Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky Outings for Transition Year

Our TY pupils had a great night last weekend when they travelled to an unknown location in Co. Meath for some scary set pieces...

Many thanks to Mr. Ted Sherwood who organised the whole affair and who took the photos below, where thankfully everyone  looks relatively calm and content!

We're off for half term for the coming week, returning on Sunday night for boarders and Monday morning for day pupils but there may well be a post here at S's and D's between now and then.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Academic Transition Year

In St Columba's College we emphasise that TY is a strongly academic year, building on previous years' experience. Normal classroom work takes place alongside the hugely diverse activities recorded on this blog. As half-term and the parent-teacher meeting approach it is appropriate briefly to focus on this vital aspect of the college year.

Each TY pupil has so far received three sets of effort marks signalling their level of effort in their academic subjects. The Michaelmas examinations will take place at the end of November and TY will undertake these alongside all other forms. At the end of this term parents will receive a full report on their academic performance.

Here is just a short sample of some subject wok being undertaken by TY pupils this term:

Geography/European Studies have been engaged in powerpoint presentations on European countries and will visit the European Commission Offices later this term.

Music pupils have looked at the origins of music and are also singing in a harmony group - we anticipate a TY Music concert later in the year.

The History class are immersed in World War I.

The Physics class have looked at optics and have started on mechanics.

Art/Photography afficionados are putting together scrapbooks containing their work and thoughts on their chosen pieces.

English pupils are hard at work on their Extended Essays and are also well into Twelfth Night in class.
Les eleves Francais are working their way through verbs and tenses while also studying three French songs and the Spanish pupils are researching Spanish artists in advance of a visit to the National Gallery.

Finally, the Classical Studies group have meditated upon the thoughts of Marcus Aurelius, have endured Greek Tragedy, enjoyed poetry from the ancient world and are currently examining religion in Rome.   

Later in the year individual subjects will present themselves more fully on the blog.

Muffin time...

The culinary arts will be revisited this evening as Ms Kilfeather takes a group of eight pupils and indulges in a spot of muffin making. The venue is her classroom (appropriately named Rice) and armed with a bagful of ingredients, two mini-ovens and a determination to cook and eat, no doubt the participants will be satisfied at the end of the evening.
Bon appetit. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

French Department Cinema Outing

TY French sets have recently been studying a module on Paris so as a tie-in the French department is organising a cinema outing tonight to see Woody Allen's latest offering Midnight in Paris. By all accounts it is a return to form for the veteran New York writer/director and in this film he is said to use the stunning Parisian urban landscape to beautiful effect...we'll see.

Update: Well we didn't see. In fact, we had to be evacuated from Dundrum Town Centre because of the much publicised flooding. Ah well - Midnight in Paris will just have to wait. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Evening Activities - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!

Tonight the undisputed champion of 'out-of-the-ordinary' school trips is at it again...Yes indeed Mr Sherwood has laid on a mysterious Halloween themed expedition exclusively for Transition Year. Ask us no more questions and we shan't tell you any fibs...Needless to say though that all will be revealed in the fullness of time and in due course. Cackle, cackle, evil laugh..

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cookery Demonstration

Louisa Gibbs was part of a group of TY pupils who participated in a cookery session in our very own kitchens this week. She writes about the experience below.

Derek waves the magic wand
On Tuesday the 18th of October, six members of Transition Year took part in a cooking demonstration. Mr. McCarthy kindly arranged for a top Sodexho chef, Derek, to come in to school and show us how to prepare a three course meal. The menu read: creamy sweet potato soup with a wholemeal scone and grated cheddar; followed by chicken in a tomato and basil sauce with penne pasta; and dessert was an autumn berry crumble with custard. It was a wonderful experience which also tasted amazing. Derek went through each detail and also added in extra information, his special tricks and ideas, so we could learn more.

Molly Dunne - no stranger to professional kitchens
I now understand the stress of working in a kitchen. It was very hot and Derek explained that it gets extremely busy when catering for large numbers and that that’s how chefs get a bad name for being angry! He also explained that it was very different cooking for six people rather than three hundred. It was a very useful and productive afternoon. I am sure that my fellow classmates would love to do it again, I know I would. The end result was really tasty, something I would definitely make  again.

Fitzy goes to work!
Molly, Bradley, Siobhan, Louisa, Stevie and Harry with Derek - great headgear!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Glencree Reconciliation Retreat

For many years now TY Columbans have joined Transition Year pupils from other schools for a two day retreat at the Glencree Reconciliation Centre. This year was no different and Jessica Scott shares below her impressions of the experience. 

Mr. McCarthy brought us up to Kippure Adventure Centre on Tuesday the 4th of October. There was a change of location due to maintenance work in the Glencree centre. We arrived at Kippure adventure centre shortly after 12:30pm to be greeted by a woman called Joyce. She showed us to our accommodation. The houses were amazing with a small kitchen, dining room and lounge area also with a balcony which had an amazing view.

