventually pulled well clear of a strong St. Michael’s squad. Hosts St. Conleths had their best ever finish coming in 3rd place in the boys section and 5th out of the 16 teams overall. Well done to Lucas, Joseph and Luke who won gold medals in the high jump, long jump and 5th From 200 metres respectively. Mr. Keenan, aided by an army of parent volunteers, PE staff members and Transition Year conscripts ensured that the meeting was run as efficiently as ever.

Orator Maximus!

Like a true Classical gentleman, St. Conleth’s Third Year Maxime St-Jean can best you both in the gymnasium and at the rostrum.  Joining a long list of Conlethian debating stars, Maxime was crowned last night as the individual winner of the UCD Leinster Junior Debating Competition.  The competition ran from last September until now, and has had nearly 300 speakers from across Leinster. He won in opposition to the motion ‘This House Supports the Increase in Satirical Commentary on Right Wing Politic’, a position which may make his re-entry into his native ‘Republic of Berkeley’ nigh impossible, but Maxime could always repatriate to Texas!  Since his arrival at St. Conleth’s, Maxime has impressed everyone with his impeccable manners and apparent limitless talents and the fact that he has developed into a world class debater without the usual Conlethian route of taking over every classroom discussion!  Credit is also due to Debating Moderator Mr. Carvill, whose request for a ‘Debating Wing’ in the new extension suddenly seems more plausible, and alumnus Debating Coach Conor White, who somehow balances a workload that includes coaching our debaters, lunching with political elites, keeping a watchful eye on the lurking neo-con threat and excelling in his Business and Law course at UCD to the degree that he is now an Ad Astra scholar.  Ad astra, indeed!

 

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No Falling at this Last Fence!

Last Sunday saw the St. Conleth’s fencers foray north for the final competition of the 2016- 2017 Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. Once again, the merry band returned with medals aplenty and trophies galore:  In the Under 14 Boys Foil, Claudio Sosa won the Gold and James Moriarty-Smyth took the Bronze, with the pair having met at Semi-Final stage.  In the Under 12 Boys Foil, Luke Sherlock won the Gold and in the Under 10 Mixed Foil, Myles Moriarty-Smyth won the Bronze and Matthew Sherlock placed 5th.  Well done to the boys (and their tireless parents) on a tremendous year of multiple trophies in multiple countries and the continuation of a proud Conlethian tradition!

 

The Zorin Brothers: Technology for All!

St. Conleth’s alumni brothers, Kyrill (2012) and Artyom Zorin (2013), were the Wozniak and Jobs of their time when they graced the halls of 28 Clyde Road, winning the Technology Section of the Young Scientist competition and repeatedly amazing their teachers and classmates with their rare combination of technological genius, common sense and honest enthusiasm.  Their old school project, Zorin OS, is now a global project and Artyom fills us in on what is happening with our favourite social, digital entrepreneurs:

We’ve been constantly working to make our operating system even better over the past 4 years since we finished school. Kyrill graduated from Trinity this past December, but I decided to defer from university to focus on the business.

After nearly 9 years of development and 12 versions on, Zorin OS is on track to reach its 17 millionth download next week. We have users in homes, schools, businesses and even governments around the world. Last summer we got word that a city in Italy began moving its entire municipality from Windows to Zorin OS. We’re now working on new tools that will allow even more organisations and schools to make the switch to Zorin OS. They will help fund the next phase of our company: building the computing platform for the developing world.

Computers could have an enormous impact on people in countries like India and China. However, the price of traditional PCs have always been out of reach of the people than could benefit from them most.

More importantly than merely creating the most affordable PC on the market, we’re re-imagining its software to be as useful as possible for our users. As most of the people we target won’t have reliable access to the Internet, we’ll be pre-loading the most important parts of the Internet onto the computer itself. They will finally have access to the tools and software to let them work and run their businesses. Even more meaningful will be the educational content shipped with every PC: Wikipedia, videos from Khan Academy, textbooks, resources about health and apps to teach a full school curriculum, just to name a bit.

With this new venture, we want to provide billions of people tools & knowledge with the power to improve their opportunities, their livelihoods and their lives.

 

 

For more information on Zorin OS, see the brothers’ website https://zorinos.com or on Facebook:  https://zorinos.com.

Illuminati Confirmed!

Well, our Sixth Formers may not quite be members of that mysterious group of elites who secretly control the world but we like to think that they have proven, over the course of the year and especially during their challenging Confirmation preparation course, that they are the best and brightest young Catholic gentlemen around!  And let us not forget Agustina, who made history as the first girl ever confirmed at St. Conleth’s.  The celebrant of the sacramental mass at St. Mary’s was the Very Reverend Enda Cunningham and the ceremony captured perfectly the significance of this important step in the development of our chosen faith and ethos.  James Clancy read a thought-provoking Communion Reflection and he and his classmates gave the occasion its due importance and respect.  Afterwards, the party moved to Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Donnybrook and the select few who made it in to school on Friday were treated to hot chocolate in Insomnia, a rollicking ramble around the city and the Senior School Concert in the afternoon!

 

Tennis Teams Approaching the Net!

The rugby and basketball teams have thrilled us with their multiple finals and semi-finals, falling honorably at the last hurdles.  The chess team reached new heights in its inter-school competition and is now involved in the internecine battles of their labyrinthine in-house tournament.  The fencers, having fought all over Europe this year, were last seen heading outside to settle, like true gentlemen, an argument about Bratislavan history.  That leaves it to Mr. Keenan’s tennis teams to take the Conleth’s colours into the other courts of Leinster and, as usual, the teams are battling at the very highest level.   St. Conleth’s Tennis Captain Alex Murphy has able assistants in Girls Captain Lois Kelleher, 2nd/3rd Year Captain Michael Cook and 1st Year Captain Sthitoprogyo Deb as they prepare for the gruelling Leinster Cup.  Look below at the fixture list, and you will see that tennis is one sport where we just do not do ‘developmental’ or ‘special achievment’.  We just play tennis, and we do it against the best and we do it well!

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PDF of Fixture List

Good News: There is an Afterlife!

Well, those of us fully infused with the ethos of St. Conleth’s never had a doubt, but, still, it is great to see budding young intellectuals such as Hugh Etchingham-Coll and the Oisín Dowling use logic and wit to back up a basic tenet of all the old time religions.  The motion at the 2017 Bouchier-Hayes Debate was actually more about the positive practical results of a belief in the afterlife (regardless of its existence) but the debate quickly encompassed all the related ‘big’ questions, especially relevant at this time when religious fanaticism implies more than just horrendous traffic jams at the Galway novena.  The Bouchier-Hayes family, long associated with the school and the sponsors of this award, would have been proud at the deep-thinking and repartee tossed around the Conference Room, as would the past winners of the prize, from Frank Kennedy and Barry Ward, currently crossing rhetorical swords at the rostrum of the Dublin City Council or Michael O’Dwyer, Philip McDonald and Ian Hastings, now further intricating the intricacies of tort in various world capitals at law firms such as Slaughter and May.  As you can see from the pictures below, all our debaters were in fine effusive flow, and used hand gestures and raised eyebrows with such emphasis that the actual spoken words were almost superfluous to the point!  On hand to adjudicate were Debating Czar John Carvill and alumnus Christopher Costigan, currently studying History and Politics at TCD, as well as an unnamed, cloaked representative of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.   They did not find it easy picking a winner of this team award, with Harry Mansfield proving the best individual speaker and everyone scoring points against each other, including some devastating tidbits from the History Boys, Oisín Herbots and Sean Moiselle, and a much-anticipated showdown between the Pettitt Brothers, which made that Iron Man/Captain America tiff seem trite in comparison.  In the end, the winners the Bouchier-Hayes Plate for Impromptu Debating 2017 were Dean McElree and Simon Pettitt, who argued so forcefully about the benefits of the afterlife that they themselves experienced Pauline conversions and, at the close of debate, shed their wordy possessions and left to join the Trappist monks.  Just wait till Simon hears about the vow of silence!

 

Sammy Sings us into Summer!

Do you remember ‘Right Said Fred’?  Musical tastes change with the times, and sometimes quite quickly, especially at St. Conleth’s, where maestros Ms. Fay and Ms. deBhal provide clear and inspirational leadership but also allow their musical minions quite a bit of creative independence.  So, each year we know the performances will be top quality but we could get anything from the stage-stomping heavy metal (2011) through a show-tune piano medley (2014) to a boy-band croonfest (various).  This year, things took a decidedly subdued, classical turn (that is, until the last act).

 

 

We had pianists aplenty, each performing with exquisite talent and gusto: Ciara McCracken played “Barbed Wire Blues”; Muireann Dempsey – ‘A Thousand Years’;  Mark Connor accompanied the sweetly-singing  Colin Bolger on “Say Something”; Siobhan Moriarty- Chopin’s ‘Nocturne’; Elizabeth Counihan – “Pirates of the Caribbean”;  Sam Lynch – “The River Flows in You”;  Annalisa Sorenson played (and sang!) ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me” and brave Sean Moran tackled (and conquered) “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  Stephen Rockett continued the classical theme, charming us on violin, and Johanna Drager was once again consummate on the cello, playing ‘Danny Boy’ with Ciara Cole (flute), Lucy Colman-Black (piano) and Emer Healy-O’Reilly (harp), as well as backing Emer and Luke McKay’s rumour-stirring version of  “Viva la Vida”.

 

 

Yes, there was some pop music!  Notably Kerri-Ann McGrath’s pitch-perfect ‘Writing on the Wall’ by Sam Smyth and Ishan Prasai’s individual take on “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.   There was also plenty of traditional and folk music with 1st Years reprising their ‘Riptide’ as Gaeilge; Louis Cullen, Evan Power and Oisín Power wondering “What will we do with the drunken sailor?”; Holly Stanley and Annalise teaming seamlessly with ‘Travellin’ Soldier’ and Ms. DeBhál, Cian O’Connor and Sean Keane (who else?) once again beguiling us with their trad talent, this time on “Eleanor Plunkett”.  And marking, we believe, the first appearance of a trumpet at the concert, Daniel Coady blowing it like the Horn of Gondor, and melding beautifully with Rory Clarke and Joymarita on  “A Thousand Years”.    Of course, every team needs an ‘All Star’, and ours was once again the impishly infectious Sammy Butler: the crowd rose as one in camaraderie and delight, as Sammy sang and swayed us into Summer!

 

 

Destination 2018: East Africa!

Mr. Gavin ‘Gav’ Maguire is at it again: he is deep into preparations with a group of select Conlethian students and the expedition company Earth’s Edge getting ready for a trip in 2018 to East Africa.  The planning started as soon as Gav landed back from India last summer (the last destination) and the students have been busy all year working to raise funds for the trip.  Last Thursday was a particularly exciting day for those involved: Earth’s Edge representatives were in the Conference Room with their maps out and the routes marked in.  You could practically smell the DEET!  Gav and Dolores Kelly have been leading student expeditions for years and the overwhelmingly positive results for both travellers and hosts are beyond doubt.  Check out the pics from the planning meeting and some previous expeditions, below.  Specifics for East Africa 2018 are here and on Earth’s Edge’s St. Conleth’s dedicated page.  Support the boys and girls who are involved and take it easy on them this summer.  They will need all their energy come June 2018!

 

 

 

Mr. Bolger: The Beast of CSPE!

Some teachers dodge the ‘alphabety’ subjects like CSPE, SPHE, LCVP and even PE (on rainy days) like they are IEDs but Mr. Bolger is like an ornery badger when he gets his teeth into one of these subjects.  Take CSPE, for example.  Some teachers are happy to just repeatedly show the students pictures of Angela Merkel so that when her hoary visage shows up on the famous ‘pick the politician’ section of the exam, the kids do not get all confused about their continental masters and tick Jean-Claude Juncker instead!  But Mr. Bolger takes the old Civics seriously:  recently he began a reinvigoration of our Green School policy by replacing all our green and red bins and sending out an ‘Environmental Co-operation Encouragement Group’ of muscular TYs to make sure the message was delivered.  (Rumours that one First Year who carelessly dropped a banana skin into the green bin was he himself subsequently ‘recycled’ by are unconfirmed.)   And Mr. Bolger certainly takes the CSPE Action Project seriously.  This year he decided to ditch the bicycles, due to technical and developmental issues, and lead the Third Years by foot into the Wicklow Mountains so that the students could conduct collect their data and conduct their research for their projects.   A great day away from screens and out in nature was enjoyed by all involved but some serious work was also done… inevitably when Mr. Bolger is at the helm!

 

Pass that Baton!

Conlethian kids are many things… intelligent, athletic, creative, devilishly handsome, knowledgeable about LOTR and Star Wars trivia… all the important things, but one thing that most of them are not, is shy.  Conlethians are always eager to put up their hands (or just call out) when questions are asked or volunteers sought, even if the outcome of said volunteerism is still in doubt.  In other words, there is no doubt that if St. Conelth’s was around in 71 BC, Crassus would have had even more work to do after asking, ‘Who is Spartacus?’  Luckily, the questions asked nowadays at St. Conelth’s, not far from the Appian Way, are more like: ‘Who would like to be a guest conductor of the No. 1 Army Band?’   And the response was so overwhelming that a section process was then employed, with Second Year Jack O’Connor correctly guessing the regular conductor’s nation of origin (Australia).  Jack was joined by several Junior and Senior School students in taking their turn directing the wind, strings and percussion.   Our visitors, from the captain conductor to the fourth trombone, were, as always, friendly, good-humoured and, above all, extremely talented: a credit to an Irish Army institution that dates back to 1923.  A brilliant performance, with plenty of booming bass, to stretch the auditorium for the School Concert soon to come!

 

Classics Kids Rock the Rostrum!

And bag the booty! The classical Romans and Greeks possessed an honest materialism which was as refreshing as it was intense, and the Classical Association of Ireland Teachers’ Annual Speech Competition follows suit by giving real cash monies as its prizes. Leave those cheap, tawdry medals to the ‘everybody wins’ sportsdays of Educate Together schools: classicists can handle the rough-and-tumble competition of the gymnasium, the forum and, as we witnessed last night, the rostrum. Our small but mighty team was welcomed to the august halls of Trinity College by two Conleth’s Classics Whiz-kid alumni: Alistair Daly, current TCD Ancient Greek student and inveterate herbal tea imbiber and Phillip O’Hanrahan, History and Politics student and reigning Trinity College Mario Kart Champion.  Phillip is a past winner of this competition, Alistair is the competition’s current Ancient Greek judge and both were members of the last Conlethian team to capture the ‘Ides of March’ Classics Table Quiz title, a prize so honoured by classicists that Alistair claims he has yet to pay for one for his ginseng infusions when out knocking them back with the Greek and Latin crowd on a Friday night.

 

 

As usual, the Gonzagans were strutting around exchanging pleasantries amongst themselves in Etruscan and texting Sanskrit to their relatives busy hunting tigers in the Punjab, and once again the jebbies dominated the laurels: there is no denying the classical scholarship of that ad maiorem dei gloriam crowd!  But the Conlethian cohort was not to be denied its fair share:  Saul ‘Damascus’ Burgess adopted a split personality to recreate the infamous last conversation of Achilles and Hector, perfectly channelling the anger of the former and the poignant resignation of the latter and finishing second in a tough LC Classics Division.  Anna Celant read from the Aeneid Book II in flawless Latin and channelled Thucydides so well, she took second place in Ancient Greek!  (Anna also had the honour of being the only female amongst the 48 Latin and Greek competitors!)  Anna’s classmate, and countryman, Eduardo Donnini, was so flawless in his metrical fluency with Aeneid Book VI that the judges were lulled asleep!  And brave Joe Downey, who only recently barely survived a skirmish at the back of the phalanx during the ‘Ides of March’ quiz, was chosen by lot to be the very first man ‘over the wall’!   Not to be daunted, even by the presence of several baying Holy Faith-Clontarf girls, Joe delivered a spirited rendition of Phaedrus’s Errans in Silva.  Not only did these four think the evening was a instant classic but so did the contingent of fellow Conlethian students who did not compete but formed a protective praetorian guard, made up of a wide range of characters from the Commodus-like Eoin MacNally to the Stoic Paul Ralph.  Ad majorem St. Conleth’s gloriam!

 

Socceroos!

