We all know about the 10% ‘extra’ you get on the Leaving Certificate for completing your exams; the ten points Coláiste Eoin gets at the start of every basketball match versus against sassenach schools; the career express lane in the civil service for those with more than a cupla focal (and at Tesco Extras in the Gaeltacht); and the palatial homes inhabited by the TnaG weather girls… but going gaeilge also pays off at the rather anglophilic confluence of Waterloo, Wellington and Clyde Roads! Yes, these Conlethians will someday look back at their school days, especially their participation during the Seachtain Gaeilge competitions run by the Irish teachers and think: Bhíomar go léir ar mhuin na muice san am sin!
Lockdown has taught us many lessons; probably the most positive and important one is to cherish what is really important in our lives: family and friends; physical and mental wellbeing; expensive designer dogs who are getting noisier and slightly, just slightly, less cute by the day; and, most of all, the absolute necessity of access to a good barber or hairdresser. Little did we know how essential their services are, and how difficult it is to distinguish between ‘ Natural Light Ash Brown’ and ‘Natural Medium Cool Brown’ or to operate the Aldi All-In-One Beard, Body (?) and Facial Hair Trimmer. Well, not everyone is embarrassed by their overgrown manes or the honest if amateur efforts applied by whoever in the family drew the short straw or was most fortified by a glass of decent Bordeaux. The lads of 2C, at least, came back to school proud of their improvised style and willing to compete for the title of King of the Covid Cuts!
We had almost full attendance, nigh 100%, throughout the Senior School this past Monday. We figure this rare feat was probably due to the ancillary health benefits of our lockdown, with no good old ‘regular’ flu and few colds making the rounds or, perhaps, after two weeks of holidays and months of distanced learning, ye parents were very eager to see the back of them!
Well, we hope you enjoyed the quiet and the calm and reduction in refrigerator door openings. We enjoyed seeing all the students back in the flesh and eager to learn, or at least eager to go for a walk with their classmates in Herbert Park!
After weeks, nay, months of baking, tasting, deliberating and speechifying by the First Year Form teachers, we finally have a Grand Final winner of the Great First Year Bake-Off! Well done to Maude Kinlay and her multi-layer chocolate creme cake! Enjoy Mr. Morris’s wrap-up documentary below.
Actually, they come from St. Conleth’s Junior School! Yes, Sixth Former Harry Groarke (and his clan) are certified celluloid vikings! Harry may look a little younger in these cells: that is because the filming was done back when he was in Fourth Class and before Dr. Tony put a 5km limit on the longboats. However, a diet made up mostly of ale, salmon and beef pilfered from fat monks has aged our young warrior considerably and suitably, since!
Above you see snapshots from when Harry, his mom, and his sisters actually made the silver screen on Amazon Prime back in January. Clan Chieftain (and dad) Jason captured it on film the old-fashioned way, which can be seen below. And here, you can see the incredible ‘storyboards’ from the sequence: a rare glimpse into to art and work that go into the movie-making business. Pass the mead, Harry!
Who needs the Easter Bunny? Is he not just a leporine American capitalist tool? And what kind of bunny lays eggs, anyways? We have better: Fifth Year Adam Rafter, who treated his whole Maths class to an Easter treat!
Just before the break, Classics V (and special guests) celebrated Easter and the Ancient Greek springtime festival of Anthesteria with dolmades, feta, olives, grapes, pomegranate and some weird kind of pork slices. Alas, we had to substitute the traditional beverage of wine with cranberry juice. May Dionysus forgive us! And, of course, all the goodies were devoured quickly during the briefest of momentary mask movements!
Yes, the votes are in and the announcement of the winner is pending… but, meanwhile, have a look at the amazing final round creations of the Great First Year Bake-Off!
Two landmark competitions, as popular as any in the history of St. Conleth’s, have now run their course: Afterschool Director Cecilia Franken’s ‘My Pet Vs. Yours’ Competition and the Great First Year Bake-Off. A few industrious students actually entered both, but they assured us that they carefully washed their hands in-between and no crumbs were left on their cats and dogs. Richie ‘Hitchcock’ Morris is still putting the final touches on his Bake-Off docudrama sequel but Cecilia has wrapped up both the competition and the video. Remember: no dogs, cats or owners were harmed during the filming of this movie.
Whom do we all miss most during lockdown? The consensus is: Simon Toal, the heart and soul of the St. Conleth’s staffroom. Well, the Prep School did not have to wait for DR. Tony’s ‘okay’ and enjoyed our resident raconteur/SNA/Fleet Admiral’s presence during a special magic show via Zoom. The rest of us will just have to wait a little bit longer!
We did Múinteoir Quirke a disservice, not including him or his Irish class in our round-up of the Irish Department’s Comórtas Ealaíne- Seachtain na Gaeilge. So, is fearr go mall ná go brách!
Visual Art speaks in every language, as we saw this past week when múinteoirí Ms. Fay and Ms. Dorman ran a special Comórtas Ealaíne i gcomhair Seachtain na Gaeilge for First and Second Years. The response was brilliant and it was tough call for the teachers but below you see the prize-winners (and a few runners-up). Well done to all who took part!
And meows! The award ceremony for the ‘My Pet vs. Yours’ competition run by Afterschool Director Cecilia Franken is not until Friday at 11 a.m., but we have a treat to jet your appetite. Cecilia has put together a medley of memorable moments from the competition. Enjoy and tune in tomorrow to see who really is ‘the cat’s meow’- dogs included!
Ms. McGuinness and her First Year Artistic Performance Class have not let you-know-what get them down. All lockdown long, they have been singing and dancing and having fun- and, if anything, the Zoom element has just made it more enjoyable, as the the class have been forced to come up with novel ways of performing. You have already seen the sweeties of their St. Valentine”s Day celebrations; now share in some of their St. Patrick’s Day ceol agus craic!
Yes, we have finally banished the Zoom poltergeist and welcomed all our Juniors back to school… in the living flesh! Our photographic access has been limited by Covid precautions but the class teachers are starting to send in some celluloid evidence, just in case you though this was an illusion and are going to wake up to another long day of servitude to the screen-beasts! Interestingly, for our Junior girls, no sooner were they back in school… then they right back out again! But they were not heading home for a lockdown, but to Herbert Park for a Scavenger Hunt with Ms. Leary. And for what were the girls searching? Maybe… the boys?
Mr. ÓDúlaing and Ms. Fay, noted hurlers from the banks of the Liffey and the Suir, respectively, may have met their match in Ms. Dorman, who brought her Connaught cunning to the annual Seachtain Gaeilge display down at Herbert Park. Our Sixth Year Irish teacher set new staff records and passed on some useful tips to Luke, Ted and the like, who are more used to handling the Molten and the Gilbert than the sliotar!
We imagine that in some Northern European countries, the enforced social distancing has not been as noticeable or lamented as it is here: self-sufficiency, logic, Calvinism and all that… but we Irish are a more gregarious lot and, yes, we are herd creatures. And this whole lockdown thing, with its Zoom parties and solitary walks and distanced classroom messing, especially does not suit us. And it is not just the pub, it is the bus-stop and the tea room at work and the hallways of a school and the walk in the park: all places where we would gather and chat and perhaps slip further down the national efficiency tables but have a darned good time en route.
Well, Mr. Dónal ÓDúlaing, Ms. Siobhan Dorman and their Sixth Year Irish classes reclaimed that last locale, the neighbourhood park, for Seachtain Gaeilge and for Ireland and for us last week with a long awaited return of the Poc Fada. Yes, the competition itself was keen and the celebration of our sporting culture important, but it was also great to just see teachers and students chatting and laughing and doing what we have always done so well!
Who needs a vaccine? Okay, nearly everyone in Ireland under the age of 102 still does but until we can join our UK neighbours in normality, have a shot of this as a sustaining substitute: St. Conleth’s Preparatory and junior School students just getting on with life… and having a ball while they do it!
Yes, we do have a storage room of Harvard and Dora approved physical educational equipment, and the students do benefit from them all (thank you PA!) but sometimes all you need is a bit of time, a bit of space and a kid’s naturally indefatigable spirit! That’s Junior and Senior Infants above, at break-time with Cecilia. Below you see Ms. Leary’s First Form waiting their turn and Mr. O’Brien’s Second Form enjoying a quieter form of fun: learning al fresco!
