World Book Day 2017 was celebrated in style on Thursday 2nd March 2017 with a variety of events organised to promote the joy of books and reading. A literary hub was set up in the Cairdeas library with displays and presentations in an effort to get everyone on campus to consider their favourite book/author. The main aim of the day was to encourage students to explore the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with an opportunity to have a book of their own and allocating a period of time for them to read. Teaching staff embraced the opportunity to don costumes of their favourite character lending to the festive atmosphere of the occasion and adding to the fun.
Three St. Leo’s College students are delighted to learn that they are through to the next round of the Junk Kouture, student fashion competition which will be held on 10th March.
Transition Year classmates Ava Thompson, Mary Kate Burke and Megan Brennan have been selected to proceed to the Regional final and so at the moment are seeking votes from members of the public. The public votes counts towards the overall decision and votes can be cast on the Bank of Ireland students Facebook page here http://bit.ly/BOIJK2017
Three St. Leo’s Transition Year students are exploring their creative talents as they work to design an outfit for submission as part of the Junk Kouture competition. This nationwide competition aims to spark students’ imaginations; encouraging them to create unique, original and innovative outfits from 100% recycled materials hence every outfit is unique. They began working on the outfit before Christmas, with a very different initial idea. Over time however, their idea developed and changed. The top of the costume was created with cardboard, pheasant feathers and scrap material donated from local tailors. The skirt is composed of many pheasant feathers at the back, and the front with copper wire from electrical cord and shredded brillo pads. Watch out on various social media platforms for the opportunity to give them your vote over the coming weeks. With the first round of the competition depending entirely on the public vote, your support would be greatly appreciated.
Last week, students and teachers from St. Leo’s College travelled to the University of Limerick to attend the 2017 Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders’ Congress. The Congress focused on raising awareness of the message ‘It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help’, and promoting help-seeking behaviour in young people. This year’s Congress was the biggest to date, with over 6,000 students and teachers attending over two days in UL.
The Congress brings together young adults and teachers from all over the island of Ireland in an inspiring and energetic forum comprising live entertainment, discussion, celebrity guests, and much more. This year’s guests included former Connaught rugby coach, Pat Lam, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen Mc Entee, with entertainment provided by The Strypes and Orla Gartland.
“We’re thrilled with reaction to our biggest Congress yet”, said broadcaster and Cycle Against Suicide CEO, Colm Hayes. “It is our aim to let each and every student on the island of Ireland know that ‘It’s OK not to feel OK; and its absolutely OK to ask for help’, and then, to empower these students to spread this message within their own homes and families. Together, shoulder to shoulder, we can break the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland. We’re extremely grateful to our primary sponsors, the University of Limerick, for their support in making our biggest Congress yet such a success”, Hayes continued.
Very much a student-led event, a large portion of the day actively involves students. This year’s theme was “Share The Journey”, and students at St. Leo’s College engaged with this theme to design a project and promote positive mental health within their school community. This project part fulfils the requirement for the prestigious award of Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador School, which St. Leo’s College is once again hoping to receive at the end of this school year. “Attending this year’s Congress was massively worthwhile”, said Vivienne O’Neill, Link teacher. “It was a really enjoyable day, but it also carried a very important message; that our mental health, just like our physical health, needs to be cared for. Our students really took this year’s theme to heart, and worked very hard to raise awareness of the Cycle Against Suicide message in school, which for us, was the most important aspect of our involvement”, she continued.
The 2017 Cycle Against Suicide, a 14-day cycle around the island of Ireland aimed at bringing the message “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help” into homes and communities all around the island, begins on Sunday, April 23rd, and concludes on Saturday, May 6th. There are many ways to get involved whether it be as a cyclist or a volunteer.
For more information on this, or the Cycle Against Suicide Schools Programmes, check out www.cycleagainstsuicide.com , search Cycle Against Suicide on Facebook, or @CASuicide on Twitter.
Eleanor Cunney returned to her Alma Mater on Monday last when she delivered the 7th Annual Catherine McAuley lecture in St. Leo’s College Carlow. Invited guests included sisters from the Mercy congregation, representatives from local organisations with close links to St. Leo’s College, Board of Management, Parent Association, past staff and of course the student body.
Following a welcoming address from event co-ordinator Mairead Redmond, Ms Cunney gave an inspirational talk about her school day memories and detailed where her educational path had led her. Eleanor recounted how she has successfully carved out a career in media and today holds senior positions as TV Producer, Director with RTE and Media Lecturer with Kairos Communications at Maynooth University. Currently working as TV Drama Director on the popular RTE soap opera Fair City the audience were eager to learn the latest story plotlines but no secrets were forthcoming.
