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!

 

 

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!

 

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)!

 

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.

 

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!

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…

 

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.

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!

 

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!

 

 

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

 

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!

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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!

 

 

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!

 

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:

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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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LC

 

 

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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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:

 

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.

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!

 

 

…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.

 

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.

 

 

 

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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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!

 

 

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:

 

 

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!

Pogatchnik Plays for Ireland (and Ulster)!

Last year’s SCT golden boys are continuing to find rugby success on fields near and far.  Former Captain Kevin Dolan, who is now playing that familiar, majestic style of rugby for Old Belvedere, was named to Leinster’s U-19 Provincial 30 man panel and David Pogatchnik, whose rambunctious runs and tackles we so enjoyed witnessing these last few years, has been training with the Ulster U19s and more recently was named to the Irish U18 7s Team.  With David aboard, the Irish squad promptly travelled to Romania and claimed a significant European trophy, vanquishing a quality French side in the final.  Great to see these lads, who brought St. Conleth’s rugby to new heights, reap the rewards they so richly deserve.

 

 

On The Offensive: Maître David Couper Makes His Points!

Fencing has a long and strong tradition at St. Conleth’s which got back to its earliest days, with several Olympians amongst our alumni and recent grad Philip Cripwell near the top of the national senior rankings.  And judging by the talent in our Junior School, whence the Moriarity-Smith and Sherlock brothers regularly carved up Europe last year, this tradition is only getting stronger.  Maître David Couper of  Salle Dublin holds classes every Friday for both the Junior and Senior students and he recently held a few exhibitions to encourage even more participation.  The First Formers, of course, were thrilled to be able to put on costumes and pick up weapons but we were pleasantly surprised to see how enthusiastically our First Years, especially the girls, took to David’s lively introduction to the ancient sport.  It surely could not be the popularity of Game of Thrones, as they are much too young to watch such a series, but there certainly seemed to be a willingness to embrace the idea of strong female characters wielding a blade.   A big thank you to David and his eager assistants, Michael Li and James Moriarty-Smyth, for demonstrating the cuts and thrusts of it!

 

 

I’m in the ESB…

Ah, they are the words which generations of Irish mothers would have given their right arms to hear uttered by their favoured son and now our very own Pearse Ahern, Irish teacher and legendary raconteur, can return to Limerick with another badge of honour on his lapel and a few more stories to tell.  Mr. Ahern had already been involved with everyone’s favourite semi-state, coaxing and cajoling the cúpla focail from their tired but well-compensated workforce when he took on a job which involves the other side of his polymathic brain: science, maths, engineering and all things STEMy.  Mr. Ahern was asked to help write the educational content of the ESB’s exciting new website: Inside Aghada, an animated curricular-based explanation of how a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine station operates.  Check it out here, and you are sure to note that familiar lilting Ahern syntax in the descriptions of pistons, turbines, emissions and the like.   This website was launched at the Science Gallery by Pat O’Doherty (CEO of the ESB) and was attended by many luminaries, such as Mr. Pat McGrath and Dr. Judith Harford (Conlethian parent and Director of the PME at UCD) and, of course, Mr. Ahern himself.  (Picture Colm Mahady/Fennells – Copyright© Fennell Photography 2016).  Another instance of  the St. Conleth’s faculty’s wide-ranging interests and abilities!

 

Mr. Ahern and friends at the ESB website launch. (Picture Colm Malady / Fennells - Copyright© Fennell Photography 2016)

 

Español al Aire Libre!

Ms. Killen’s Room 1 has been a sanctum sanctorum for the finer points of teaching for years, and when there is an aural playing, or a grammar explanation being delivered, not a stray word or sound can be heard within those warm, golden walls or in the near vicinity.  Even the raucous goings-on next door in Room 2 pause when the finer points of the future compuesto are being explained… but we all know Ms. Killen has her fun side, as can be attested to by years of Spanish students who have enjoyed her legendary ‘paella parties‘.  And now, spurred by our newly landscaped garden cum gazebo, Ms. Killen has begun to take her Español al fresco!  Below we see snaps of her First Year Spanish class enjoying the warm temperatures, lush landscaping and charla!

 

 

 

Sixth Years Explore All Options

Mr. Porzadny is well-known for his skills as a practitioner and instructor of meditation, but don’t be fooled by his legendary sangfroid: when we need a teacher to take on a mission that demands high levels of energy and enthusiasm, we always turn to Mr. J-Pozz:

Another beautiful summer day! Bright sky, bright smiles and bright minds heading through Herbert Park to the RDS Simmonscourt for the Higher option event. Once there, getting the entrance bracelets for the students, one of the organiser told me we were the first school to arrive. Indeed, the hall was pretty calm, it would soon become much busier.  DIT, UCC, UCD, DCU, CIA, AHEAD, DDLETB, CDETB … where do we start? But thanks to an early morning pep talk by Mr O’Dulaing, the 6th Years did not despair. They ventured through the venue with confidence, beginning their curious quest for information.

 

 

As for me, wandering through the different university stalls I quickly ended up on the side of the hall devoted to the foreign universities. All I can now say is that there are amazing opportunities and advantages for Irish students to study abroad. Foreign universities often have smaller fees (from free tuition in Denmark to 2000 euros a year in the Netherlands, with the possibility of getting a 0% loan to pay back over 35 years), students feel less pressure regarding the entrance criteria (a minimum of points at the Leaving cert is not needed in most universities) and of course: students gain a huge amount of experience and personal growth by living and studying abroad.  Bumping into our Conleth’s students I could still feel the enthusiasm and the curiosity in their voice. Finishing with a talk on “Studying Abroad,” Oisin, Isham, Muirin, Siobhan and a few others heard the head of EUNUCHS (http://www.eunicas.ie), ending his talk with an interesting quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”  So thinking outside the box, learning, questioning:  these are fine traits that our students had plenty of time to practice and polish today.

The Results Are In…

Yes, the 2016 Leaving Certificate results have been in our office for a while, but unfortunately this reporter did not benefit from being taught Maths at St. Conleth’s, so we had to go find someone else to do the ‘rithmetic.  At first we asked a few of the nine students (out of 21!)  who received As in HL Maths but they were all, unsurprisingly, packing their bags for high octane university courses (and Freshers weeks).   ‘And besides,’ said one future actuary, ‘I long ago stopped wasting time on the mere multiplication and division of mere real numbers…’  Chastened we wandered away thinking said student had chosen the perfect career for his personality and resorted to Mr. Carvill, who though himself an alumnus of Big Blue and no stranger to Game Theory and the like, agreed to lower himself, get out his calculator watch and crunch the numbers… and we can proudly say these are the best results at St. Conleth’s in the modern era!  The Maths department rightly garnered much attention on results day, but Spanish, Physics and Music had over 50% earning As and, as in nearly all our other subjects, over 90% took the Higher Level paper (in Chemistry and History, it was 100%! And English, 92%!).  We could go on and on about the numbers….so we will!  8% of our students earned over 600 (National avg.: .03%); 32% over 500 (compared to 10%); and 64% over 400 (36%)…but of course what is more important is that our students qualified for the courses which they desired, and that was overwhelmingly the case, and not just for the hi-fliers.  Below you see a few of the class of 2016 who came back to school to advise our current students, and a sample of last year’s class’s interesting university destinations:

 

 

TYs Start Year In High Gear

They were a bit shy at first: unusually quiet in both classrooms and the hallways, shuffling along and flashing only wry smiles at their more confident classmates.  But eventually the Transition Year boys were carefully coaxed out of their shells by the TY girls, the first ever in the long history of the school!  Now, after just a couple of weeks of integration, everyone is getting along swimmingly, and our boys have regained their voices and courage to launch dubious attempts at humour at every opportunity, and the girls (and we) are wondering why did we wake the sleeping beasts?  Well, for one thing you need to be fully awake to keep up with Co-ordinator Mr. Trenier’s Transition Year Programme!  Classes in the traditional subjects, as well as more esoteric pursuits such as Coding and Chinese, are in full swing, but somehow Mr. T has still found the time to lead the gang on hikes from Greystones to Bray and an overnight trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre.  And the Thursday outings are just beginning! Check out the full TY Programme yourself, which has all the important info (including the all-important dates for Work Experience), and get ready for the wild ride which is Transition Year at St. Conleth’s!

 

Just Talk It Over…

Sage advice on most occasions and here at St. Conleth’s we practise what we preach by getting in more preachers… well speakers, more accurately, as we manage to secure the services of the best professional speakers on a variety of topics.  Just in the next few weeks alone we will be hosting talks on everything from the practical to the philosophical.  All the details are here and in our handy Events calendar, but just to give you a flavour:  Select members of the Class of 2016 are returning to give study advice to current 5th and 6th Years; John Lonergan (pictured) will be giving his highly regarded inspirational talk to 5th and 6th Years; Garda Niall Burke will discuss drugs and alcohol with all years (separately); Pieta House will run a ‘resiliency’ course with 2nd Years; 6th Years will have a full day session on successful study and work habits with Super Generation and head off to Higher Options at the RDS; and our TYs will surely want to chat about their JC results, which they receive next Wednesday!

Moriarty-Smyth Brothers’ Reprise!

Yes, the famous fencing brothers of St. Conleth’s (now one a Junior and one a Senior) were at it again over the summer.  At the end of June, James (1Year) and Myles (3rd Form) competed in the 2016 Paris CEP Mini Marathon Fleuret. James in particular fenced extraordinarily well with multiple wins across 3 sets of Poules that saw elimination at each round; a stunning 4 /0 victory in the final poule enabled him to make the tableau of the last 32! He ended the day ranked 32 out of a field of 75, going out 3/8 to the no.1 ranked fencer in an amazing competition that saw fencers attending from as far afield as Australia, Malaysia and Brazil. Myles was the 2nd youngest fencer competing and scored an impressive 3/1 victory and several points across 3 Poules. He very narrowly missed the cut of 40 required for the U10 Direct Eliminator, ending the day ranked 41st.  We look forward to receiving further updates in due course as the new season progresses: Paris is on the calendar again along with Poland!  And perhaps… Tokyo?

 

 

No Free Lunch?

Parents’ Lunches are starting tomorrow, Wednesday the 7th, with our first guests being Senior School First Year Parents.  Soon will follow all the other years from both the Junior and Senior Schools.  It all kicks off at 1:30 in the School Canteen under the watchful eye and agile spatula of Chef Mark.  And to join in all you have to do is go to Easypay….  Just kidding!  Who ever said there is no such thing as a free lunch?  You are all very welcome to get a taste, on the house, of what your kids are enjoying every day.  The lunches are already up in Events but here is the schedule:  Seniors: 1st Year- Wednesday 7th September; Transition Year-Wed. 5th October 2016 ; 2nd Year- Wed. 9th November 2016 ; 3rd Year-Wed. 16th Nov. 2016; 5th Year- Wed. 23rd Nov. 2016;  and 6th Year- Wed. 30th November 2016.  Juniors: 5th and 6th Form- Wed 14th Sept.; 3rd and 4th Form- Wed 21st Sept. ; 1st and 2nd Form- Wed 28th Sept.; and Junior and Senior Infants-Wed 12th Oct.  Bon appetit!

After-School Study Now Open To All Years

After-School Study (3:30-6:00) is now open to all years but places are limited.  Please read all the details which are attached here.  If it seems to suit your child, payment is made through Easypayments on this website (link) and the attached form should be returned to Mr. Latvis.   The attached document should explain everything, but if there are any questions, contact Mr. Latvis at latvisc@stconleths.ie.   There is also the option of Night Study (6:30-9:00) with Gavin Maguire which must be paid for separately on Easypayments).  Thank you, and happy studying!

 

And They’re Off! Conlethians Young and Old Start Year with Spark!

The Junior and Senior Infants seemed distinctly unperturbed by the momentous occasion, getting right to work (and play) under the watchful eye and encouraging words of Ms. Kelly and Ms. Murphy, and First Form seemed delighted with the dynamic duo of Ms. McGuinness and Mr. O’Brien, while the older Junior Forms also seemed happy to be back amongst welcoming faces and in friendly places.  First Years admittedly seemed a bit nervous, as did our new female arrivals in the other Senior Years (to say nothing of our suddenly shy and tongue-tied resident males!) but the ice was quickly broken by a few classroom quips and Tuckshop tussles and by close of business on Tuesday, fledgling friendships were flourishing in the proverbial Conlethian calm.   However there is always one… or in this case, two… as two of our senior boys, Basil Brindley and K.D. Kelleher, caused a minor hullabaloo with their raucous reminiscence just inside the door!

 

 

 

Welcome to St. Conleth’s!

The late summer flowers are still in full bloom and we still don’t recognise anyone on RTE  but the days are undeniably getting shorter again and we must face facts: ‘Back to School Time’ is rapidly approaching!  But have no fear, new and returning Conlethians, for your school is a fun and friendly place and all the information you need is in one place, on our ‘Welcome 2016/2017’ page.  There, Junior and Senior School students and parents can find out all about start dates and times, year calendars, uniforms, booklists, the canteen and after-school care.  All you need is there, but if you are in a rush, here are direct links (Junior, Senior) to our uniform supplier, and our Canteen deposit page on Easy Payments Plus.  New Junior School parents may be interested in after-school care with our partners, One of a Kind. And we remind First Year Senior Parents about the First Year Multi-Sports Camp and Moontour Irish Language Adventure Centre.  It is all there on our ‘Welcome 2016/2017’ page.  Just keep scrolling down!

A Season to Remember: St. Conleth’s SCT 2015-2016

Last year, the Senior Cup Team of St. Conleth’s College completed the most magical season of any sports team in the long and storied history of the school.  Longtime stalwarts of Section A and the McMullen Cup, St. Conleth’s have always turned heads for their exemplary commitment and stylish play but have often fallen short of the silverware, simply because of their smaller pool of players.  The 2015/2016 season changed all that, and the Leinster rugby world was forced to stand up and take notice that the always-plucky boys from Clyde Road in Ballsbridge were now a legitimate force with which to be reckoned, at any level.  Head Coach (and St. Conleth’s old boy) Gavin Maguire’s steady stewardship of a team on a six-year journey to the top has clearly captured the imagination of all those who appreciate an amateur sport being played the right way, both on the pitch and off.

