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.
Fifth Years realise TY is over at their Study Skills Seminar.
First Years determine their future with the CAT-4s... or, at least, get an idea!
Sixth Years realise that there is still time... at their Study Skills seminar.
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!
Did I See You at Ascot?
We have been a bit preoccupied with the impending release of our St. Conleth’s 80th Anniversary Quinquennial, but now that the printing presses are rolling, we intend on catching up with a few stories which we had stashed beneath the typewriter. One such story concerns one of the Past Pupil authors featured in that weighty tome: Philip McDonald, a solicitor and a gentleman (not often twinned, even at Slaughter and May) and general bon vivant from the Class of 2010 (a fine vintage).
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Philip dropped in a few weeks back at the invitation of Development and Guidance Guru John Carvill and he delighted the assembled Fifth and Sixth Years with a.rollicking account of his adventures since graduation and some more serious advice about the trials and tribulations of the Leaving Certificate. Having, we believe, scored a total of 590 (out of 600, back then), Philip was in a good position to offer advice, and having negotiated the UCAS system to gain entrance into Law at Cambridge, he also had some valuable pointers regarding studying abroad. Check pout the pics above and stay tuned for the Quinquennial and Philip’s article on ‘A Conlethian Christianity’.
Return of the Kings
You know we can’t resist a LOTR reference, but the ‘kings’ in this case do not (yet) possess any sovereign kingdoms but they did certainly royally rock the Leaving Certificate in 2019 and now they have returned to spill their secrets to the Class of 2020. Tomás Clancy, Hugh Downes, Pearse Roberts and (Queen) Maggie Tighe were not necessarily our highest point-scorers (there were many!) but they all did extremely well and had gained acceptance into the course of their choice. Perhaps most importantly, they were also willing to tear themselves away from Freshers’ Week hedonism for a couple of hours!
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Tomás is now happily lambasting any sufficiently ‘unwoken’ ones still lurking in the medieval recesses of TCD where he is pursuing a degree in History and Politics; Hugh is conversing with the higher beings in Theoretical Physics on the other side of the same campus (but light years away); Pearse is exploring a broader spectrum of Science at UCD with his usual humble excellence and impeccable manners; and Maggie has chosen the noblest pursuit of all: mixing Classics, Music and English at UCC. To be honest, the ‘secrets’ which were spilled turned out to be just good common sense but the assembled Sixth Years did seem to receive a real boost in their confidence listening to those who were now on ‘the other side’ but who had so recently been in their shoes (and stylish purple Performance Space chairs). Mr. Carvill was once again the guiding Guidance spirit and he also arranged for a three hour professionally delivers study seminar to get the Sixth Years off on the right foot and into the world of ‘mind maps.’ Where will all this lead the Class of 2020? Hopefully to results as good as the Class of 2019. Below you see a graphic, courtesy of Ronan ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s, Jr.’ O’Kelly, which clearly sets out how well our graduates do compared to the rest of the nation. So, Sixth Years, who will be the returning kings next year?
Of Points and Plans
There is nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition, especially when the end result is a shared victory. On Leaving Certificate Results Day, in a sense everyone is a winner as everyone gets that piece of paper which serves as a key in unlocking their future. Obviously, there is always a range of results and myriad paths forward. We congratulate all of the Class of 2019 for working to the best of their abilities and responding so well to the guidance of their teachers. We particularly congratulate Hugh Downes and Ian O’Neill, who both managed to garnish the full quota of 625 points on offer and finish in a draw atop the class and the nation. These perfect scholars, but also perfect gentlemen, will be headed where they want to go come September, as will the rest of our recent graduates and we wish them all well at university and beyond. Stay tuned as we await news of offers and acceptances and a more detailed breakdown of results.
Negotiating the Minefield
Anyone with teenagers can attest to the difficulties involved in discussing the ‘big’ issues in life, and the preponderance of social media, if anything, has made it more difficult. The Senior School Parents Association has decided to do their part in helping all our parents (including themselves!) by welcoming Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins to give a seminar on ‘Consent’ on Thursday, March 28th at 7:30. All are welcome and encouraged to attend! The following is the PA’s own promotional information.
Parents Seminar on Consent: March 28th2019 7.30pm
Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins, part of Active Consent Programme team based in the School of Psychology NUI Galway on the 28thMarch at 7.30pm will address some of the issues on consent. (Link to Dr. O’Higgin’s biography.)