Only in the Junior School Annual Internal Soccer League could you find a final pairing of Boca Juniors V Falkirk!  And the students tried hard to emulate their namesakes, with ‘Falkirk’ playing a rather dour but effective Scottish style and the ‘Boca’ boys opting for samba soccer! Mr. Keenan started with the Prep School in early morning, then 5th and 6th Form mid-morning and 2nd-4th Forms in the afternoon.  There were thrills, spills and a few tears and tantrums.  Only some players received medals but all received juice and crisps, which made it worthwhile for everyone involved.  A big thank-you to Mr. Keenan and the parents who lent a helping hand!

 

 

The Offensive Continues!

The Conleth’s fencing contingent has been in action again both domestically and abroad. Saturday 25th March saw James, Myles and Claudio fence in Poland at the Challenge Wratislava.  Claudio ended the day ranked a tremendous 30th in the U-13 Boys Foil while James finished 192nd out of the field of 230 fencers. Myles competed in the Under 11s and ranked an impressive 106th out of 172.  Seven days later,  and all three plus the Sherlock brothers were back on piste, this time competing in the Irish Nation Youth Open held at Loreto Abbey Dalkey and marking the end of the domestic season. Again results were impressive: Myles took Gold in the Mixed Under 10s with Mathew taking Bronze. It was a similar story in the Under 14 Boys with Claudio taking Gold and James the Bronze. Luke finished 6th in the Under 12 Boys category.  The St. Conleth’s fencers have once again laid down the gauntlet for the chessmen and the debaters!

 

 

 

 

 

A Week in the Life…

… of St. Conleth’s.  The pupils and teachers of both the Junior and Senior Schools have us run ragged trying to keep up!  Look what they get up to in just a week: Emilio won the St. Conleth’s Spelling Bee and made the 4th Round of the Eason’s Dublin Final, with several classmates in attendance; Our Junior School swimmers competed gamely at the Willow Park Swimming; Mr. Bolger and the TYs began their Green School Re-invogaration programme; Mr. Keenan continued his integration of gymnastics into the PE curriculum; 6th Year took a healthy stroll around Herbert Park and refuelled at Lolly and Cooks; Ms. Long continued to inspire the Juniors in the art room; Mr. Lonergan led his 6th Years on their Geography Fieldwork and Mr. Porzadny encouraged 3rd Forms to get moving in the Conference Room.  And stay tuned for the week ahead: more Orals, Confession, Confirmation and the School Spring Concert are all on the agenda!

 

Port Out, Starboard Home!

The luxurious setting for the Parents Associations Annual Social Event was the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire and the Conlethian parents came with the fashion to match.  The fare was robust as well as genteel with an old-fashioned hog roast the centre-piece (along with Fianna Fáil Councillor and alumnus Frank Kennedy) and an array of haute cuisine making up the surrounding buffet.  But the stunning style and gourmet gastronomy were only the appetisers to the real event: the easy, friendly mixing of St. Conleth’s parents and the accompanying conversation and craic.  It is no coincidence that the same cozy yet exciting atmosphere is the most defining attribute of the school, itself.  Well done to chairmen Peter O’Neill and Michael Mansfield and all the PA Committee members on another smashing success!

 

 

 

Barbarians at the Gate!

Drogheda is known for the Laurence Gate, an impressive medieval barbican, and the imposing fortress of the Millmount, with all its dark Cromwellian associations, but of what Drogheda is most proud, and justifiably so, is simply that it is not Dundalk.  Well, now, Droghedans, specifically the boys of St. Mary’s DS and their kick-aes Classics Department, have something else to crow about, as their yearly Visigothian migration southwards to more settled lands has finally yielded the desired booty of First Place Laurel in the Annual ‘Ides of March’ Table Quiz, organised by the Classics and Latin Teachers Association.  Long ago, Proconsul and Classics Teacher Tom Giblin took a posting on the frontiers and, like the legendary Sertorius, he soon ‘went native’, training up a superior fighting force which welded his own sophisticated tactics with the local ferocity.

 

 

We knew that it was only a matter of time before this motley band sent the patricians of Gonzaga, various Loretos and, yes, even St. Conleth’s, running for the protection of the Praetorian Guard.  All credit to the Mary’s boys, as they showed up with swagger and style and set the tone for the evening even before the first flaming arrow was launched to commence battle.   Led by an impressive figure, wearing the native war-dress of a three-piece suit and gold-tinted glasses and known simply and ominously as ‘Pento’, the winning team clearly knew their peristyles and Pantheon and the difference between Pompey and Pompeii.  Our own three full Conlethian teams competed honourably, one of which, led by Centurion Eoin MacNally, bravely took the noble but thankless position of rear guard, selflessly foregoing many correct answers while concentrating on protecting their colleagues’ flanks and backsides.  Thankless, yes, but quite necessary with so many Droghedans around!

 

Now, Take a Deep Breath and…

…just relax!  Yes, it may seem funny to those Junior and Leaving Certificate students who are stuck right in the middle of orals and practicals season, but at St. Conleth’s we take a holistic and ‘whole child’ approach to education, and though there are no ‘points’ for Healthines or Happiness, we like to think that every one of our students takes them both at the Higher Level!  In recognition and evidence of this emphasis, Mr. ODulaing is spearheaded the planning and implementation of St. Conleth’s second annual Health Awareness Week, which ran last week and included activities targeting both physical and mental health.  It all started with teachers leading their classes down to Herbert Park for an invigorating but relaxing stroll.  Then, Mr. Porzadny continued his one-man revolution teaching relaxation and thoughtfulness techniques to both students and staff.   There was Healthy (but Tasty) Eating Info from Chef Mark and students were able to assemble their own super-salads.   There was also a special guest speaker for the occasion, but we will let our Guidance Counsellor Anne Ryan, who is so instrumental in bringing so many career and guidance professionals in to talk to our students, explain:

 

 

For Mental Health Week which runs from 21 June to 24 June 2017, Tracy Geraghty, Life Coach, will talk to each year group. Tracy aims to give young people the skills and confidence they need to cope with their mental health. Some good coping skills include: meditation and relaxation techniques, physical activity, friendshipsleeping and nutrition.   Obtaining and maintaining good coping skills takes time and practice but utilizing these skills becomes easier over time. Good coping skills make for good mental health. Negative coping skills such as drugs, excessive alcohol use or self -harm can hinder progress in dealing positively with stress. These actions offer only temporary relief, if any. Tracy will teach strategies for breaking up negative thought processes. She will encourage students not to ignore or cover up how they feel.  Teachers and other staff in St. Conleth’s are always available to listen and to ensure that no young person feels alone, isolated or disconnected from others around them.

 

TY Info Night, Tonight!

What have these guys and girls been up to? Lots!  From their daily classroom-based projects through their Thursday trips around Dublin and beyond to tutoring local primary students and the recent Build-A-Bank Regional Finals, Mr. Trenier’s charges  have ‘livin’ large’ and getting the most out of Transition Year.  Check out the photos and below, and if you are a Third Year parent wondering what is in store for next year, come along to the Conference Room tonight and see what’s cooking…and what’s kicking…and who’s sailing….and who’s speaking Mandarin…and…

 

 

 

What’s All the Hoopla About?

Well, it is about Coach Eoin ‘Noctor J’ and his basketballers, both Junior and Senior School versions, shaking things up on the Irish Schools Basketball scene.  We have had the pleasure of attending four different SDBL and Dublin U19 and U16 Finals and our First and Second Year teams are following in their ‘eurosteps’ with Second Years winning a thriller recently in OT and then a close, quality loss by 3 points in the Dublin Plate Final.  First Years had a respectable close loss to perennial power Pres.-Bray and are into the SDBL play-off ladder.  But most impressive of all was the Junior School’s team victory over Castlepark earlier in the season and then close loss to the same team in the AIJS Tournament Final.  We have been going to this tournament for years and this was by far our best finish.  Just wait till the new extension is built and we have a full-sized basketball court on which to practice.  The boys and girls will be leaping to new heights and shooting out the lights!

 

 

Sacraments by Increments

We do not just pay lip service to the sacraments at St. Conleth’s!  Yes, there is the social aspect to each step which our children take in the development of their faith, and every family marks these occasions with different emphasis and significance, but as guardians of the progressive Catholic ethos exemplified by our founder, Bernard Sheppard, we make sure each of our sacramental candidates approach these important events with due reverence.  Of course, this does not mean it cannot be fun, as any witness to the visits of our friends in the Carmelite Order to our Confirmation class can attest.  The Confirmation class (see below) is also very lucky to have Br. Noel and Fr. Jim who visit every Monday morning in the oratory to discuss spiritual matters in a relaxed, peaceful and good-humoured setting.

 

 

Continued spiritual guidance from our special visitors, the classroom teachers and the priests of St. Mary’s-Haddington Road has been ongoing since September for Second Form (Communion) and Sixth Form (Confirmation) as they prepare for their respective Sacraments. Recent preparation has included a beautiful Family Mass for Second Form in St Mary’s where the school choir sang beautifully. The Ceremony of Light for Confirmation was performed by Head of Pastoral Care David Hickey and the Conference Room was decorated wonderfully for the occasion (see below).  Practice continues for both classes as the Sacrament of Reconciliation takes place in Avila House on the 5th of April with the school choir again accompanying the candidates. The big day fast approaches for Confirmation candidates also as they will walk down St Mary’s Church to meet their families and sponsors on the morning of the 6th of April.

 

Seachtain na Gaeilge, An Dara Cuid!

Ms. Fay, for one, certainly has had enough Gaeilge for a thousand seachtaine, after tirelessly leading the various year groups through  Tráth Na gCeist, the Poc Fada, Tae agus Plé and, with Ms. deBhal, Coirnéal na Ceoltóirí Sráide.  The hard work done in preparation meant plenty of craic for the students in the enjoyment of the various activities.  Enjoy the pictures below, but as the Tráth Na gCeist and the Poc Fada were particularly hotly contested this year, we must also include some official results.

 

 

Winners of Tráth na gCeist: 1ú Bhliain
Oisín Thornton
Morton Ainscough
Daniel Weatherly
Darrach Smyth
Tráth na gCeist – 6ú Bliain
Jack Groves
Oscar Byrne Carty
Jamie Connolly
Matt Finn
Christian Farrell
Tráth na gCeist – 5ú Bliain
Oisín Gilligan
Oisín Dowling
Gavin Nugent
Eoin McNally
Poc Fada – 5ú
1. Tim Leary
2. Alex Murphy
3. Oisín Gilligan
Poc Fada, 5ú, Comórtas na gCailíní
1. Lucy Coleman
2. Ciara (from America)
3. Enya O’Brien

 

Juniors Over the Fields and Through the Water

Like the speaker in a medieval Irish poem or prayer, our Junior Schoolers have been out in the elements:  Our Fifth and Sixth Formers came third in the AIJS Swimming Gala in Castlepark, showing that all hose trips down to Sportsco for Friday Swimming have done more than just fray the nerves of the attendant teachers!  And, this being Ireland, running over grass is what we do and Fifth and Sixth Form recently competed in the Parkside Schools Cross Country race in aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. A great cause indeed (see letter below) and as you can tell from the photos, there was great craic at both events!

 

 

Hi all, 
Many thanks again to those who came along on the day, we are delighted to have raised €300 for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, we couldn’t have done it without your support & participation.
Until next year!
Kind Regards
Catherine
 

What’s Going On? Orals, Practicals and a New Calendar!

As you can tell if you visit these pages often, things never stand still at St. Conleth’s, especially as the year turns and the balmy heat of the Irish spring begins to seep in through the windows… at least in the school library, it does!   We are smack in the middle of Seachtain na Gaeilge (see below) and the Junior Cert Orals with Spanish in the bag and Irish (15-16/3) and French (23-24/3) on the near horizon.  The LC students have a bit of a St. Patrick’s Day breather but their orals and practicals are quickly approaching.  You can see the full schedule here and below, or on our newly revised ‘Rest of the Year’ calendar.  Of course, both are also available under the Calendar and Information menu and in our Daily Events.  Have a look and you will see that aside from all that state exams stuff, there are is also plenty of fun on the agenda, with concerts, sports days and outings galore!

Picture1

Seachtain Gaeilge, Stíl St. Conleth’s: Píosa a hAon!

For years St. Conleth’s múinteoirí Gaeilge  have been providing enough ceol agus craic to fill the whole school year, let alone just a double-seachtaine, but they certainly déan a ndícheall leading up to St. Patrick’s Day!  Both our Junior and Senior School teachers have crammed i bhfad níos mó into 28 Clyde Road, turning it into the  Gaeltacht is galánta this side of Carna!  The páistí beaga  gathered in the Conference Room with Mr. Ahern and Mr. Sheridan, a dynamic duo of Senior and Junior teachers, for Tráth Na gCeist, answering questions (sometimes hilariously) about everything Irish from MacBride to Macklemore while the déagóiríall took part in the traditional poc fada at Herbert Park, a noted gathering spot for dangerous Fenians.  Bhí sceitimíní ag teacht ar na déagóirí  their own table quizzes on Irish themes and First Years are particularly busy rehearsing with Ms. Fay for a special ‘Busker’s Corner’ on Thursday:  Coirnéal na Ceoltóirí Sráide.  So stay tuned for more nuacht na hÉireann at St. Conleth’s!

 

 

Check Mates

At some schools, the rugby guys are the BMOCs (Big Men on Campus) and they swagger around the place, throwing their weight around and occasionally  getting into towell-whipping incidents in the locker rooms with the basketball or Gaelic guys. At St. Conleth’s, though the rugby and B-ball teams do more than hold their own (more on them later), it is rather the chess team guys who truly rule the roost and fill their dance-cards first at homecoming.  No-one dares mess with the sanctity of the Tuesday lunchtime Chess Club and when these warriors amble down the hallwaySeni, everyone gives them a wide berth!  We have read how the Junior School Chess teams dominate their leagues and now Ms. NiAonghusa is driving her troops towards similar heights.  This past weekend, her First Years played in their first Leinster Finals in years, qualifying as one of the four semi-finalists from a field of over forty teams.  It is an especially impressive feat, considering that our local qualifying group includes both Gonzaga and St. Benildus’s, two of the national chess powers.   Despite this perennial handicap, this particularly young team stormed into the finals and battled honourably against both Gonzaga and Colaiste Eoin, finishing fourth in Leinster and showing considerable promise for the future.  Rumour has it that the other Conlethian BMOCs, namely the debating and fencing posses, are spoiling for a turf war but I would not bet against these young knights!

 

 

Chess Teams Finish with a Flourish

Gillian O’Leary, chess mom, enthusiast and enabler, reports on the wild weekend which wrapped up the Junior School Chess Team’s season:

Leinster Primary School’s Chess Finals
St. Conleth’s is very proud of its four chess teams who all qualified for the finals of the Leinsters Primary Schools Chess League.  In Division 2, the Conleths D team, Alex Corrigan, Charlie Kennedy, Patrick Coleman and Michael Sweeney, put up a brave battle, but were beaten in the quarter finals by Scoil Lorcain.  Also, in division 2, the Conleths C team, punched well above their weight! They drew with CUS in the quarter-finals, and went through to the semi-finals on tie-break. In the semi-final, they also drew to the Kildare champions, Two Mile House, but unfortunately, lost out on tie-break. Their final match was against Scoil Lorcain to determine the third and fourth place, and again the C team drew! Another great result, but unfortunately, were pipped into fourth place on tie-break. The team, comprising Richard Caldwell, Luke Sherlock, Jude Moes and Liam Hunter, can be very proud of their achievement. In division 1, the Conleths B team came fifth overall. Andrew Morgan, Louis McGovern, Luke Timlin and Sean Caldwell played really well over the whole season. Only half a point separated 3rd, 4th and 5th positions. This team will be back again next year!
The Conleths A team, Eoin Hunter, Richard Sheahan, Jamie Kennedy and Johnny Corr, had led the table for the season. Their final match was against their chief rivals, St. Mary’s Haddington Road, and it came down to the final match of the league. St. Conleth’s drew the match with St. Marys, but overall, St. Marys had a better final result and won the title. Congratulations to St. Marys! And many congratulations to the A team for a strong, consistent performance over the whole season. A special call-out to Jamie, who won every single one of his matches!  A big ‘Thank You’ to all the Mums & Dads and Mr. Kilcommons who came out on Leinster Finals day to support the teams. It was great to have so many supporters on the day, and the boys really appreciated it. A special thanks also to all the Mums who helped out with the transport and supervision of matches during the school term. It would not be possible to have such an active and competitive chess community in St. Conleths without this support. Thank You!