The SCT entered this season with high expectations: the core of the team, led by Captain (and No. 8) Kevin Dolan, had won the Shield at JCT level and already had two years of senior play under its belt.  Comfortable victories in the early friendlies did nothing to dispel this confidence but the draw of Castleknock in the first round of the Vinnie Murray Cup seemed a cruel roll of the dice: we were playing above our usual level and they were playing down, a recipe for a blowout.  Instead, that which followed on a crisp, clear afternoon in Donnybrook will go down in the rugby annals of both schools and delighted neutrals of every, and no, stripe.  Fly-half Ben Doggett’s exquisite kicking and the Conlethians’ steady pack play staked themselves to a surprising lead.  Rugby royalty, however, does not just roll over, and Castleknock fought and clawed their way back, scoring an injury-time try to break Conlethian hearts, 27-25.  Perhaps our greatest victory of the year, ironically, came in that loss.  Not only did we push a formidable foe to the very limit, but Coaches Maguire and Michael Hassett rallied the boys in the very midst of the post-match tears and led a group of determined young men from the field.

With Castleknock now steaming on to the Vinnie Murray Final, St. Conleth’s SCT would have been forgiven for being distracted by the ruing of a narrowly missed opportunity but drawing on the resilience which is a hallmark of this tight-knit group, they girded their loins and got back to work.  They were all business in the McMullen Cup Semifinal as they dispatched Maynooth 44- 8 with the usual suspects, David Pogatchnick and Mati Remi, manhandling the opposition all over the pitch, and Nicolas Foreau and Brendan Connor scoring brace of tries each.  Winger Michael McKay was simply a different class on the day, with scintillating runs and two memorable tries.  The following victory, over High School, 27-3, in the Vinnie Murray Plate Semifinal, was not a stylish affair, played in a mud-bath and under horrific conditions.  But a win is a win, and the great teams can win can persevere in any conditions and on this occasion, normally swish players such as Ross Murphy and Cameron Ross-O’Reilly were willing to get dirty to get the job done.

Three titles were now on the line and there were two matches to win them.  The victory over Enniscorthy in the McMullen Cup Final in Donnybrook Stadium, 41-0, was such a consummate triumph that Gavin, his SCT and the whole St. Conleth’s community, past and present, was able to take pleasure in the day, and who could blame them? It had been thirty years since a Cup had been raised aloft by a St. Conleth’s SCT captain, and Kevin Dolan made the most of it, but as always with our No. 8, with impeccable sportsmanship and manners, repeatedly and flawlessly leading his team like a mobile colossus up and down the pitch, but straying several yards offside in the waning moments to to help up a fallen opponent, overcome by the enormity of his defeat.

This Vinnie Murray Plate and League Final was more like a tank battle than a cavalry charge, and the echoes of the ferocious hits laid and absorbed by both sides are still echoing down the backstreets and alleyways of Donnybrook.  Full credit to Templeogue for coming with a game-plan and the willingness to play: after ‘old reliable’ Ben Doggett set them back with a couple of perfectly struck penalties, the boys from Dublin 6 dug in and proceeded to apply pressure for most of the next hour or so, culminating with a massive back making a charge for the try-line.  Suddenly, there was a bolt of black-and-green and the subsequent collision shook the stadium… When we regained our senses we saw Conleth’s regrouping and Templeogue in retreat: Colin Duffy had delivered the hit of the season and no photograph or video will ever capture the seismic magnitude of that smash.  Our boys still had to hang in there and there were many heroes on the day: Simon Ghose calmly catching many a high ball and turning things back the other way; David McKeown buzzing round the scrums and making the important first pass; Sean Frison-Roche applying a bit of French flair; Robert Cripwell and Paddy Cahill doing the hard work up front; and perhaps most tellingly of the team-spirit which Gav has engendered in these boys: The proud participation towards the end of players who may not have received much game-time this season but always were at the heart of the team: Sam O’Dea, Philip Carroll, Elliott Browne and Daniel Kenny. The ‘treble’ was St. Conleth’s and a magical season had come to a memorable end.

 

India 2016: Tanned, Tired and Triumphant!

 

The India Expedition team accomplished deeds, both daring and good, and the experience will stay with the team members the rest of their lives.  Both the adventure and development aspects of the trip are documented in the pics above,  the video below and in previous posts, from the long train journeys with a distinctly Indian ‘Health and Safety’ regimen and the heroic climbs up forbidding peaks to forbidden temples to the reconstruction and teaching work done by the boys at the Everest School.  Most memorable for the participants will be the relationships with the local Indian people which they established and the friendships amongst themselves which they immeasurably deepened.  Well done to Gavin Maguire and Dolores Kelly on leading another successful student expedition.  We look forward to hearing all about it from them and the boys themselves, after they cool (and wash) off in the Irish summer weather!

India Calling…

…well, tweeting, that is!  India Expedition leaders Gav Maguire and Dolores Kelly are old hat at the ‘intrepid explorers’ thing but that does not mean that they do not get just as excited now as when they led their first group of students across the plains of the Serengeti… or the peaks of Andes… or the lakes of Tanzania.   Something of the ‘Dr. Livingstone’ perennially appears in the personalities of Gav and Dolores, and their enthusiasm and love for adventure radiate across continents.  The only change is that we used to have to wait for the occasional garbled landline call (a wire-based communications system) or a postcard (sort of like a printed ‘snapchat’).  Now we get continuous updates via Twitter and can track the group’s every step through GPS.  The group have already made steady progress on both the expeditionary and community development aspects of their trip, completing a 4,300 metre climb near Manali and starting work at the  Mount Everest School.  More news to come but in the meantime keep an eye on the links above and the pics below!

 

And So It Begins…

Just as in the climactic scene of Macbeth (or Lear for this year’s LCers!), the elements have conspired to provide our state examinees with the weather to match their internal sturm und drang but we encourage them to ignore the celestial pyrotechnics and, well, just…

Don’t worry, be happy… and show up on time!  Check the Daily Events for your exam schedules or the links below.

Good luck from everyone at St. Conleth’s!

Junior Certificate 2016 Timetable

Leaving Certificate 2016 Timetable

आप की यात्रा सुखद हो! Bon voyage!

Intrepid explorers Gav Maguire and Dolores Kelly have once again set out from St. Conleth’s and these shores for a far-flung foreign destination, leading a select group of students on an expedition which combines the best of adventure and development work.  This year, the programme is returning to India, where St. Conleth’s has already established a firm reputation for providing a helping hand to the local community, while also encouraging the visiting students to see sights and do things you simply can’t see or do between Foxrock Church and the Liffey! You have already read about last year’s journey here and here, and you can keep track of our current group’s progress here.  Best of luck to the whole gang and we look forward to seeing and hearing all about it!  Remember to check the school’s Twitter for updates.  Gav will surely keep tweeting even when submerged in the Ganges or hanging from the Himalayas!

 

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The India Expedition 2016 Student Members Ready to Go!

 

 

 

The New Parents Association Newsletter Is Here!

The Parents’ Associations are pleased to publish out latest newsletter, full of all the exciting things that have been happening in the school over the past two months.  If you’re stuck for some beach reading, look no further!  We hope you enjoy it.