Don’t let Mr. Morris’s ‘Science Guy’ persona fool you! Behind those safety goggles, and beneath that pocket protector, lie the mind and spirit of an avant-garde film auteur! We have seen his TY cinéma vérité short films already, and now he has turned his talents to a new challenge: chronicling the ongoing Great First Year Bake-Off. We are impressed with his directorial efforts, as well as those of the ensemble cast (credits below) but we wonder: will he run out of film before the last cherry is placed atop the cream?
The Great First Year Bake-Off: The Movie
Starring: Mr. ‘Keanu’ Gahan, Ms. ‘Winona’ McGuinness and Ms. ‘Sigourney’ Speller (and a special selection of First Years’ confectionaries)
Directed by: Mr. ‘Quentin’ Morris
Narrated by: Mr. ‘Khan Noonien Singh’ Toal
Don’t just sit there moaning and flicking through ‘International Thrillers’ or “Heartwarming Family Dramas’ on Netflix! Grab a pet and try the latest challenges in the ‘My Pet vs. Yours’ Competition!
In the second week of the ‘My Pet vs. Yours’ competition, Socks really ‘gave it socks’, but so did fellow cats Boo, Leo, Panda and Snowball, as well as their dog friends Kojak, Cozmo, Lucky, Bruce and Ace (The Fearless Pooch). Tune in tomorrow for the Week 3 Challenges!
Who ate all the pies? Well, don’t look at us! Sadly, we only get digital samples of the Great First Year Bake-Off which is now entering its 23rd and penultimate stage. Each week, the confection gets even closer to perfection and we feel that our First Year Form Teachers (Ms. Speller, Mr. Gahan and Ms. McGuinness) may well decide to open a cookery school on Clyde Road, one to rival the famous Ballymaloe!
Yes, in some pursuits ‘how’ you do it, matters as much as what you do… ‘style’ does count! Here, Ms. Halpin’s Second Year Art Class took ordinary, everyday objects and stylised them through drawing. You may never look at your toothbrush in the same way again!
Well, Summer Bay may still be out of reach, but No. 28 Clyde Road is within sight! In fact, our Sixth Years and Preparatory School students are already back in style, as you can see below, and they will soon be joined by all their friends in the other years. Sixth Years got right down to business with preparations for the Leaving Certificate (and buttering up their teachers for ‘accredited grades’!) while our younger students had a ball celebrating World Book Day.
As Dr. Seuss said, ‘“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Especially when our actual locomotion is covid-limited! Ms. Leary’s First Form even dressed up as their favourite characters. Those classes still at home are also in on the learning and fun. Ms. Dillon’s Third Form celebrated by showing off their favourite books and enjoyed a special World Book Day Assembly hosted by David Walliams. And our still-at-home Senior School classes are still finding ways to progress through the syllabi and the CBAs, yet also have a bit of craic. Above we see a Classics Zoom picnic and below, a simple but fun SPHE cup of coffee ceremony!
For the last year or so, most of us have had much less ‘to do’, at least, of the fun kind of ‘doing’, but that does not mean our minds and spirits have been dwelling in an oasis of rest and calm. In fact, anxiety seems to be one of the most harmful side effects of the reaction to Covid 19. Thank goodness, we are all slowly getting back to school and work, and the best part of that is access to St. Conleth’s very own guru of Mindfulness and cool: Mr. Julien Porzadny. Here, he reflects on what he and his followers have been up to. It just might keep up us sane till we can hear the dulcet tones and calming words of the man himself!
For the Féilte exhibition of 2020, I was invited by the Teaching Council to create a showcase on “Mindfulness in school”. Andrea Ryan and myself created a little video (and presentation) talking about our experience of bringing mindfulness in our schools. I am very happy to see that, after being added to the time-table five years ago, Mindfulness classes are now an integrated part of St Conleth’s college.
Even though we are physical apart, the online weekly well-being classes are still being held. Every week we meetup to practice, share and reconnect with each other and ourselves. The Junior Cycle students are following the .breath course while the Senior Cycle students the .b course and the 5th forms of the Junior school also got the opportunity to avail of the Paw b course before we moved to the remote teaching. These three courses are from the Mindfulness in Schools Project.
In our last classes before the February mid-break we changed things up a little. Students shared some “nourishing” activities that they were doing during lockdown to lift up their mood. I then gathered them and created a little poster you can all get ideas from if you would like. In our final class we played a little Mindfulness Kahoot. If you are eager to play it, here is the link to it. You can access it until the 28th of March.
Finally, as mentioned in its Framework for teachers’ learning, the Teaching council “recognises the importance of care of self so as to be able to care for others and, in that context, teachers’ well-being is vital if they are to effectively lead learning, and support and facilitate students in this endeavour.” Keeping this in mind, it is now time to move on to bringing mindfulness to the staff of St Conleth’s college.
It is therefore with great pleasure that, following our next mid-term, I will be inviting the staff of St Conleth’s to join a five week online introduction to Mindfulness course. In our next academic year, a more in-depth 8 week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course will also be offered on a voluntary basis. I cannot thank enough Ms Sheppard, our principal, our vice-principal and our guidance councillor for the trust they put in me to lead these two courses.
Sometime people think that Mindfulness is synonymous of relaxation or that it will help us fix all our problems. Mindfulness may or may not help with these. However, what the practice of Mindfulness does is that it allows us to create a space where we can find our own wisdom, where we can trust ourselves a little more, where we can better respond to life challenges. And personally, I really like to sound of it.
Until next time, I shall now leave you with a quote I enjoy from Austrian neurologist Viktor Frankl: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Between stimulus and response there is a space; In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.
‘My Pet vs. Yours’ enters its second week with new challenges for both dogs and cats… and their owners! Actually, can we say ‘owners’ any more? More like ‘partners’ and we all know who is really in charge!
Like our children, most of the time, we all love our pets and we all think they are the best. But some are obviously better than others! Cecilia’s Week One Winners from the ‘My Pet vs. Yours’ Competition:
Do you remember the US Presidential Election in 2000, when the Democrats dragged out the process with innumerable court cases and we thought we would never get a winner…. well, the various rounds of the First Year Bake-Off are nothing like that! We love seeing a new selection of our student bakers’ creative concoctions each week. Keep them coming! First Year Form Teacher Ms. McGuinness has kindly supplied the slides for this week’s Semifinal Round, but, alas, she did not send in any samples!
Actually, Mr. Kevin Kelleher, St. Conleth’s esteemed (and dearly missed) former headmaster and principal, is famous on a national and international level: surely, the man himself told you about the day a certain All Black was issued his walking papers?
But Mr. Kelleher is also a local legend, and though he may hail originally from the banks of a different, more northerly canal, he made Ballsbridge and the surrounds his personal fiefdom over the course of his long tenureship on Clyde Road and at Lansdowne Road. A local historian, Dr. Beatrice Doran, attests to this fact in her new book From the Grand Canal to the Dodder and Mr. K. takes his rightful place alongside other such local luminaries as Seamus Heaney, Jack Yeats and Brendan Behan. You can purchase the book here or through your local bookshop website.
We have been saving this one for a while but with Spring now in full flow we had better take our last glance (hopefully!) of the cold, snow-dusted days of February. Junior School art teacher Orla Mellon was not going to let a polar vortex stop her or her eager artists: she sent them out into the teeth of the last gasp of winter to find the art that only needs to be found, not made. First up, she she tells us all about the project. Then, we get a list of the Juniors who took part and snaps of their work, more-or-less in order! Enjoy!
The Art Heart Project
Gregorio, John, Alexandra, Lewis, Federico, Sam, Beatrice, Clodagh, Ronan, Afonso, Christian, Parson, Sean, Conor, Eli-John, Luke, Graeme, Harrison, Sam, Patrick, Charlie, Federick.
Word is just in from the Principal that the Leaving Certificate Mock Exams will just not be happening this year. Mr. ÓDulaing will go through the sound pedagogical reasons for this with the Sixth Years and their parents. Basically, it means less stress and more class time in preparation for ‘accredited grades’ and the actual LC Exam. Best of luck to the Sixth Years going forward during these difficult and changeable times.
Hexofinals? We are not quite sure what to call the final 14 in the Great Bake-Off competition but it seems like there are no Maths teachers amongst the First Year Form Teachers! Well, the more… the meringuier! We also are not sure if these sublime creations just qualify as baked goods: surely, they are also works of art! Enjoy and stay tuned. There are an untold number of rounds to come!