 

 

Alex Baburin Team Chess Competition
And if that wasn’t enough chess action for one weekend, St. Conleth’s teams were back in action again on Sunday, 5th March in a team competition run by Alex Baburin. There were four teams from St. Conleths. The Conleths A team, determined to put their runners-up place from yesterday, behind them, went out and stormed to victory with a clean sheet winning all 6 matches. In addition, they took home three board prizes (highest score on the board!) Many congratulations!
Two more Conleth’s teams represented by the Caldwell brothers, Sean and Richard, Jude Moes and Turlough (Dineen) and Charlie Kennedy, Alex Corrigan, Patrick Coleman and Scott Herbots played really well, and finished strongly in a field of 28 teams.  A special mention to the team from second class – the future chess stars! Well done to Liam Hunter, David MacNicholas, Harry Groarke and Tadhg O’Connell. The team finished 12th overall, and took home three prizes – best board 1 and board 4 for the younger teams, and runner-up board prize overall for board 1.

The PPU Dinner Photos Are In…

…and there is no need to call your lawyer!  Yes, we know how you usually spend the morning after the Past Pupils Union Dinner in a cringing state of apprehension of some social media outlet’s pictorial display of you nocturnal misadventures, but you can relax and go ahead and get that modem boinging because all the photos that we have seen merely capture the good, old-fashioned fun of the festivities! Joe Barnes and Paul Allen were our photographers of choice on the evening and both showed the good taste of forwarding only the ones which portray ourselves as we truly are: upstanding (or at least standing), relatively sober and with both eyes (mostly) open.  Enjoy them and sign up with the PPU on Facebook too see even more.  Oh yes, there is also the little issue of the negatives from the Photo-Booth.  Those are a bit more interesting and may be obtained with a small donation payable to your alma mater.  That extension is not going to build itself!

 

All the World’s A Stage…

…when you have a book in your hand!  Apparently, reports of the death of the book were greatly exaggerated.  Yes, the old dog-eared paperbacks and weighty cloth-bound tomes were missing in action for a while as Kindles and ebooks became all the rage, and dare we say people became more accustomed to reading news feeds, FaceBook posts and tweets than anything with a full sentence, nevermind an actual paragraph.  Well, as often the kids have set us right and have led us back to what we were missing: the sales of books (the real ones) are climbing across the globe and credit can be given to events like the Road Dahl Day and the  Junior PA Book Sale earlier in the year and the recent World Book Day festivities.   For the latter, the Junior School teachers ran a ‘Design Your Own Cover’ competition and the numbers nd quality of entries attest to the enduring love of children for their books.  The winners were:  JI- Ronan; SI- Alistair; 1st Form-Conor; 2nd- Mohnnad; 3rd- Myles; 4th- Dawson; 5th- Edwin and 6th- Riccardo, but everyone enjoyed the competition and the special awards ceremony in the Conference Room.

 

Ms. Dillon took the ‘retro’ vibe even further and encouraged her 3rd Form charges to investigate the outdoor games that their parents and grandparents played as kids.   The current generation were shocked to learn of the shenanigans such as ‘tag’ and ‘tip-the-can’ which were got up to, with nary a mobile phone or GPS tracer attached!  Then Ms. Dillon had them tell each other all about it in our outdoor classroom:  yes, that bluish blur on your screen behind the Pokemon really exists, and it is available for unlimited, free download!

Francophonic Fun!

We must admit that sometimes here at stconleths.ie we enter the ‘post-truth’ media world, especially when we are fed only the barest bones of a story and must do our best to flesh it up with some realistic but imaginary details!  The French Department, however, always give us the full story, verité.  And, once again, Mr. Porzadny has sent us his own account of his and Ms. Crowley’s Tintin-like adventures, written up with the panache of Rimbaud and the moral strength of Hugo:

 

 

Let’s take some cacti, and some flying fish, stir it all with a bit of “Edith Piaf” sauce and add some spicy notes of “Noir Désir”… Tada!! You get a nice punchy smoothy of French musical juiciness! This morning, the 3rd Year students got the chance to be part of the 2nd edition of the French song workshop for the Month of the Francophonie. It took place at the Royal Irish Academy of Music on Westland Row. A picture near the canal, a little warm-up in Merrion Square on the way and we were all ready to put our vocals to good use!  Singer Caroline Moreau and musician Mr Alain (with his “Cetera” – a Corsican sort of banjo) led the workshop with enthusiasm and good rhythm. Liam Reilly and Mr Porzadny stood on stage to lead the crowd for the “Belle Isabelle” song and Michael Cooke became a master puppeteer for few minutes with his excellent steering of the flying pig… Yes you have read properly: a flying pig! I hope the pictures will help you put these words into context. It was with a smile, with the belly full of “pains au chocolat” and “croissants”, walking back and humming some of the newly discovered songs, that our happy crowd made it back to school right on time for Mark’s delicious… French onion soup… or was it vegetable?

They’re Baaaack!

Preparations for the annual Past Pupils Dinner is quite similar to those made before the visit of a head of state from a Caucasian ‘republic’: the hedges are clipped back, the recycling bins are surreptitiously emptied into the Dodder, the good silverware is well hidden, extra security cameras are wired up and Willie takes up his customary position on the roof with his high-powered sniper’s rifle.  You just do not take chances when this crowd come to town!  On a serious note, this year’s dinner will simply not be the same without Mr. Kelleher there to greet every single alumnus by name, cajole them and good-naturedly threaten them with retroactive expulsion.   Mr. KDK would be justifiably proud, though, of the record-breaking numbers at this year’s dinner, many no doubt coming to mark the passing of ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s.’  Ronan O’Kelley has been keeping his Thatcherite schedule compiling lists, making mildly threatening Tweets and rolling his eyes when another current teacher joins the ‘comped’ list.  Surely it will all be okay on the night and rumours that ‘The ROK’ plans on sitting ‘Black’ Tom Moylan and those troublesome 2007s out in the gazebo are just that… for now!  Well the first salvo of polite applause for this year’s guest speaker is just hours away but until then amuse yourself with these class photos of Conlethians in those halcyon, hirsute days:

 

 

 

 

Making that Move to Primary School?

All future (and potential) Junior School parents are invited to the school on Monday for a special talk by Arthur Godsil on that significant first step into formal education: the move into primary or junior school.  Mr. Godsil is the principle power behind Godsil Education (link), Ireland’s premier educational consultancy. A frequent media commentator, keynote presenter and consultant on international and domestic educational matters, Mr. Godsil is committed to a strengths-based educational philosophy and has a unique perspective on the pressures and opportunities which are encountered by both child and parent as they negotiate that first significant educational transition. Our Junior School Principal, Mr. Tony Kilcommons, and our Preparatory School Principal, Dolores Kelly, will join Arthur in presenting the St. Conleth’s model within this broader context and in answering specific questions which parents may have about the school years ahead.

 

school flyer

Chess Champs? Four Teams into Finals!

All four St. Conleth’s Junior School Chess teams have qualified for the finals!  Just when the debaters have established a firm rhetorical grip on the headlines, the Chess boys come back fighting proving that we are All-Ireland class in at least these two extracurricular activities!

 

 

The two teams in division one will have two matches each on Finals Day, whereas the two teams in Division 2 are in a knock-out competition. All quarter-finalists in Division 2 will receive medals. Well done to all teams on their achievements so far! Here are the final standings of the Primary Chess Leagues, along with the schedule for Finals day on Saturday 4th March.  A big ‘thank-you’ to Gillian O’Leary and all the other parents who help keep such a busy chess schedule rolling and Baburin Incorporated for instilling some of those Grandmaster-type moves!

A-macing! Conleth’s Win UCD Schools Debate Again!

Yes, we used to be known as the ‘Barcelona’ of Schools Debating, but considering recent results in the Champions League, we may need a new metaphor for our outrageous dominance of both the domestic and international school debating scenes.  Conor White- debating coach, School Captain alumnus, ad astra member and hob-nobber with infamous, well-pensioned retired European bureaucrats- reports on our latest coup at the rostra:

 

 

 

Following four rounds, the teams of Harry Mansfield and Tomás Clancy, and Seán and Simon Pettitt reached the final of the competition, with the brothers Pettitt speaking in 2nd Proposition and Harry and Tomás speaking in 2nd Opposition.  For the purpose of the debate, they were given the following details:

The United States has elected an autocratic leader as President. The following has occurred:

– Large scale imprisonment and executions

– The Constitution and the Courts have been suspended

– Diplomatic ties have been cut and the UN has been expelled from New York

– Heavy censorship of the media has been introduced

– They have declared themselves as Dictator for Life

The motion for the final was This House Believes that the International Community Should Invade the United States of America.  Tomás and Harry won the final, with Seán and Simon being declared the runners up.  This is the fourth year in a row of St. Conleth’s winning a senior cycle schools mace in UCD. In other debating news, Conor Power has progressed to the final of the Leinster Schools Debating Competition which will be held soon.

 

Bronze Blade Buddies!

Under the watchful eye of Maître David Couper, our Senior School Fencing Captain Michael Li put Stephen Rockett through his fencing ‘paces’ and awarded him with the Irish Academy of Arms’ Bronze Blade Award which “recognises the progression of fencers in their learning and expertise in fencing.”  Michael is a recent earner of the award himself and he has worked tirelessly to expand the fencing fraternity at St. Conleth’s. Did I say fraternity?  Well, also pictured below are Francesca Chanco and Colleen Mulligan, two recent devotees of the ancient art.  They will surely soon join Michael, Stephen, the famous ‘band of Moriarty and Sherlock brothers’ and Claudio Sosa who are currently maintaining St. Conleth’s long-held reputation as the pre-eminent fencing school in Ireland.

 

 

 

Conor White: St. Conleth’s Chuck Norris?

Back in the days before our culture evolved to the heights of meme creation, we used to pass around little ironic jokes that made us feel smart and smile. Sometimes we even said these jokes face-to-face, and not on Skype or Facetime.   A common theme was the omnipotence of certain individuals: Demba Ba and Chuck Norris most notably.  Well, if anyone deserves to make that a trinity of awesomeness, especially from a Conlethian perspective, it is Conor White… and in this case, drop the irony.  Conor White can actually unscramble eggs.   And, yes, Conor White did count to infinity… twice.  When he was serving as School Captain in 2014-2015, the administration basically turned the keys over to him and he ran the school.  Apparently, UCD has now done the same: he was recently spotted showing the infamous Jean-Claude Trichet around UCD… and giving him tips about post-Brexit fiscal policy.   Somehow, perhaps through the saintly power of bi-location, Conor also found time to run our Debating Seminar for incoming Senior School students and coach Fifth Year duo Harry Mansfield and Tomás Clancy into the Oxford Schools Debating Finals.  Oh yes, he also picked up his Ad Astra award, the prestigious scholarship for academic excellence, university involvement and leadership.   Just another week for Conor White, the only man on earth who can speak Braille…and make onions cry…and make a snowman out of rain…

 

All Aboard! Sailing Starting Soon!

Head of Sport Gavin Maguire’s mighty realm extends over both land and sea:

Last year we ran a successful sailing club with the INSS and due to its success we are doing the same again this year. The sailing club is open to everyone from 1st to 4th year and caters for all abilities. It is run for 8th Saturdays, March – 4th,11th, 18th, April – 1st,8th, May 6th  13th, 20th . 
The cost is €160 for the 8 weeks. If you would like your son to do it please sign up on the Google form which is linked below.  Once we get enough numbers I will send more information. 

https://goo.gl/forms/2pN9GFy8yDbS3qM42

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Regards,
Gavin Maguire (maguireg@stconleths.ie)

 

A beautiful day for sailing at the Royal George.

Peace Proms Profundity!

At St. Conleth’s, students, teachers and parents often share in the enjoyment of a school event but rarely have we seen a ‘feel-good factor’ to the extent of that which was generated over the weekend by the Junior School Choir’s participation in the Peace Proms at the RDS.  Primary kudos must go to Ms. Eimar Hartnett, who worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event, getting the boys and girls pitch perfect.  The class teachers and parents also pitched in, making sure all the young choristers got to their many practice sessions. And of course, the students themselves: they put in the ‘overtime’ to get there, and on the day they pulled a ‘Tom Brady’ and nailed it.  Granted, there was a mood that could best be described as ‘pleasantly somnambulant’ in the Junior School on Monday morning, but it was certainly well-earned and well-deserved!  Proud Parent Michael Sheahan describes what it was like to be there on Sunday night:

A memorable nigh! 2000 children singing together on stage, from 52 school choirs, including St. Conleths JS Choir, an orchestra, pipers, drummers, dancers and a capacity crowd of 4000 in the RDS on Sunday night.  A 2 hour avalanche of sound, excitement and sheer joy. I dont think those present will ever forget the experience. Well done to Noelle for suggesting Conleth’s involvement, to Mr K, Ms Kelly, and Kathrin for looking after our boys on the night, but especially to Eimar Hartnett who has done wonders with this choir in such a short time…PS I was not crying all through “Heal the World” and “Ireland’s call”..it was just some dust in my eye or something..

Check out Michael’s video on the PA’s Facebook page!

 

Ethos Affirmed!

With students and teachers from across the globe, it is very evident that have a diverse community at St. Conleth’s and we are very proud of it.  This, of course, does not mean that we have no common ground (or double negatives): our agreed ethos, rooted in the lay Catholic tradition but welcoming to all, assures a unity that underlies any difference in opinion or particular of debate.  Last week was Catholic Schools Week in Ireland and St. Conleth’s did its part to reaffirm this great tradition of education and faith.  The Religion teachers engaged their classes with activities based upon Pope Francis’s Laudato Si and we all gathered for a special assembly.  Mr. Hickey, our Pastoral Director, outlined the significance of the week and the special emphasis made by the Pope and our bishops.  Mr. Gallagher tied it all in to the Celtic calendar and the legacy of St. Brigid and Mr. ODulaing made an impassioned connection between our greater mission and our everyday school life.  Student took part through their Prayers of the Faithful and special musical performances by Sam Lynch, Tim Leary and the old reliables, Cian O’Connor and Sean Keane.  In a time of global fracture and uncertainty, it was reassuring to see our little community of  St.Conleth’s so multifaceted but united and at peace with itself.

 

TYs Spin Tales… and Earn Praise!

Some Transition Years are quick to spin a tale or two when asked why they were late for class and perhaps this inventiveness came to the fore these last few weeks as a specially selected group of them took part in Project Storytellers down at our near neighbours, St. Brigid’s Primary School.  We have been involved in this learning partnership these last few years in which Transition Year pupils head down early on Friday mornings to the school on Haddington Road and take part in small group reading and story sessions with the younger classes.  Every year it is a thrill for all the children involved, from four to sixteen year olds, and, in particular, the story-tellers come away feeling privileged to have witnessed (and even helped) emerging literacy, a most commonplace but still miraculous event.

 

 

And those at St. Brigid’s value our TYs’ contributions, as evidenced in a testimony by the school’s principal:

The feedback I am getting from our teachers is very positive; they are very impressed with this group of students and how well they are getting on with the children. They are fully engaged and very enthusiastic. As we had so much interest from the subs, we have included them and so adjustments have been made to how we’ve operated in the classroom.
While some of the students are reading with the children as planned, others are working on station teaching and individual reading, under the guidance of the teachers. There is a great buzz in each room!
It would be great if you could come and visit the students when they come back to us again on March 3rd ….you would be very proud of them!
Thank you again for your continued cooperation and support for the Storytellers Project.
Best wishes,
Annemarie Hogan
Principal
St Brigid’s Primary School
Haddington Road

Cross Country Army!

Mr. Keenan does not do things by halves: when we say that sport at St. Conleth’s is all about participation, he practises what we preach and issues an open invite to all students to join him on his Track and Field outings.  As you can see from the photo below, this year’s call for Cross Country runners did not fall on many deaf years.  And we do not just do quantity : there were some quality runners hidden amongst this horde of student athletes which Mr. Keenan led over the mountains and through the trees to the East Leinster Cross Country Championships at Avondale.  3rd year Craig Davis qualified outright for the Leinster Finals and 5th Years Tim Lear and Rory Sweeney came a very respectable 24th and 26th respectfully and Elizabeth Counihan just missed out on qualifying in the girls’ race.  The 1st Years had a blast and Tony Barry continued his mysterious sylvan explorations.  It was a long day out in harsh weather but Mr. Keenan, for one, did not succumb to the elements and is already rounding up the troops for the Spring running season!