Parents Association Newsletter- May 2016

Paul Allen & Peter O’Neill, Chairpersons Senior and Junior School Parents’ Associations

Cars and Girls

Did we take the wrong turn somewhere in the late 60’s, when Brian Wilson retreated to his room and stopped singing about  his ‘409’ and his ‘Little Deuce Coupe’?   Rock and roll wandered aimlessly through punk and progressive and not until Bruce nosed his Chevy out onto Thunder Road, did we once again have gasoline and testosterone in plentiful lyrical supply.  And 1978’s Grease took it one mile further: transporting us back to a simpler time when the music was simple, the harmonies were plentiful and the fuel was fully leaded.   Throw in the fact that the musical is an unrivalled camp masterpiece and you please everyone! The audience at our TY year-end extravaganza was certainly happy with the performances, as maestros deBhal and Gallagher coaxed some stunning performances from our shy and retiring boys.  Actually, ‘coaxed’ might be the wrong term: how about ‘barely able to restrain’ an explosion of enthusiasm for hip-shaking, T-shirt-wearing, chorus-crooning and cross-dressing!  The last, of course, is a long-standing St. Conleth’s tradition and current Third Years are beside themselves with worry about what will happen when we have real girls in TY next year.  With Mr. Trenier as TY Co-ordinator, however, they should have no fear:  he will surely integrate the girls as smoothly as he ran the whole programme this year: organising trips all over Dublin, pushing the boys to completion of their various courses, projects and competitions and almost single-handedly dragging the boys over the Wicklow Mountains to complete their Gaisce Hike.  Read all about the wide range of TY adventures on their dedicated page, but first, check out the snaps of their performance above and the Roll of Honour for individual TY awards below.

A Fond Farewell

Master of Ceremonies Mr. Carvill presided over a fitting finale to the Graduating Class of 2016’s   time at St. Conleth’s.  Some boys have been at the school since Second Class 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, since music is now at the heart of everything we do at St. Conleth’s, student performers accompanied the whole event, with maestros Ms. DeBhal and Ms. Fay once again pulling the strings. In both the religious ceremony and the awards and speeches event that followed, music was the perfect accompaniment for the prayers, thoughts and memories, from the opening poignancy of Finn and Kevin’s ‘Fix You’ through the delicate power of Hannah’s ‘To Build a Home’ and Clara and Hugh’s ‘The Scientist’, to the Brendan Connor-accompanied solos by Maryrose and Eabhan and the delightful piano duet by Daniel and Noah Daniel, culminating in the last performance of supergroup ‘Accordance’ and the rousing whole-class rendition of ‘September’.  Of course, this being St. Conleth’s where we are never at a loss for words, the musical challenge was more than met on the rhetorical front by Captain Hannah Collins, Vice Captains Noah Brabazon and Josh Harvey-Graham and Principal Donal ODulaing.  Their speeches captured perfectly the nostalgic nature of the evening and Elliot and Philip’s carefully composed slideshow provided the perfect backdrop for their musings. Especially poignant was Arthur Etchingham-Coll’s tribute to Jack Harvey, a member of the class whose loss was so evident on the evening.  f course, awards were on the agenda and you can see our winners and their prizes on the slider below.  PPU representative Ronan O’Kelly and Mr. Kelleher closed the affair with their usual wit and the graduating class and their teachers headed down to O’Connell’s for a lovely meal to cap a wonderful evening.

Avoid The Summer Doldrums: Get ‘Food Active’!

An army runs on its stomach and a school runs on its canteen.   At St. Conleth’s College we are convinced that Chef Mark McColgan is the main reason why attendance rates are so high amongst both students and staff.  A common scene in the early a.m. on the southside of Dublin:   “Oh… French test today….I don’t feel very well…wait…it’s Tandoori Chicken Salad today…I’m in!”   Well, you can spend part of this summer not only enjoying those fave dishes, but making them too!  Chef Mark is returning with his popular  ‘Food Active’ Summer Camp and July at St. Conleth’s is sure to be an exciting and eclectic mix of cookery, sport and fun.  Find the contact details here or below and get onto Chef Mark.  Places are limited and Food Active is always the place to be when those long summer days roll in!

full ad pic

 

Fourth Form Party Like It Is…1979!

Conservative American parents were terrified in the 1950’s as swing, jazz and blues morphed into rock ‘n roll and teenagers everywhere began showing up at high school gyms dancing with abandon.  If Ms. Coleman were alive back then (and she assures us that she was not), she would have donned the bobby-socks and led the youngsters in their revelry!  Last week, the Transition Years were busy preparing for their end-of-term production of Grease, which will hit the school hall stage this coming Wednesday at 7:00.  The driving beats and soaring vocals could be heard throughout the school as Ms. deBhal drove the boys through their paces, and most teachers and students simply smiled and carried on, perhaps tapping a foot in sympathy… but Ms. Coleman could not contain her inner dancing queen and she quickly slipped on a record from her own youth: ‘September’ by Earth, Wind and Fire.  And despite being a bit young to remember disco’s heyday, the Fourth Formers proved to be her worthy partners, making moves and wielding air guitars with abandon!  See below as the boys down their books (for a few minutes) and party like it is 1979!

 

 

 

Game of Thrones

During the glorious heyday of the late Republic and the early Empire, no event was more important to the lifeblood of Rome than the gladiatorial games.  The feverish excitement of the build-up to the tournament would whip the eternal city into a state of near ecstasy as fans would throng the streets, chanting the names of their hero-warriors and scratching passionate testimonials into the very bricks of the Colosseum.  So, too, is it at St. Conleth’s when the Annual Chess Tournament reaches its later stages.  In mid-May, lunchtime sales in the canteen fall away to nothing as those last few contenders stride through the hallways of the school confidently heading for the designated arena of doom, followed by wannabes, fawning followers and a few slightly-flushed Fifth Year female fans.  The ‘Circuses’ had their wealthy patrician backers who paid for everything and decided the fate of the defeated combatants: our chess tournament has Ms. NíAonghusa, who runs the event with a firm but kindly hand, dispensing decisions on en passant and J’adoube with equal parts grit and grace.  And the gladiators themselves?  Where once a Samnite or Thracian strode with short swords and brave determination, now walks students from all years, armed with only their razor logic and, perhaps, a calculator watch.  Miki had dispatched brother Mati in the Quarters (Oh, the drama in the Remi household!) and then eliminated Oisín Dowling in one Semi.  Suyash Patidar narrowly edged Keane Acosta in the other.  (That means we had First, Second, Fourth and Sixth Years as the last four fighters, and Polish and Indian, as well as Irish, heritages represented: a diversity which Marcus Aurelius would have applauded!)   The Final itself was an intense affair, with many students packed silently into Room 5 and even more peering in from the yard.  It way tight all the way through, but when Suyash somehow nabbed Miki’s regenerated Queen, the writing was on the wall: not defeat itself, but a stalemate and decision based on the time clocks.  The boys feverishly finished the battle, with arms flailing from piece to clock quicker than the eye, but in the end Miki was a few seconds short and Suyash had retained his throne.  A game of kings indeed!

 

Who is the King of the Castle?