Well, things are getting a little clearer… so we issue the following adjusted LC Mock Exam Schedule with a good bit more confidence!
Leaving Certficate Mock Schedule
January 8th, 2016. Covid can’t take away our memories or our hopes for the future. TY Eric Lawless recalls one of the greatest games in St. Conleth’s rugby history and certainly the greatest touchline celebration!
Vinnie Murray Cup: Conleth’s v Castleknock
Match Report by Eric Lawless
Castleknock: Cathal Lacey (15), Andrew Hobson (14), Sean Gibbons (13), Jamie McGaly (12), Nico Eastmond (11), Patrick Murtagh (10), Josh Conolly (9), Carl Keogh (1), Michael Corcoran (2), Gavin Murray (3), Jack Horgan (4), Conor Stinson (5), Darragh McNally (6), Cathal Bermingham (7)(C), Cian Clancy (8)
Conleth’s: Michael McKay (15), Sean Bortolozzo (14), Ross Murphy (13), Nicolas Foreau (12), Finn Mulcahy(11), Ben Doggett (10), David McKeown (9), Robert Cripwell (1), Colin Duffy (2), Mati Remi (3), Cameron Ross-O’Reilly (4), Patrick Cahill (5), Brendan Connor (6), David Pogatchnik (7), Kevin Dolan (8)(C)
This clash between Conleth’s and Castleknock in the Vinnie Murray Cup was a fantastic game of rugby and a great show of talent throughout the 82 minutes. The first half was very defensive from both sides, with very few missed tackles. With no points scored halfway through the first half, defenses were beginning to buckle and it was the Castleknock side that went first. At 22 minutes past the first whistle, David Pogatchnik received the ball 10 metres out and beat two defenders for a fantastic finish. With an amazing conversion from Ben Doggett, the score was 7-0 and the Conleth’s crowd was roaring.
Castleknock were quick to retaliate though and a scrum was given on the Conleth’s 10 for an unfortunate knock-on. Cathal Bermingham picked from the scrum and went to the blind side. With good hands out to the wing and a few nice steps from Andrew Hobson, Castleknock scored a beautiful try. With the Castleknock 7 Cathal Bermingham knocking over 2 points, the game was now even with 10 minutes to go until half time. Conleth’s became more aggressive in attack and marched from their 22 to the opposite end. They were close to the 5 metre line when there was a deliberate knock-on. A penalty was awarded and Ben Doggett put another 3 up on the scoreboard.
Both teams took turns in attacking: no-one able to break through. A few penalties conceded by Conleth’s put Castleknock with a lineout on the Conleth’s 22. They came close but an overudged chip from Sean Gibbons closed out the half, the score being 10-7 to Conleth’s.
With just two minutes gone since the start of the second half, Castleknock had drawn up the game with a penalty under the sticks kicked by Bermingham. Conleth’s did not like losing their lead and attacked again and again until their captain Kevin Dolan made an exceptional break on the Castleknock 10, but was forced to offload to his back row partner Connor, who gave it to Nicolas Foreau for a wonderful try. Another exceptional conversion from Doggett and 17-10 was the score with 25 minutes to go.
Castleknock fired back their response with a try created by the pack. Brute force brought replacement prop Gibney over the try line for another 5 points, with the chance to make it 7 missed by Bermingham. Conleth’s quickly drove back, claiming the restart and moving the ball from wing to wing. A high tackle from Gibney on Brendan Connor. A penalty was awarded and in his usual fashion, Ben Doggett knocked over another three making the score 20-15 to Conleth’s.
Unfortunately, it seems Conleth’s took their foot off the pedal for a bit and Castleknock did not need an invitation to capitalise on this. They charged with determination from a lineout on the Conleth’s side of the pitch. A few gaps and a lovely break from Gibney put them on the 5 metre line, where the forwards drove over and Bermingham dotted it down on the line. Bermingham’s conversion put Castleknock in the lead. Again Conleth’s drove back against this lead, not letting their heads hang whatsoever. They gained possession and smashed the Castleknock defense. A beautiful skip pass from Doggett put Ross Murphy into a lot of space and he came just short of the 5 metre line. From there it was up to the pack. They inched towards that try line and eventually, Cripwell got it down. A very tough angle for Doggett’s conversion and Donnybrook stadium fell to a complete silence. Unfortunately he pulled the kick and the opportunity to be an unconverted try ahead was missed.
There were only 3 points in it with 10 minutes to go. Conleth’s were awarded a penalty on the 10 with just 6 minutes to go. A kick to touch and they were on the 5 meter with a lineout. But the Castleknock defence was having none of it. They piled into the rucks and regained possession. An unfortunate injury from Sean Gibbons and a scrum to Castleknock. A penalty for Castleknock from the scrum and they were full steam ahead. The Conleth’s defence was under pressure, another two penalties were given just before and after the halfway line. Castleknock decided on a scrum and shifted the ball out wide going from wing to wing. They were getting advantages for offside and hands in the ruck. A full penalty was awarded just short of the Conleth’s 5 for a deliberate knock-on and Castleknock took a quick tap and go, catching the Conlethians by surprise. Good hands out to winger Andrew Hobson and at 82 minutes, Castleknock won the game by 2. No conversion needed. The end score was 27-25.
All of the players that took part played well but the players that stood out were Ben Doggett for his exceptional goal kicking and command in the midfield; the flanker partnership of Pogatchnik and Connor for their strong running; Andrew Hobson for his agility and finishing and Cathal Birmingham for his strength, goalkicking and command in the pack. This intensely close game was brilliantly played by both teams, with a lot of flair and strength shown, but ultimately it was an unfortunate but proud day for Conleth’s.
Ms. NíAonghusa and her all-star crew stepped up, did a little dance and made a little platonic but hip-shaking love to help us through the lockdown lows. Well done to all who took part, in the schoolyard and at home. Feel free to share the video!
Ms. Cecilia Franken and her pet pals have issued the opening bark and me-ow: let the ‘My Pet vs. Yours’ games begin!!
My Pet versus Yours 1st Challenge-Cats
My Pet versus Yours 1st Challenge-Dogs
Updated Competitors’ List
Yes, the St. Conleth’s ‘My Pet vs. Yours’ Competition is about to start! Here are the competitors but don’t let their cuteness fool you! After all, it is a dog-eat-dog and cat-eat-cat world out there! Not literally, of course… Tune in tomorrow (Tuesday) at 12 noon for the first task. Good luck!
Both the Junior and Senior School Art teachers are keeping me busy with an avalanche of art, produced by their students during Zoom classes. This time, in is Ms. Halpin’s turn to show off some of the creativity and craft of the Senior School Art classes, from burger fantasies to sneaker design to CBA project sketches. Enjoy quickly, as I already hear the rumbling of more art on the way!
First Years’ Burgers and Experimental Drawing with Coffee
CBA1 Influences and Brainstorming Sheet
Fifth Year Lettering and Poster Development Work (Emotive and Illuminative)
We kept this tasty selection of Cecilia’s Afterschool Youtube activities in reserve as we had a feeling that the weather was not going to fully co-operate this midterm. So, while you wait for the rain to stop, try some or all of these, and get ready for the start of the ‘My Pet vs. Yours’ Competition, next week!
Art Seniors Seashell Bracelet –
Art Juniors: Teddy Bear Spacecraft–
Science: DIY Speaker –
Weekly Challenge: Pick them up, quick! –
Story time: Max and the School Dinners –
Cooking: Italian Crunchy Arancini –
Junior School Art Teacher Ms. Mellon and her protégées completed this inspiring project weeks ago but we saved it to brighten up any midterm doldrums. First up is Ms. Mellon’s explanatory slides and then each Junior Class (just click on any slide to expand), as well as one very impressive commentary from a student!
Fifth and Sixth Class
Ms. McGuinness somehow corralled her First Year Artistic Performance students into making videos of their own St. Valentine’s Day wishes for their classmates, schoolmates and everyone else who needs a warming pick-me-up in this chilly, windy, covidy climate. Enjoy!
We have seen the now famous ‘fence art’ of St. Conleth’s but did you know that Ms. Kelly and her Preparatory School colleagues pretty much wallpaper the whole place with their students’ many artistic creations? For Valentine’s Day, they decided to do something special, and despite the zoom distance, they managed to get full colour, real paper Valentine’s love-hearts form all their students and display them in the sun-catching windows overlooking Clyde Lane. Take a look when you are on your 5km constitutional or see them below!