 

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A Galaxy of Career Opportunities

Rumours are flying through cyberspace and at youngling classes all over the galaxy that this year’s CAO numbers are to be the biggest on record, and barring an unexpected mass exodus to the Outer Rim Territories, next year’s Leaving Certificate class will be even larger!  So, there is even more reason to start taking your university and career planning seriously, especially if you are Fifth Year.  Our dedicated Career and Guidance Counsellor Anne Ryan is always busy meeting with the students in groups and individually, working wonders finding the right course for each of them: it might be Engineering at UCD or Politics at St. Andrew’s or Psychology at Dagobah University…whatever it is, Ms. Ryan usually finds the perfect fit for each Sixth Year who comes into her, even the ones who list  ‘Netflix’ and ‘chilling’ as skills on their CV.  But why leave it till next year?  Ms. Ryan is encouraging current Fifth Years to get a head-start on the university and career decision-making process by taking part in a special career assessment, now.  We will let the professional explain the details herself:

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am writing to inform you that a psychometric career assessment – rightcareers4me.com – will be administered to 5th Year students during the month of February.

The assessments measure values, interests, personality, skills and 6 aptitudes.  The results of these tests will provide students and their parents with an in depth psychometric profile which will enable students to scientifically identify the right careers and courses.

A comprehensive personalized Careers Report will be issued to each student and this will be followed by a one to one interview with the Guidance Counsellor to discuss the outcomes of the psychometric profile.

The school has negotiated a special price of €45 (normally €100).  If you would like your son/daughter to have the benefit of this assessment, please pay through Easy Payment Plus before 10 February 2017

I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.   It will enable your son/daughter to make informed and confident decisions about their future.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Ryan

Guidance Counsellor

 

 

Are You Ready for Chess and Debating in Secondary School?

Chances are that if you are a Fifth or Sixth Class student, you are a bit nervous about making that transition into secondary school, and if you are not, your parents certainly are!  You have already seen our Guide to First Year.  Now we are running two seminars on Senior School activities for 5th and 6th Class Conlethians who plan on attending our Senior School and those from other primary schools who are interested.  And we have chosen two activities which have become synonymous with St. Conleth’s: Debating and Chess.

First up, this Saturday, February 4th, 12:00-14:00, is our ‘Introduction to Debating and Public Speaking’.  If you know St. Conleth’s at all, you know that we have dominated Irish school debating for the last decade decade and a half, winning multiple Leinster and All-Ireland titles and basically serving as a feeder school for the Irish Student Debating Team.  Read all about our recent rhetorical exploits here but register for Saturday’s workshop to get hands-on instruction from two of our most decorated debating alumni.

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Then, on Saturday, February 11th,  12:00 to 2:00, Grandmaster Alex Baburin will lead the St. Conleth’s College Secondary School Chess Workshop.  Alex has been representing Ireland as its No. 1 ranked chess player for years, and he has also been passing on those skills to our Juniors as an after-school Chess teacher.   The fact that St. Conleth’s Junior School are current Leinster and All-Ireland Chess Champions attests to his talent and teaching ability.  Now, in this seminar, Alex will demonstrate how moving to secondary school affects your chess game (and vice versa!).

 

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St. Conleth’s Senior School is a greta place to be and debating and chess play big parts in the fun and the learning experience!

All Aboard for the Parents’ Social Event!

St. Conleth’s parents are tireless in their support of the school, from concerts to fundraisers to chaperoning excursions to classroom presentations, and they deserve a night of their own, where they can just enjoy each other’s company and perhaps do a wee bit of networking.  Our intrepid PA Chairmen, Peter O’Neill and Michael Mansfield, have arranged a Social Event on March 24th for both Junior and Senior School Parents in the salubrious setting of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.  Judging by the mouth-watering details below, it seems sure to be a hit and places are limited, so buy your tickets early (through Easypayments) to assure your place.

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And here are some pics from last year’s event.  Don’t miss out on the fun!

 

 

 

Young Knights of St. Conleth’s

You have to admit: the fencing crowd comes up with some pretty wicked names for their competitions and trophies.  This past weekend, for example, the Conlethian contingent of young fencers were competing in the ‘Excalibur Cup‎’.   How cool is that?  You surely feel more Harry Pottery or Tolkienesque competing for the Excalibur Cup‎, rather than the Johnstone Paint Trophy, for instance, or dare I say, the Vinnie Murray Cup.  And as is becoming quite the norm, the St. Conleth’s cohort of fencers left the Excalibur Cup with a considerable collection of trophies and medals (and a good bit of swag):

 

 

Under 10 Mixed Foil: Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Bronze Medal, Mathew Sherlock- 7th Place

Under 12 Mixed Foil: Luke Sherlock-Gold Medal

Under 14 Mixed Foil: Claudio Sosa-Gold Medal, James Moriarty-Smyth-Bronze Medal

 

 

 

Alumnae Illuminatae

With the St. Conleth’s Past Pupil’s Dinner just around the corner (March 3rd: tickets), we thought this might be the appropriate time to catch up with two particular alumni, or alumnae if you will, who reached new heights in their respective careers in 2016.  And with St. Conleth’s quickly becoming fully co-educational, what better role models for the school’s current girls than two women who walked the same hallways,  learned in the same classrooms and laughed at the similar buffoonery of their male peers?   They come from two very different disciplines, Classics and Engineering, but perhaps that too is a credit to their alma mater, where both sides of the brain are nourished and the only truly required course is having an open mind.

Diana Spencer, St. Conleth’s Class of 1987 and Professor of Classics & Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Birmingham,  delivered her Inaugural lecture “What I found there: Reading Classical Landscapes” (video).  This is just the latest academic honour for Diana, who studied at Trinity College, the University of London and Cambridge University after leaving St. Conleth’s and has already forged a spectacular career in the Classics (bio).  On hand in Birmingham to hear Diana’s lecture and celebrate with her was none other than Peter Gallagher, St. Conleth’s principal emeritus.  Peter is busy himself these days as a practicing barrister but it may well have been one of those riveting History or Latin classes of his that helped first send Diana down the Appian Way.

Dervilla Mitchell CBE, Class of 1976 and a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland, was awarded an honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by UCD (link).  Dervilla has been committed to addressing the gender balance in science, engineering and technology throughout her career.  It would be a topic she knows something about: when she graduated from UCD with a BSc Engineering in 1980, she was one of only four women in a graduating year of 200!   In 2014, Engineers Ireland awarded Dervilla with the ESB Outstanding Contribution to Engineering Award. In 2011, she received the Women of Outstanding Achievement Award for Inspiration and Leadership in Business and Industry.  Dervilla was also her company’s design management lead for Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 project, the largest construction project in Europe at the time, and is currently the company’s project director on the £2 billion Abu Dhabi Midfield terminal development.

 

So, whether it is in the landscapes of ancient Rome or on the infrastructure of the contemporary Middle East, you will find Conlethian women at work!

Basketball Alumni Reunion in Tallaght

It might not be the first place you would expect a gathering of St. Conleth’s alumni, but this past weekend Tallaght was the site of an impromptu reunion, as four of the UCD-Marian basketball team playing in the NICC Cup Final also used to ply their trade in the gymnasium of 28 Clyde Road.  They were joined by many fellow Conlethian alumni in the stands but as their behaviour as supporters was so raucous that CCTV footage is currently being reviewed, we will only mention Scott, Lorcan and Ross who, as they say, are already ‘known by the authorities’.   Former Ireland player Mark Ryan (Class of 2014) was clearly the class athlete on the court, soaring above his earth-bound opponents, and Jack ‘Mahoraj’ Nolan (2011) once again displayed the hands and uncanny court sense that made him a schools basketball legend, grinding his way to a ‘double-double’.  Liam Purcell (2010) showed that the acquisition of a full beard has not slowed him down aerodynamically at all, and it was a pleasant surprise to see that he has now added passing to his game- his shooting prowess already well-established. And waiting in the wings was none other than Eoin Noctor (2011), our current Head Basketball Coach and strategist supremo.  UCD-Marian lost the game, 78-72, but this national cup final appearance for four alumni is still a proud accomplishment for St. Conleth’s basketball.

 

 

On That Point!

We teachers at St. Conleth’s should get extra battle pay, but not quite for the same reason that they pay a bonus to the brave souls who venture into the toughest schools in the toughest slums of Chicago or Baltimore; rather, we should get some ‘encouragement’ money for facing the mighty rhetorical weaponry of some of these Conlethian student debaters.   They may save their most impressive ‘Points of Information’ and bits of rebuttal for the prestigious competitions, but it is in classroom discussions where they sharpen those points and tip-toe along the line between enthusiastic participation and barracking!  Ah well, it is all for the best and I guess we can put up with the thesis-length response to ‘Did you do your homework?’ if it helps our debaters to continue to dominate all the significant competitions.

 

 

You read here earlier how Frank Knowles and Joe Downey have qualified for the prestigious  Cambridge International Debate Final.  Now they have gone through as a team into the Leinster Finals of the Junior School Mace Competition, which will be held at St. Conleth’s March 3rd.  They will be joined, as an individual qualifier, by James Hastings-Raftery, who once famously responded to a request to move his chair in After-School Study with a diatribe about ‘the modes of production and bourgeois control of proletarian freedom of movement’.  On the Senior level, Harry Mansfield and Tomás Clancy have gone through to the Semifinals of the Leinster Schools, with Conor Power, Oisin Dowling and Simon Pettitt qualifying as Individuals.  Other schools would break out the band and slaughter the fatted calf for such accomplishments, but at St. Conleth’s we simply expect such a level of excellence.  A big part of that confidence is the way in which Debating Moderator Mr. Carvill brings back decorated alumni debaters as coaches: currently Conor White and Daniel Gilligan are whipping them (just rhetorically, we assume) into parliamentary shape while pursuing their own debating careers at the third level.  Daniel has just qualified for the Finals of the Irish Times Debate, the pre-eminent third level debating completion in the country.  Past competitors include many Conlethian alumni, most notably Liam Trophy who talked away with the trophy in 2013.

Active Maths!

Maths whizzes from all over Leinster had to reorganise their usually hectic Friday night social schedules to attend the Irish Mathematics Teachers Association’s annual Sixth Year maths competition at Rathdown School and Ms. Hopkins had the St. Conleth’s Maths team ready to rock (and Rolle’s theorem)!   We have a proud tradition of excellence in Maths at St. Conleth’s.  Just look at our recent results and departmental inspection report.  And we also take these competitions very seriously, as we witnessed once again Friday night, with the boys earning a very respectable joint 6th place (of 41 teams) finish.  The problem for our reporting staff is that the Maths team members are usually not as loquacious as… let’s say… the school’s debaters, who will continue explaining, correcting and pontificating long after we have run out of room in our notebook, put down our pen and silently walked away.  The Maths Team kids of the past tended to give monosyllabic responses, often in binary, or answer with emissions of short electronic sounds, sort of like R2D2 but not as polyphonic.  So it was a pleasant surprise to see this year’s line-up of Sean Pettitt, Oscar Byrne-Carty, Colin Duffy and Aonghus Hegarty.  Not only are they geniuses at the old adding and carrying over but they also are able and willing to enthusiastically and animatedly describe these numerical adventures…. with words!.  More C3PO than R2, indeed, and we look forward to hearing all about it!

 

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The Basketball Diaries

Coach Eoin, aka ‘Noctor J’, is justifiably proud of his U16 and U19 Basketball teams (both boys and girls!) as they recently closed out very successful seasons.  Just this week, our U16 Boys narrowly lost to old foes (and friends) St. Andrew’s in the SDBL Final, a trophy of which they were the proud holders.  It was a close battle all the way with all our usual suspects doing their usual jobs: Tommy grinding it out in the paint, Luke doing his ‘big man point guard’ thing and Colin letting fly from way out.  And when Jack Topliss sank his glorious moonshot trey we thought the basketball gods were on our side, but it was not to be.  This time.  Someone who definitely wasn’t on our side was the referee in the U19 SDBL Semifinal vs. Newark.  Shane Byrne scored 36 for us in a very narrow loss but he should have scored 50: he was bumped, hacked and dragged down all over the court.  Nothing however will tarnish Shane’s legacy: he ends his Conlethian career as one of the school’s all-time greats.  Herron, Purcell, Nolan and Ryan must now make some room for him in the Conlethian Emeritus All-Star Locker-room.  Just before Christmas both teams made it to the Dublin Plate Finals where they competed manfully but lost to much bigger schools.  Noctor’s boys are getting used to playing finals!  And never mind ‘manfully’ as girls basketball is also on the rise at St. Conleth’s: Our U19s enjoyed a memorable blow-out win in their first game of the season and our U16s are eagerly awaiting next year, when there will be enough girls to compete officially in their age group.  Well, now the these ballers are turning to their books and taking centre-court are our First and Second Years, full of talent and enthusiasm.  They started their season with a double victory over the revered Marian and here is an updated schedule of their remaining matches.  The St. Conleth’s basketball bounce continues!

 

 

 

DELF Days Are Here Again!

Is that a whiff of Chanel mixing with the scent of curry wafting from the cafeteria?  Did a well-dressed and stylishly-coiffed professeur just douse her cigarette and sweep through reception en route to the Conference Room? If so, it can only mean one thing: DELF days are here again!

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Prendre le train en marche?  Yes, schools all over the country are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and getting into ‘DELF’ these days, but do remember that St. Conleth’s was the first school in Ireland to have its students sit this prestigious French exam.  Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley worked tirelessly with Nathalie-Zoé Fabert , the Attachée de Coopération pour le Français en Irlande, to complete the quintessentially French labyrinth of paperwork to bring the DELF to St. Conleth’s last year and they made Trojan efforts again this week, and to be fair to the Transition Years, they responded to their teachers’ efforts and enthusiasm in kind, displaying both zeal and talent on the written and oral exams.  Soon we will have the results and a little soirée to celebrate!

Brian Mooney to Address TY Parents on Subject Choice

Our previous post regarding Fifth Year subject choice may have scared you with all its talk about precipes, cataracts and the like, so we decided to bring in someone who can calm all the nerves and answer all the questions: Brian Mooney, noted Guidance Counsellor, author and all-around career guru.  He is the ‘go-to guy’ regarding career guidance and subject choice in Ireland, having written the definitive guide on the subject and authored the Irish Times series of articles on the subject.  So come along tonight (Monday 23rd) and ask your questions… and don’t blame us when you find out belatedly that your son needed Physics to do Basket-Weaving at Carlow IT!

St. Conleth’s Subject Choice Guide

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French Debaters Edged Out In Quarters

Ms. Crowley reports back from the front lines of the Joutes Oratoires competition:

Yet again, a smashing performance from our French debating team, this time arguing that “Le service civique devrait être obligatoire en Irlande”.  Our courageous debaters fought till the end rebutting the opposition with style and showing their passions and preparation, but in the end it was their opponents, the Haywood Community School, who had the better hand.  Their rather theatrical performance bamboozled the judges and put an end to our Joutes Oratoires this year.  A great big thank-you is owed to Mr. Porzadny and his well-drilled team of debaters for providing us such enlightening entertainment.  Our students once again showed their ability to deal with whatever nuance of grammar or vocabulary was thrown their way, standing and competing proudly in the name of St. Conleth’s.

 

 

 

 

The Three Conlethians!

You have heard of ‘The Three Tenors’ and  maybe even ‘The Three Priests’, Irish singers who have taken the vocal world by storm: well… here come the three Conlethians!  Milan Moran and Edwin Dabsevicius of Fifth Form and Ben O’Brien of Sixth Form will soon be receiving their Bronze medals in a ceremony at the Pro-Cathedral for their musical study as choristers.
The boys will proceed to study for the Silver next as you only do the exams from Bronze through to Gold as you progress.  Of course you can soon hear these three, as well as the whole Junior School Choir, under the direction of Ms. Hartnett at their upcoming Peace Proms performance.

 

 

Chemistry or Classics? LC Subject Choice Help!

Our previous post dealt with the many questions which arise with the transition from primary to secondary school but  the move into the LC years can be just as confusing, particularly when it comes to subject choice.  Sixteen-year-olds all over the country (and their parents) are currently drifting blithely and contentedly towards the culmination of their Transition Year, but little do they know that dead ahead, and approaching rapidly, is the roaring cataract of Leaving Certificate Subject choice!   Pick the wrong subject and you are doomed to a lifetime of career stagnation and regret!  Okay, we exaggerate slightly… in fact, there is no need to panic at all, because attached here is the St. Conleth’s Guidance Department’s Guide to Choosing Leaving Certificate Subjects, a rather straightforward little tome that does exactly what it says on the tin.  So, relax, TYs: have a read, listen to the presentations for each subject which will be made next week, discuss it with your parents and teachers and choose with confidence.  Yes, it is very important, but you will now be well-informed and in the perfect position to take this first step towards your Leaving Certificate years at St. Conleth’s.