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 architect uncle!) 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. Apparently, not all Conlethians build their castles merely out of air! This year, Ms. deBhal was in charge and, having been raised in a fortified tower house in the badlands of County Limerick, she certainly had the required experience to draw the best from the boys. We have castles made of Lego, wood, styrofoam, cardboard and some gooey stuff of which Mr. Callaghan took one sniff and retreated to the lab for his gas-mask! And who is the 2016 ‘King of the Castle’?  You will have to wait till the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday for the dramatic announcement.  Until then enjoy the pictures below of some of our keen castle-builders and their creations!

 

 

 

 

Sun and Fun at Sportsday 2016!

 

Each year, on a certain Tuesday in May, St. Conleth’s  is involved in a massive trek to the outer reaches of Dublin 4.  The exodus begins at break time and we all head off down the meandering back allies and cowpaths of Ringsend and Irishtown, and though we often lose a few stragglers in the ‘Ringer,’ most of the students eventually arrive at Irishtown Stadium, ready to enthusiastically take part in one of our most eagerly anticipated yearly rituals: St. Conleth’s Senior School Sportsday. This year, all the usual suspects were there: Mr. Keenan, our strong but silent Games Commander of All Sports; Gavin ‘HOS’ Maguire, the witty yet deadly efficient Master of Ceremonies; the Parents’ Association, cooks and partisans supreme; various teachers, now old hands at their various athletic stations; and, of course, hordes of Tuck Shop-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 then cheering (and laughing) as others took their turns.  All good fun…and now back to the books!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free! Gratuit! Gratis! Frei!

Remember our free Easter Camp for future Conlethians?  Well, the idea is catching on…  Living Language, the premier language camp in Dublin, is offering St. Conleth’s students (and their parents) an irresistible package:  You welcome a child from France, Spain or Germany into your home and your son or daughter gets to attend a professional summer sports, arts and language camp at St. Conleth’s for free!  Don’t you just love the free market economy?  All the details are here: Brochure, Explanatory Email, Applications: French, Spanish, German.

 

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Dirty, Dirty Leeds…

When Don Revie’s Leeds team was dominating the old English First Division, beaten opponents would sometimes moan about the tactics and the tackles, but history has decided that it was more the pure footballing genius of Johnny Giles, Billy Bremner et al which made them a memorable championship team (and the target of many a sourly tossed grape).  So, too, is it with the St. Conleth’s Staff Soccer Team.  The years roll on, the victories (or strategic draws) pile up (10 in a row!), and the students inevitably walk (or limp) away, moaning about an emphatic tackle or two…  Now, emergency-ref (and staff manager) Mr. McGrath did mistakenly take along his reading glasses instead of the distance ones, but really what was there to see besides some good, hard play?  Mr. Trenier’s portrait may no longer hang in the Remi household but surely he did nothing a loose-head prop, sorry… a holding midfielder would not do.  And Mr. Lonergan’s intense tackling was what you would expect from a half-forward, sorry… winger.   There is certainly no need to excuse Mr. ‘Bomber’ Bolger’s delicate positioning in the box.  In fact, he was tactically removed briefly in the first half because of a lack of robustness (but did return after a needed stoking of the fire in his belly).  Perhaps the staff’s principal players were, once again, our stalwart defenders, Kilcommons, ODualing and Travers: repeatedly, majestically heading the ball away before scavengers such as McKeown and Measimer could get a toe-hold.  Newcomer staff such as Gleeson, E. Sheridan and O’Brien certainly played their parts, giving us more width then we have become used to… and returning hero Stephen Sheridan once again patrolled the hole like a younger Wayne Rooney.  Latin Tutor Gavin Sheridan did an amazing job filling the formidable boots of Willie Malone in goals and youngsters Adanov, Maguire and Latvis provided the needed spark off the bench.  To be fair to the students, they did pass and play with Arsenal-like finesse, a sure-fire way to impress the pundits and leave the trophy cabinet empty in a competition such as this, and several student warriors such as Pogatchnick and Fox soldiered on manfully without much complaint… we salute you and welcome you back as tutors/assistants/custodians so that you may join us in the future on the Staff Team.  Then you will see, as the years and pounds pile up, that a tug or two is just what you need to do!

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India (and Africa) Calling!

Gav Maguire, a modern day Dr. Livingstone, is busy readying his troops for their expedition to India this summer, so what does he do in his spare time?  Relax?  No, instead he gets started on the next expedition, this time to East Africa- a an exciting destination never before visited by Conlethian globetrotters.  Here are the important upcoming dates regarding both expeditions.   They are life-changing events for those who get involved so get onboard!

East Africa Student Presentation 
Friday 13th May 2016  2.40pm
Learning How to Teach: India Group
Tuesday 17th May 2016  8.40am
Tuesday 24th May 2016  8.40am
East Africa Parents and Student Presentation 
Monday 23rd or Tuesday 24th 7pm
India Build-Up Day 
Saturday 4th June 12pm
India Departure Day 
Monday 6th June 7am

 

Digital Hands Across the Water!

Junior and Senior School pupils gathered together in the Conference Room for an exciting presentation by Ms. Anne Cunningham, a teacher and administrator from the Tech International Charter School in The Bronx, New York.   Ms. Cunningham was visiting Ireland, and St. Conleth’s in particular, to explore the possibility of setting up an ‘international partnership’ between the students of these two very diverse schools.  The most interesting aspect (amongst many) of the project is that it is to be student-directed and student-run (with a small but essential bit of teacher oversight).  So, Ms. Cunningham quickly ‘turned the tables’ after just a few minutes of presentation, and began asking the questions instead of giving the answers.  At first, our pupils were a bit flummoxed by this, but being Conlethians and well used to creative contribution, they quickly jumped onboard and responded with an onslaught of ideas and opinions which ranged from the practical to the hilarious to the inspirational.  The overall plan now is to come up with some sort of technological forum which enables the students of the two schools to work together on an issue of international importance such as mental health or  homelessness.   Next year’s First and Second Years will probably be the key groups involved, but some of the older kids seem very keen to act as mentors and leaders.  It all sounds very exciting, and we will report back when the tweets, posts and whatevers get rolling.  And Ms. Cunningham, showing that she knows the way to every youngster’s heart,  provided free ‘I Love NY’ T-shirts for all the participants!

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A Real Rockett Scientist

You know the old joke, of course, but at Saint Conleth’s we actually do have a Rocket scientist, namely in the person of Stephen Rockett, our First Year, who recently won Second Place in the category of Junior Life Sciences at the recent SciFest at Blanchardstown IT for his project, The Effect of Caffeine and Sugar on the Growth of Pea Plants. Stephen did very well against some stiff competition, most of whom were from older grades.  We already knew well about the hard work, impeccable manners and honest intellectual interest of Stephen (and his Third Year brother Matthew), but it is great to see recognition on a national stage.  Well done to Stephen and Science gurus Ms. Phelan and Mr. Callaghan!

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Oops! Revised (Slightly) Senior School Booklists

In our eagerness to get those booklists out before the competition, we neglected to update one or two items.  But don’t worry too much if you have already sent the help off to the bookshop, as the changes only affect Second Year History and Spanish (small changes to all years).  The new, corrected lists can be found on our Information Page, or you can just open them here and now: First Year; Second Year; Third Year; Fourth Year/TY; Fifth Year; and Sixth Year. Enjoy!

St. Conleth’s in the News!