TY Timea Kovacs has been the most enthusiastic participator in PE Teacher Mr. Lonergan’s weekly fitness challenges. Here, we see snippets of her workout, including an incredible, successful crossbar challenge! Mr. Lonergan encourages all his PE charges to keep the activity levels up over midterm, and try to match Timea’s effort and accuracy!
Conlethians, both teachers and students, are so busy cooking up Zoom-distanced activities, that we are a bit behind in relaying Cecilia’s latest collection of creativity, craft and cool. Adding to the delay, we must try out every activity ourselves to make they all conform to the rather strict European guidelines. So, we guarantee that the following are ‘as advertised’, ‘fit to sample’ and ‘unlikely to cause bodily harm’. remember, we said ‘unlikely’!
Art for Seniors
Art for Juniors
These days, everything is ‘provisional’ so it should be no surprise that Exam Secretary Ms. NiAonghusa issues the following Leaving Certificate Mock Exam Schedule with a significant caveat: dates subject to change, depending on return-to-school dates. We know it is difficult to be a Sixth Year student in these circumstances but the best strategy is to just keep working away, and know that, rest assured, we will try to do what is best for your wellbeing and your future. And remember: take a proper break this coming week!
Provisional Leaving Certificate Mock Exam Schedule 2021
And did those feet in ancient time/ dance upon St. Conleth’s schoolyard?
Looking forward to midterm and watching a full week of decluttering shows on Netflix, while waiting for the postman to deliver more ‘essential’ items? No, you don’t! Get the family together and go dancing! Ms. Nionghusa has organised our first, ever remote ‘Jerusalema’ festival! All the details are below.
Do come to the JSPA Family Quiz Night but the registration process is quite different than previously advertised: The JSPA Family Quiz Night is this Friday (12/2 at 6:30pm) and is for Preparatory and Junior School families only and, remember, it is a fundraiser! To register: 1: Click here. 2. You will receive an automatic ‘Thank You’ from gofundme. 3. And then a ‘Thank You’ from Marianna Dooley (JSPA Rep) with the Google Meet link for the quiz. Sorry for the confusion and best of luck!
St Conleth’s MY PET versus YOUR’S Competition
Dear St Conleth’s pupils, do you own a cat or a dog? Or do you simply love pets?
If yes, then I am delighted to let you know about our all-school My Pet v Your’s competition!
If you are interested, click on the link below, watch the video and then continue reading for more details about sign in and the rules of the game.
How to sign in your pet for this competition:
To sign in your pet, e-mail me at email@example.com with:
- your name
- your pet’s name
- a picture of your pet
I will e-mail you every week, for 3 weeks, with one fun task for your pet to complete!
- You have until Friday the 19th of February at 12 noon to register your pet for the competition
- The competition starts on Monday the 22nd of February and ends on Friday the 12th of March.
- The winning cat and dog will be announced on Tuesday the 16th of March
Rules for the owners
- In this competition, your dog or cat will compete against other pupils’ pets. All of my pets- Toby, Luna and Blackey-will join and teachers’ pets can play to. Cats will compete against cats and dogs against dogs. At the end of the competition, we will have 2 winners: a cat and a dog.
- The list of all competing pets will appear on our website on Monday the 22nd of February and kids with no pets will have until Wed 24th of February at 12 noon to choose their favourite pet and let me know via e-mail.
- Only pupils with no pet competing can choose their favourite pet from the list of competitors. If you sign in your pet, you automatically choose him/her as your favourite pet.
- Pupils cannot choose Toby, Luna or Blackey as their favourite pets as they cannot win the competition!
- Pupils can only choose 1 favourite pet (either a cat or a dog, not both)
Rules for competing pets
- There will be 1 challenge per week (1 for the dogs and 1 for the cats) uploaded on our website on Tuesdays at 12 noon with a video of Toby, Luna and Blackey performing the same task as an example, with the rules of the task explained by me.
- Owners will have to submit a video with their dog/cat performing the weekly task by Friday of the same week at 12 noon. This way the kids will have time to train their pet to win that particular task.
- Each dog/cat winning a task will gain 1 point.
- No cheating: you cannot edit your videos in any way, and you will have to strictly adhere to the rules. Owners are responsible to make sure their pets don’t cheat either 😂😂😂
- Toby, Luna and Blakey cannot be the winners!
- At the end of the three weeks the dog and cat with most points will be the winners. If there are more than 1 dog/cat with the most points, we will have a final challenge for those dogs/cats to determine a winner.
- The lucky victor will receive a lovely St.Patrick’s’s Day prize for its owner and of course a treat for himself/herself.
We would like to apologize for not including other pets in this challenge, such as pythons, guinea pigs, tarantulas, iguanas, piranhas and the likes! We do not mean to discriminate against them based on their species, however the management did not feel they knew these pets well enough to design specific pet-appropriate tasks for them. Sorry for any disappointment this may cause.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL PETS AND OWNERS!
WOFF, WOFF, MEOW, MEOW!
(Italian subtitles: Bau, Bau, Miao, Miao!❤️)
After-School Programme Co-ordinator
St Conleth’s College
Who needs fancy, schmanzy (and expensive) materials from the art store at the mall? Especially when it is closed for covid? Just take a fresh look at the things around you and Do It Yourself! That is what Junior School Art teacher Ms. Mellon inspired her charges to do. See Ms. Mellon’s project notes and all the pieces below and apologies for the delay: turns out ‘Installation Art’ takes a bit of installing!
Installation Art: The Concept and The Practice
Fifth and Sixth Class
Drum roll, or rapid whisking, please… The Great First Year Bake-Off Qualifiers from each form have been announced! Here they are with only a sample photo. If you want to see them all again, scroll downwards! The next round involves a whole new trip into the kitchen, so stay tuned, readers, and parents, get ready for another big mess!
A: Eva Ryan, Chloe Egan, Rian Wickham, Hannah Murphy
B: Charlotte O’Donoghue, Jodi Ryan, Colman O’Flynn, Brooke O’Connor
C: Myles Moriarty Smith, Milo Smith, Ben Nolan, Maude Kinlay
Charles Crimmins (Class of 1990) is the man behind Crimmins Visual Communications and all the more impressive parts of this website. Lately, Charles, and our multi-talented Development Co-Ordinator Ellen Long, have been particularly busy bringing light and a deft touch to publicising the various adventures of our far-flung alumni. Click here, or on the Alumni tab above, to see what Charles and Ellen have been up to, including the first issue of our new Alumni Newsletter and the latest winner of the most hotly contested competition in the land: the St. Conleth’s College Alumnus of the Month!
Fifteen minutes seems an awful long time in these days of instant telegrams and snappy chatters but perhaps one of our Transition Years will achieve such a legacy, if the talent on show below is anything to go by.
Senior School Art Teacher Ms. Halpin introduced the TYs to the ‘Pop Art’ movement and something about the personalities and techniques involved really struck a chord with our adolescent culture vultures.: maybe the look, maybe the swagger, maybe the arch irony with which Andy Warhol and his gang did everything. After all, was ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ not the first and dankest of all memes? Bonus! Two full projects: One, Two.
Okay, the debate can continue regarding the actual starting dates of the seasons, but we will proudly continue with St. Brigid’s Day as the official start of spring in Ireland: especially in Irish class and especially during Covid times and especially when the weather seems to need a bit of a nudge! Most years at St. Conleth’s, February 1st is one of our most enjoyable days, when the whole school gathers in the hall for a celebration of An t-Earrach, and Mr. ÓDulaing, Mr. Kilcommons and Mr. Gallagher wax poetically about the brightening of the year. And the Junior School students always respond with music and art, including the traditional reed crosses. Well, Third Form Teacher Ms. Dillon has done her best to keep up the specialness of the time via Zoom, by encouraging her students to artistically express what Spring means to them, in pictures and as Gaeilge. Enjoy!
