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!
Leo, Leonis: 3rd Dec. Masc.
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!
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!
What Does He See in your Future?
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!
The Debate Goes On!
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!
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’!
A full week of activities!
TYs learn how to TEFL!
Sherlock wants to know if the course is compatible with Bocce.
TYs get ready for some heartwarming cinéma vérité!
Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way...
TYs inhale the wisps of freedom emanating from the mother ship.
Sherlock loves standing on stuff.
Simon introduces TY to the finer forms of graffiti.
No viruses on these babies!
Simon: The Toast of Dublin
Escaping the Void!
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!
Halloween’s Last Scare!
Nothing is scarier than facing into a half-term of rain, wind, sagging masks, sodden leaves and closed pubs… emm… closed gyms and libraries, but Senior School Art Teacher Ms. Halpin and the TYs did their best to frighten and distract us on the eve of this November to disremember!
TYs Paint their Brains!
St. Conleth’s Senior School Art Teacher Ms. Halpin is always pushing the boundaries, especially in her Transition Year art class, where there is no looming state exam or curricular straight-jacket. And the TYs are happy to try new methods and new materials: neurographic art, for example. Neurography was discovered and developed by Pavel Piskarev, a Russian psychologist and creativity entrepreneur who said something like this about the craze he started: ‘Creative method of transforming the world. Author’s method. Interdisciplinary practice that allows you to make the necessary personal changes, reliably remove restrictions and successfully simulate a new, desired reality.” (It sounds more impressive if you hear it in a Russian accent.) The process involves challenging inner thoughts and worries into the drawing of abstract shapes and then creatively colouring. So, art and therapy in a one go: a perfect tonic for our times!
I Have Two Points, Sir!
Only two, are you sure, Oisín? It is with great ambivalence that teachers face the prospect of having a schools debater in their class or, heaven forbid, two or more. On the one hand, we are guaranteed continuous, enthusiastic, irrepressible, hubristic contributions to class discussions, but, on the other hand, we are guaranteed continuous, enthusiastic, irrepressible, hubristic… Joking aside, Schools Debating is the one sure thing at which we know we are the absolute best in the land. The roll calls of Leinster, All Ireland and World Champions are replete with Conlethians. And the tradition which feeds that success: that of open and lively debate within our classrooms is a core component of our distinctive learning culture. Conlethians simply discuss stuff. Anything and everything. And we do it all the time.
News of our latest debating success came through last week. Evan Power, Leo Nolan, Coleman Hegarty and Oisín Power took part (via Zoom) in a multi-province debate to determine the make-up of Ireland’s Senior International Schools Debating Team. It was open to all school debaters from Leinster and Ulster, attempting to get a place on the five person team. There were two preliminary debates with the motions that ‘This house would abolish Juries in all Criminal Trials’ and this ‘This house supports the radical redistribution of wealth’ (but not the debaters’ families’). Our team of Fourth and Fifth Years did very well against mostly Sixth Year competition and Oisín was chosen to be one of eight debaters to make it to the Leinster+Ulster Final. There he debated ‘That this house regrets the the prevalence of good against evil in children’s literature’ (that includes the New York Times). Oisín spoke with his customary tenderness and compassion, finishing just outside the top five. Well done to all four participants. By incredible coincidence three of them can be seen above, sitting next (-ish) to each other in LC Latin class!
Transition Year Siobhán Fitzgerald did not spend her lockdown gorging on the latest dark Danish Netflix sci-fi series. Okay… maybe she did a bit of that, but she somehow also found time to finely hone her already impressive creative writing skills, to the point where earned two separate, national commendations! One of her poems, ‘Much Too Young’ has been accepted for publication in an anthology on climate crisis edited by poet Alice Kinsella which is forthcoming from Doire Press in Spring 2021. Her poem will sit alongside works by such established poets as Claire Hennessy, Jan Carson, Rick O’Shea, and Paula Meehan.