 

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A Guide to First Year at St. Conleth’s

Whenever we wield our camera through the hallowed halls of St. Conleth’s, all the teachers sensibly dive for cover but most of the students flock to the lens like moths to a flame.  There are, of course, some kids are on the shy side (less and less very year…) but they are able to quietly slip away as their classmates begin to struggle for prime ‘dabbing’ position, all of which makes life difficult for the teacher whose class we have interrupted but quite easy for the aspiring photojournalist!  Attached here is the newest version of the First Year Guide, a little publication we issue to incoming First Year students and their parents to provide them with the essential but perhaps not obvious information for those exciting but potentially stressful first days of secondary school.   It will also be of interest to current First Year parents:  they can see what has been going on this year and the pics will surely serve as cherished mementos (and perhaps for blackmail) in years to come!

 

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The Offensive Continues…

Our fencers obviously did not fill up on too many mince pies this Christmas break, as they have picked up right where they left off in 2016, parrying and pointing their way up the Irish ranks.  Robert Smyth reports:   Saturday saw the St. Conleth’s fencing contingent head North once more,  this time for Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. As is customary, they returned with a fine hoard of medals:  Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Bronze in the Mixed Under 10s, with Luke Sherlock and Claudio Sosa taking Gold in Under 12 and Under 14 Boys respectively.  Mathew Sherlock attained 7th place in Mixed Under 10s while James  Moriarty-Smyth ended the day in 5th spot, narrowly missing medal position in Under 14 Boys: a tremendous result given his recent six week stint on crutches!

 

 

 

Fun with Science!

Sixth Form may have done the hard work but all the Junior classes enjoyed their visits to the Young Scientists this year.  See some snaps below of  Ms. Dillon’s Third Form’s action-filled visit and the now famous pics of our very own Lucila enjoying some hands-on science fun with her family.

 

 

Missionaries of Chess at the YS!

Sixth Form did St. Conleth’s very proud at the Young Scientist Primary Science Fair, adding a special participation award to their already groaning Chess trophy shelf.  Parent Michael Sheahan reports that the boys involved demonstrated their project professionally and confidently at a very busy stand and were friendly and informative to all their many visitors, including numerous fellow Conlethians and their families.  It was great to see such competitive and tactically aggressive chess players showing their softer, more co-operative side!  And their judge’s comments left no doubt to how impressed he was:  ‘I really enjoyed this project.  The question was really interesting as I do not play chess but would love to. Your productions and reporting of your findings was great.  The testing you carried out was so resourceful and having a chess grandmaster in your corner was amazing!  Your use of photo recording, observation, testing and data gathering was superb.  Your project was so ‘hands on’!  I found your presentation very clear and easy to understand.  Your verbal explanation was excellent.  It might have been interesting to have compared a delayed questionnaire a week or so after the lesson.  Thanks to your teacher, your parents and yourselves as pupils for taking part and representing your school so well!  Well done!”

Check out the boys’ project in their own words here and see some pics of their exhibition below:

 

 

Mock Exams! Communion! Basketball! Put These In Your Diary!

As always, you can check our Events section for all the regular and special events that make up the typical busy week at St. Conleth’s, but as there are loads of Communion and other events on the way, we have also updated the one-page Junior School Calendar which can be found here or under ‘Calendar + Information’.  An updated Senior one will soon follow but here is the list of remaining Senior School basketball fixtures and, of course, the schedules for the Mock Exams are also of great interest (and dread).  They can be found under ‘Calendar + Information’ as well as here (JC, LC) and below:

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SCT Hold Heads High in Loss to CUS

To be fair, the final score actually flattered CUS.  Yes, they were the bigger team in both individual size and pool numbers and, yes, they played good clean rugby, passing on the run (occasionally forwardly) and contesting the scrum with considerable strength and technique, but 47-7 does not tell the true tale of a well-played, competitive match of schools rugby which did the august setting of Donnybrook Stadium and both schools proud.  We are in the midst of a ‘rebuilding year’, having lost so many essential players of last year’s championship squad to graduation, while CUS are at the cusp of a recent surge of development and are favoured to go far in this tournament and these facts showed on the day: they seemed to have an endless, interchangeable set of forward-sized backs and even bigger forwards rolling on-and-off the pitch as our boys manfully sucked it up and battled on, proving that heart and fighting spirit are not measurable in inches and stones.

 

 

Early on we seemed a bit nervous, perhaps as it has been a while since we have had a competitive match.  Two tries went over for them and the threat of a rout loomed clearly on the cold horizon.  But Captain Ross Murphy settled the side with his words of encouragement and strong play and his guided missile Colin Duffy and hitman Oisín Allen started whacking their counterparts into the French cheese section of Donnybrook Fair.   In the second half, we began to tire and the CUS section of the crowd was baying for blood but our many supporters, including plenty of Junior School kids and nearly the whole Class of 2016, rose up as one and willed the team to a stirring try, with Mati Remi touching down with minutes to go after a true team effort marching up the pitch.  Our Sixth Years certainly led the way, but there were plenty of signs of maturing and emerging talent, from Gavin Nugent’s emphatic open-field tackle through Joe Hyland’s scintillating runs to PJ Terry’s pony-tailed daring on the wing.  Gavin and the boys walked off the pitch disappointed but with heads held high and it is clear that St. Conleth’s Rugby is in a very good place going forward, indeed.

A big thank-you to our SCT sponsors, Ballsbridge Motors.

Chess Champs Are Also Young Scientists!

Proving that the generosity of their spirit is as great as their tactical genius, our reigning All-Ireland Junior School champions decided to create a Young Scientist research project about the mysteries and realities of learning the noble game. All of Sixth Class united behind their champions and together they came up with a fascinating science project.  You can read the boys’ own detailed summary here while proud chess parent Michael Sheahan gives us the nuts and bolts below, and until we have pics from the Young Scientists’ exhibition, enjoy some of the highlights of St. Conleth’s Junior Chess’s incredible accomplishments last year!

Can you learn to play chess in 30 minutes? As Conleths have dominated primary schools chess in Ireland in recent years a chess themed young scientist project seemed apt. find out on Saturday in the RDS when sixth form present the results of their groundbreaking research. 16 Conleths parents, 1 brave teacher, and 17 children (2nd-6th) volunteered to get a 30 minute lesson from one of the school chess team from 6th. How much they learned was then measured in a 25 question exam. The results were very interesting! Did males or females do better? Adults or kids? Visit our stand in the primary schools section on Saturday between 9.30 and 4 and ask lots of questions!

 

 

Jude Moes Floats Like A Butterfly!

The rumours about a roof-top swimming pool being part of the next phase of development at St. Conleth’s are fascinating and probably baseless but do we really need our own pool?  The longstanding tradition of bringing our Junior School students down to Sportsco in Ringsend for swimming every Friday seems to do just fine in churning out multitudes of children with respect, ability and affinity for the water and quite a few top class competitive swimmers.  At the recent Leinster Minor Schools Gala, Jude Moes swam two events and earned personal best times in both. In the 50m backstroke, he fell a few tenths of a second short of qualifying for the All-Irish Gala, but he did qualify in the 50m Butterfly.  He’ll swim the All Irish Minor Schools gala on Feb 12th. Luke Timlin was unable to attend last weekend but we are sure he will soon be back in the pool and join Jude as the latest Conlethians to make a splash on the national swimming scene!

 

 

SCT Set for Historic Cup Match!

We knew that matching last year’s ‘golden season’ would be an impossible task for this year’s edition of the Ballsbridge Motors-sponsored SCT and, frankly, we had worries that there would be a rather sudden ‘crashing back to earth’ after the giddy heights of 2015-2016.  We lost a veritable pantheon of rugby gods by name of Dolan, Pogatchnick, Doggett et al and we knew that his time around everyone would be ready for us… and eager to put us back in our supposed place!  But Gav Maguire and the boys in black and green have confounded expectations by having a very strong year and now take another historic first step for St. Conleth’s rugby, as the man himself explains:

This years SCT have done fantastically well this season. They are the first St. Conleth’s SCT team to pre-qualify for the Vinnie Murray Cup. Their first round game is against CUS at 4pm in Donnybrook on Thursday 12th January. Captain Ross Murphy and the team would really appreciate as much support as they can get, so please if you are free please make the short stroll to Donnybrook Stadium.  Last year there was a great atmosphere at the three games we had there and we would like to replicate it again.   Admission is €2 per student and €5 per adult.   Coach Gavin Maguire.

The SCT: all set for our Vinnie Murray Cup showdown with CUS in Donnybrook!

Tractor or Barbie? Young Scientists Want to Know!

The coaches from the midlands and the outer rim territories will soon be pulling in, filling the cafes of Ballsbridge with very bright if slightly awkward membership of the Brian Cox Fan Club… yes, it is Young Scientists week at the RDS!   And both Conlethian Senior and Junior students are involved, so before that kid from Cork starts yodelling about the beneficial bacteria involved in beet production, read our very own Zachary Carr’s account of his and Sophie Lee’s project involving the influence of childhood play on career choice. 

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Last September we set out to understand if the choice of toy we play with as children, influences our choice of course in Third Level Education.  Our proposed methodology of using both an online survey as well as face-to-face interviews on the campus of University College Dublin.  What we ultimately prove is that, more often than not, favourite childhood toy choice is directly linked to future college course choice, often in surprising ways.  For example, we found that gender, normally very important in children’s choice of toy, played very little role for students of Architecture and Engineering. Students on these courses almost all had a common favourite toy which was a construction toy, such as Lego, regardless of gender.  We discovered that Business Students overwhelmingly loved to play with action figures and dolls, perhaps hinting at a future desire to manage and lead.  We uncovered just how predictable our childhood behaviour can be, for example, almost every Agricultural Science student, including Mr. Trenier, favoured his or her toy tractor over any other toy.  Our study was a fascinating project to work on and we learned a lot about getting busy students to talk!  We’d love if you could come along and see us at the RDS this week.

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Sophie and I asking a student for our face-to-face survey in UCD.

 

 

New Year’s Resolution: Supervised Study!

We all tend to the aspirational rather than the practical when it comes to New Year’s resolutions but here is one which is very appropriate and achievable for our students: supervised study.  There are two ‘programmes’:  Mr. Maguire’s ‘Night Study’ runs from 6:30-9:00 on Monday and Thursday (except for this week: Wednesday instead).  You pay for each particular night through Easypayments Plus on this website.  Mr. Latvis’s ‘After-School Study’ (click for details) runs for 3:30-6:00 on M,T,TH and Fri. and 1:30-4:00 on Wed.  Again, you pay through Easypayments Plus but it is a full term fee of €360 (or €260 for those with school activities such as rugby on at least two days a week).  Study starts on the very first day back (Monday, Jan. 9th) so put away those crackers and start packing those books!

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Prep School’s Nativity Play: Simply Beautiful

After the highfalutin drama, dance and comedy of The Lemonade Kid, it was back to basics with the Preparatory School’s version of the Nativity story (programme), but the simple elegance of the production proved that Howe, Hartnett et al are just adept at staging the timeless classics as the avant garde!  Ms. Kelly’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and the members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our beautifully decorated hall.  The Junior School Choir was also on hand to bring a fitting, perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations.

 

 

 

Yee-Haw! ‘The Lemonade Kid’ is a Smash Hit!

When Pat Howe swaggers into saloons in the wilds of South County Dublin, other drama teachers dive for cover as they know he is the rootinest, tootinest stage school top gun this side of the Shannon… even Billy ‘The Kid’ Barry was known to give Pat plenty of room if they happened to meet head-on in a dusty lay-by or the RTE canteen.   And who is always tinkling the ivories and sorting out the notes, high and low, for the young guns?  None other than Ms. Hartnett whose delicate playing belies the sternness of a true lawman when in pursuit of the perfect harmony.  Well, along with the amazing painted scenery of Ms. Long and her student artists, the tireless assistance of all the individual class teachers and all the little gunslingers and arrow-launchers, these two managed to produced an awesome show which was pitch-perfect, full of guffaws and gushes and kept all and sundry on the edge of their seats from the first gunshot to the last yodel.  Broadway surely beckons but we hope to hang onto our talented two at least as long as the summer spectacular.  It will certainly be difficult to top the Lemonade Kid!

See the full Ms. Dillon-produced programme here and the Ms. Leary and Mr. Gallagher-taken pics below.

 

Christmas Crooners

The Senior School Choir is at the heart of everything that we do musically  at St. Conleth’s- in fact, it is at the heart of the school community itself, recently evidenced by the central role it played in the celebration of Mr. Kelleher’s life.  But we have plenty of individual talent, too, and sometimes those talents band together in small groupings to deadly effect- Sidewinder, The Backdoor Boys, Head 6 and the various incarnations headed by Evan Kennedy come to mind.

 

 

Well, judging by the number of First and Second Year performers at this year’s Christmas Concert, there is clearly a new generation of musical talent ready to take the stage and Ms. Fay’s toughest job is to narrow down the playlist- who knows which of the names below is destined to join Conor O’Brien and Cassia O’Reilly on the professional stage?  In the meantime we will just enjoy the beautiful sounds and, even more importantly, the heartwarming sight of young talent working together. (Thanks to Joe, Rory and Eoin for their photographic work this term!)

 

Carols agus Ceol!

Over the past few weeks our classroom lectures, discussions and slumbers have been pleasantly accompanied by the sweet notes wafting down to us from the Music Room, where Ms. Fay has bravely and tirelessly presided over the conducting of choirs and the marshalling of musicians in preparation for the end-0f-year musical frenzy which always marks a St. Conleth’s Christmas.  With her usual partner in song, Ms. deBhal, temporarily out of harp-strumming action, Ms. Fay has done Trojan work stirring, coaxing and sometimes straining the pool of student talent which somehow always seems to replenish itself, no matter how many prima donnas and maestros graduate the May before.   First up is the annual trip to the St. Mary’s Home, our next-door neighbours on Pembroke Park.  Ms. Fay once again led the Senior School Choir (with select musical accompaniment) down to visit the old folks for some carol singing, fiddle-playing and general yuletide bonhomie.  The residents were overjoyed with the performance and the visit as a whole as the boys and girls charmed them with their talents, manners and friendliness.  The feeling was certainly mutual as Ms. Fay and company returned with that special look on their faces that seems to only come at Christmastime: that of a job well done and a gift both given and received.

 

Mr. Bolger Leads the Race to Christmas!

If Tiny Tim had somehow managed to hobble out the Kylemore Road, use his crutch as pole vault to hop the fence of the Go-Karting centre there and drag himself onto the track, we would like to think that Mr. Bolger would at least slow down and swerve a bit to avoid a collision, perhaps taking a few seconds off his lap time but still winning the race by a mile… but we are not so sure.

 

 

Every year we allow each class to go on a local trip to celebrate Christmas and mark the end of their exams.  This year we managed to do them all on the same day and although St. Conleth’s was left a peaceful oasis (aside from 200 Junior kids belting out Country & Western songs in the hall), Dublin and the surrounding counties were invaded by high-spirited hooligans in holiday mood!  The aforementioned Speed-Racer Bolger took Fifth Years Go-Karting and everyone involved had a ball but I don’t need to tell you who took home the trophy (and presented it to his mother so it could go on the over-burdened awards shelf over the fireplace in the good room and under the portrait of himself).   First, Third and Fourth Years went to the cinema and Eddie Rocket’s for lunch, while Second Years hit the bowling lanes and Sixth Years hit each other with high velocity paintballs.  A seasonal good time was had by all but it was back to classes on Tuesday!

 

 

 

TYs Work To Please The Birds

No sooner have the TYs wrapped up their extraordinarily successful Christmas Fair then they get to work on their next project!  The Morehampton Road Wildlife Sanctuary (aka ‘The Grove’) is that mysterious parcel of land on the corner of Morehampton and Wellington Lane which has ivory-coloured crumbling stone walls and wrought-iron gates and is overflowing with creepers, vines, branches and the sounds of the jungle!  You might hurry by in the morning, mistaking the sounds of wildlife for those of lowlife but it is actually a little bit of David Attenborough Land, a healthy mini-ecosystem forever preserved for nature and its observers by the will of a deceased benefactor (and the meanderings of the underground Swan River).  Mr. Keenan has been feeding the birds there for years but now the TYs have volunteered to help by carefully and select fully cleaning the place up and making it even more suitable for the diverse resident wildlife including various nesting birds, foxes, squirrels, frogs and the occasional alumnus who could not make it all the way home after the PPU Dinner!