One of the biggest losses during Conlethian Covid Contingencies has been the loss of the school laboratory: probably the single best example of the importance (and fun!) of hands-on learning and how it is missed when outlawed by the Committee for Public Safety. How the kids enjoyed their science classes in the lab: mixing solutions, dissecting specimens and reanimating moribund classmates… never mind teachers sneaking in at lunchtime for a reinvigorating jolt of voltage or relieving puff of gas! Ah well, perhaps by the proper, astronomical start of Spring we will be back in white coats and test tubes, but in the meantime Ms. Phelan is conducting her science via Zoom and her First Years have been gung-ho in their participation in various experiments. Most recently, 1C have been busy in the kitchen- not cooking calorific treats à la The Bake-Off- but advancing the frontiers of science by making acid/base indicators using assorted vegetables: red cabbage, beetroot and red onions. Red is the key here! Enjoy the pics below (more to come) and don’t worry if you hear an explosion or see a house-sized mushroom cloud in the neighbouring cup-de-sac: it is just a St. Conleth’s Zoom Science Laboratory in progress!
We did Junior School Art Teacher Ms. Mellon a grave disservice by only including First Form in our report (scroll down!) on their ‘Mona Lisa Reboot’ project. This time we will do it properly and include not only every class’s oeuvre, but Ms. Mellon’s illuminating project instructions, as well!
The Mona Lisa Project
Jack, Lauren, Reilly, Gregorio, John, Jack, Alaxandra, Federico, Sam, Beatrice, Perinati, Lucy.
Charlie, Hugo, Artus, James, Luke, Cameron, Clodagh, Jack
Afonso, Christian, Martin, Michael, Rohan, Luke, Eli-John, Sophia, Graeme.
Fifth and Sixth Class
Vlad, Carlo, Patrick
India, Harrison, Emma, Christopher
Anybody old enough to remember Mr. Gahan as a student at St. Conleth’s knows that he was as close as St. Conleth’s comes to a classic ‘jock’. In the states he would have been a ‘four letter man’ and proudly worn his Varsity status in four sports conspicuously displayed on his leather sleeved, felt torso school jacket. He may have even been Homecoming King. In basketball, in rugby, in ‘nerd binning’ and in chess, Mr. Gahan was the real deal. Strong and agile but, we have to admit, not the fleetest of foot. So, it was no surprise that his 1A Bake-Off Challenge photos were the last to arrive. But as usual, Mr. Gahan makes up in quality what he lacks in speed. See his form class entries below and stay tuned for the Grand Final!
Yes, we have been a bit slow in getting this to you, even though Cecilia sent them in days ago. We just wanted to try everything out first and our ‘explosion’ got a little out of hand! Enjoy, and be quick because another set of fun-filled Afterschool activities will be hot on their heels!
- Art: Let’s weave (weaving frame and weaving tutorial)
Balloon shooter (make your mini ball sling shot)
- Science: Popsicle explosion (create a bang solely connecting popsicles in a smart way).
- Weekly Challenge: Elbow challenge (how quick are you?)
- Bed Story time: Dumbo, Mouse and the magic feather
1C may have dark forces behind them but after drooling over the picture below, there is a new hope that the overall winner may come from Ms. Speller’s 1B! Rumour has it that Scoutmaster Speller marched all her charges into an industrial kitchen in the dead of night, Covid compliantly, of course, and personally supervised as they concocted these cakes, cookies and various crustulae. They finished off in the early morning with jumping jacks and a shelter-building exercise, for good measure. Now, step up to the plate, Mr. Gahan and 1A!
Quite a bit, actually, if you are a St. Conleth’s Junior School student… or a member of the Junior School Parents Association. The kids themselves have carried on with their usual enthusiasm and gusto and Rhonda Leech and her JSPA colleagues have chronicled it in their latest JSPA Newsletter. Enjoy!
Yes, the Great First Year Lockdown Bake-Off is officially open and our student contestants seem to be willing to employ any method or magic to win, including that most exotic and otherworldly of ingredients: metachlorians! Well, we are willing to try anything… anything that is but another loaf of sourdough! Ms. McGuinness’s 1C are first in with their entries, and we have to admit: it is going to be hard to beat this collection of Covid-clobbering confectionery concoctions. Enjoy the pics below but please don’t slobber on your screen. There is still a virus going around!
Our recent graduating classes know the fight and spirit of Mr. Lonergan very well: they have seen (and felt) his incredible energy levels on the pitch during our Sixth Year Vs. Staff Soccer matches, where his combination of creativity and edginess reminds one of Paul Scholes in his decline and Steve Sidwell in his prime. Well, Mr. Lonergan brings the same can-do attitude to his PE classes, even when they are at the required Zoom distance these days. All the Senior School PE students are given fitness objectives which they keep chart of in their diaries. At the very minimum, we have the 1km Challenge but many go above and beyond (5km+!), as you can see below from some route snapshots. Well done to all who are keeping up with Mr. Lonergan (good luck!), especially Second Years Barra Tansey and Roisín Ridge, TY Timea Kovacs and Sixth Year Adam Regan.
Ms. Leary’s First Form took on a special lockdown artistic challenge: to update, dare we even say, improve upon a classic: Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. And the boys and girls’ ‘Modern Monas’ reveal the creativity, skill and good humour that is in all our students, just waiting to be tapped. Which is your favourite?
Cecilia has topped her own already impressive record with a veritable cornucopia of at-home adventures for her After-School and Morning Club kids… and parents! Enjoy!
Story Time: 101 Dalmatians
Cooking: Italian Ravioli
Weekly Challenge for Seniors (brain wrecker!)
Weekly challenge solution for Seniors (brain wrecker!):
Weekly challenge for Juniors: House of Cards:
Science: Luna’s Ice cream in a bag
Art for Juniors: Plasticine Cats
Art for Seniors: Pottery
Ms. Orla Mellon is a famous artist in her own right (website) but the things she inspires our Junior School pupils to create are equally amazing. Just like during the last lockdown, Ms. Mellon has kept her art students very busy with various projects which have been valuable in keeping the children’s creative juices flowing and, perhaps more importantly, keeping them out of their parents hair for sustained periods! Ms. Mellon’s latest project was ‘Junk Art’ which creatively combined two important human impulses: imagination and environmentalism. Notice how the trash bins are filling more quickly when everyone is home? Well, Ms. Mellon and her charges decided to make use of some of that excess stuff, and the results are amazing. Here are the project’s instructions and below are the incredible creations themselves, class-by-class and with preceding credits. Enjoy and stay tuned for more amazing student art!
First Class: Details in photos
Second Class: Lauren – Rocket; Gregorio- Pineapple Pen Holder; Harrison – Animals; Federico – Created a Skyscraper together in a brother & sister duo!; Holt – Dachshund dog x 3; Sam – Dragon; Beatrice – Submarines & Boat x 2.
Third Class: Hugo- Castle; James- Flamboyant Bird X 2; Andrew – Penguins in bottles; Clodagh & Ronan – The twins team effort! A car & house; Jack – Tower x2; Noah Wallace – Funny Man; Edouard- an Egyptian Saracophagus with mummy inside!
Fourth Class: Sophia – Marble Game; Christian – Car x 3; Harry – White Cat; Marty Davitt – Ostrich x 2; Michael – Fencer x 2; Rohan – Golf Course x3; Eli-John- Pig x 3.
Fifth Class: Christopher – Turtle; Elodie- sheep & ostrich egg ; Emilia – Turtle; Carlo- Hat (so you can transform into an ‘Among Us character’); Conor – Jet Pack; Vladimir – Samurai double sword.
Sixth Class: Ronit – Spaceship; India – Light Bulb Bird; Harrison – Robot; Lydia- Hamster .
And Elodie and Milo of Fifth Class’s Videos of hand-crafted sheep and windmill!
Cecilia Franken just does not ‘do Covid’: yes, while school was in session, her Morning and Afterschool Clubs did indeed follow all the safety protocols but she and her staff still managed to give their charges all the fun-filled features for which her programmes are famous. See some of the highlights in her November/December Newsletter. And now, with another lockdown, Cecilia has shifted on-line and is picking up where she left off last June: clobbering the Covid-blues with a mix of challenging artistic and scientific activities. Have a look below and try, just try, to keep up with Cecilia!