There were six per house with two rooms with three beds and an en suite. Shortly after arriving Sadhbh, Brendan and I were introduced to the 26 other students who were also in Transition Year and came from various schools: Villiers School, Drogheda Grammar, Newtown, Wesley College, King’s Hospital, St. Andrews, Monaghan Collegiate, and of course St. Columba’s. We then went to lunch where we all got talking. After lunch, we went to the meeting room and were introduced to our mentors Gail and Yasser and they explained to us what Glencree is all about.

Glencree Reconciliation Centre is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to peace building and discussing violence in various areas such as the North and South of Ireland. It was established in 1974. Our mentors explained their main purpose was to strengthen peace between communities and involve more people in the reconciliation process.

We played games to get to know one another. There was an activity called ‘Secret Friend’ where you would get someone’s name and not reveal it to anyone and write little messages to that person and then at the end of the programme reveal yourself. This helped to get to know one another.

There was also a serious side to this, how we spoke about conflict, how it can start and possible solutions, people who are powerful/powerless and what we thought made a good leader. This was a life changing programme in which I learnt a lot about many other people’s opinions. Also I got a chance to give my opinion on topics such as the legal age to vote by doing a debate. Also our mentor Yasser was from Gaza in Palestine and he shared his many experiences of the conflict between his homeland and Israel.

There were other activities too, such as: Cushions, where three teams all wanted the same cushions, this activity was to show the different ways of approaching potential conflict situations. We used violence to get the cushions when there were other ways such as co-operation, sharing the cushions between the teams. This all required communication skills. We also did a rap in three teams where we picked a scenario where someone had been treated unfairly. The group I was in chose the scenario of a boy on our team who once found a trolley in a bush and then the Gardaí arrived and even though he wasn’t involved in it he was forced to walk two miles to bring it back to where it belonged. I enjoyed these activities very much!

There were evening activities after dinner. The first evening we watched the movie “Juno”. On the last evening we watched a documentary about the conflict between Gaza and Israel and the seriousness of this violence. This was a shocking documentary which taught us about a life of violence and conflict and made me appreciate what I have. Also that evening we had a table quiz with questions on music, movies and bizarre rules in foreign countries… did you know that in Switzerland it’s illegal to flush your toilet after 10pm!

It was a great experience to get to know other people and learn different things about the world today. I’m happy I got the chance to go!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something smells nice!

This evening six TYers will take part in a cookery demonstration and class courtesy of the college caterers Sodexo. These pupils expressed an interest in cookery through their Pupil Profile which they completed at the start of term. They will be under the guidance of one of Sodexo's executive chefs and a three course menu has been organised for them.
It is hoped that this will be the first of many such events. The even better news is that they will in fact be cooking their own supper. No doubt a five star reveiw will appear here shortly...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pupils' Council 2011-2012

Elections to our Pupils' Council took place today and the two pupils chosen to represent Transition Year for the coming academic year are Molly Dunne and Ugo Unwurah. They will attend the Council's regular meetings under the stewardship of Mrs Heffernan. Congratulations and good luck to both of them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

TY Film Club: First Film Review

Mr. Coldrick has compiled an interesting and challenging list of films for the TY Film Club this year. The aim is spark interest both in film itself and in the issues raised by those shown. Harry Johnson gives his summary of the first offering of 2011.

On the 4th October 2011 the Transition Year watched “O” in the Lower Argyle. It is a tale of trust, seduction, jealousy and betrayal based on William Shakespeare’s  Othello.

Odin and Desi are a couple but Hugo, Odin’s best friend through basketball is also in love with Desi. In his desperate jealousy of the girl, Hugo commits sins he would previously never have dreamed of. Throughout the film Hugo relies on Odin’s trust to stir up suspicion in the love relationship.

Hugo kills three times for Desi and plays the part too well so that Odin ends up killing Desi in rage and then himself. Moments before Odin’s suicide, he realises Hugo has betrayed him. The source of the information which leads to Odin’s revelation is Hugo’s third victim. At this stage, Hugo has driven two friends to their deaths and Desi, his reason for killing his friends is also dead.

Finally the police cars take Hugo away; he now has nothing, no friends, women or even any sympathy from his parents.

“O” was released in 1999 but was shelved for two years due to its similarities to the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre. Not wanting to reawaken fresh scars the film was re-released in 2001.

Team Hope

Yesterday in Chapel Ms Carol Hennessey from Team Hope spoke to the school about this project. Better known as the Christmas Shoebox Appeal the project is aimed at TY pupils who are asked to collect and fill shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for children around the world.

Ms Hennessey spoke about how much happiness these gifts bring to children and families who have very little in comparison to those in the developed world. It is a tradition now that our TY pupils engage with this project and a report will appear later.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Zumba Has Arrived!!!

