Ms. Hogan and her camogie players continued their winning streak last Tuesday, 16th of December. The Senior team played Tulla in the Munster Senior Schools Semi-Final. The fixture was played in Meelick, Co. Limerick. At half time there was only a point between the two teams UCT 1-5 to Tulla’s 1-4. However in the second half the Ursuline girls pulled away to give them a decisive win. The full time score was UCT 4-11 to Tulla 2-6. So Ms. Hogan has lead another one of her teams to a final which will be played in the New Year. They will face another Tipperary team, Greenhills from Carrick-on-Suir. Good luck to all those involved and we will be getting the banners and flags ready over Christmas in preparation for the big match.
First Year Debating
On Monday 15th December the final of our in school First Year Debating Competition took place. The motion on the day was; “We are slaves to fashion in all areas of life.” This motion, so topical for the time of year, gave lots of scope to the young speakers. The winners Aislinn Maher, Nicole Rafter and Aoife Dempsey, along with their researcher Siobhan Greene, who did a lot of preparatory work behind the scenes, presented a spirited and very capable proposition. The runners up, Kerry Tierney, Grace Nash and Lucy Nugent, although not successful on this occasion, presented their arguments with style and vigour.
The competition for individual speakers will be on the first Tuesday that we return after the Christmas break. Third Years will also swing into debating mode in January and a hotly contested competition can be expected. Thanks to all those first and second years who took part in the debating competitions with great gusto and to Ms. Quinn for her unfailing enthusiasm. The English teachers deserve a special mention too for encouraging students to enter and supporting the fantastic work being done by Ms. Quinn.
TY Trip to Lar na Pairc
Ms. Bourke took TY class, room 31, on a visit to the GAA museum in Thurles, Lar na Pairc. This trip was linked into the course on Celtic Studies that Ms. Bourke is doing with all TY classes. They were given a tour by historian and storyteller Liam O’Donoghue. He spoke to them about the founding of the GAA and the history of some of the clubs in Tipperary. It was a very informative and worthwhile guided tour and was enjoyed by both the students and Ms. Bourke. We are so lucky to have such a great educational resource right on our doorstep.
First year basketball players took part in a friendly against the Presentation, Thurles during the week. The students are continuing to develop their skills in weekly training sessions and are delighted with their progress. Everyone got a chance to play in the friendly and it was an opportunity for the students and their coach Ms. O’Friel to try out different positions on the court. The students involved are looking forward to the commencement of the league after Christmas.
The UCT Senior A team beat Rockwell by two goals. UCT 2 Rockwell 0
The Senior B 1 team also played Rockwell which resulted in a nil all draw. UCT 0 Rockwell 0
The second year B 2 had a three goal win over Rockwell. UCT 3 Rockwell 0
In the Junior B cup we won against Rockwell on strokes 3 – 1 after extra time.
Ursuline X Factor
Monday was the last heat of the Ursuline X factor. The competition had been on going since mid November with a wide variety of talent on display each week. We have been treated to music, song, dance, comedy, parody and gymnastics. Those participating in the last round on Monday were Ms. Flanagan’s TY room 31 with their take on the Late Late Toy Show. Then it was the turn of the other Ms. Flanagan’s first year class who sang Band Aid 30. This was followed by a duet from Catherine and Lyka from First Year who sang Drunk on Love. On Tuesday the 8 Finalists were announced. Those whose talents shone the brightest this year were the singing trio of 2 gingers and a blonde, TY Room 32, Ms. Doherty’s tutor class, with their sketch of the Teacher’s Disco. The other TY group to go through were Room 31 and the Toy Show. Solo singer Norita Bourke, from 5th year, two first year Irish dancers, Sarah Jane Gilmartin and Ciara Gleeson, Sadbh O Donovan, 1st year, with her contemporary dance and gymnastics routine to the Ed Shearan hit ‘Thinking out Loud’, Emily Murphy and Deirdre Fogarty, 1st year, who did a duet of Winter Song for the final and Ms. Stakelum’s class doing a very colourful sing along to the holiday favourite Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Half of the acts to qualify for the final were from first year, so they are clearly a talented bunch.
So on Friday, 19th December, after break, we all headed for the Sr. Ursula hall which had been transformed into glimmering shimmering red carpeted venue. The competition was tough and the talent of an exceptionally high standard. The judging panel, made up of 6th Years and teachers really had their work cut out to pick some overall winners. In the end the senior winners were 2 gingers and a blonde aka 6th year students Martha Kirwan on vocals, Niamh Walsh on her boom box and Leah Murphy on vocals and guitar. The junior winner was first year student Sadbh O’Donovan who wowed every one with her flexible and graceful dance routine. The overall winners were Sarah Jane Gilmartin and Ciara Gleeson two exceptionally talented Irish dancers from first year who had us all clapping and foot tapping along as they glided and pounded a rhythm around the stage in their hard shoes. Well done to you both.