St. Conleth’s recently made the headlines for our scientific endeavour, and now seems reluctant to leave the media spotlight.  Over the weekend our SCT’s fantastic season was featured in the Leinster Rugby Programme and on their website and, just today, the Irish Times ran a feature on our own special take on co-education.  The author of this piece, Rachel Fehily, is also co-creator of our ‘Co-education: St. Conleth’s Style’ which can be seen above in our slider or on our dedicated Girls’ Page.  Stay-tuned for more ‘St. Conleth’s in the news’!

Summer Menu: Harbinger of Heat-Wave?

Senior School PA Chairman Paul Allen long ago was hoodwinked into creating lovely PDFs of Chef Mark’s canteen menus and each week you can see them under Information on this website and the meals on offer for each particular day in the Events calendar, but surely a seasonal change in the design deserves a headline… especially when the appearance of a friendly animated sun on said menu coincides with a rather pleasing upturn in our actual weather!

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SCT Celebrate Record-Breaking Season in Style

Gavin Maguire does not do things by halves.  He had a golden season with his SCT this year, and the boys clearly deserved to mark this historic accomplishment with some sort of celebration: why not at a three-course lunch to celebrate the three titles won?   And St. Conleth’s backed him up, laying on a gourmet meal (designed especially for the occasion by our own Chef Mark McColgan) for the players and their families and inviting team sponsors Ballsbridge Motors and some very special guests from the Leinster squad: Luke Fitzgerald and Cian Healy.  There were some speeches and awards, of course, with Ben Doggett and David McKeown winning MVP and MIP respectively, but most of all it was a joyous but muted celebration for a job well done: no need to shout when the points have already been well made on the pitch.  Enjoy Gav’s video retrospective of the season, above, and some snaps from the lunch, below, and look forward to next season!

S.T.E.M. Stars: Conlethians Win Coding and SciFest Competitions!

TY Corey De Jong Power and First Years Matthew Lynch and Joshua McCormack made St. Conleth’s  history these last few days by winning, respectively, the Irish Computer Society’s National Scratch Coding Competition and the ITB Horticulture Award at SciFest.  Coding guru, and head programmer of the St. Conleth’s Coding Club, Ms. NíAonghusa is justifiably proud of the ‘Corinator’ (as he is known in coding circles) taking  the top prize in his age group with his beguilingly simple Scratch game. Fellow coders such as Saul Burgess and Sammy Butler were so overcome with emotion, they momentarily ceased work on their various AI projects to emit an encomium in Bocce.  And what about the dynamic duo of Matthew Lynch and Joshua McCormack?  Not since the heady days of the Zorin Brothers have young Conlethian scientists so dominated the headlines.  Our Science teachers, Mr. Callaghan and Ms. Phelan, were particularly thrilled with the boys’ project ‘Repel the Shells’ as both teachers hail from our agricultural heartland where people ‘eat their dinner in the middle of the day’ and horticulture is a way of life.  Both awards are of national prominence and we applaud the students and teachers involved for putting St. Conleth’s in the forefront of the relentless STEM advance!

1st Yrs Matthew Lynch and Joshua McCormack win the ITB SciFest Horticulture Award with their project, 'Repel The Shells'!

 

Runners On Track in Santry!

Mr. Keenan’s track and field boys were at it again, this time at the East Leinsters at Morton Stadium in Santry, as hallowed a running track as there is in Ireland.  Second Year Craig Davis followed up his Cross Country success earlier this year with a Bronze finish in the 1500m.  Not bad for a kid whose only training for track is running around with a hurley in inter-county matches- it must work!  And our First Year 4x100m Relay Team of Ted O’Kelley, Dylan Alves, Mark Connor and Neil O’Gorman earned silver medals in their race.  It was a great accomplishment for the boys and a ringing endorsement of Mr. Keenan and H.O.S. Gavin Maguire’s efforts to mix athletics into the sports schedule this year.  Stay tuned for the Leinsters!

The First Year Relay Team show their medal-winning form.

TYs: French Fun with Fifth Form!

One of the best things about St. Conleth’s is that we have a Junior and Senior School on the same campus, and though it can be a bit scary (and very funny!) when our Sixth Year ‘loose-head’ prop turns the corner and bumps into a Junior Infant ‘conga-to-the-cafeteria’ line, there are also many plusses to the interaction of such a broad range of ages.  Take this report from our own correspondent Mr. Julien Porzadny:

What a gorgeous day outside isn’t it? Almost as gorgeous as in room 2.1 where such a positive vibe was floating in the air. After about a month of preparation, our Transition Year students were finally ready to share their knowledge (and love) of the French language.

In groups of 3/4 they were asked to create an activity sheet with vocabulary and/or grammar and fun activities. These activities were aimed at the 5th form students from the Junior school who would learn/revise some French thanks to those and to their “newly appointed young teachers”. Ms Crowley, Mr Sheridan and myself were really please to see so much interaction going on between these two groups. In the end, after a 40 minutes interactive class where each group got to experience 3 different activities, the 5th form students said farewell to the Transition Years and went back to their routine.

Feedbacks from both years were very positive. The TY students were “impressed by the level of French” of the 5th forms. They said they were “cooperative, friendly, responsive”. They also enjoyed the experience of “being a teacher” and learning the “art of improvisation”. On the other hand, the 5th forms were all very happy with this “learning experience”. They liked the “fun” factor of the activities (drawing, word search, interaction etc.). They said the TY students were “nice to you, helpful, encouraging”. They enjoyed “the different ways each group was teaching” and if they had only one regret it was that they did not get to do all the activities.

So well done to all the students who put efforts in this project. Here is another keeper for St Conleth’s!

 

Fun Getting Fit in France!

First and Second Years (and brave professeurs Carvill, Porzadny and deBhal) picked up a bit of vocabulaire and a lot of sore muscles on their trip to France.  Head Of Sport Gav Maguire designed a trip that thrilled yet physically exhausted all the participants.  (Needless to say, Gav himself was not one of those participants.) We get the run-down from Second Year John Melia, one of the most enthusiastic adventurers:

First and Second years visited Soustons, a French commune located in the department of the Landes in the region Aquitaine Limousin-Poitou-Charentes. We flew from Dublin to Biarritz on the southwest of France’s Basque coast, a city well known for its surfing and beaches. This trip to France was an exciting way for First and Second year students to learn about French culture, cuisine and the language itself. While we were there, we learned how to improve our French, while also enjoying fun activities such as tree climbing and surfing. We were not allowed to bring any mobile phones which gave us more time to spend outdoors playing football and rugby or socialising with other students.

This trip also allowed us to enjoy some lovely French cuisine such as veal in cream sauce (blanquette de veau). We were also able to go to a nearby pizzeria where we strangely enjoyed some Italian food. There was also a marketplace where we got to experience the atmosphere of a French market.  On the last day we decided to go into the city of Biarritz to see what a popular French town looks like. We were able to go off on our own and look at some of the shops and restaurants. We picked up souvenirs and also had the opportunity to speak some French.

Overall, we all had a great time. It was good to have the experience of visiting another country, speaking French and experiencing some French culture. We are grateful to Mr Carvill, Ms deBhal and Mr Porzadny for taking us.