Siobhán was also chosen as a Runner Up in the Post-Primary Junior Category of the Trocaire / Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2020 for the same poem, ‘No More’. She read her poem at the awards ceremony during Culture Night on the 18th of September. Here is her award letter and below you can see a recording of her reading. (Skip to 20:12 if you just want to hear Siobhán!).
As part of the award Poetry Ireland will also organise an author visit to St. Conleth’s: another reason to look forward to the ending of the covid conditions. Well done to Siobhán, a great example of what students can achieve under their own initiative. We encourage all our students, especially TYs, to take on similar challenges!
Sailing Takes Me Away…
If one man could defeat Covid-19 all by himself, and we know that is impossible, but if one man could vanquish this pandemic…. it would undoubtedly be the unflappable Mr. Gavin ‘Gav’ Maguire (Class of 1990). Our intrepid explorer and expedition leader has faced down some mighty challenges on all seven continents and across seven seas, and he has acquired many a herbal remedy in his journeys, which he keeps lodged in his ever-present, trusty and fashionable man bag.
Given enough time, we think Gav could cook up some kind of elixir for the current plague but the problem is just that: Gav simply does not have the time! For, Gav and the TYs were already in action on Thursday, starting off the year with a sailing session at the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire (with none other than John Melia, of the Class of 2020, there to show them the ropes… and the knots). And today, Friday, they are off again: who knows where, but we are sure more news and pics of Transition Year derring-do will soon be zinging in over the wireless!
TYs Zoom Outta Here!
For a man who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in flip-flops and has swum the mighty Ganges River in those French campground type of tight bathing shorts, you would not think walking into one’s usual place-of-work would be such a great accomplishment… but these are strange times indeed, and Transition Year Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire’s decision to heroically host the TY Graduation Ceremony from old No. 28 Clyde Road is proof that when the times get tough, the tough get going. And, no, the fact that Tolteca, down the road, has recently opened up for take-out had nothing to do with Gav’s decision to ‘make it real’ for his beloved TYs. And what a ceremony it was!
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Gav reacquainted us all with the dearly missed St. Conleth’s campus, Adam hosted a video retrospective of the year and Gav gave out some eagerly contested awards. Among the winners were Emile Boostrom Ogawa for Best Portfolio Website, Eva Stylianides for Best Actor, Leah Crimmins and James Moriarty Smyth for Musician of the Year and Louis Cullen for TY Linguist. Of course, the two most prestigious TY awards are those named in honour of two past pupils, JP McGilligan and Neil Quinlan. James Moriarty Smyth deservedly won the McGilligan for best overall TY student and Adam Rafter and Matthew McKeown shared the Quinlan award for class spirit, as voted on by their peers. In reality, everyone who stuck with Gav’s programme during these trying times deserves an award and we hope the graduating TYs enjoy a richly deserved summer break and that the current Third Years are ready to hit the TY ground running in September. Gav is going to be well-rested and ready!
Drums Along The Dodder!
To prompt pleasant memories of when your younger family members were not always just standing there listlessly in front of an open refrigerator door, we will periodically bring you news from a bygone era: B. C. (Before Corona). Yes, it is only in retrospect that we realise how full our lives were… especially St. Conleth’s Transition Years!
A couple of weeks B.C., ace TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire arranged to have Patrick Naughton and his African Drumming Ireland programme pay a visit. Patrick was brilliant. He has the skills and knowledge, the authentic drums and, most importantly the ability to keep a group of sometimes grumpy adolescents enthusiastic and involved… and even rhythmic! Enjoy the video above and the pics below. More B.C. News to come!
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TYs Show Flair Français!
The TYs are just about to close out a very busy first term, with outings galore, a monumental Christmas Fair and special courses in First Aid and Photography, but they also were pushed in their ‘regular’ classes, completing creative and innovative products both in groups and individually. Here, Mr. Porzadny, updates us on what went on in the TY French class this past term.
