Monday, December 10, 2012

Debating Science Issues

Debating Science Issues (DSI) is a public speaking competition for secondary schools with a science twist. St. Columba's are once again involved this year, although our team is now comprised of TY pupils only including Arthur Moffit, Bethany Shiell, Callan Elliot, Cameron Wood, Alina Stiehler, Mark Russell and Piers Morrell.  Funded by Discover Science & Engineering, DSI aims to engage young people in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Areas like stem cell research, nanotechnology, vaccination or genetically modified foods are amongst the topics up for discussion. Earlier in the term, our team were treated to a workshop from √Čilis McGrath from CRANN - Trinity College's Nanoscience Research Facility - on how to debate and research effectively. The workshop was excellent and kicked started a great run. The team, who rotate speakers from event to event, have been victorious in our first two debates, defeating St. Joesph's in Lucan and Castlecomer Community School in Kilkenny, and taking home the CRANN title. The team will face the winners from UCD CLARITY in the new year. Topics discussed so far have been nanoscience and its potential in environmental science and whether self testing  was the future of health management. Our next debate will centre on ethical issues surrounding stem cell research and the team are already busy formulating their argument. Hopefully our good run will continue right through to the final.

Maths Mentoring

Mr Coldrick's latest initiative is a maths mentoring programme with TY pupils. Several TY pupils are now helping younger pupils, who struggle with maths, a number of times a week. Lydia Johnson reports.

About a month ago, Mr. Coldrick asked around the transition year, people who had done higher level in their junior cert, if they would be interested in tutoring a junior pupil in maths, as one of the numeracy initiatives. I was really enthusiastic about the idea, as I thought it would be good for the student to be taught by someone of a similar age with the same perspective, but also because it would be a great experience for us, the mentors, almost as a sort of teaching work experience. It was very appropriate for people in transition year, as this year is all about trying new things , and experiencing the type of things you wouldn`t necessarily learn in a classroom, so one on one mentoring sessions with a younger student fits perfectly into the TY programme. And so, 5 girls and 4 boys including myself in the transition year began giving lessons to our assigned students for an hour a week, in two half hour sessions or all in one go. The nine students being tutored range from first to third year, doing both higher and ordinary level junior cert, so there is a wide variety of standards. As far as I know, everybody who volunteered is thoroughly enjoying themselves, and I for one get on great with the boy I work with, and really look forward to our sessions as we do the work, but we also have great fun while we are doing it! I think it is a brilliant thing to do and I am very glad Mr. Coldrick established it, as it is very beneficial for everyone involved. 

Muffin Baking

While we don't have a dedicated Home Economics room in the school, it rarely stops us from dabbling in some baking with our TY pupils. A few weeks ago, Ms. Kilfeather organised a muffin baking session - Ally Boyd Crotty tells all.

On the 14th of November, eight of us from TY went to Rice (a classroom) to make Muffins with Ms. Kilfeather. She had prepared everything perfectly to start and brought in all ingredients and products, as well as borrowing 2 of Mr. Clarke's ovens. We had the recipes for Chocolate-Chocolate-Chip Muffins and Banana-Cinnamon Muffins, but we decided on just making two lots of the Chocolate ones, as they are a favorite. 

We split into two groups of four, and both groups mixed all the ingredients together in bowls, tasting as we went. When we had finished mixing, even though the consistency didn’t look so normal, we filled up the molds and stuck them in the oven. The smell filled up the classroom, and they smelled delicious. 

Strangely, when we opened the oven to check if they were cooked, they didn’t look so normal… The first lot tasted quite abnormal, but also nice and sweet and they were gone in a minute. However, the second lot didn’t work out so well, they were burnt and tasted horrible. Ms. Kilfeather tried to save them by removing the burnt top and covering them in golden syrup, which did help, and soon we managed to finish them. 

This was a very enjoyable night and I would love to take part in it again. Thank you so much to Ms. Kilfeather!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Team Hope Shoe Box Appeal

'Tis the season to be jolly... In some cases it is, but in some countries it’s just another day without presents.

This year SCC Transition Year will help Team Hope to complete their challenge of gathering shoe boxes, filling them with gifts that have been donated by generous people, wrapping the shoe boxes up and sending them with their love to countries in Eastern Europe and Africa.