 

Christmas Brain!

The kids know it… formally loquacious teachers who previously lectured continuously (if tangentially) for the full forty minutes of every class are now staring blankly ahead at a place somewhere between the tops of their charges’ well-coiffed heads and phantasms of Aunt Hilda’s much-desired tiramisu until the rescue of the nervous cough… others are referring insistently to students by the names of their long-graduated older brothers or even fathers… some are even drifting back to their own Christmas schooldays and warning recalcitrants that Sr. Bathilda awaits down the hallway, ruler in hand…yes, Christmas is almost here and everyone who is over the age of 17 and not teaching differential equations is suffering from….Christmas Brain!   Luckily there is still a lot to do to help keep us focused, especially for the music teachers: Ms. Fay is doing Trojan work readying Senior School singers and musicians for our Christmas Carol service on Wednesday and Mr. Howe and Ms. Hartnett are working tirelessly with the Junior School’s acting and vocal talents in preparation for Wednesday’s premiere of The Lemonade Kid and Thursday’s nativity play.  Of course, regular classes are still going on (especially for exam years) but everyone is getting a special Christmas day trip, whether it is go-Karting, bowling or the cinema.  Photos are sure to arrive soon but in the meantime check out these snapshots of what is going on regarding our festive preparations:

 

Christmas is in their Sights!

Mr. TK gives us the run-down on all the Junior School Christmas barn-raisin’ and crop-dustin’:

Our Christmas assembly hosted by 3rd Form in the music room last week officially kicked off the Christmas period in the JS. Pupils read out interesting historical nuggets about the origins of Christmas interspersed with rousing renditions of Christmas favourites accompanied by Ms. Hartnett on the piano.
· The school choir have a heavy workload as many members have big parts in the Christmas show as well as preparing for carol singing at the Prep School concert. They also have to prepare their medley of song for the Peace Proms concert in the RDS on February 5th.

 

 

In a bid to try not to overdose on all things Christmassy, the Junior School is swapping Christmas hats for Stetsons and candy canes for six-shooters as they put the final touches on their big show – The Lemonade Kid- a raucous wild west musical extravaganza. To keep in the spirit of the season, the Prep School are busy putting the finishing touches on their nativity play.

·         In a break from tradition. The Lemonade Kid is taking place after school on Wednesday 21st December at 5pm. All 99 cast members will stay after school to get ready so a long day is anticipated for staff and pupils alike. That leaves the limelight free for the Prep school the next day- Thu 22nd– their play beginning at 10:30pm.

·         Raffle tickets will be sold at both shows with the draw taking place for hamper prizes at the end of the nativity play. This should bring us to 12:00 and the official start of the school holidays.

Happy Christm… ouch! Fencers Not Quite in Holiday Mode

It is the time of year when we are cheery with everyone: we actually discuss the weather with strangers at bus-stops, indulgently sign away our future earnings on a direct debit to ‘Save the Arctic Fox’ and let bygones be bygones with the in-laws… until that fourth mug of fortified egg-nog.  That is unless you are a St. Conleth’s fencer:  for these boys, the giving season is still on hold, unless you mean the ‘giving’ of a foil point in your armpit!  Here is a report from Robert Smyth on the St. Conleth’s young fencers’ latest moves:

 

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Last Saturday saw the St. Conleth’s contingent once again head north, this time to partake in Round 2 of the NI Junior Foil Series. Medals for the Senior School abounded as Luke Sherlock and Claudio Sosa respectively took Gold in the Boys Under 12 and Under 14 Foil. Mathew Sherlock and Myles Moriarty-Smyth fought valiantly to preserve Junior School honour, which was preserved by Myles taking Bronze once again in the Mixed Under 10s. Older brother James was hors de combat courtesy of injury incurred on the rugby field but he proved his coaching potential by guiding his sibling throughout the day!

TYs’ Yuletide Bonanza!

Harry Rooney, TY and Padawan, reports on the record-breaking haul from the TY Christmas Tree Sale and Fair:

The TY Christmas tree fair all started in the 4th year Business room, late October. Each student chose a role and a group to participate in the fair. Last Monday, 5th of Dec., the preparations began. Christmas trees were bought in bulk, ranging from 3ft to even 14ft, and were brought into the hall the Friday before the fair. Many TY groups made their own products, such as baked goods and Christmas decor, like logs and wreaths, which sold completely throughout the day. Other groups sold waffles, sausage rolls and even Christmas themed balloons.

 

 

Saturday, 10th of Dec.,  at 9 o’ clock marked the beginning of our annual fair. By quarter past the school hall was bustling with parents and students alike, many of whom bought Christmas trees right away. The trees were selected, netted by the students and then carried outside where they were drilled. One of the TY parents even organised all the payments and receipts.

The other stalls immediately began making some profit, the Christmas logs and wreaths likely made the most cash on the day, with the confectionary not far behind. By 12pm the Christmas trees were clearing out and many were sent out by delivery, in which two of the TY boys would carry a tree anywhere around Donnybrook and Ballsbridge, and then they set it up in the buyer’s house. Most of us made some money out of tips! Many of the students carried trees all over the local area and even a little further. By 2pm the fair was still going strong, the balloons had sold out and trees were still being delivered. Free tea and coffee were available on the day and some stalls were filled with books and small toys.

 

 

At 3pm the were still selling strong and some stands, like the Christmas logs and wreaths had sold out and made maximum profit. The pastries and sausage rolls stocks had also almost depleted… everything was a hit!

The TY students all wore Christmas jumpers and Santa hats, this all added the Christmas cheer and even the parents dressed festively. By 5pm, the fair had almost ended, and everything was pretty much sold out. Many students and parents volunteered to stay behind and clean up. I would hope we raised a great profit as 75% goes to the Uganda fund and the rest goes out to the Parent’s Association who worked very hard to help set up everything.

We’d like to thank everyone involved and all who helped out on the day. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Le droit de vote devrait être accordé à 16 ans!

That was the motion of the latest round of Joutes Oratoires, the French language debating competition in which St. Conelth’s has a proud and winning tradition. Here is Mr. Porzadny’s report of his team’s latest win:
“Bonsoir messieurs dames, l’équipe de l’opposition, membres du jury et Madame le président. Je m’appelle Lois et nous, l’équipe de la proposition, sommes completement pour la these de ce soir…”  Opening the floor for her fellow team-mates, Lois Kelleher gave a very meticulous speech which set the proper tone for the rest of the evening. It was a very intense debate and, as the Jury mentioned in the end, both team came well prepared. Historical facts, statistics and fierce rebuttals were common ground on the night.  Following Lois, Isobel Nugent brought forward pristine French pronunciation: on this night, confidence was her middle name.   Sean Keane then joined the party and filled the room with words full of strength and poetry.   Soon after, “l’autre Sean“- Sean Pettit,  stood up and defended each of his point with the vitality of the lioness defending her cubs. Finally, and despite being sick on that night, Lois stood up one last time and poured all her remaining energy in a conclusion that was bound to convince the most skeptical members of the jury.  Hence, despite facing an excellent team from The King’s Hospital, St Conleth’s eventually got the win!

Quarterfinals, here we come!

 

One More Sleep! The St. Conleth’s TY Christmas Fair & Tree Sale Is Tomorrow!

It’s tomorrow!  Only one sleep till the St. Conleth’s Christmas Fair this Saturday, from 9 to 5! Tell your friends, family, neighbours… tell everybody!

It’s that time of year. Christmas and the holiday beckon. But first, thanks to the TY students and the elves of the Parent’s Association, there’s the matter of the Christmas Fair & Tree Sale!

Saturday 10th of December is the date. The trees are on their way, more than 120 of them, ranging in size from 3 to 14 feet. Posters have gone out to the local community; to businesses and householders. Wreaths, Poinsettas, Tree Stands, Foodstalls, TY mini-businesses, free tea and coffee and the ever popular Waffles are all in the works, waiting for parents, friends and students alike.

 

 

This is an ideal opportunity to source a Christmas Tree and to assist the school in funding a worthy charity.

Since 2010, St. Conleth’s has worked directly with the Kitatya Secondary School in Uganda, and last year with the Ever Green National school in Minali, India. More than €35,000 has been raised through the Tree Sale. On behalf of the whole St Conleths community this money has been used to fund a diverse range of projects including solar power, staff accommodation, livestock development and educational subsidies for local children who would otherwise not be able to access education.

Students have raised their own funds to travel to the schools, to live within their communities and to exchange learning in language and culture. The effect of these wonderful journeys has been profound and lasting.

A lot of organisation goes into the fair and it would be remiss not to thank the students both for their work so far and for what’s to come, all of the teachers who have given so much help, especially Mr Trenier, Ms Long and Ms Killen and the members of the parents’ committee.

So please. Come along to the sale on Saturday 10th December. We’ll help you find the right tree, drill it, net it and even deliver it if you like. If you already have your tree, come anyway, have a cuppa and a bite – and bring a few euros!

Enquiries to JP Coakley (087)679-5565

Poster PDF

Where the money goes! PDF

Banchorman: The Ledger Continues… Get it?

We have been punished over the years with various build-a-bank names which play upon famous film franchises (remember The Empire Strikes Bank…and its sequel…Return of the Jedi’s Cheque?) but we have to admit that Banchorman: The Ledger Continues really pays dividends.  It works so well that we have forwarded the photos and promotional pieces to Dreamworks, the movie’s production company, and they said that their lawyers will soon be in touch…obviously to congratulate Mr.Trenier and his TYs!  In the meantime enjoy the pics below of the bank’s launch.  The professionals from AIB were around to provide shrewd advice and to assure due diligence but the show was all the boys’ alone, as Tomás Clancy, Hugh Downes, Eve Harvey-Graham, Ian O’Neill, Jonathan Dillon and Stephen Allen launched their student bank with consummate skill and a good bit of panache.  The competitions and freebies drew the youngsters in and, like with many a third-mortgage-taker in days gone by, when the smoke had cleared and the confetti had settled, the signatures were somehow on the bottom line!   Seriously, a generous bonus was provided by AIB for openers of student accounts and it was a win-win situation: the TY boys gained valuable business experience and the general student body got a whiff of the financial sector’s profits while still learning the value of saving and austerity.

Conlethians Explore Old and New Technologies!

Boat-building and sailing have been long engrained in this island nation’s consciousness but our kids are more inclined to explore more digital frontiers.  Mr. Kilcommons managed to unite the best of the old and new as he arranged a Skype meeting with a real-life nautical adventurer:

Our 5th and 6th Form had the wonderful experience of participating in a Skype call to Enda O Coineen, skipper of the Kilcullen Voyager Team who is in the middle of an attempt to have an Irish sailor complete the ultimate in sailing tests – The Vendée Globe.  The Kilcullen Team is sponsored by Ballsbridge Motors (sponsors of our Senior Cup Rugby team) who also organised this event.  Only about 100 people have ever completed the race and no Irish person has ever managed it. This is seen as being the best chance for an Irish sailor to complete this non-stop, unassisted, extreme race around the globe. Neil from Kilcullen Voyager Team set up the skype call to Enda and we met him with the wind very definitely at his back somewhere in the Southern Ocean racing at high speed. He patiently fielded many questions from our pupils who seemed strangely preoccupied with his toilet routine onboard. Current Irish Sailing Oppy champion Russel Bolger got right down to brass tacks and asked him in what position he was in the race (19thout of 25 boats.) Enda admitted to feeling isolated but not alone as he had already covered 8000 nautical miles, instead of us trying to entertain Enda however, he took out his tin whistle and played us a lively tune from the West of Ireland, much to the delight of everyone in the conference room. Enda is a real character and we wish him the very best in his attempt. His new fans here in St Conleth’s can now track his progress every day in school. The best of luck to Enda.

 

 

 

 

Madchester!

Mr. Keenan, a Manchester trip stalwart, was thrilled to be back on the proper (red) side of Manchester, even though the match was on a Thursday night and we all know what that means… especially you Liverpool fans!  And our Junior School Principal (and the world’s biggest Ryan Giggs fan), Tony Kilcommons, claimed that the ferry takes a little bit longer each year but we think he is just getting a little bit older.  Rumours that he wants to add a trip to Parkhead next year (i.e. coach ride to Belfast and ferry to Glasgow) are unconfirmed.  Here is his enthusiastic if a bit bleary-eyed report:

5th and 6th Form embarked on their annual pilgrimage to Manchester last week. After gorging on the caviar of Champions League and Barcelona and Bayern in the Etihad for the past two years, it was back to the meat and two veg of Old Trafford on a Thursday night for Europa League action against the might of Feyenoord. Feyenoord are no Barcelona and even Wayne Rooney and Henrich Mikhtaryan managed to get on the scoresheet in a routine 4-0 victory. Mr Keenan and the other three United fans in the party of 47 were nonetheless delighted. For the majority, the match itself was of lower importance in the grand scheme of things. Sugar intake seemed to be the priority for the 5th Formers from early to stockpile energy resources for the long day ahead. Excitement seemed to get the better of many of them and no amount of sweets could replenish the energy spent exploring every square inch of the ferry and Trafford Centre (no mean feat!) The efforts made by some of our pupils to stay awake for the entire 24 hours were truly heroic and if all-nighters are needed for college exams later in their life, they have shown serious potential. Roll on next year and hopefully the Etihad, the chances of Champions League football in Old Trafford look more remote by the day!

 

 

Your Full Exam Schedule

Here it is, your full Christmas exam schedule.   It is also available, in a daily form, under Events and with the School Calendar under Information.

First and Second Years:      (Click for PDF)

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Third, Fifth and Sixth  (Click for PDF)

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I Hope You Have Studied For Your Exams!

Yes, it seems like just yesterday when we were skipping up the sidewalks of Clyde Road, singing little ditties of joy, as we returned to school in late August…and now it is already Christmas Exam time!  Below is Monday’s exam schedule for all years and, as always, our Events section will carry the details of each day’s exams.  The schedule for Tuesday and the rest of the week will soon follow, as we have had a happy ‘hiccup’ to our plans due to both our 16s and 19s basketball teams making the Dublin Plate Finals.  They will be playing on Wednesday and the whole school is expected to attend…a nice break in the auld owls!

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Monday’s Schedule PDF

Buskers’ Corner 2: Third Years Step Up!

First Years started off the St. Conleth’s busking season with a bang but now Third Years have put forward their own band of stars in the making.  It has taken us a while to track down the photos form the latest session of Buskers’ Corner, our regular lunchtime student concert series, but below you finally see some of the boys in action.  The line-up shows the variety of talents and musical tastes on show:  Jack Topliss-The Rose in the Garden on guitar; James McGowan- Old French Song on piano; Tadhg Harnett- Allegro on guitar; James Hastings Rafferty- Titanic on piano; Daragh Collins- on saxophone, Jamie Kirkpatrick- Falling Slowly on guitar; Josh Bergin- Blackbird on guitar; Alex Reynolds- Glimpse of New York on piano; Liam Carr- The 6th Lute- a Renaissance Piece on guitar; Michael Cooke- a  Spanish piece on guitar and Manus MacGerailt- Manfred Schmitz on the piano.  Another Year will take the spotlight at the next Buskers’ Corner and we will see and hear the whole school in musical and vocal action at our annual Christmas Carol service!

 

 

 

Class of 2016 Clean Up At Trinity and UCD!

We know we punch above our weight in rugby and the recent run by our basketball teams is certainly pleasing the bookies, but where we really annoy the actuaries (some of them our own alumni) is with our academic results.  You have already seen our PPU-produced chart with all the percentages but just recently there was even more tangible evidence of St. Conleth’s academic prowess:  Last week, Mr. ODulaing sat down for lunch with Paddy Cahill (Economics and Finance), Sean Frison-Roche (Medicine) and Harvey Gleeson (Science) at UCD, where they were awarded Entrance Scholarships for their excellent LC results.  This week, Mr. ODulaing sampled the wine and hors d’oeuvres at Trinity College where he joined Exhibition Award winners Phillip O’Hanrahan (History and Politics) and Simon Ghose (Computer Science).   Our other Entrance Award winners, Daniel Gilligan (Law and Politics) and Paul Mooney (Science) were unfortunately off debating the Trumpian political landscape and studying recombinant DNA, respectively.  So, that’s 7 entrance scholars from 52 graduates… ‘Small enough to care, large enough to challenge’…indeed!