Let the students be the teachers! What do Dungeons and Dragons, the Beatles and kitchen utensils have in common? Not much would you answer. You would pretty much be right. Except that as of today you can learn how to talk about elves, yellow submarines and whisks all in the language de l’amour! Learning French in a fun and easy way is made possible thanks to the home made flashcard made by the students of Transition year.
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As part of the TY French curriculum, a “Quizlet” competition was organised. Students would have to create a set of 20 words or expressions from a theme of their choosing. Mr Porzadny would then pick the 10 best sets based on originality, variety and quality of the French language. Students would then vote for their top 3 set. The final sets would then be shared here on the St Conleth’s website for the enjoyment of the whole School community! So without further a due, here are the results: Tied for 3rd place with 11 votes:Ava with “Les jeux olympiques and Keelan with “Le rugby en français“ In 2nd place with 16 votes:Cael with “Les films en français“ And in 1st place with 18 votes:Luca with “Le football en français“ Get ready, set and “allez”!
Thumbs Up for the TY Fair!
The Annual Transition Year Christmas Fair and Tree Sale was once again a spectacular success, with trees, wreaths and various home-made crafts and goodies flying out the doors of the school hall this past Saturday morning and afternoon. The various student-run ‘mini-companies’ got a taste of real world business and the profits off of the trees and wreaths themselves will all go to St. Conleth’s partnership with the Bridge Light School in Uganda. A great big ‘thank -you’ to TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire, all the participating parents (especially TY reps Caroline O’Dea and Ray McDonnell) and, of course, the TY students themselves for continuing this great St. Conleth’s tradition in style.
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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…
…the Annual Transition Year Christmas Tree Sale and Fair! Yes, indeed: the wind has picked up, the sun was last seen September 14th, the falling leaves are halting nearly all movement in the city, Switzer’s has a vaguely yuletide theme to its window display, and if we just lost a few degrees, we would be neck deep in snow! And, of course, the Transition Years are once again readying themselves for another Christmas Fair and Tree Sale extravaganza. (Click for poster!) They have been like busy little woodland elves: planting, cultivating and cutting the finest of firs and poinsettia and etching and whittling the most exquisite of Christmas cards and crafts. And Gav Maguire has been doing his best trying to fill in as Santa but is not quite able to grow the wintry whiskers of one of his predecessors, Mr. Bolger, nor the rounder middle and rosy red cheeks of another! Well, make this Santa smile by ordering a Christmas tree from the TY girls and boys and come by this Saturday, December 7th, from 10-4, for them and all the extras, including holly wreaths, poinsettia, tree stands and tea and coffee. All proceeds go to supporting the Bride Light School in Uganda. To order a tree, call (087) 799-8702.
Gotta Love a… TYer!
In the old country, ‘Gotta Love a Trier’ is one of those ambivalent sayings: a double-edged sword, a backhanded compliment… You say it with a sardonic, Southern drawl when you are standing on second base, chewing a plug of tobacco, and watching a teammate give three almighty swings at the baseball…. and come up empty, all three times. You admire his effort, but you also almost pity his irrepressible ‘can do’ attitude… in the face of overwhelming genetic evidence to the contrary. Well, here, in our brave new Land of the Celtic Tyger 2.0, everything is possible and all efforts are worthwhile… especially in Transition Year. The whole programme, as implemented by Co-ordinator Gav Maguire, is about trying as many new things and skills as possible, and just a half term in, the boys and girls have already stretched their reach, as well as their CVs.
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Above you see them working at First Aid certification and here they are in a mix of activities from earlier in the year: The Law Module, an Auto Safety seminar, Build-A-Bank interviews and out catching a professional performance of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat.
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And that little trip to the theatre was a hint at what is surely to be the biggest TY ‘try’ of all: a big budget, professionally produced rendition of the play at the end of May. (Thank you, Emer Hartnett and Seamus Gallagher!) The rehearsals and the try-outs have already started and so has the fun. Stay tuned for more highlights of the musical machinations and the TY experience overall!