Imagine, you’re a child aged 2 to 14, you have been a victim of war and disease, and when the cold winter is just around the corner, you, like every other year have nothing.

What can you do to help this child? It’s easy! Get a shoebox, wrap it up and fill it with little presents that would put a smile on a child’s face.

When filling your shoe box bear in mind the 4W’s, something to wear (clothes, hat, gloves) something to wash with(toothpaste, toothbrush), something to write with(copybooks, pens) and the WOW factor! It doesn’t matter where the box goes to, in Africa at night it is just as cold. If you are putting toys in, please don’t put any toy guns because most of these children have been victims of war. With donation of four Euros you can help Team Hope deliver these presents as if they were on the back of Santa’s sleigh.

Imagine you’re a child and at Christmas you received a shoebox that was generously made just for you. Your cheeks would hurt from smiling so much, imagine being that child and think about the fact that you could change this child’s life. Merry Christmas!

Jesse Faulkner

Friday, October 19, 2012

Come Dine With Me India

Mr. Coldrick has started a new cookery series with the TY pupils - themed 'Come Dine With Me' evenings. Charlotte Cooper reports on the first in the series - India night.

On Wednesday evening, the 17th of October, Cameron, Jess, Jessye and I went to Mr. Coldrick’s house and cooked an Indian meal for Mr. Coldrick, Ms. Mc. Nelis and twelve other students.

We went down to his house at four after classes and started cooking. Cameron first stir-fried the onions and curry paste, while we prepared the meats and sauces. After a long two and a half hours, all the dishes were ready, the meat cooked, the rice steamed and spiced and the naan bread toasted. We had made a Chicken Tikka Masala, a Chicken Korma, a Lamb cinnamon and apricot curry, and a Beef curry. The students had all just arrived at this stage, so we were ready to go. We decided to have the meal in a buffet style and allow every one to serve themselves.

Everyone helped themselves, and started to eat. Surprisingly, the food actually tasted really good and no one seemed to feel sick afterwards! After the meal we all just relaxed in the sitting room and garden until it was time to go back to school. 

TY Musical Night - Pat Coldrick

The first TY musical night took place last week with classical guitarist Pat Coldrick giving a wonderful and varied set. Cameron Wood reports.

Our first TY monthly music night started with a recital and talk by Pat Coldrick a well known classical guitarist who has appeared on National television and written music for world renowned musicians. On the night Pat played a variety of music from classical to contemporary, including a version of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin. My favourite piece of the evening was one of Pats own compositions called Antarctica.  This piece was very moving and different. Pat used a strange technique of sliding up the strings making a very eerie noise like the sound whales make under water. Overall it was a great evening and very inspirational for new guitar players like myself.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Alexandra Panayotou

On Thursday last, ultra endurance runner and Old Columban Alexandra Panayotou visited the school and gave a presentation to our TY pupils. Jessica Beresford reports!

On Thursday last we were visited by Alexandra Panayotou, an Old Columban and ultra endurance runner. Alex hasn’t done sports her whole life, though she does it intensively now. She began running properly, when she was 30 - her first time since doing running at the college. 

She started running marathons, and quite by chance one day happened to do an ultra endurance run, up mount Olympus. She loved it. Much to her surprise she was able to do it, finishing in an unbelievable 2nd place. From here developed her ultra endurance running career. 

In 2008 Alex decided that she really wanted to challenge herself, by doing a solo ultra endurance run. She was going to run from Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela. This run was 1208 km and would be from April 26th to May 16th. 

This would be her first time running constantly day after day. 

Her next challenge was to run against a horse. With a 5 hour headstart the statistics were that the horse would come in 15 minutes before her. She managed to arrive 15 minutes before the horse. 

In 2010 she ran 2010 km in 31 days to promote the European Athletics Championships. She ran 70 km a day allowing herself a “rest day” on a Sunday- 30 km . 

Her most recent challenge was in aid of Foodbank, a charity that helps send food if a natural disaster occurs. In this she ran 315 km non-stop. To really publicize what Foodbank does she ended her run, in the half time of a football match, in front of 40 000 people. 

I thought Alex was very interesting, an amazing inspiration. She maintains a belief that with mental preparation, determination, resilience, discipline and courage you can do anything. Her story just shows that it’s never too late to aspire to fulfil your dreams. 

“Find your own motivation to keep you moving forwards for when the road ahead seems tough” –Alex.