Supporting our children to safely navigate the world as teenagers and to emerge as happy and healthy young adults has never been a straightforward task. However in the contemporary world, concern may rise as we learn more about the possible negative effects of social media and how the internet generally may effect expectations and assumptions.
The seminar will include:
aims of the programme
experiences to date
the background to the Active Consent programme (our research data with 3rdlevel students, importance of comprehensive Relationships Sexual Education, and the issue of consent)
Please note also that next day, on March 29th Dr O’Higgins will present a Student’s Talk, which will be complementary to the Parent’s Seminar.
Students from TY and 5thyear will take part in a Smart Consent workshop that will examine understandings/definitions of consent and the ‘grey areas’ which do tend to confuse real life situations.
This is a very important seminar for parents and students, and we look forward to full attendance.
Let Us Eat Cake!
To be honest, for all the lawyers, doctors and engineers we churn out of this place, it is not like many of these past pupils often drop any complementaries into the staffroom for their old teachers, like a coupon for colenoscopy or a voucher for a discount on divorce proceedings. Now, the culinary arts boys, they look after you! Michael Li graced the school with his presence for six years and now he graces us with delectable confectionaries: the latest being an absolute divine cheesecake!
It was all arranged after Careers Guidance Counsellor Ann Ryan welcomed in the Technological University’s Mike J O’ Connor. He told the Fifth Years all about the re-christened DIT’s Culinary Arts courses and presented Jimmy Crowe with the college’s anniversary book. Past Pupils Tony Barry and Jack Andrews, as well as Michael, are currently thriving at TU. And the following week, the lovely cake arrived, courtesy of Mike and Michael! Now, lawyers, doctors and whiskey distillers, it is your turn!
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Cool Sounds for Sound Minds!
Our report is a bit belated but the event in question was so important that we are still going to give you the run-down… Every school brags about their academic achievements (as we just did, regarding Maths!) and it place in the annual ‘league tables’ and so they should: academics are what schools do, and they are important to students, parents and teachers. But we like to think that at St. Conleth’s, we certainly excellent at academics but we also cater to ‘the whole child’. We provide a plethora of sports and activities to stimulate and satisfy growing bodies and minds and do our best to encourage a lifestyle which is physically, spiritually and mentally healthy. The last came to the fore a few weeks ago when School Guidance Counsellor Anne Ryan organised a visit to St. Conleth’s by up-and-coming Irish pop star and social commentator, Simon James, who gave a presentation (or performance) on ‘Mental Health, Online Safety and Cyber Bullying. We have run many ‘mental health’ events over the years, but this one was different, as Simon was able to connect with his young audience, through both his music and his chat, in a way that older, more traditional presenters just could not do.
And wearing her other hat, the one for Career Guidance, Ms. Ryan continues to arrange for visits and presentations regarding third level opportunities both here and abroad. She keeps the students up-to-date with info about any Irish university Open Days, and welcomes the representatives from institutions from all over Europe. Recently we had a Dutch delegation which made presentations on all the leading universities in Holland and the opportunities there for Irish students. ‘Well-Being’ and a career path: what more could you ask?
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 (x2!) 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.
The Guidance Department at St. Conleth’s College, like a Jedi Force Ghost, just does not quit! Ms. Ryan and Mr. Carvill are run ragged looking after our students’ needs, both the personal and the academic/career-related. Here are the details of the upcoming psychometric testing for Fifth Years an below we read Ms. Ryan’s account of an important outing for our Transition Year students. Remember, our Guidance Page has more information, useful to both parents and students.
Conlethians Join 7,000 Students at 2018 Student Leaders’ Congress
Students from St. Conleth’s joined 7,000 other teenagers from around Ireland at the 3Arena last week for the 2018 Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders’ Congress. The event, which started as a gathering of 40 students in 2012, is now the largest young people’s mental health conference in Europe. The theme for the congress was #EmpowerYourVoice. Cycle Against Suicide spreads the message tirelessly that “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”. There were wonderful speakers lined up from USA and Ireland: Dr. Harry Barry, Dr. Eddie Murphy & Dr. Niall Muldoon to name but a few, as well as sports, TV & music personalities, Snapchat and Instagram influencers, students and teachers who spoke about such issues as bullying, suicide and positive mental health. Motivational speaker Kevin Hines spoke of his own experience with suicide. “I live with severe mental illness, but I believe that no matter what issues we struggle with we can not just survive, we can thrive,” he said. A range of other Mental Health Organisations were exhibiting on the day. The students left the Congress with tools that will support them for many years to come.