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Good and Tired!
It is a phrase of which you do not hear much anymore… after all, is it not oxymoronic? Good and tired? But it is possible: just ask the TYs (and their accompanying teachers) after their whirlwind outdoor adventure sojourn in Carlingford.
Transition Year Head Honcho Gav Maguire did indeed bring the TYs back from their Carlingford Adventure Centre experience utterly exhausted but also deliriously happy! As they somnambulated off the bus on Friday afternoon, their sun-, wind- and salt-burned faces were contorted in a look that could only be interpreted as joy, though there was a bit of relief mixed in.
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After two days of pier-jumping, rock-climbing, laser-shooting and axe-throwing, Gav’s TY boys and girls learned how much fun there is to be had doing things together other than a Fortnite Battle Royale. And we are sure co-leader Ms. Speller will concur… as soon as she wakes up from her nap on the staffroom couch!
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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 thrilled with the performances, as maestros deBhal and Gallagher coaxed some stunning performances from our shy and retiring boys and girls. 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, thankfully, the presence of real girls in the cast did not prevent Nathan, Fergal, Ian and Keane from taking a walk on the wild side. And the actors who suited up in their cisgender costumes were not that bad either! Stephen, Sophie, Zach, Robert, Emily, Omar, Jack and the vast supporting cast hit the right notes, shook the right hip and simply charmed us all with their talent and enthusiasm.
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The night marked Mr. Trenier’s swansong as TY Co-ordinator, and he certainly went out with a bang. The photos on the walls of the Performance Hall were a testament to his industry and the TY students’ reciprocal spirit: the physical evidence of fun yet educational trips all over Dublin; various courses, projects and competitions; and the conquering of the Wicklow Mountains to complete the Gaisce Hike. Scroll back through our news to read all about the wide range of TY adventures, but first check out the snaps and video of Grease (both rehearsal and performance) and the Roll of Honour for the individual TY awards. Well done to Mr. T. and the Transition Year Class of 2019!
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Absorbing the Hits
Apparently, when Mr. Trenier heard that his Transition Years were organising a fundraiser for the Irish Wheelchair Association he mistakenly thought they had decided on a charity ‘sponge-bath-athon’ and being a good Cavan man, he could not pass up the offer of a free wash, especially after a rather strenuous lambing season. To Mr. T’s credit, when he arrived in the courtyard at lunchtime on Friday and realised that it was, rather, a ‘sponge-throw-athon’, the semi-pro rugby veteran gamely took his position and absorbed the hits with good humour and barely a grimace. Apparently, a gangly First Year’s emphatic sponge-heave has nothing on a loose-head prop’s gouging scrum play!
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Mr. Smyth and Mr. Coleman joined Mr. Trenier in the line of fire, with the former’s already legendary sheer ‘niceness’ serving as an adamantine shield, and the latter somehow managing to retain his customary impeccable deportment despite the onslaught. Enjoy the pictures above and video below, but be warned, the latter is to be only viewed after the watershed!
Last Post of Spring!
We were just clearing our desks of all the news from last term and we found one roll of undeveloped film and, lo and behold, after a quick trip to the darkroom, we saw images of mountain vistas, smiling teenagers and grimacing teachers take shape. It could only meaning thing: the annual Transition Year Gaisce Hike in Glendalough. 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 a medley of various one-hit wonders from his youth in the 80’s. He nimbly cavorts up and down the aisle of the bus, effortlessly reaching the high notes and hi-fiving and back-slapping as he belts out ‘Down Under’ or ‘Karma Chameleon’. Of course it as usually all lies because, despite Gav’s upbeat and sunny disposition, it nearly always rains on the TY Gaisce hike! And not just a ‘soft day’ drizzle…the TYs usually get the kind of downpour which turns the Wicklow mountains into a series of torrents and mudslides. Well this year, the clouds came and went, but it was ‘a bright, bright sun-shiny day’ in the end and the boys and girls, Gav, and his enthusiastic colleagues, Mr. Smyth and Ms. Long, all enjoyed this important right of passage of Transition Year.
