Second Year Student addresses the President
It was a very proud day for the school last Monday, 7th March when a second year student, Lilly Whelehan, was chosen to address President Michael D. Higgins in Croke Park. President Higgins was there to speak to a crowd of over 6,000 students and teachers on the anniversary of the first flag raising in Waterford in 1848 by Thomas F. Meagher. Lilly is a direct descendent of Thomas F. Meagher which added to the history of the occasion, Lilly and her family being directly connected to the story of our national flag.
The President spoke about how impressive it was to see pupils from all over the country come together for this special event. Isabel Hanly, a 6th year history student, received a copy of the Proclamation in Irish and English on behalf of the school. President Higgins said the Proclamation recalled the ideas, hopes and dreams of those women and men who decided to fight for the freedom of Ireland. He mentioned the generosity of spirit which is so evident in the wording of the Proclamation. He said that Proclamation Day, on 15th of March, will give us all a chance to reflect on what it was that motivated those who engaged in rebellion. He also pointed out that some of those who fought, the boys from Na Fianna and St. Enda’s were the same age as some of the audience.
When the President had finished his address Lilly was introduced by Ryan Tubridy as the great-great-great-great, grand niece of Thomas Francis Meagher. Lilly thanked the President for his inspiring words. She said that the ceremony had taught those in attendance that the national flag belongs to everyone. She then went on to say that the respect and pride that is felt for the flag is at the heart of the identity of young Irish people today. She finished by hoping that every young Irish person would promote the flag’s message of peace and friendship. Lilly’s parents, brothers and grandmother were in the audience proudly watching her on this momentous occasion. It was her grandmother who mentioned the family ancestry to Lilly only very recently and she then told her history teacher Mr. Kirby. When the commemoration organisers found out that a relative of Thomas Meagher would be attending they expressed their wish that Lilly should be included in the ceremony in some way.
Lilly was delighted to be able to represent her family’s lineage, her family and her school in this most special way. She spoke her words eloquently, confidently, like a consummate professional, showing a maturity that belies her fourteen years. When she was interviewed afterwards by the Irish Independent she told them that speaking in front of the President had been a nerve wreaking experience. There were no sign of these nerves when she was on the stage, in front of the microphone. She spoke beautifully with a resounding clearness. She also managed to make the second page of the Irish Independent the following day. Everyone in the school was beaming with pride that she is one of our own. Well done Lilly, you are a great ambassador for the flag, for your family and for the school.
Chamber Choir win Feis Cheoil
The Chamber Choir won the prestigious Alice Yoakley Cup at Feis Cheoil on Thursday, 8th of March. The 43 students were vocally in tip top shape being well prepared by their conductor Ms. Farrell. Although they have come close to winning on the last number of occasions they missed out narrowly every time. This was to be their year. They sang two pieces – an Ave Maria, arranged by American composer Joshua Himes. Their other song was Incantations an original piece by Irish composer Michael McGlynn. Their scored an exceptional 90/100 beating Blackrock College who were just a mark behind on 89/100. In third place was St. Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar school choir. As a result of their win Chamber Choir qualified to perform in the ESB school Choir of the Year Gala held that evening which was a huge honour. The whole school was thrilled for the girls and Ms. Butler and delighted at their success in winning the Alice Yoakley Cup for the first time.
Junior Certificate Junior Studies Award Ceremony
Nineteen students who sat the Junior Cert last year achieved A’s in their business studies exam. For their great success in this area of study they were recognised by the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick. The Junior Certificate Junior Studies Award ceremony was held on Wednesday night, 9th of March in Limerick with most of the students attending to pick up this accolade in person. Congratulations to the students involved and to the business studies teachers who helped them reach their academic potential in this discipline.
Build a Bank
The school bankers Katie Murphy, Ciara Quirke, Maria Ryan, Sophie Hayes, Zoe Fitzgibbon and Rebecca Wiliams have won a place in the National Final of the school Build a Bank Competition. They were one of five schools out of 36 entries to qualify from the Regional Final, held last week in Silversprings hotel, Cork. Bank 101 impressed the judges with their ‘Shop Local Win Big’ campaign aimed at encouraging people to spend their money supporting the local economy. They got full marks from the judges for their business plan. The students put a tremendous amount of effort into their stand which also helped them to get through the regional final. Bank 101 aswell as being busy in school recruiting customers have also been out and about in the town performing random acts of kindness. They have a few more original ideas up their sleeves for the National Final which takes place on 21st of April in Dublin.