Science: Paper Overcraft
Challenge: House of Pegs
Art Juniors: Glove Monster
Art Seniors: Mitten Buddy
We were never actually certain whether this old saying was positive or negative in its connotations. Having had the opportunity over the last ten months or so to view a dog’s life up close and personally, we have decided that it is a decidedly positive proverb. Eat, sleep, eat, wag tail, eat, bark, eat, drool, eat, walk… not bad at all, especially now when there are plenty of humans around to apply rubs, walks and snacks… sometimes, too many! Well, Ms. Loomes and Sixth Class decided to make dogs (and other pets) the stars of their Zoom class on ‘Bring Your Pet to the Screen’ day and both teacher and pupils (and pets) had a ball. And then everyone (except Ms. Loomes) got to curl up in their beds for an afternoon nap!
One of the unexpected effects of this series of lockdowns is a tendency to be more tolerant of schmaltz. Easy listening ‘gems’ of the 70s and 80s, which previously would have prompted a quick skip or turn of the dial, are now listened to in their entirety, prompting wistful, melancholic smiles and maybe even a tear… Well, Bette Midler was referencing a more celestial watcher but her time-tested sappy chestnut of a tune can serve as the theme song of our new way of learning: from a distance, indeed. Both St. Conleth’s Junior and Senior teachers have hit the ground running (literally, in Mr. Lonergan’s case) as they have shifted education on-line but carried on with same professionalism, enthusiasm and care and concern for their pupils as always.
And to be fair to the students themselves (and the accommodating and ‘nudging’ parents), it has been a continuation of the partnership that has made the in-the-flesh version of St. Conleth’s such a great place to learn over the years. Attendance has been near 100% and the variety of teaching methods and adventures has been impressive, from PE activity diaries to ‘Zoom Pet/Cactus Day’ in Classics and as gaeilge to spontaneous dress-up English classes to traditional classroom note-taking and discussions. Yes, we would prefer to be in the same classroom, but until that is possible, St. Conleth’s stays together… from a distance!
Quick! Someone go and get Mr. Carvill (The Younger) and his nunchucks… there’s a lion loose in Transition Year! Oh, wait, it is just Leo Nolan, once again showing the swagger and chutzpah of his namesake. A few weeks back, we published the various projects of our Cool Classics Kids which were entered (and won laurels) in the Classics Now competition, but we neglected to include Leo’s: not very nice, especially considering that Leo is the widely acknowledged Dear Leader/Beloved Mascot of that quirky gang of kids known as TY-A. Well, we make amends here, and see and hear Leo reading, in fine Classical Latin, the opening of Virgil’s Aeneid Book I.
With Wham finally claiming their Christmas No. 1, we though it fitting to have one last look at Christmas at St. Conleth’s. While the rest of us were fighting it out for the last Bounties in the Celebrations container, intrepid TY (and BAND member) Rían McGonigle tightened his mask and set off with the school camera and several rolls of film to capture the fleeting moments of a celebration we enjoyed, but dearly hope will not have to experience, in quite the same way, again. On the Junior side, we see Ms. Mellon demonstrating her face-painting skills and the various student-created yuletide decorations which helped us forget you-know-what for at least a little while. And, of course, we have the latest edition of a now world-famous installation: the student art on the fence railings of No. 28 Clyde Road.
And on the Senior side, we have our Student Officers- Ted, Daniel and Emily- who spearheaded a ‘Christmas Jumper’ day which raise dover €600 for charity and photos of various class parties, including the TYs who had their very own COD Tournament, crowning Ralph and Mark as champs. A great way to end a tough term! We were all impressed by the students’ resiliency under the toughest of circumstances and look forward to at least some semblance of a return to normalcy. Happy New Year!
Hartnett & Howe are St. Conleth’s Gilbert & Sullivan, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lennon & McCartney rolled up in one dynamic partnership. These seasoned (but still incredibly fresh-faced) veterans of song and stage, Emer Hartnett and Pat Howe, were not going to let you-know-what ruin a proud St. Conleth’s tradition: the Junior School Christmas Extravaganza! Yes, the big how-down with all the kids, the parents and the postman in the hall was out, but where there is a will, there is a way. H&H (trademark pending) simply found new stages for their creation collaborations: they commandeered St. Mary’s Home, the parish church, the front garden… and our hearts! Each class performed a Christmas-themed play, a candle-lit carol service and a raucous, rockin’ wrap-up in the playground. The end result was incredible, thanks to our two titans of song-and dance, but also the incredible efforts of House Manager Simon Rowe and his team of Transition Year tech gremlins: Charlotte McClaren, Eddie Farr, Jennifer Roche, Caoimhe Moore and The Sherlock. These kids, fuelled only by virgin eggnog and enthusiasm, enabled the shows to be brought to you in Technicolour and THX, as you can see and hear below!
Ms. deBhal was not going to let a tiny, little virus completely wreck our Christmas: she was determined to somehow produce our usual term-ending, spirits-lifting Senior School Christmas Carol Concert, despite all the Covid restrictions. And, somehow, she and Ms. McGuinness, and a supporting cast of dozens of eager music students, did! Ms. deBhal grabbed the ancient skeleton keys of St. Mary’s and led a two week occupation of the recently acquired stately old home. During that time, our Darth Vader-like breathing was periodically quickened by the hearing of stray notes, angelic whispers and occasional sharp shouts wafting over the gardens. Yes, we would have preferred a performance in the flesh, but the video below (edited on short notice by our saviour, Second Year Michael ‘T’ Horan) shows what is possible in even the toughest circumstances when there is the will… and plenty of talent!
While everyone else was well into their second flagon of eggnog, Director of Junior Sport and PE Louis Magee was busy putting the finishing touches on his St. Conleth’s Junior School Sports and PE Newsletter! The whole shebang can be accessed here. Remember to also check out Louis on Twitter at @StConlethsSport!
St. Conleth’s has always been known as a bit of an ‘artsy’ school, and Ms. Halpin’s current crew of LC students have done their best to keep up that reputation, creating some stunning pieces and impersonating the edgier members of the Breakfast Club when they gather for their twilight meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays. They are also one of the few groups of kids who are still showing some moxie and chutzpah in the face of the Covid panic.
Cancel all school trips and outings? ‘Uh-uh’ said Ms. Halpin and off they went last Friday to the National Gallery for the Mondrian Exhibition. The 5th and 6th Years thoroughly enjoyed this unique showing of the masterpieces of the renowned Dutch neoplasticist, with all the Covid-compliant safety measures in place. And an added bonus was the ‘fresh air’ tour of the Science Gallery. Two for the price of one, and a much needed and appreciated escape from the desk-wiping and hand-wringing!
First of all, we need to get a few things straight: macaron- a confectionary made from a batter of ground almond flour, egg whites, and confectioners’ sugar that puffs up to form a smooth-surfaced cookie with a hollow center; macaroons– cookies made from shredded coconut held together by egg whites and granulated sugar. They have a craggy surface and chewy interior; macron– a populist, centrist politician and the current French president; macroom– a market town in County Cork.
Well, one person who knows her meringue from her coconut is Caoimhe Moore, who stunned Ms. Crowley’s French Class with the quality of her macarons. And then Charlotte McClaren’s pains au chocolat took there classmates’s breath, and tastebuds, away! Saoirse Corry was also a chef pâtissier for the day, and her delicate creations just finished everybody off; and the whole 4A Class, like true Frenchmen, just napped through break, dozing contentedly with full bellies and satisfied smiles behind their masks!
Jeremy Clarkson may soon be overwhelmed by young Conlethians if the results of the Eight Finger Ninja Typing Challenge are anything to judge by! For the last few weeks, our ICT Teacher and Director, Mr. Travers, has set a keyboard typing challenge for First through Sixth Classes to see who could improve the most and be consistent with those all-important-in-this-digital-world skills. They were using eight fingers on the home row (the core basic requirement for touch typing). And the prizes were well worth getting carpal tunnel syndrome for: three games keyboards with mouse for three winners.
The competition was fierce, and everyone who took part improved considerably, but in the end the winners were: 1st / 2nd Classes prize was won by Gregory of 1st Form; 3rd / 4th won by Rohan of 4th ; and the 5th / 6th was won by Tadgh of 6th Form. There were also 27 certificates presented to the achievers of the maximum of 2000 points over the six classes, and there were really no losers! As one student pointed out: with Covid driving us to our screens, we can all now type faster than we could before… Hopefully that will be more of a choice than a necessity, soon!