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TYs Take History and Botany 101
Last week the Transition years satisfied both their fauna and Fianna cravings by visiting both the Botanical Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetary. They enjoyed professionally led tours of both, learning loads about our history, both natural and political, and even had some time for the local delicacies: ‘a single’, washed down with a Lucozade. Check out the pics below and stay tuned for more TY ramblings!
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TY Activités Françaises!
You have already read below how a group of Mr. Porzadny’s TYs initiated an innovative project which involved the organisation of a ‘French-style’ football tournament for some Junior Schoolers. Well, more of the TY students’ Francophonic projects are coming to fruition: in particular, French (not Belgian) Waffles; student-created, French-themed board games; and a good, old-fashioned Kahoot tournament! ‘Les Gaufres Fantastiques’ premiered at lunchtime last week and though we are in the middle of Lent, the student punters must have plenty of indulgences saved up, as they kept Nathan, Fergal, Matthew and Hugh very busy serving up those waffles ‘au sucre et au citron’, ‘au sirop’ or ‘au chocolat’.
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The student-created board games were also French-themed and the amount of work and preparation that went into them was very impressive, with a French geography-themed game and a francified version of Cluedo particularly fun to play. There was also time for a class-wide game of Kahoot, based on the general culture and history of France: Mr. Porzadny won, ‘but of course’, but our new Spanish student Miguel was the real star of the show!
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Francophonic Football Flair!
Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley are at it again, keeping le français alive and active and fighting a two-teacher war against the ever-encroaching English and Mandarin. The French Transition Year classes are again involved with interactive projects with the Junior School but this year they taking new and varied forms. Below you see some snaps from a Football Français tournament run by the TYs for our Junior School friends. All the teams’ names (Monaco, Lyons, PSG…) were French as were the coaches’ and referees’ instructions (and a few muttered expletives when passes went awry). We even saw some French flair in the play on the field! Stay tuned as more of the projects come to fruition. Monday will see more French football (avec les professeurs!) and a special addition to our canteen menu: ‘French (Definitely Not Belgian) Waffles’!
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The Boyz Take Centre Stage!
The TY Bank Street Boys enjoyed taking the stage and pushing their concept and products at the Build-A-Bank final, while also exploring the futuristic activities available at the @AIBIreland Future Sparks Festival. With Mr. Robert ‘Baron’ O’Connor off with the SCT, Mark Connor, Zach Carr, Luke Gilleran and Matthew Lynch took the lead presenting their student banking franchise to the judges and they did a fine job, displaying not only matinee idol good looks and T-shirt cool, but also sound marketing and accounting practices. They did not place in a very crowded field, but the experience will certainly stand to them in the years to come. And there was the consolation prize for all of TY of sampling all the other cutting edge technologies and concepts on show at the over-arching Futuresparks Festival.
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Historically, St. Conleth’s is traditionally associated with sports that may be described as particularly ballsbidgy or even ‘mock-ascendancy’: we excel at fencing, hockey and rugby to this day and cricket was once a mainstay of our Sports Days. Dare I say a few games of croquet and tiddlywinks have also been played on sunny afternoons in the garden of 28 Clyde Road over the years… but that does not mean that we do not occasionally ‘go county’!
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Our Junior Schoolers have had Gaelic sessions with a local club and several first year girls are on the Dublin panel, and of course, there is that annual trip for our TYs to the Mecca of all things GAA: Croke Park. A mainstay on the schedule of weekly ‘Dublin adventures’, the boys and girls always enjoy a visit to the museum and the skyline tour. And after steeping themselves on their native culture, they may even know what Mr. ODulaing is talking about the next time he complains about the puke peile of the northern counties.