 

 

 

Conlethian Fencers Now Conquer Germany!

You have read here before about the international exploits of various Conlethian fencers, from alumnus Philip Cripwell climbing the Senior rankings to the Moriarty-Smyth and Sherlock brothers consistently scoring points and taking points abroad.  Now, First Year Claudio Sosa has joined the gang, taking Gold in the U14 category and Bronze in the U17 In a fencing competition in Marburg, Germany.  In our own gym, around the island of Ireland and in far flung destinations, St. Conleth’s fencers continue to show why their sport is at the very heart of our school!

 

 

 

Coach ‘Noctor J’ Brings the Bling and the Baskets

As a young basketballer himself at St. Conleth’s, Eoin Noctor cultivated an image of urban cool and chic insouciance but as Head Basketball Coach he has brought an unforeseen level of enthusiasm and dedication to the various teams under his guidance, while still maintaining a bit of the essential swag.  Here he reports on the recent upswing in results:

Thursday the 17th of November saw the u16s get their first win of the season in a southside derby game against Newpark in UCD. The second years proved to both teams why they deserve their place on the team with Luke Gilleran (he lead all scorers with 18 of St. Conleth’s 35 points) and Colin Bolger (7 points) bringing much to the table on both offensive and defensive ends of the floor. With 4 of the starters representing 3 different clubs, UCD Marian, Oblate and Eanna, the u16s are going from strength to strength this year and play The High School in the Dublin B Plate semi-final in the National Basketball Arena on Wednesday the 23rd.

Final score – St Conleth’s 35 Newpark 27.

The u19s, although losing captain and usual top scorer Shane ‘Buckets’ Byrne in the first quarter, showed they’re more than a one man show. 6th year’s Oscar ‘Hamlet’ Harley Monks and Christian Farrell showed up and showed out with the two combining for 26 of the Ballsbridge Mostly Blacks’ 45 points. Although the u19s came away with the loss it was a true learning experience and shows that Conleth’s can stare in the face of tough competition and fight until the final whistle.

Final score – St Conleth’s 45 Newpark 61.

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The girls, in their first ever outing in the South Dublin Basketball League were victorious as they were away to Loreto Abbey Dalkey. Spanish import Carol Lopez Garcia showed up and was relentless as she led the ‘equipo’ in scores, steals and rebounds and punished Dalkey’s nonchalance. Their next outing is Wednesday away to Columbus where they hope to keep the newly formed streak alive.

Final score – St Conleth’s 39 Loreto Abbey Dalkey 24

 

Conlethian Grapples Gold in Judo!

Maxime St-Jean, current St. Conleth’s Third Year and recent arrival from California, made all the right moves, throws and holds at the recent All-Ireland Annual Schools Judo Championships, representing St. Conleth’s. He won the gold medal in Junior Boys, Under 16, for the 55 kilo and Underweight category.  Maxime’s polite enthusiasm had already been a welcome addition to the classrooms of St. Conleth’s and now we learn that has quite a spectacular hidden talent.  We applaud his efforts and accomplishments and we have a sneaky feeling that Maxime may have a bit extra space for himself on that canteen queue.  See the photos below of Maxime below, competing under the name of St. Conleth’s, but in the gi of the USA, proving that you can have the best of both worlds!

 

 

Book Fair Fun!

We only stopped in at the Junior School Parent Association’s Book Fair for a few minutes but it was long enough to be literally overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and energy of our students as they engaged in a book selecting, buying and reading frenzy!  Luckily some dutiful and friendly parents were on hand to prevent a riot!  Loads of books were sold, filling the school’s literacy coffers, and as you can see form these snaps, lots of fun was certainly had.  Well done to the Parents Association for doing their part to keep books in their children’s classrooms and lives.

 

…and it’s Good!

Can you imagine the pressure on young Liam Reilly’s shoulders as he lined up his conversion attempt in the waning seconds of the JCT’s first Cup match of the season?  The distance was considerable, the angle was ridiculous and hopes were perhaps unrealistically high… After all, the team had just fought back from a rough start with a tremendous second-half rally against an ostensibly superior team, capped by Craig Davis’s scintillating pitch-length run and try.  Surely, St. Conleth’s would walk away as they often had in the past, taking pride in a job well-done: the moral victors but not the actual victors…  But something happened last year when Gav Maguire’s SCT won a historic treble of titles and scared the bejesus out of several traditional rugby ‘powers’, galvanising our sporting spirit:  St. Conleth’s rugby are no longer just the plucky little guys who play stylish, inspiring rugby but inevitably bow to greater size and numbers.  St. Conleth’s now play stylish, inspiring rugby… and run over you en route to the try-line and then stick a dagger in your team’s heart with a soaring, time-stopping touchline conversion!  Full credit to St. Columba’s for playing the game right and accepting the result like the young gentlemen that they are, but let us rejoice with Coaches Louis Magee and Jonathan Ingles and the whole team, and especially Craig and Liam.  They are surely destined for even greater feats in sports and in life, but we will never forget this one that they so heroically provided: one afternoon in November in Ballsbridge when the underdog team fought back against the odds, scored a memorable injury-time try…and the kick was good!

 

JCT stun Columba's in Cup opening round, 19-17, with injury-time try and spectacular conversion!

 

 

 

‘O’ For October But ‘A’ For Effort!

Head Basketball Coach Eoin ‘Noctor J’ reports on the roundball season so far:   October was a month of near misses with no team managing to successfully pull out a W. In true St. Conleth’s fashion though the u16 and u19 boys’ and u19 girls’ teams went out and put it up to the often heavy favourite opposition. The senior girls’ first game was away to Colaiste Mhuire and, having gone down 20 to a very strong side, the girls, led by veteran 6th year Kerrie Ann McGrath, rallied in the 4th quarter and cut the lead to 5.  But with time against them, they couldn’t manage to close the gap yet came away with high hopes for future endeavours. Their next game is Friday November 18th when they will play the basketball factory that is Loreto Abbey- Dalkey.

The boys All Ireland Cup journey began so well… with 3 walk-overs, the u16s and u19s managed to progress to the quarter final and second round of their respective competitions without the need to ever step on a basketball court. Unfortunately, this meant that the first cup games were against battle-tested opponents Setanta at u16 and Colaiste Einde from Galway at u19. Like their legendary namesake, perpetual powerhouse Setanta made short work of our u16s. This is not to say we didn’t put up a fight. International students Fidel Garcia, Alvaro Gueto and Thomas Peers, and 2nd years Luke Gilleran and Colin Bolger went out and made anyone that’s ever worn a green jersey proud as they went toe to toe with the cup favourites. Their next games, against Colaiste Eoin and Newpark, will hopefully see them rewarded for their efforts and hard work.

Rathcoole and Colaiste Einde walked on to the court, expecting the black jerseys of our senior side to roll over without a fight. Shane Byrne, as he has since 1st year, led the u19s in true fashion, both in points and as team captain. 46 points between the two games had the opposition double and triple-teaming Shane McBuckets to no avail, as he sliced through the defence for easy baskets for himself or his now wide-open team mates.  Even Christian could not mis with the looks he got off the dish from Shane!  A lost second shot and 40 minutes of being triple-teamed were the only things that stopped the St Conleth’s seniors in two spectacular performances by the boyz in the black and green jerseys.

 

Civil War: Junior School Chess Teams Face-Off!

The action in the Leinster chess leagues is certainly coming to the boil in the Junior School as our A team, current Leinster champions face their first potential banana skin in their quest to retain their title; namely our school B team who also operate in Division 1 and would dearly love to take a famous scalp. Staff and pupils alike will try to stay neutral even if there is a natural inclination to root for the underdog on these occasions. The two teams face off in the conference room on Tuesday 15th at 2pm. By 3pm we will know if the natural order of chess in the school has been overturned. Our C and D team are also in action this week as they host Gorey A and B teams. The best of luck to all involved and while you wait for the results, enjoy some pics of our chess action from last year:

Old-Fashioned Fun: Real Books for Sale!

Is your child’s letter to Santa full of requests for digital products or the screens on which to play them?  Well, Santa and his reindeer may appreciate the fact that a downloaded game weighs considerably less than a bowling ball, but parents may want to supplement St. Nick’s deliveries, digital or otherwise, with some old-fashioned fun: real books, and some made of paper, no less!  The annual Scholastic Book Fair run by the Junior School Parents Association begins tomorrow, Monday the 14th of November.  The book stalls will be open from :
Monday, 8am to 9am , 1.30pm to 3.15pm
Tuesday 8am to 9am1.30pm to 3.15pm
Wednesday 8am to 9am

We would ask parents to support the book fair as the money raised is used to purchase books for the school literacy programme.  Look at the fun our students had at the fair last year:

 

 

Fencing, Here and There!

The half-term closed with Maître David Couper, with the able assistance of Michael Li, our Senior School Fencing Captain, supervising the first instalment of the all-new St. Conleth’s Fencing League.  Michael, recently awarded the coveted ‘Bronze Blade’, was the most senior fencer in action but he was joined  by enthusiastic boys and girls from Sixth Class through Sixth Year.  The League consists of a series of competitions to be held each term, culminating in a Grand Prix at the end of the school year.  And, further afield, the St. Conleth’s younger fencers were once again in action over the midterm break.  Last Saturday witnessed the opening round of the 2016 -2017 Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, with medals aplenty for both the Junior and Senior School contingents. Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Bronze in the Mixed Under 10s; Luke Sherlock ended the day with a Bronze in the Under 12 Boys, and it was an all-Conlethian affair in the Under 14 Boys Final, where James Moriarty-Smyth earned the Silver and Claudio Sosa, the Gold.  Great to see these young Conlethians competing in such prestigious competitions against each other!

 

 

Kevin Kelleher 1921-2016

(updated)  It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that St. Conleth’s announces the passing of Mr. Kevin D. Kelleher, Headmaster.  Mr. Kelleher is dearly missed and warmly remembered by the many different people whom he met and with whom he worked during his long and active life, especially in regards to his immense contributions to education and rugby.  His many accomplishments were marked by an incredible attention to detail and aided by a prodigious memory.  Combined with an irrepressible wit, these qualities made Kevin Kelleher a truly remarkable man, whose positive influence has spread across generations, disciplines and borders.

 

 

Kevin D. Kelleher was born and raised in Drumcondra, Dublin and was the proud inheritor of a family legacy which emphasised educational and sporting achievement and included a clutch of All-Ireland medals as heirlooms. Shortly after studying Latin, Irish and English and completing his Higher Diploma in Education at University College Dublin, Mr. Kelleher arrived at St. Conleth’s College in 1944, teaching and coaching sports and, in particular, becoming a dominant force in Leinster Schools and Club Rugby. After the untimely passing of the school’s founder, Bernard Sheppard, Mr. Kelleher became Headmaster at St. Conleth’s in 1960 and he performed this role with great strength and foresight for the next fifty-six years. In 1960, Kevin also married his beloved wife Patricia and became a loving father to Ann and these three together would be the lifeblood of St. Conleth’s College for the decades that followed.

Outside of the classroom and the Headmaster’s office, Mr. Kelleher forged a varied and richly decorated career in rugby.  He was a past president of both Lansdowne Road RFC and the Irish Rugby Football Union Leinster Branch and was Honorary Secretary of Leinster Rugby’s Schools Committee for fifty-two years.  Mr. Kelleher somehow also found time to become the most highly respected rugby referee of his era, blowing the whistle (or, as he himself would proudly say ‘not blowing the whistle’) on 23 international matches between 1960 and 1972, including a certain legendary encounter between the All Blacks and Scotland.     More importantly, he was a guiding and nurturing presence for multiple generations of players, coaches and officials in a game he knew and loved so well.

The same boundless energy which he radiated in the classroom and on the pitch, Mr. K. showed in his personal and social life. He was a devoted family man, loving and loved by his wife Patricia, daughter Ann, sister Norah and brother Con, son-in-law Sean, grandson Cian and many other Kelleher, Power, Sheppard and Coakley relatives.  Of course, Mr. Kelleher also had a larger family: the thousands of pupils who attended St. Conleth’s during his 72 years at the heart of the school.  The man known as ‘The Boss’ or simply ‘KD’  will never be forgotten by generations of Conlethians who loved and respected him, just as he himself remarkably would never forget a name or a face amongst the many, many whose lives he had touched with such strength, grace and good humour.

Requiesceat in pace.

 

 

 

Juniors Getting Along Swimmingly!

At the recent Swimming Gala at Willow Park, two Junior Conlethians made a big splash: Luke Timlin qualified for the Leinster Schools Gala in breast stroke, and Jude Moes qualified in freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly.  The Leinster Schools Gala will be held on January 7th and we wish them both the very best success.  Clearly, St. Conleth’s long-standing involvement with swimming continues to pay dividends!  And it was not just a two horse race: the overall results for the St. Conleth’s boys were also very good. The 10 boys swam 25 individual races, 15 of those races resulted in personal best times, and 6 races involved either a new swimmer or a boy swimming a stroke for the first time. And most importantly, they proved to be a great group of boys who supported each other and cheered each other on throughout the day.  Thanks to Kristen Moes for attending and reporting!

 

 

 

The St. Conleth’s Fencing League Starts Friday!

A great honour has been bestowed upon St. Conleth’s Fencing:  Our Captain, Michael Li, has been conferred with the Irish Academy of Arms’ Bronze Blade Award which “recognises the progression of fencers in their learning and expertise in fencing.”   And did Michael rest upon this laurel?  Of course not!  Rather he has spent his time and effort organising St. Conleth’s first Fencing League, which will debut this Friday (28/10) from 2:30-4:30 in the School Gymnasium.  All fencers from 6th Class to 6th Year are encouraged to take part, no matter what their level.  The League will consist of a series of competitions to be held each term, culminating in a Grand Prix at the end of the school year.  All the necessary equipment will be provided.  Just bring your school tracksuit and runners.  En guarde!

 

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The Real Debate

Are you growing tired of listening to The Donald and Hillary fill the airwaves with grandly overheated but ultimately vacuous utterances?  Want to hear some real debaters arguing real issues in front of informed audiences?  Well, just catch the St. Conleth’s Debating Team at their next school debate.  Fresh off winning the Irish round of the Cambridge Union Debate, they entered the Loreto College-St. Stephen’s Green Junior Mace as marked men…. and completely lived up to expectations!  Frank Knowles was given the prize for Best Speaker in the final and Joseph Downey was placed second based on the four preliminary rounds, with Joseph and Frank’s team also placing second in the overall team rankings.
And this being our first fully co-educational year, another debating milestone was passed:  Second Years Vanshika Shuhla and Sophie Lee were the first ever St. Conleth’s girls to represent the school at the Junior level.  So turn off Fox News  and stay tuned for the next stunning accomplishment by Coach (and alumnus) Conor White and his debating wonders!

 

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Junior School Socceroos!

Rugby took a back seat on Saturday for our Sixth Form team who represented the school at the annual AIJS 5 aside soccer tournament hosted by St. Gerard’s. As is usual with St Conleth’s teams, lack of physical size is counterbalanced by high technical efficiency and this team possessed those qualities in spades. They defeated  both the A and B teams of hosts St Gerard’s, as well as dismissing Wicklow Montessori on the way to a final against the might of Willow Park. Leading 1-0 with time almost up, Willow scrambled an equaliser to send the decider to extra-time and then penalties. High drama ensued but luck was not on our side and the runners-up position was our lot on the day. The boys were disappointed but should be immensely proud of their contributions throughout the morning. A big thank you to Charlaine for taking on the managerial duties and well done boys!

 

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Music in the Classroom (in the Concert Hall)

Second, Third and Fourth Forms, accompanied by their class teachers and music and choir teacher Ms. Hartnett, travelled to the National Concert Hall on last Tuesday to enjoy a performance of the wonderful RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s Music in the Classroom series. The pupils danced and sang to everything from Ravel’s Dancing Bear Suite to Katie Perry’s Roar. They had a brilliant time and this may well become a fixture in the calendar, judging by the feedback from teachers and pupils alike.

 

 

Buskers’ Corner Back in Action!

The voices of buskers past still echo through our hall, and we remember them all fondly, but a new generation of musical talent seems ready to take the stage at St. Conleth’s.  Maestros Ms. deBhal and Ms. Fay once again came up with just the right mix of instrumental and vocal talents to turn a Friday lunchtime into something lyrically special.  This time the spotlight was reserved for our First Years and, judging by the talent on show, there will be plenty of competition for our established acts when it comes to compiling the playlists for Corners and concerts yet to come.