Our new Guidance Counsellor, Mr. Gordon Weldon, has hit the ground running at St. Conleth’s, and he has not let any of the Covid restrictions inhibit the various services which he provides for our students, of both the personal and the academic/career-related kind. Mr. Weldon has an uncanny talent for connecting with the students and it is due not to any smoke-filled crystal ball but a wealth of experience and hours of hard work sifting through, organising and deploying the vast array of guidance tools, both digital and physical, which are out there. At the centre of Mr. Weldon’s work is the St. Conleths College Guidance Counselling Website, which keeps the students and their parents up-to-date with everything from the latest CAO news to the availability of free revision courses to tips on maintaining wellbeing during a stressful exam period.
But there is also a lot going on in person. Mr. Weldon meets all the Fifth and Sixth Years for course and career advice and is always available for the more personal kind of counselling. And he also knows when to bring in the outside special forces: just in the last few weeks, Fifth and Sixth Years have had separate inspirational and practical seminars on study skills; TYs have gauged their career aptitudes and interests with the Cambridge Profile Tests and enjoyed a careers seminar; and First Years have taken their first steps off the standardised testing process with the CAT-4s. Mr. Weldon is keeping busy so that St. Conleth’s students will stay busy themselves, in their chosen courses and careers, when they leave the doors of No. 28 Clyde Road!
Ms. Halpin’s Second Year Art Class really pushed the artistic and philosophical boundaries with their last project: Charcoal Reduction Drawings. It is a simple but startling idea: work backwards to create art. Hey, they have been doing it in the Civil Service for years! In this process, students ‘backdraw’: they don’t draw a figure, they ‘uncover’ it with erasers, like Michelangelo carving his Pieta from the block of marble. It is a thrilling process and creates some startling pieces, as you can see below. We are wondering if we can take the method to other mediums. Instead of writing a story in English from scratch, we can take a dictionary and just cross out most of the words. And, instead of students simply writing the solution ’42’ to a Maths test we can hand out a list of all real numbers. We will get back to you on those two!
Did that gust of wind almost blow you back to Ballybrack? Are you freezing when you step outside in Firhouse? Shivering in Shankill? What you need is a Noggin! Turns out Greta was a bit premature with her doomsaying and it is still mighty cold outside. Yes, It-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named loves the cold… but we do not! Below you see this desired piece of fashion and utility which is already showing up on the streets of Milan, New York, Paris and Ringsend. So, hurry up and be the first on your block to own an Official St. Conleth’s Noggin Hat! A perfect stocking stuffer!
On sale for €17 through Easypayments on this website. Noggin is a Community Interest Company: the profits they make go straight into supporting mental health awareness. Noggin is a Community Interest Company, where the profits they make go straight into supporting mental health awareness projects across the UK & Ireland.
An unintended positive outcome, even blessing, of this Covid year has been the opportunity provided to stop and take stock of what really matters in one’s life: with life aired down to its bare essentials, we have learned what we have lost that really matters… and what we probably did not need in the first place.
Perhaps, this Christmas will also be seen and experienced in a new light: yes, we will suffer from the restrictions on the meeting of families and even those placed on the religious celebrations of the holy day, but we may also have found a new appreciation for the significance and the importance of Christmas, with some of the trappings shorn away.
Our Religion teachers, Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan, certainly have done their best to make sure that St. Conleth’s stays true to its Catholic ethos, and the true meaning of Christmas, as they arranged for the Student Council to represent the St. Conleth’s community and attend the Mass for the Feast of the immaculate Conception at St. Mary’s Church and for students and teachers share in the symbolic lighting of Advent Candles. Yes, despite Covid, the man in the red suit is coming, but so is He, whose arrival was never in doubt!
Get a life, Westlife! Step off, Steps! Back off, Backstreet Boys! There are some ‘new kids on the block’ when it comes to boppy beats and illuminating lyrics: Yes, the Temple Bards (formerly known as ‘James and the Sirens’) are here and they have just won Second Place in the Classics Now student competition. They have €100 worth of drachma in their pockets and record companies clambering for their signatures on contracts. Stay tuned for more heroic, homeric hits!
The CAI-T, the Irish Association of Classics, Latin and Greek Teachers, may not number in the thousands like the hordes associated with Maths, Irish and English, but, like the Spartans at Thermopylae, we make up in enthusiasm and chutzpah what we lack in numbers. Every year there are numerous events run by the group for our enthusiastic students: from Latin Day to the Classics Speech Competitions to the Young Classicists Symposium and, famously, the Ides of March Table Quiz. And Conlethians have made a habit of winning laurels and medals at all these events. This year, the CAI-T learned from the fate of Pericles, dead from a plague in 430 BC, and ran a student competition completely on-line in association with the Classics Now Festival. And, yes, once again Conlethians were to the fore!
Charlie Plant’s painstakingly built Minoan Labyrinth (the child labour by baby brother and sister was completely voluntary) won an Honourable Mention and the sassy lyrics and snazzy looks of the aforementioned ‘TheTemple Bards’ absolutely blew the staid judiciary of Classics Professors away. Apparently, several of the judges are interested in purchasing the single on vinyl! And behind this melodious vanguard of James, Eliza, Eva and Julia, there were plenty of other laurel-worthy projects which you can see above: a tour of Charlie’s labyrinth is followed by Patrick Devlin’s exquisite animation of the fall of Icarus; Marcus Far’s digitised Labours of Heracles; Senann Corry and Jacob Alexander’s delightful maritime and arboreal creations; Fergus O’Reilly and Michael Sweeney’s ‘first person shooter’ version of the Labours; and Oisín Power’s Latin versions of the finest moments of Presidents Clinton and Nixon. We also have Harry Collins’s innovative reconstruction of Troy, here. And with over forty First Years taking Classics right now, there is plenty more to come in the years ahead!
We are spoiled at St. Conleth’s when it comes to debating: the All-Ireland and Leinster rolls of champions are filled with Conlethians, and the Irish International team is practically our fiefdom. And, recently, the usual gang of garrulous guys, including Oisín and Evan and Turlough and Coleman and Leo and Daragh and such, have proudly carried on that winning tradition. But, lo and behold, a new star is rising in the Conlethian debating firmament: TY Saoirse Corry who made the Finals of the covid-delayed 2019/20 UCD Leinster Junior Debating Competition, one of only four individuals so honoured, from over 300 participants. Yes, it was about time that this boys’ club was broken up, and recalling the sparkling rhetorical achievements of Cathy McShane (2009), Ebhan Rowe (2013) and Eavan O’Riada (2016), Saoirse has stated her claim to full membership, and even leadership, of the Conlethian debating house!
First Year Jamie MacNicholas still needs your help! If you are a student and have not filled out his BTYS project survey on the psychological effects of covid measures, please do! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VYXQ5XP
Ms. Halpin’s First Year Art class decided to stop the moaning and think about something other than the Covid Blues. News that the global shutdown helped but did not reverse the perceived effects of human activity upon climate change spurred them to take on a new project: creating visually engaging posters with a positive environmental message.
The results speak for themselves, and do so loudly and clearly! Ms. Halpin’s Fifth and Sixth Year classes took on a more traditional challenge: the still life. As we have been doing a lot of ‘still living’ lately, the students were well prepared. We were particularly impressed with the way a few of the students transformed their lunch detritus into beautiful pieces of art!
Well, you would be, too, after the week of full-on activities and adventures which the Transition Years enjoyed and endured while the rest of the Senior School were involved with their Christmas exams. Due to obvious reasons, the traditional ‘Work Experience’ was difficult to arrange for most so TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire put together an alternative schedule which stretched the bodies, minds and spirits of his charges. With the eager assistance of Scout Masters Morris and Speller and resident raconteur Simon, Gavin kept the TYs busy, as they: hiked in the Dublin Mountains; completed a TEFL course; worked on a Christmas TY newsletter; researched career possibilities; learned about cancer research; started various min-companies… .and examined the material culture of canal-side Dublin. So much for the TY ‘doss’!
In these touch-less times, there are many things of which we miss the ‘feel’: from the simple, friendly handshake to the warm, affectionate hug to the satisfyingly thumping tighthead’s tackle… we have realised that ‘touch’ is, in some ways, our most important sense. And how about the touch, ‘feel’ of a real book? Maybe a brand new one, with lovely crisp dust jacket and a smell that trumps that of a new car? Or an old classic, whose yellowed pages and weathered spine, worn by time and use, radiate the memories and pleasures of generations of readers? Well, perform your covid ritual cleansing and get ready for the return of a rare delight: real books!