Do you like to dance, keep fit and have fun? Well, look no further, Zumba has arrived. On Wednesday October 12th at 4.30pm eighteen brave girls huddled nervously in the gym, rather unsure what they were about to experience. They need not have feared as Louis our instructor was extremely friendly and immediately made the girls feel at ease. The initial warm up routine got the heart rates up as well as the group spirit and level of comfort. It was all engines go for the next 40 minutes. 

Zumba is a new fitness sensation taking over the world. It all began by chance back in 1990s when Columbian fitness instructor Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez forgot his aerobic tapes. Determined to continue with his class he raided his car tapes which consisted mainly of traditional Latin, salsa and merengue music. What followed was an improvised class using this very non-traditional aerobic music and Zumba was born. Following the success in Colombia, he took the class to the USA in 1999 and this exciting style of fitness class has infected the world ever since. 

Zumba is considered exercise in disguise, with a typical class burning between 500 and 1000 calories. The music is a mixture of slow and fast rhythms combined with aerobic resistance training with the key focus on fitness and weight loss. The music comes from a broad and varied range of dance styles including salsa, mambo, reggaeton, samba, merengue and chachacha to name a few. 

Zumba follows a very simple formula - dance, keep fit, lose weight, stay toned and have fun in a friendly atmosphere. It is for everyone, it doesn't matter how old you are, shape or fitness level, everyone is welcome. It is a great way to relieve stress, lift your mind, body and soul and burn those calories. 

The overall experience was great and the gym was buzzing after half an hour with everyone hoping for another beat bashing Latin song…so now the question….. is Columba’s ready to ZUMBA?!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Organic Garden - Update No. 2

On Saturday 24th of September five members of the Transition Year Biology set visited the TY Vegetable patch along with Ms. Hennessy and Ms. McNelis for an afternoon of planting in our newly established vegetable garden.
The previous week a number of other pupils had recovered what once was a vegetable patch from swarms of weeds and shrubbery that had grown over the years. 

When we arrived we got straight to work removing the final weeds, mixing compost with top soil and blending it into existing soil giving it a much needed nutrient and moisture boost.
We first planted strawberries which were kindly brought in by Alex Bisgood who has had experience in working on his family garden in Enniskerry. We then moved on to planting a variety of Autumn vegetables including cabbages, little gem lettuce & broccoli in the patch. We planted these around twelve inches in nice even rows.
During our planting we found a little friend buried in the soil. It had a cream body with a brown head and has six legs. We took some photos and looked him up on line to find out he was the larva of the Chafer beetle. These feed on the roots of plants and need to be controlled. With a little research we found one interesting method involving nematodes. The nematodes are applied to the soil and the soil is watered. The nematodes (Heterorhabditis megidis) seek out the chafer grubs and attack by entering natural body openings. Once inside, they release bacteria that stops them from feeding killing the grub. The nematodes then reproduce inside the dead pest and release a new generation of hungry infective nematodes, which disperse looking for new prey. Isn't nature wonderful?!! 
Our afternoon of activities lasted an hour and a half. All our hard work paid off and we now have the beginnings of the TY Organic Garden.
By Alex Owens 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Transition Year Information Evening

This annual event takes place on Thursday 6th October in the Big Schoolroom at 8:00pm. There will be a number of speakers: staff, current TY pupils and former TY pupils. There will be an opportunity to ask questions afterwards in the Drawing Room where refreshments will be served. We hope to see many parents there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Transition Year House Speeches

A review of last night's event by one of the TY pupils will appear here soon but it has to be noted now, in brief, what a great night it was. The proceedings were expertly hosted by Alex Owens and interval entertainment was provided by B. Dickerson and A. Chisholm singing the Ben E. King classic 'Stand By Me'. We also witnessed the astonishing street dance of L. Schaefer and T. McLarn with a little help from S.Koethe.

The subject matter of the speeches was eclectic and yet TY co-ordinator Mr. McCarthy noted in his comments how they were all linked by a common thread: the mysterious tapestry of life. From cows, citógs, cliff-jumping and Cavan, anaphylactic shock and adoption to grandparents, gorilla boarders and Down syndrome. But it was the opening talk by Helene Peters, simply on the important things in life, that deservedly won the first place. Hollypark took the house honours. Many thanks to the college's English teachers for coaching their charges. Well done to one and all.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Open Day 2011

Our obliging and valiant TY pupils acted as guides to guests today as the rain came pouring down. Their role was to show visitors where to go for the start of their guided tour. They offered umbrellas to those who had none. From there college prefects took over.

The organic vegetable growers were going to work their patch for the morning but the inclement conditions made that an unsuitable activity. Once the bulk of the visitors had arrived members of TY were due up in the BSR (Big Schoolroom) to listen to their form mates' house speeches, a practice for Sunday night's event. The final selection of speakers has still to be announced and excitement is building.