Come Meet The Team India 2016 Expedition Leaders

A meeting for Team India 2016 will take place next Thursday, April 28th at 7:00 for pupils involved and their parents. The team has already raised over 5000 euro from the Christmas Trees Fair and donations for their shared project with the Ever Green National School which is in a small village near Manale.  Some of the students are now  finalising their own personal fundraising to cover the cost of their expedition with special events.  Here is an update on the India expeditions from Eoin Collins and his father, Alan, who were very involved with last year’s trip.

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In June 2015, ten students from 5th Year and Transition Year travelled to Himachal Pradesh in Northern India. “Trek India 2015” was not just about hiking in the foothills (up to 4,000 metres) of the Himalayas, but was also an opportunity for our students to experience a different culture and help a community and school in this deprived part of India. The Ever Green National School is a Primary School run by a teacher’s cooperative and receives no funding from the Indian Government. As a result the school is funded solely by the children’s school fees and other donations.

Children from the ages of 4 to 15 from the surrounding area come to school here, and some children who live further away, board in the school. These children learn in tiny classrooms in a school which is half way through building but did not have the funding to complete it.

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The Ever Green National School badly needs to complete the renovations that they started a few years ago. The boarding children live in a very unsafe environment which is still a building site, unpainted and with floors and stairways that have poor quality safety barriers or railings ~ or none at all.

The fundraising efforts contributed to by parents and others associated with St Conleth’s College at various events, including the recent Christmas Tree Sale, have paid for new Safety Railings to be installed on the most dangerous areas, and it has already made a tremendous difference. More needs to be done as the top floor remains unguarded and the school unpainted, but this work will continue to go on throughout the coming months and years as long as the funding is available.

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As you can see from the images above the school has already become a much safer place for the young children of the school.

And in June of this year, “Trek India 2016” will allow eight more St. Conleth’s students to experience the trip of a lifetime, and enable them to see at first hand, how valuable the help which St. Conleth’s charity fundraising can be in helping those less fortunate than themselves.

They’ll be sightseeing in Delhi and Agra of course, and hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas too. But they’ll also be returning to The Ever Green National School to continue to provide help to children who just want the chance to learn in a safe environment. With our continued support, we can help to make that possible.

 

 

Give Until It Hurts

Remember the young man who enthusiastically offered himself as a disciple to Jesus, but then opted for ‘Plan B’ when he heard what hardship the full package entailed?  Well, Second Year Adam Langford and Mr. Lonergan were all in on ‘Plan A’ today when they donned the protective gear and withstood an onslaught of sopping-wet sponges to raise funds for the Save the Children charity.  It was great to see the Second Years organise the whole event by themselves but it was kind of scary to see the glee with which everyone joined in on the ‘fun’.  And it is not over yet: tomorrow the same gang are raising money for another worthy charity, Mary’s Meals, which feeds children in Africa, and the planned event is a water-boarding… no, just messing, it is a pain-free fundraiser: a Cake Sale.  So, bring in your money, and don’t tell Dr. Eva!

 

Putting the ‘Saint’ Back Into St. Conleth’s!

With all this (justified) hullabaloo about rugby and (unavoidable) panic about the state exams, it is easy to lose one’s sense of proportion, both as an individual and a school community.  Thankfully, Mr. Lonergan has stepped in just at the right time to remind us of our ethos: to be, like St. Conleth himself, the moulders of young men (and women) in the lay Catholic tradition. Mr. Lonergan organised and led a group of TY boys and Fifth Year girls down to the RDS for a special Catholic Youth Gathering in honour of the Pope Francis-declared Year of Divine Mercy.  The event was friendly and casual but also moving and meaningful and included inspirational music, personal testaments by Meath Carlin and Richard Moore, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a Mass celebrated by the Papal Nuncio, Rev. Charles Brown.  Below you see the students involved pausing for reflection under the cherry trees in Herbert Park and then meeting Rev. Brown.  It is great to see a word religion make the news in the name of Mercy!

TYs and Fifth Years enjoy the cherry blossoms of Herbert Park en route to a Catholic Youth convention at the RDS.
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PJ Lynch Keeps First Years in Their Seats!

Yes, our First Years have a reputation for being energetic and  ‘spirited,’  full of positive energy which occasionally gets out of control… but there was not a murmur or twitch from the lot when noted author, illustrator and Conlethian Dad, PJ Lynch, came in to give presentation on his impressive body of work.  PJ has illustrated the books of some of the best-known contemporary Irish authors, including Eoin Colfer and Derek Landy (both on the new Junior Cycle text list), and was co-creator of the million-copy-selling The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. He now writes as well as illustrates and his first ‘solo’ book, The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, is a masterpiece, if the slides which he showed the boys are anything by which to judge.   Perhaps he will the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for a third time!  PJ stunned the boys (and us) with his art but he also entertained us with his tales from the inside of the publishing world- including the not so equal split in labour between author and artist! Check out samples of his work below and visit his website .

 

Parent Associations’ Stylish Soirée

The luxurious setting 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 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 saints Peter and Paul and all the PA Committee members on another smashing success!

 

 

Click here for more photos from Paul Allen on the PA Facebook Page.

 

Calling All Writers! Let the Competitions Truly Begin!

***Deadlines extended, for both Junior and Senior Writing Competitions, till Sunday, May 8th. Get those stories in!*** 

Despite the points bonus for LC Higher Maths, and the general mania for all things scientific, calculable and reducible, it is still the arts, and particularly literature, for which Ireland is well known abroad.  When that alien race eventually does contact us and ask for representative emissaries, joining the German engineer, the American entrepreneur and the Swiss banker will be the Irish writer- and it could be you!  Dr. Fallon is masterminding two separate competitions this year for the English Department:  the Kevin D. Kelleher Writing Competition for the Junior School and the soon-to-be-eponymised Senior School Competition.  Check out the rules here  (Junior Competition, Senior Competition) and get writing!  In the meantime, we will leave you with a tantalising excerpts from last year’s winners.

From ‘The Dream’, last year’s Junior winner Joshua McCormack’s short story:  Upon entering my legs felt as heavy as lead. I immediately saw his unoccupied chair; his coat and hat hanging on an elaborate wooden stand and unfinished papers lying scattered across his desk. The brown curtains were mostly closed as a mark of respect, with a tiny chink of light filtering through illuminating his chair. The room was as silent as the grave as even the ancient oak grandfather clock had been stopped. I collapsed into a chair and recalled a dream he had told me he had of his own death… (full story)

From ‘Empty Mirrors’ by last year’s Senior winner Rían Boyle: I have spent far too long sitting on the old, cracked red leather couches in therapists’ waiting rooms. After a time, one begins to notice they share a similar musk, as if they had all been bought from the same grimy antique shop. The plastic benches that litter the hallways of hospitals have also garnered that same contempt. Far too often I have sat and waited to hear the same results, that their tests have shown nothing or that I’m a particularly difficult case… (full story, as published in the Irish Times)

 

All Aboard! The Parents Associations’ Social Event is Tonight!

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, Paul Allen and Peter O’Neill, have arranged a Social Event 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, so get in there early to assure your place!