Principal Clare Ryan welcomed Eleanor back to St. Leo’s College but also welcomed her mother, affectionately known as ‘Doc’ Cunney who had served as an inspiring Home Economics teachers for many years. Ms Ryan thanked Eleanor for taking time from her busy schedule and described the Catherine McAuley lecture as a wonderful event which inspired students as they witnessed first-hand high-profile speakers who emerged from among our own school community. “Each year we identify potential speakers who have an important and meaningful story to tell. While each speaker has a unique personal story, one thing is always common: their passion for the legacy of the Mercy education that has profoundly impacted on them and the subsequent opportunities afforded to them”, she said.
The annual event, which brings in senior professionals from the wider business community to network with current staff and students has proved to be a most worthwhile initiative. The Annual Catherine McAuley Lecture was originally established to honour the foundress of the worldwide Mercy Order and previous guest lecturers at St. Leo’s College have included past students Olivia O’Leary, Broadcaster, Professor Hannah McGee, Royal Irish College of Surgeons, Mary Doyle, Department of Education and Skills, Alison Miller, Irish Women’s Rugby, Mary Curtis, RTE Digital Director and Patricia Devey, Penguin Publishers. The afternoon concluded with the renowned Mercy hospitality of a cup of tea.
The 7th Annual Catherine McAuley lecture will this year take place on Monday 16th January in St. Leo’s College Carlow. The invited speaker for this year is past pupil Eleanor Cunney, TV Producer, Director and Media Lecturer.
Eleanor currently works as TV Drama Director on the popular RTE soap opera Fair City in tandem with her lecturer position with Kairos Communications at Maynooth University.
She will recall her memories of her school days and reminisce of her education journey from St. Leo’s to her successful career to-date.
Eleanor follows in the footsteps of past presenters of this lecture including Olivia O’Leary, Broadcaster, Professor Hannah McGee, Royal Irish College of Surgeons, Mary Doyle, Department of Education, Alison Miller, Irish Women’s Rugby, Mary Curtis, RTE Digital Director and Patricia Devey, Penguin Publishers.
Congratulations to the second year students who qualified into the All Ireland finals that will take place next Wednesday in UCD. The team played in the regional finals in Kildare town where they beat teams fromCoolock, Clondalkin and Grennan College to achieve qualification. Well done to all who played.
On the 12th of December the Assembly hall in St. Leo's College was brimming with Christmas cheer as 24 acts took to the stage for our annual St.Leo's Got Talent organised by our Parents' Association.
A wide range of acts; singers, dancers, musicians and gymnasts took to the stage. Over 40 acts auditioned and it was a tough job whittling it down to the final 24 acts.
The senior winner on the night was Ewa Walendzik who performed a spine tingling rendition of 'Can't Help Falling in Love With You'. The runner up was Michaela Doyle who performed an original song that she wrote herself 'Eskimo Kiss'. The junior winner was Annie Bolger who sang the Disney favourite 'Part of Your World' from The Little Mermaid. The runners up in the junior category were Sophia Carberry and Ciara Kavanagh who performed a duet to 'Half the World Away' and Ella Brett danced her way into third place to 'Dancing in the Sky'. A very enjoyable night of entertainment was had by all.
On Thursday 24th November renowned speaker, Dr. Fergus Heffernan will address our school community at 7.30pm in the Assembly Hall. Dr. Heffernan holds a Primary Degree in Clinical Psychology, a Masters in Family Therapy and a PhD in Neuro Psychology. His is a visiting Professor at many Universities in the USA including Columbia University New York where he completes a residency every year. All are welcome to attend.
The Drugs.ie “Let’s Talk about Drugs” National Youth Media Awards Competition 2017 is now open for entries. Blathnaid Treacy from RTE officially launched the competition on the 3rd of October in City Hall, Dublin.
The competition is primarily aimed at secondary schools, colleges and youth clubs nationwide and is supported by the Department of Health, the HSE, the Ana Liffey Drug Project, Healthy Ireland and the Drugs.ie website. Drugs.ie is Ireland’s National Drug and Alcohol Information and Support Website. The drugs.ie site has in excess of 120,000 unique Irish visitors each year and over 500,000 international visitors.
This annual drugs education competition aims to help students explore and understand various issues relating to drug and alcohol use in Irish society. To enter, students are asked to research topics or share their personal experiences and create either: a short video, an audio podcast, a news article; or a poster on one of the following themes: (a) Why do some young people use drugs? (b) What impact does alcohol have on relationships? The age categories for entering are: 12-14; 15-17; 18-21; 22-25.
By getting involved, students can explore the issue of drugs and alcohol from a constructionist learning experience. This can have a more meaningful impact on their own understanding of the issues.