The Little Foot TY mini company, who compiled a farm safety booklet for children, attended a national final in Dublin’s Griffith on Tuesday, 8th of March. The booklet which aims to educate children about the most common farm accidents and therefore stay safe on the farm was one of 17 TY companies to be shortlisted from 85 for the competition. The students showcased their business idea to a panel of judges and gave a five minute presentation to an audience of about 200. It was a great day and a fantastic experience for all the girls involved. Well done to Doireann Egan, Vanessa Dwan, Claire Dempsey and Avril Quirke.
Holy Cross Drama Festival
Ms. Slattery and her cast of 20 TY students participated in the school section of the Co. Tipperary drama festival in Holy Cross last Tuesday, 8th March. The play they performed was a stylised piece of drama reflecting the negative attitudes and distrust that comes from suspicion and ignorance. It also showed the distinctly human characteristic of blaming problems on everything except ourselves – in this case ‘The Wall’ got the blame. The play was beautifully narrated by Katie Taylor with sound effects provided by Sophie Hayes. The ensemble work of the play received a special award. The adjudicator praised in particular the level of queuing and the hours of rehearsal which had clearly gone into the production. Katie Taylor also won an award for her performance. Well done to Ms. Slattery and her band of TY players.
Junior Public Speaking Finals
First year finalists Sarah Fitzgerald, Zoe Bracken, Ellen Duggan, Ella Finlay, Ellie Culliton, Rebecca McCabe and Victoria Cotterell gave a fabulous display of knowledge and persuasiveness to a packed general assembly area on Wednesday, March 9th. The enthusiasm and skill with which they took on the topics of equality and greed would certainly leave many of newly elected Teachtaí Dála blushing and unnerved – both by content and the masterly display of effective communication. Jennifer Magnier, Isabelle Tyrell and Ellen Moriarty were charming masters of ceremonies while time keepers Alannah Collins, Mollie Lloyd and Emma Roche made sure proceedings were carefully monitored. Ms. Purcell, speech and drama teacher kindly adjudicated, complementing the girls – champions all. Both she and Ms. Butler were enthralled and genuinely impressed by their excellent skills in communication. The winners were Ellen Duggan in second place and overall winner Zoe Bracken.
The 2nd years too had their final the following day, Thursday March 10th speaking on the same topics. Cathríona O’Sullivan, Kerry Tierney and Isabel Quirke delivered fabulous speeches – well researched, beautifully crafted and delivered with style. Ms. Keating and Ms.J. Burke were joint adjudicators in a final where there was only a hairs breath between all three speakers. The winner on the evening was Isabel Quirke who delivered a wideranging and captivating speech on her chosen topic ‘Greed – the greatest sin of all?’. Aoife Dempsey chaired proceedings with efficiency and good humour. Second boasts many superb speakers – long may that continue.
The Junior A’s lost their game against Kilkenny College by 2 goals to 1.
YSI Speak Out
The YSI speak out was held in Lyrath House in Kilkenny on Wednesday 9th March. The 3 groups sung, acted and orated their way through their very different topics. Ms. Collins Room 32 did a project entitled ‘Our country, our flag’. It was about the symbolism and protocol around our national flag. They have also prepared an excellent short film on the tricolour which will be shown on Proclamation day.
Ms. Purcell’s class, Room 31, did a project on the pitfalls for young students transitioning from primary school to secondary school. They produced a survival guide to help 6th class with this change and an accompanying kit. They also compiled a code for first years to make going to big school a bit easier. Their project is entitled Big Fish, Little Fish.
Ms. Doherty’s group Room 29 are determined to educate people on the dangers of excessive consumption of sugar. The inspiration for their project came from the shocking revelations in the recent RTE programme ‘Sugar Rush’. They put up a very effective display in one of the main corridors of the school in which they had weighed out in clear plastic bags the amount of sugar in many popular brands. For the speak out they sung an original composition about the negative effects of sugar and how too much of it is a ticking time bomb on our health.
Munster Final Shield School’s Tennis
The school tennis team consisting of Cliodhna Heenan, Ciara Fogarty, Susie Osborne and Ruth Hassett won the Munster Final Shield School Tennis Competition on Wednesday, 9th of March. They travelled to Rushbrooke in Cobh and played Cork school St. Angela’s in the Final. The girls won all three matches. The double pairing of Ruth Hassett and Cliodhna Heenan won their game 6-2, 6-0. In the singles matches Ciara Fogarty beat her opponent 6-2, 6-2. Susie also won impressively 6-2, 6-1. So great play all round. Well done to the girls.