A generous, and humbly anonymous, Past Parent has honoured the legacy of the greatest History teacher in history (Mr. Peter Gallagher, Principal Emeritus) by donating a bodleian bevy of books to St. Conleth’s. We miss Peter dearly at St. Conleth’s but probably no teacher would have felt the weight of the restrictions on movement and interaction more: Past Pupils will fondly remember his stalking the aisles of the classroom with volcanic energy and regular eruptions of rhetorical brilliance and his famous ‘Empty your pockets!’ archeological surveys. Yes, sadly, covid-era classes are indeed no ‘Butlin’s By the Sea’ and a far cry from the life and learning symposiums of a Peter Gallagher History class, but the vaccines are on the way, and until we can return to emulating Peter the Great, grab a book (a real one) and dream of past and future adventures. Above, we see Peter in his prime (with his last ‘Mastermind’: Simon ‘4 T’s’ Pettitt (2018)) and the Junior School enjoying their recent shipment. The Seniors’ are on the way!
The last of the Covid-delayed competitions? Well, certainly one of the most important: the St. Conleth’s Junior School Chess Cup Competition is one of our most prestigious events every year in our chess-mad school. After tough and exciting competition, Eli-John emerged as the 2020 champion!
Each class held their own tournament from 2nd-6th class with over sixty participants and the winners battled it out in until only Eli-John was left standing! Our individual class winners: 2nd Form winner – Harry Dooley; 3rd Form winner – Jamie Dunne; 4th Form winner – Eli-John Kiernan; 5th Form winner – Vladimir Bessanov; 6th Form winner – David MacNicholas. Semi-Finals: Jamie beat Harry; Eli-John beat Vlad; David beat Jamie.
And Eli-John beat David in the final!
Now that the vaccine is just around the corner, we can take a lighter look at the crazy things that Covid, and the resultant panic, brought to our world. Case in point, our very own Prophet/Artist Jacq Herbots (Class of 2019). Yes, we all knew Jacq had a world class and stunning artistic talent, but we did not expect him to also follow in the footsteps of Nostradamus and Tiresias! One of Jacq Herbots’s most impressive (and interesting) creations is this interesting portrait of his brother Scott (Class of 2025)….completed a year before Covid! On behalf of the poet/prophet, Scott presented it as a timely keepsake to Ms. Halpin. Hopefully, in the years to come, we will all be laughing at the coincidence when we pass it in the hallway. But, in the meantime, if you see Jacq wearing a sandwich board on Henry Street, you had better pay attention to his message!
Perhaps we say this every year, but the evenings do seem to be rushing down upon us faster than ever, and the coldness, dankness and darkness seem to be enjoying the doubt which hangs over our saviour Christmas. We all needed a pick-me-up and that is exactly what the former President of Ireland Mary McAleese provided during her specially arranged Zoom meeting with the St. Conleth’s community. The Parents Association should be proud of itself for arranging and organising the evening: it is not every school that gets a personal insight into the thoughts and feelings of such a national treasure and such a cultural and intellectual leader.
President McAleese managed to be all things over the course of the meeting: warm, engaging, knowledgeable, challenging, encouraging… as she amazed us with stories and insights powered by a lifetime of challenges, difficulties and success. And the session was truly a conversation, as Conlethian parents and students were encouraged to ask questions of their own, prompting the most rewarding responses from a woman who has seen, and almost done, it all. (Attached is the PA’s promotional invitation and biography.)
Yes, Santa is struggling in his fight with Covid, but not so Exam Commodore Ms. NiAonghusa. It stats as early as tomorrow (Friday) for some, so here is all the info again: Exam Timetable and Exam Information. The latter has never been so important as we will be running the exams in full compliance with the covid strictures. Parents and students should peruse carefully but not worry unduly. Plenty of teachers will be on hand to make sure things run smoothly and, as we all know, staying healthy and happy is always our priority, especially these days! Best of luck!
Yes, even the calamitous cloud of Covid has provided a silver lining for some: Netflix, knitting supply shops, the dog-pound, the producers of Tesco purple box ‘Indian for two’… and any south-side school girls hockey team! Why? Well a few years ago, a new girl moved onto the block, and, boy, is she a bully! The traditional powers of hockey were probably laughing through their gum shields when they heard St. Conleth’s was fielding girls hockey teams for the first time. They are not laughing now!
Ms. Speller, Ms. Leary and dearly decamped Ms. Stanley forged a formidable force in a few short years, winning trophies, shields and the respect, even the fear, of the hockey powers-that-be. So, with restricted circumstances, everyone is just training this year and while our girls are champing at the bit, others may be sighing relief! Until they allowed to take a slap-shot in anger, enjoy some pics of past glories and the training which will bring us even more!
Of all the tall tales about our intrepid expedition leader, Gav Maguire, which have drifted back to leafy Clyde Road from the far-flung corners of our world, one of our favourites is how he inspired a particularly lacklustre group of students dawdling on the flanks of Kilimanjaro into action by stripping to the waist and scaling the Barranco Wall in his flip-flops- without a rope (or a shirt). Well, approaching middle age has mellowed Old Grizzly Gavin a bit and now he sends out younger minions to accompany the Transition Years on their various adventures. The last couple of weeks, Ms. Speller and Mr. Morris were on call, as the TYs broke Covid claustrophobia and journeyed to Sandyford to conquer The Wall.
Ms. Speller’s scout leader skills are well-known to us all by now, and, as expected, she marshalled the gangly teenagers expertly, marching them in unison from the bus while singing socially conscious campfire tunes, and somehow managing to earn two new badges for herself in the process. But who knew that within Mr. Morris’s left-side-of-the-brained, NPHET-devoted, man-of-science persona there slept an auteur? Surely, judging by the elegance of the short film above, this budding young cinematographer is destined for Cannes!
…where no First Class Teacher has gone before! First Class performed an important experiment in rocket propulsion in preparation for the recent SpaceX launch (and as part of Science Week). The boys and girls were thrilled with the reaction of Mentos to Pepsi but quite sad (for the most part) when it was announced that Ms. Leary was to be Elon Musk’s next astronaut!
What do you do with your lockdown leisure-time? Sean Keane of Fifth Class does not just watch Clone Wars reruns. He is writing projects on interesting countries and contacted local embassies for information. The Egyptian ambassador to Ireland, Khaled Sarwat, very kindly met with Sean and even invited him for Tea! Here is Sean receiving a flag & gift from the Egyptian Ambassador. The trip to Egypt next year is being planned already!
Things can happen very quickly in the world of social media! Case in point: A fan (with no name but obviously with an affection for proper football, a bottomless reservoir of hope and an eye for heartwarming artwork) is watching Arsenal TV and sees an interview with Gunner star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and during the interview, said nameless Ballsbridge-wandering fan Tweets about a certain school where the art teachers asked the students to draw what happiness meant to them and one particular kid simply said (and drew) ‘Aubameyang’.
In the video, said Aubameyang responds with a grin for the ages and we get a rare glimpse of the warm human being behind the professional footballer. Oh, and what school was that? St. Conleth’s College. Teachers? Ms. Mellon and Ms. Halpin (and Mr. O’Brien, a slowing but still effective wing player on the staff team). And which kid started this whole pleasant cacophony of birdsong? Jack Doyle, of Second Class, who proved that one word and one picture can bring a whole lot of sunshine to an otherwise gloomy autumn week!
Mr. Smith and Mr. Coleman were like the Wilson Brothers last Friday on the Killiney Strand (they can fight over who gets to be Brian). Yes, the temperature was a bit nippier than in SoCo, and the beverages were only topped up with extra shots of espresso, but the dynamic duo of St. Conleth’s Geography Department did their best to make the annual Geography Fieldwork Trip feel like a real day at the beach. Yes, there was work to be done: longshore drift to be measured; groynes to be stretched; and tombolos to be touted… but there was also fresh air and freedom and fun: three things we have been keeping ourselves from, lately. Edwin even brought his fishing gear… you should have seen the one that got away!
Yes, like a zombie (or a zombie movie) St. Conleth’s Halloween celebrations keep coming back to haunt us! Here are some chalk skulls from Ms. Halpin’s First and Second Year Art Classes. And what makes them even more interesting is that the students made use of a new ‘app’ which allowed them to base their drawings on their own, actual skulls. So what do you think, all ye amateur phrenologists?