Two Wheels Good!
Now, that’s a real ‘pick and roll’! TYs enjoyed a day of sporting fun with a social dimension as they took part at Gormanston College in the Irish Wheelchair Association’s fundraising basketball league. It was a great day out and everyone played their part. Of course, our ‘regular’ basketball stars such as Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger and Keane Acosta were wheelin’ and dealin’ all over the court but it was great to see newcomer Ian Mauer showing off his skills and Vanshika Shukla and Ciara MacNally absolutely dominating the mid-court with their stylish pivots and passes. Check out the (many) pics below!
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Send Lawyers, Guns and Money!
Actually, just send the lawyers: guns are rendered redundant when truly rockin’ rhetoric is reverberating from the rostrum and the money, well, the bills usually follow the barristers, so just keep an eye on the in-box! TY Co-Ordinator Mr. Trenier, himself a self-taught expert in agricultural law (there was some issue over a prized stock bull a few years back), invited two of the top barristers in the land into St. Conleth’s to present a seminar on the life and work of our legal eagles and then lead the TYers themselves through a ‘mock court’ with the students themselves taking the parts of plaintiff, defendant, prosecutor, defence attorney and various witnesses. Newcomer Ian Maurer played a blinder as a police officer and Dylan Alvez was particularly adept at capturing the mix of deductive reasoning and moral flexibility which are the hallmarks of all great lawyers!
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Of Bankers and Buskers!
When you think ‘banker’ perhaps you think of the little moneybag grabbing Monopoly caricature… or, perhaps, some of the individual bankers who have been periodically in the news since 2008 come to mind… or the USC or PRD on your payslip flashes across your mind. One does not usually think of music, especially not the free-to-hear, just-for-the-fun-of-it tradition of busking, but the ubiquitous Robert O’Connor and the rest of the ‘Bank St. Boys’ took their endearing pun-ful name to its logical conclusion and promoted their TY Build-A-Bank by bringing back a modern Conlethian tradition: the lunchtime Buskers’ Corner! Musicians such as Rory Clarke, James Moriarty-Smyth and Sam Lynch were only too happy to respond with signature performances (in return for the promise of a tracker mortgage). Yes, commerce and the arts can work together! *Terms and Conditions do apply.
DELF Delivered by Duo Dynamique!
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 nonchalantly douse her cigarette and sweep through reception en route to the Performance Hall? If so, it can only mean one thing: DELF days are here again!
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. A few years ago, Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley worked tirelessly to complete the quintessentially French labyrinth of paperwork to bring the DELF to St. Conleth’s 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!
A TYer reports on their super-successful Christmas Fair (in partnership with Parents Association):
The TY Christmas tree fair all started in the TY Room, late October. Each student chose a role and a group to participate in the fair. Last week, the preparations began to heat up. 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 Christmas cards. Saturday, the 8th of Dec., at 9:30 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. Ms. Fay came in with the hand-picked best members of the Senior School Choir so that Christmas carols could greet our shoppers at the door.
Most 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. There were also several Third Years taking part, raising money for their East Africa 2020 Expedition development work. 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 4:30 pm, 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 100% goes to the East Africa fund. We’d like to thank everyone involved, especially the Parent’s Association who worked very hard to help set up everything, and all who helped out on the day. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Oooh! Look! It’s The Bank Street Boys!
Drift back, if you will, to this time of year in, say, 2005… You are working in mortgages at the AIB and the future is rosy: share prices are rocketing, interest rates are minuscule, bonuses are bulging and the first of your three fully comped Christmas parties is about to roll in. Your only complaint is a bit of the old carpal tunnel syndrome from scribbling ‘yes’ so many times… Yes, those were the days, but judging from the extravaganza put on by the Transition Year Build-A-Bank Team, those heady days are here again! The professionals from the AIB were around to provide shrewd advice and to assure due diligence but the show was all the boys’ alone, as Robert O’Connor, Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger, Zach Carr, Mark Connor and Matthew Lynch implemented their innovative marketing concept with consummate skill and a good bit of panache. Combining matinée idol looks with advantageous interest rates, the latest TY Build-A-Bank team are definitely destined for big things in the financial world! The competitions and freebies drew the youngsters in and, like with many a 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 the 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 for a rainy day.