 

 

 

A Mathematician and a Philatelist Walk Into a Lecture Hall…

…and the kids go wild! This actually happened down at the headquarters of Engineers Ireland, where Professor Robin Wilson welcomed Ms. NiAonghusa, Mr. Sweeney and all of our First Years to a special ‘Maths Week’ lecture on ‘The History of Maths through Stamps’.  We know… sounds about as riveting as ‘The History of Stamps through Maths’… but it actually was quite an exciting experience!  Both students and teachers were on the edge of their seats as Prof. Wilson regaled them with a historical survey of these intertwining traditions and thankfully the feared dust-up between the Philately and Maths Clubs never materialised!  Maths Week, of course, involves a whole lot more at St. Conleth’s:  You can wreck half your head on the Maths Department Maths Week Daily Puzzles here and stay tuned for some ‘Maths Through Pictures Competition’ entries.  And the Junior School was not to be outdone!   They also enjoyed a maths presentation at the Engineers and once again had googles of fun with the IZAK9 Cubes.  Check out the pics below!

 

 

Sixth Years Out on the Town!

First up on Tuesday night was a trip to the National Concert Hall to see Carmen in all its scantily clad glory.  Years ago, Mrs. Kelleher instituted this tradition of treating Sixth Years to the opera and the boys and girls always enjoy the opportunity to get ‘all dickied up’ and expand their cultural horizons.  This time, at least for the lads, there was the extra bonus of innovative costume design to arrest their attention, as well as the accompanying impromptu translations by the one and only Peter Gallagher, principal emeritus and renowned renaissance man.   Ms. Fay, Mr. Porzadny and Mrs. MacMahon turned up as exquisitely turned out as ever and made sure to keep the boys in their seats despite the passion in the air.  Returning to mundane ‘chalk and talk’ sessions  the next morning was going to be tough for the students…..until Mr. Seamus Gallagher and Mr. Cummiskey whisked them off to see Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ in Smithfield!  In addition to being a helpful dollop of relationship advice (and the need to pull your shades down), the film is actually a text on the Leaving Certificate Comparative Study course!

 

Golf Team Plots Revenge For Hazeltine

It is early days, but judging by the sweet swing exhibited below by Matthew McKeown and his team-mate Jamie MacMahon and older brother Mark, the Americans may have something to worry about in about ten years time!  Mr. Keenan always manages to find a few diamonds in the rough for the St. Conleth’s Golf Team, and we more than hold our own against all the big schools in the Leinster Schools League.  And with golf lessons starting in the Junior School, St. Conleth’s future success on the fairways and greens is assured.  Get in the hole!

 

 

Juniors Meet Kings Billy and James at the Pembroke Library

Fifth and Sixth Forms travelled the short distance (by foot!) to Pembroke Library to hear children’s author Nicola Pierce reading her latest historical novel – Kings of the Boyne– on Thursday 6th Oct.  Nicola brilliantly set the scene of the famous battle involving Kings William and James and explained how the outcome has echoed throughout modern Irish history.  The pupils were engrossed in the reading to such an extent that many have been inspired to read her previous books since the visit. We look forward to the next visit!

 

Expedition East Africa 2018 Starts Now!

Troll through our news from the last few years (or look below at the highlights) and you are bound to see St. Conleth’s students and Indians, Ugandans, Kenyans, Mongolians and Peruvians linked by tired arms and satisfied smiles.  Mr. Maguire has been leading student expeditions for years and the overwhelmingly positive results for both travellers and hosts are beyond doubt.  These expeditions however are no Brangelina-type dalliances of superficial charity: they involve hard work and it starts now.  You saw and heard Mr. Maguire’s introduction here.  Now check out his presentation here and this link for all you need to know.  It will take a lot of time and toil before you even get to the airport, but look at the happy faces below and know that it will all be worth it!

 

Le retour des aventuriers!

This just in from Mr. J-Poz, notre meilleur (et seulement!) journaliste:

Quel magnifique weekend!

Sunday the 9th, 7:30am, and Clyde road has never felt so quiet.  Apart, maybe, from a little group of students playing basketball in the front yard of the school (who would have ever thought such dedication to a school existed). Little by little, the sidewalk took its share of half sleepy, half smily youngsters. What was happening so early on such a lovely morning?

 

 

Sunny Donegal awaits

After a particularly quick 4 hour bus ride, the group of 34 students (a record so far), Mrs. Crowley and myself arrived at the Bundoran Adventure Centre. Collie, the manager of the place, gave one of his famous speeches which quickly set the tone. A quick walk and we then arrived at the fanciest Italian restaurant of the town: La Sabbia awaited us!  The expertise of the chef from Sicily did not fail our hungry students.

 

 

French Flair and Fun

Lots of ropes (and infinitives) were used over these 3 days: to swing, to hold, to walk onto, to pull. Fearless as lions the band of brothers (and sisters) faced many challenges. Rain, of course, was not one of them. They surfed the famous west-coast waves, they teamed up to find their way through a maze of mud and they helped one another in French class to make sure “Madame la prof” would come up with plenty of new challenges for them.

Et c’est déjà fini!

Nouvelles de Donegal!

We have been warned by the Spanish Department to stop ‘winging it’ with Google Translate, so we will wait instead for the proper news reports of the two professionals, Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley, who have accompanied the Third Years on their ‘language and outdoor adventure’ trip to Bundoran.  In the meantime feast your eyes on these early images.  More to come!

 

 

Debs Night Style and Substance

We expected nattily dressed gentlemen and girls in gorgeous gowns and we were certainly knocked out with the style, but we also knew there would be a more important aspect of the Class of 2016 Debs’ reception at St. Conleth’s: a spirit of honest affection and appreciation, tinged with the tiniest bit of regret that we will no longer have these charming young men and ladies all to ourselves.  College degrees and career destinations were not the only topics of conversation on the evening: there was plenty of looking back as well as looking forward, with plenty of smiles and laughs about the years, whether two or twelve, these young adults spent growing up with us.

 

 

Of course, the parents were there as well, proud as punch to see how well their sons and daughters turned out, on both the outside and the in.  Whatever points were achieved in August, the more important personal gains made while at St. Conleth’s were fully in evidence on the evening:  boys who short years (or months) ago were locking each other in cupboards were now smoothly introducing their dates, and girls who perhaps apprehensively approached these doors not long ago were now swishing across the floor with confidence and grace.

 

Juniors and Seniors Go Cross Country

Mr. Shay Keenan does not do things by halves: when he heard about the happy coincidence that there would be both junior and senior Cross Country race at Morton Stadium in Santry, he hired a bus and welcomed all comers!  ‘The more, the merrier’ is the St. Conleth’s sporting philosophy and so it should be, as participation is the name of the game at our school and we make sure that no-one is ever left out.  We did worry a bit for Mr. Keenan’s personal safety (and sanity), as filling a bus with Juniors and then throwing in a bunch of First Years at their seasonal hyperactive peak is the not the recipe for a morning ‘milk run’ but Shay is an old hand at these things and bringing along a sprinkling of seasoned, responsible hands such as Rory Sweeney and Tony Barry was just the ticket.  As you can see form our pics below, everyone had a great time (free T-shirts always help) and completed the race in very good times.  There will be more races ahead and remember that for First- Third Years, we have a special training arrangement with Crusaders AC.   Keep running!

 

Sixth Years Enjoy Action-Packed Retreat

Do you remember when retreats involved a lot of hushed voices, hastily drawn symbolic etchings and vague expressions of well-being?  Well how about zip-lines, fire-starting, fish-gutting and sing-alongs?  Yes, we believe that the Sixth Year Retreat to Ovoca House in Avoca has been a change for the better.  Never before have we heard a 100% approval rating from the students involved and it was not just because the hosts kept them moving with fun-filled and challenging activities: the boys and girls did do proper, traditional retreat stiff too, such as team-building, goal-setting and reflection.  It was just that the whole overnight trip was so well-planned and well implemented,  it satisfied both the needs and the wants of those involved.  A big thank-you to Ms. deBhal and Mr. Carvill for taking part so enthusiastically.

 

Conlethian Fencers Clean Up at the Killanin!

No, the major trophies in fencing are not called anything like the ‘Johnstone Paint Trophy’: they have a bit more of the ‘rarified air’ about their titles.  Case in point this past weekend when Loreto Abbey in Dalkey welcomed ladies and gentlemen (and quite a few padawan) from all over Ireland to compete for the Lord Killanin Trophy.  And we are proud to say that the Conlethian contingent, both Junior and Senior, absolutely cleaned up! Myles Moriarty-Smyth and Matthew Sherlock took Bronze in the Under 10 Mixed Foil and Luke Sherlock achieved Gold in the Under 12 Mixed Foil.   And Claudio Sosa won gold in the Minor Mixed Foil with James Moriarty-Smyth finishing just out of the medals. A splendid performance from all involved and a fabulous start to the 2016 -2017 season!

 

 

Mark Your Calendar! Senior Parents’ Association AGM: 17/10

You are warmly invited to the Annual General Meeting of the St. Conleth’s College Senior School Parents’ Association on Monday October 17th starting at 6:45pm. The meeting will be held in the school Conference Room (on the top floor).

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This year we’re delighted to announce that we’re doing something a little different for our AGM speaker spot. UnPlug are an organisation that advocate a healthy tech/life balance and will be holding a one-hour parent’s UnPlug workshop. We know that this will be a very interesting and informative workshop and we hope that you will be able to join us on the night.

After the workshop we will conclude the meeting with a brief update on the Parents’ Association activities and the election of committee members for this coming year. Nominations for committee positions should be submitted in writing to the Secretary before 7th October (email: michaelgilleran@gmail.com). To date we have received nominations covering all committee positions.

We will be serving light refreshments after the meeting and hope you can stay around for a chat.
St. Conleth’s College Senior School Parents’ Association

Debaters Score in Stuttgart and Return to Cambridge

We have said it before and we will say it again: Conlethians compete and win on many fields of endeavour but it is at the rostrum where we are simply and undeniably the best.  Mr. Carvill’s debating machine rolls on like a Panzer tank over debating competitions near and far and, with the important assistance of past pupil coaches such as Conor White and Christopher Costigan, St. Conleth’s Debating looks set for another record-breaking year.   Joe ‘I Suppose’ Downey and Frank ‘It All’ Knowles have just won outright the Irish round of the legendary Cambridge Union Schools Debating Championship and will head across the Irish Sea to face the best debaters from around the ‘British Isles’, following in the footsteps of Conlethian debating legends such as Liam Trophy and Philip McDonald.   The boys beat the best debating schools in Ireland for the honour, including Castleknock CC, Loreto on the Green and Colaiste Iosegain, as well as other schools such as Belvedere.  The motions such as ‘That this house would make Irish optional at all educational levels” and  “That this house would give all politicians the median wage” were not easy but Frank and Joe wowed them all and now will represent Ireland at the ‘oldest debating union in the world’.  Also representing Ireland was Daniel Gilligan, Class of 2016, who led the Irish Schools Team (the sixth Conlethian to do so!) into the World Championships this summer.  Like Joxer from Inchicore, Daniel from Blackrock packed a rucksack, climbed into a van and began the long journey to Stuttgart.  And like Ray Houghton, Daniel put a few good points (of information) ‘in the net’.   Daniel and the Irish team steamed through the opening rounds and then defeated the Netherlands and the UAE en route to the ‘onto-finals’ where they narrowly lost to Australia.  Daniel has now moved on to Trinity College where the Hist and the Phil will be competing for his talents!  Best of luck to him and Frank and Joe.  The St. Conleth’s Debating cavalcade of glory rolls on!

 

 

 

An Infinite Number Of Mathematicians Walk Into A Bar…

…The first orders a beer, the second orders half a beer, the third orders a quarter of a beer, and so on. … After the seventh order, the bartender pours two beers and says, “You fellas ought to know your limits.”  If you get this joke then you probably already have several Maths Week activities planned but for the rest of you this is a timely reminder that Maths Week 2016 is on the way and, as usual, the St. Conleth’s Maths Department has numerous numerable activities on the agenda!  Ms. NiAongusa just couldn’t wait till the official week of October 15th-23rd (yes, I count 8 days!) and started early with her Second Years.  For homework recently she asked her students to simply draw and cut out a 3cm x 5cm x 10cm cuboid (about the size of a small juice carton) and she was pleasantly surprised with the results:  As you can see below, some went well beyond the minimum requirements, proving that creativity and maths sometimes do U!

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Maguire, I Presume?

Dr. Livingstone is long gone, but there is now a kindler, gentler explorer trekking the wilds of Africa: our very own Mr. Gav Maguire!  And gone too is the weighty baggage of messianic zeal and cultural imperialism: Mr. Maguire’s expeditions are an exquisitely crafted mix of adventure and development, mutually beneficial to both student traveler and the local resident.  After two trips to India,  the focus is back on Africa and Mr. Maguire will tell you (students and parents) all about it this Thursday (29/9) at a Tanzania and Kilimanjaro Expedition Informational Evening (7:00- Conference Room).  If you plan on attending, please click on this link and, in the meantime, revisit some previous destinations of St. Conleth’s Student Expeditions:

 

 

The Weekend Warriors Are Back!

Messrs. Kilcommons, Sheridan, Maguire and Gleeson would all have very boring weekends if it were not for those early Saturday morning rugby blitzes.   They have seen all the episodes of all the different incarnations of Scooby-Doo by now and after a lethargic summer, they really just can’t wait till October rolls around and they get to lead the Conlethian Juniors in rugby adventures on fields near and far.  Reports are still streaming back regarding the different Forms, but here are some pics of our Third Forms in action against CUS.  And a big thank-you to all the parent volunteers!

 

 

 

They Might Be Giants!

Our plucky First Years jiggled and jived the short way down to the Aviva Stadium for their first rugby blitz of the season but when they arrived they were shocked to see veritable behemoths lurking in the shadows of the stylish corporate edifice!   We do not know what they are feeding them at Marian, Sanford and New Park but maybe Chef Mark’s menu is too cosmopolitan and we need to revert to serving up pounds of horseflesh!  Victory, however, does not always go to the biggest and our boys certainly claimed the moral laurels as they battled with spirit and style and earned just praise from Coaches O’Brien and Sweeney.  Even our unshaven opponents admitted some grudging respect… before getting into their cars and driving themselves home!  Meanwhile, Mr. Magee’s JCT got back to winning ways, vanquishing Gonzaga, 24-14.  For some reason, beating a Jesuit school always feels just a bit more special!  And we knew the SCT, sponsored by Ballsbridge Motors,  was going to find it tough this year after last season’s glorious exploits: the defending champs always have a bullseye on their jerseys.  But despite the fact that everyone is gunning for them, and the fact that Coach Maguire’s team has suffered several key injuries, the SCT started their 1st ever Division 1B league campaign with a draw and were very unlucky to get the win.  After going 15 – 3 down the lads got themselves together and scored two tries.  For a team to loose 17 players and move up to a higher league and get a draw is a massive achievement for a very young team. There is a long way to go yet but what a start! Luke McKay, Colin ‘Doughty’ Duffy,  Jamie  Lawless and Hugh ‘Huge’ Downes all made massive contributions and Captain Ross Murphy, of course, was as calm, cool and collected as ever!

Junior Sailors Prove Old Salts!

Fifth and Sixth Form go sailing in the Royal St. George Yacht Club every Friday. The course utilises the RSGYC 1720 keelboat yachts. As sailing becomes more accessible to all, it is hoped that school sailing will foster a lifelong interest in the sport for the participating pupils. As is evident in the photos, our sailors are very enthusiastic and certainly have no fear of the open sea!

 

Juniors Getting Psyched for Rugby Blitz!

All of our success in chess, fencing, swimming and various other sports and games does not take away from St. Conleth’s first sporting love: the time-honoured past-time of the sons (and daughters) of D4 (and 6 and 12 and 3…) gentleman (and ladies) … rugby!  Under the watchful eyes (and polite encouragement) of Mr. Keenan and Mr. Maguire, Third through Sixth Forms are gearing up for their first matches this weekend, and though we are sure to get loads of pics soon of all the teams, Ms. Dillon’s Third Formers are first in and, boy, do they look scary!  Our first opponents, CUS, better be hitting the training ground with the same ferocity or there will be absolute carnage Saturday morning!