Winners from the four age categories will receive an iPad mini and the overall winner will receive a prize of €2,000. Winners will also have their work published on drugs.ie. Closing date for entries is the 1st February 2017.
On Friday 23rd September, the now annual Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador School Awards ceremony was held at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. These awards recognised the immense efforts of 83 schools around the island of Ireland who have completed the Ambassador School Programme, and become actively involved in mental health promotion. The Ambassador School Programme, one aspect of a wide range of Cycle Against Suicide initiatives, is school-led, and involves the completion of “Five Gears” over the course of a year, all of which are aimed at raising awareness of the message that “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”.
At the special reception held at The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, St. Leo’s Carlow was once again awarded the prestigious status of Ambassador School for the third time, one of only 19 schools in the country have achieved this status, in recognition of its exceptional commitment to the promotion of positive mental health.
St. Leo’s College was represented at the event by Ms Vivienne O’Neill, Link Teacher, and students Kate Coleman and Dayna Cullen, who understandably are very proud of their achievements. “The Ambassador School Awards ceremony was a great day. It’s wonderful to attend such a positive event, and have the efforts of the students recognised. Our participation in the Ambassador School Programme has had an enormously positive impact on our school community, fostered a school-wide approach to the promotion of positive mental health, and provided incredible opportunities for student leadership”, said Ms O’Neill speaking at the event. Representatives from the main education bodies and trusts, the Institute of Guidance Counsellors and the Ombudsman for Children, Niall Muldoon, all attended to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the schools involved.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, congratulated the schools which completed the Ambassador School Programme. The Minister said: "It is fantastic to see that 83 schools around the island of Ireland have completed the Ambassador School Programme, and become actively involved in mental health promotion. This is a hugely important issue that affects so many families. I strongly support the promotion of positive mental health awareness in both primary and post-primary schools”.
Founder of Cycle Against Suicide, Jim Breen, who has recently been appointed to Minister Helen McEntee’s new Taskforce on Youth Mental Health said, “On behalf of Cycle Against Suicide I’d like to thank each of the 83 Ambassador Schools for their extraordinary commitment to breaking the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland. Each of them has gone the extra mile to raise awareness of our message, empowering themselves and others to build resilience, and seek help when necessary. The efforts of these school communities, teachers, students and parents, is changing the mind-set, behaviour and culture of an entire generation.”
Brian O’Farrell, CEO of Carlow Chamber of Commerce visited St. Leo’s College and met with Transition Year students to inform them of the “Love Carlow” campaign. This initiative has been commissioned to tackle some of the challenges the town is facing and in an effort to rejuvenate Carlow town following the closure of businesses in recent months.
He also spoke of the need to shop local, especially in the run-up to Christmas and to encourage the students and their families to shop and use the services in their local area. This will no doubt help build a vibrant and healthy local economy where everybody concerned benefits.
Sarah Carbery, 2nd Year, assisted by Aine Fahey won the first secondary schools cook off at this year's Local Tullow Show. The girls competed live against the competent Hacketstown team Masterchef style .
A sumptuous Thai curry using lamb from a local farm in Grange sealed the deal for Sarah and Aine. Flavour and presentation were exquisite! The girls cooked live, master chef style, being interviewed as they cooked by TV's chef Adrian Martin. Competition was judged by ladies from the TV program ICA BOOTCAMP whom tightly observed proceedings . Both Sarah and Aine calmly and confidently handled the public performance and represented St. Leo's with style and huge congratulations go to them for taking up the challenge. Fabulous trophies and Bunbury boards were presented to both. Maith sibh!
Congratulations to Jasmin Byrne 4A, who claimed gold for Ireland in the individual fighting at the European Championships in Romania.
Since it’s formation in 2012 by Irish entrepreneur Jim Breen, Cycle Against Suicide has taken Ireland by storm. Cycle Against Suicide encourages people to talk openly and without judgement about mental health issues while also organizing community driven activities that all encompass their message; “It’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help”.
St. Leo’s College has been an ambassador school since 2014 when they were honoured to be an anchor school. This year, twenty girls were selected to be school committee members and they have pulled out all the stocks, organising everything from an all-day stationery cycle to writing and publishing their very own inspirational book of quotes and images. The committee have been working all year round to really spread the word about this great cause within the school.
Their first event was the ‘All-day Stationary Cycle’ held outside the school library and involved two students from each class cycle on stationary bikes cycling for ten minutes, the idea being that the bikes would be in motion all day from 8:30am to 4pm. With balloons, posters and banging tunes, the positive vibes could be felt everywhere around the school along with many smiling faces.
The committee members wanted to make a tangible object that people could have that would embody their motivational messages and that would bring joy to readers; consequently the ‘inspirational book of quotes was born. Containing inspirational quotes, photos and art work submitted by students from first to sixth year, it was arduous work gathering it all but the finished product is a credit to the committee. It was launched by TD Deputy Pat Deering in the school today just before the road cycle.