A Conleth’s Christmas!
The Annual St. Conleth’s Traditional Christmas Fair is being held this year on Saturday, December 8th from 9.30-4pm. As well as trees (€30-€120), beautifully hand decorated wreaths (€20-€80), poinsettias, lucky dip, raffle, hot refreshments, live music, carol singers and lots of Christmas cheer, the students will have lots of wonderful stands selling cakes, crafts, treats and much more (please remember to bring old-fashioned cash on the day!). This is a wonderful opportunity to do some essential Christmas shopping whilst helping a good cause and adding to the Traditional St. Conleth’s Christmas Fair Cheer! Proceeds as always will go towards the Africa Project. The schools past fundraising efforts have borne fruit and the latest development is that the villagers now have their own borehole to collect water – a huge step and a massive help to the community. Check here for our price-list and see our TY students’ artful promotions below, as well as a photo of the good which comes from it all. See you Saturday! Mr. Alan Trenier, TY Co-Ordinator.
Uisce, Teanga agus Craic!
TYs enjoy a day of water-sports and Irish at Moontour, an innovative language adventure centre run by Past Pupil Sean Greif (Class of 2005). More details from Ms. Dorman, as Gaeilge:
Chuaigh lucht na hIdirbliana (TY) go dtí Dun Laoghaire an Mhairt seo caite chun lá a chaitheamh ag déanamh sport uisce as Gaeilge le hiar- dhalta St Conleth, Sean Greif. Bhí an-lá againn. Rinne siad ‘kayakadoireacht’ agus léimt on gcé (pier jumping!) Bhí an aimsir go hiontach, bhí an t-uisce ina chlár agus bhi an craic go maith! Thapaigh Jack Buckley an deis foto a fháil le Brendan Gleeson ar fheiceáil dó é ag siúl sios an cé, rud a chur an-áthas air!
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.
In the new 2020-2021 Transition Year Programme Booklet, Mr. Gavin Maguire, our TY Co-ordinator, lays out all you need to know about the exciting classes, trips and projects.
Transition Year at St. Conleth’s is part of our Senior Cycle and is a mandatory growing space and time for our girls and boys en route to being young adults. Our TY Programme encompasses all areas of personal development, from the charitable through the athletic to the cultural, as well as continuing the academic and intellectual growth of our students, as they sample all the available Leaving Certificate subjects and make well-guided choices in accordance with our strengths-based educational philosophy.
At St. Conleth’s we do not believe that the mind should sleep during Transition Year! A dedicated TY Co-ordinator organises a team of teachers and adjunct professionals who lead the students through a demanding but exhilarating curriculum of subject-specific project work, real-life and work experiences and the individually tailored Gaisce programme. A TY day may also include a bit of Mandarin Chinese and cooking in the morning, sailing and photography in the afternoon, and practice for the year-end musical at day’s end. No two students are alike and this is especially true when it comes to determining courses and activities for Transition Year. Our TY Programme has the correct blend of variety and depth, which enables every student to fulfil their potential in this important year of transition.
Some of our Transition Year adventures:
Expedition to East Africa (optional)
SciFest and Young Scientist Competition
PSAT, Eirquest and COA aptitude and career guidance testing and one-to-one consultation
Community Work to benefit groups such as GOAL, Simon, SVP etc…
‘Mindfulness’, mental and personal health seminars
Overnight trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre.
Sailing in Dun Laoghaire (INSS)
Certified First Aid Course
Early Morning Latin (optional)
Christmas Fair and Carols
AIB Build-a-Bank programme.
Storytelling with students of St. Bridget’s National School