Also during the final we were thoroughly entertained by a group of 5th and 6th years who did an interval act which was a parody of our school assembly. They took on the personas of some of the staff with frightening accuracy and had us all rolling in the aisles. Also as we were waiting for the results to be counted the student councillors got us all up out of our seats dancing to Cha Cha slide. Well done to all the 5th and 6th year councillors and their year heads Ms. Moloney and Ms. Bourke for organising all the X Factor activities not only on Friday last but also over the last number of weeks.
As is traditional a number of festive events were also organised at lunchtime by the 5th and 6th year councillors. On Tuesday teachers and students took part in a decorate the Christmas tree competition. Racing against the clock they had to place baubles and tinsel on bare Christmas tree. Marks were awarded for the most aesthetically pleasing tree completed in the fastest time. Well done to Mr. English, Ms. Roche and Ms. Keating for taking part along with their helpers from the audience. Then on Wednesday there was the annual debate between the students and the teachers. The 6th years were proposing the motion ‘Santa Claus should be arrested for drunk driving’ and had a formidable team of Rose Cantillon, Leah Carroll and Claire Higgins. They were adamant that Santa should be forced to practice sobriety and temperance or else be thrown into the clink. Opposing the motion and sticking up for poor old Santa in the face of such scurrilous accusations were Ms. Doherty, Ms. Carey and Ms. Flanagan. They made an excellent case in defence of Santa but the crowd were clearly baying for Santa’s blood as the motion was carried by a resounding cheer from the audience.
Christmas Carol Service
This was the second year of our Christmas Carol service for students, staff and their families and it took place on Wednesday evening 17th of December at 7.30 in the Sr. Ursula Memorial hall which had been decorated beautifully for the occasion. It was a wonderful service including so many of our favourite traditional hymns and music and a few newer ones as well. The programme included singing from the Cecilian Choir, Chamber Choir, the Harp Ensemble and members of Senior Orchestra. The soloists for the evening were Ellen Lanigan, Ann Marie O’Dwyer, Breffni Fitzpatrick, Julia Buckley, India Leonard, Caoimhe Fitzpatrick, and Lucy Bell our Poetry Aloud national finalist who did a poetry recitation. Also a group of first years did a graceful movement while holding candles to the most well known of all Christmas hymns, Silent Night. Well done to the music teachers in the school Ms. McNally and Ms. Butler and to Sr. Cecilia and the teachers in the Academy of Music for nurturing such talent.
Mass of the Gifts
Our Christmas mass is always referred to by us as the Mass of the gifts and has to be one of the high points in the Liturgical calendar of the school year. It is a time when we gather as a school community to anticipate the birth of Jesus with a mixture of solemnity, reverence and joy. It helps to focus our minds on what Christmas truly means. It is called the Mass of the Gifts because we recall that God gave humanity the gift of himself. We also acknowledge that Christmas is a time to think of others and our opening included a Liturgical dance in which we brought boxes to the altar to symbolise the times throughout the school year when we have engaged in charitable work. The mass was enhanced and made special by the music and singing. We were uplifted by the words and melodies of Holy Night, the Little Drummer Boy and Joy to the World among other Christmas hymns. Another beautiful tradition of this mass is the candle lit dance which involves all the first year students. The cathedral was darkened after the communion reflection and the first years took up positions on the altar and down each aisle illuminating the darkness with a slow graceful movement to the haunting tune of silent night sung in Irish, German and English. The light radiating brightly in the darkness is a powerful symbol of Jesus Christ, the light of the world. It is also fitting because we are remembering the centenary of the start of World War One and are reminded of the miracle that took place in the trenches that Christmas Eve of 1914 when enemy soldiers connected across no mans land with voices joined in German and English in the singing of Silent Night. Many thanks to Fr. Hayes our school chaplain for celebrating our mass of the gifts, to the music department, the religion department and Ms. Gleeson who took all the first year students to prepare them for the traditional candle dance.
Finally at the end of the Mass the Sixth Year Student Councillors, linking in with their chosen theme of gratitude, presented gifts of Trocaire Educational pacts to Ms. Butler, the principal, Ms. Hogan, a representative of the staff, Sr. Berchmans a representative of the Ursuline Community and the first year student councilors. The sixth year councilors had been raising money and awareness throughout the school over the past few weeks about the importance of education and how so many children throughout the world are denied a basic education because of poverty. This was their important and generous way of saying that they are grateful for the gift of their education and what better way to mark this gratitude than at the end of our Mass of the Gifts and by providing the gift of education to others. Well done to everyone involved.