RIYC Poster

Flyer PDF

TYs Complete Gaisce Hike But Are Very Grumpy About It

You can’t really blame them! The Gaisce Hike is an important element of the TY course each year and to be honest we have been riding our luck… it has been eight years since the hike has been conducted under anything but the bluest skies and the balmiest temperatures.  The memories of ‘Black 08’ had just about faded and with intense therapy we had all overcome the sight of teenage boys (and grown men) blubbering on the side of a mountain as they try to suck down a nature bar which is dissolving in their hands.  Enter 2016:  Originally scheduled for the previous Thursday, Mr. Alan ‘Bear’ Trenier decided the forecast was too good for a hike… after all, real male bonding comes from strength under adversity, not when frolicking like Bambi through the woods (an activity with which Gav ‘HOS’ Maguire would have been well satisfied).  No, Trenners consulted with one of his hill-country neighbours in Cavan, a sort of medicine man cum weather forecaster, and the appropriate day was set.  The boys set out in only a light drizzle and spirits were high.  There was the usual consumption of 90% of the provisions in the first 10% of the hike, but no was complaining- yet.  Then Mr. Trenier must have done his Prospero thing, conjuring up a tempest for the ages.  It rained and it rained and it rained.  Moods darkened with the sky.  Even Corey and Paul were getting testy.  But, in the end, they all pulled through… and the craic was mighty back at the hostel in Glendalough.  We guess that is what TY is all about: perseverance and teamwork.  Just tread carefully around the boys for a few days…

Co-Education: St. Conleth’s Style!

Mr. Kelleher has been at St. Conleth’s almost since its founding in 1939 and he has witnessed the school changing with the times yet remaining true to its original purpose and calling.  One change for the better began over 4o years ago when girls were first admitted into Fifth and Sixth Year in the Senior School.  At first it was just so girls could avail themselves of the Science subjects not taught in their schools, but soon the Chemistry between Conlethian boys and girls was undeniable and they were clearly here to stay.  Now, decades later we have made the next leap and opened our doors to girls in Junior Infants and, next September, to all our classes throughout the Junior and Senior Schools.  Last year we had a special evening marking 4o Years of Co-Education at St. Conleth’s and this year we commissioned a video by Rachel Fehily and Evan Flynn to highlight the strengths of co-education, especially at St. Conleth’s.  As you can see above, gender does not matter at all at St. Conleth’s and our girls and boys mix with ease and grace…. well, that is, until Mr. K moves the girls to the front of the line at the Tuck-shop!  Also check out our “Girls at St. Conleth’s” page and  if you have a younger daughter, sister or niece, bring her down to our Junior School Open Day this Sunday to see how vibrant a part girls (and boys!) play at St. Conleth’s.

Port Out, Starboard Home for St. Conleth’s Sail Team!

Conlethians have been sailing for generations.  It just kind of goes with the ‘sons and daughters of Catholic gentlemen’ territory.  And Conlethians have been sailing competitively just as long: one of our early alums, Archibald ‘Archie’ Winslow-Wilson, actually sailed with the famous skipper Briggs Cunningham on the Columbia when he wrenched the America’s Cup from colonial hands in ’58.  And throughout the subsequent years, individual Conlethians such as Cian Cahill have parted the winds and wave with skill and style en route to sailing glory.  But over this Easter break, St. Conleth’s and sailing were linked in a new and exciting way as a mixed-age team from the school competed in its first ever race and finished tied for third in the Leinster Schools Sailing Championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.   On the ‘count-back’, we slipped into fourth but it truly was an amazing finish for a group of youngsters competing as a team for the first time.  Old salts from Sixth Year, Paddy Cahill and Richard Hogan, were joined in this maritime endeavour by the powerful Pettitt brothers, Sean and Simon, and eager youngsters Harry and Trevor.  It is perhaps no coincidence that under Head of Sport Gavin Maguire sailing has become a mainstay of both the Junior and Senior Schools’ extracurriculars (Sr, Jr).

 

Bí réidh! Préparez-vous! Vosotros Preparad! The LC Orals Are Coming!

Ms. Killen, St. Conleth’s Exam Czar, warned y’all well in advance but this is a timely reminder as our brief Easter interlude draws to a close: THE ORALS AND PRACTICALS ARE COMING!   So, stop chilling and get on Netflix and search out those French movies where nearly everyone smokes and absolutely everyone is sad and you can only tell the film is over because the credits begin to roll.  If it is Spanish you are preparing just get on the DART and await the onslaught of teenagers with overt Iberian manners and if it is Irish, you can hang out in the Gaeltacht section of Donnybrook Fair and chat up the Eoin and Íosagáin kids.  Here are the important dates.  Bona fortunam! (Click for PDF)

JUNIOR AND LEAVING CERTIFICATE, ORAL AND PRACTICAL EXAMS APRIL 2016

MONDAY 11TH (19), TUESDAY 12TH (19) –  L.C. FRENCH  08.30-15.20;

MONDAY 11TH (2) –  L.C.  ITALIAN – 13.30;

THURSDAY,14TH(13), FRIDAY 15TH (8)- L.C. SPANISH  09.00-15.20;

FRIDAY, 15TH (1)- L.C.  GERMAN  – 08.40;

MONDAY, 18TH (11) – L.C. MUSIC– 08.30-15.20;

MONDAY, 18TH(17) , TUESDAY 19TH(17) ,WEDNESDAY 20TH (4) – L.C. IRISH  08.30-15.20;                                              

FRIDAY,22ND (10) – J.C. MUSIC- 08.30-15.20

*Bracketed numbers refer to number of students scheduled for that session.

 

 

Conleth’s Classics Kids Kick ‘Aes’!

Marcus Aurelius, our departed deified emperor emeritus, would not be happy if he looked down from his heavenly abode and witnessed the current state of his formerly glorious empire:  war looms across ‘our sea’ and dangerous cults proliferate within our borders and, due to the state of our roads in the provinces, it takes over a fortnight for word to reach us of the outcome of our brave legionnaires’ battles!  An exhausted rider has just returned from far-off Goatstown with this despatch:

Mount Anville was once again the setting for the ‘Ides of March’ Classics and Latin Teachers Table Quiz and once again the ‘panis et circenses’ were staged with the most pleasant hospitality.  But do not let the camaraderie amongst the small and tight Classics set fool you: this was a battle royale and no quarter was expected or given!  St. Conleth’s always shows up with strength of numbers for these affairs and this time we fielded three strong teams:   TYs Paul Ralph, Corey Power De Jong and Tony Barry joined Third Year Homeric Scholar Saul Burgess to form a solid testudo-formation phalanx to do the grunt infantry work.  Fifth Years Oisín Herbots, Deane McElree, Sean ‘The Power’ Moiselle and Francesca Azalea performed a function befitting their equestrian status, outflanking the barbarians in a salary skirmish and then scouting for future engagements.  It was left for the team in the vanguard, Sixth Year swan-songers Rían Boyle, Philip O’Hanrahan and Eavan O’Riada and Third Year Titan Johnny Barry to make a grab for the laurels and the lucre and they did not disappoint.  Rían proved the most worthy of centurions and how could he not succeed, having earned his stripes squiring for the legendary Conleth’s classics alumnus Alistair Daly, whose famous riposte to the question “What were two of the rivers of Hades called?” – ‘Do you mind if I name all six?’- still echoes through the halls of Mt. Anville.  Rían provided the needed discipline for a tight formation but all on the team played their part: Johnny knows the family trees of mythology, gods,