The main event was the road cycle held on Monday 9th of May, today where a hundred students and teachers from the school all saddled up to cycle twenty kilometres and spread the message. The cyclists were assisted by members of An Garda Siochana, who ensures the safe passage of all of the cyclists with the minimum of ease. Sincere thanks to Garda Bernard Graham, Garda Ralph Holmes and Garda Francis Ryan who helped us with such good care and humour. The cycle left from the school, waved off by the first year students, and cycled to the Castledermot roundabout and back, thankfully no injuries occurred!
Overall this year’s Cycle Against Suicide committee have gone above and beyond to promote and support this amazing initiative. Well done to all involved.
“It’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help”.
UCD Summer School is now open for applications from students entering their final year of secondary school in September 2016. The UCD Summer School is taking place from 7 to 10 June 2016 and is a wonderful opportunity for students who wish to sample college courses before making final choices next year. Details of the participating courses and how to book a place are available at www.ucd.ie/myucd/summerschool.
Congratulations to Abbie Cleaver, Anna Colgan and Cara Scully who won Best Team at the 2016 national final of the Irish Federation of University Women's under-15 public speaking competition which was held in UCD on Saturday 12th of March. The students competed against teams representing Trinity College Dublin, Queen's University Belfast, and University College Galway. It is a very special achievement for our two First Year students Anna and Abbie, while for Cara it is her second time to win this competition, having been part of the winning team in last year's final also.
Transition Year student Bróna McGovern was invited on to RTE's Two Tube TV programme which was shown on RTE 2 on Wednesday 2nd of March to help promote this year's National Youth Media Awards. Bróna was interviewed about the making of her group's winning entry in last year's competition, and a clip of their film was broadcast. Bróna is pictured here in the RTE studio with presenter Bláthnaid Treacy and Nicki Killeen of drugs.ie and can be seen by following the link :-http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/two-tube-30002037/10539094/
Planet Pals is an environmental group set up by kids, for kids. It's founder, Alicia Premkumar first established Planet Pals in her former school, Scoil Mhuire gan Smál when she was ten, and went on to win the Young Environmentalist of the Year in the super junior category. The first time Carlow ever won. Today, she has re-established Planet Pals with a brand new team of girls from first year, Sara Andrade, Abby Cleaver and Julia Hogan, all from first year. Planet Pals are going from strength to strength. "I think it's because we reach out to our own generation" says Alicia. The group visit local primary schools giving talks and workshops and present puppet shows all relating to energy conservation. They also run competitions, show videos, present dramas and even choreograph flash mobs!
The group are invited to local events and have met with Duncan Steward and RTEs Gerry Creighton who is a very big supporter of the group. Alicia has been interviewed by the Irish Environmental Network as well as Beat I01 103. and has made several programmes on RTE relating to environmental issues. One thing that Alicia said when winning the Young Environmentalist awards was that she wanted to develop Planet Pals. Eco Unesco are so impressed with their work that they contacted Alicia asking her to re-enter the re-established group in the Jnr Category.
Planet Pals are also currently in the semi finals of the SEAI one good idea national competition and are the only group representing Carlow. They are overwhelmed with the support they are getting from the local community. A true success story.
The Transition Year students from St. Leo’s College and St. Mary’s CBS Academy stage their sizzling and dynamic production of ‘Diablo’s Disco Inferno' from the 8th to the 11th of March 2016 at 7.30pm.
Allow yourself to be transported back to a time of flares, cassette tape recorders, platforms, and a crazy, eclectic mix of music that ranged from glam rock to punk, and of course... disco!!!
The musical is set in 1976 (now, that was a hot summer!) and is based loosely on Kit Marlowe’s play 'Dr Faustus'. Jack is a barman at Diablo’s nightclub, "Disco Inferno". He dreams of making it big in the music business, just like his idol Heathcliff, but never quite makes it. Everything is turned upside down when Jack meets mysterious femme fatales Lady Marmalade and Lady LaBelle, associates of the Devil Diablo. In his drive to become a star, he makes a pact with them, trading his soul to fulfil his ambitions. He is an instant, international success, but pays for it by losing his devoted girlfriend Jane. He then regrets his blinkered behaviour and yearns for a return to normality.
Staged in the GB Shaw Theatre, a live band will perform a myriad of memorable hits from this glamourous decade, including "Play That Funky Music", "Crocodile Rock", "Ballroom Blitz", and "Don't Blame It On The Sunshine" to name but a few.
With direction and musical direction by Niamh Callanan, and produced by Áine Shiels this is the second collaboration between the two Carlow secondary schools and promises to be another sell out show.