Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Microsoft Inspiring Careers Day

On the of November, I and 11 other students missed a day of school to attend a Microsoft open day in which they hoped to encourage the country’s youth to consider a future career in computing. 

When we arrived, we were each given an ID tag which was either blue or green. These were the two groups and on half of all the tags was written in highlighter HOL (Hands On Lab). With the ID tags we were also given a Microsoft hat, notepad, pen and a small breakfast. 

After our registration we were immediately launched into the interview of three men who had careers in computing. One of them was a former winner of the imagine cup. It was interesting how they responded to the questions being fired at them. They said that a career in computing is for anybody and does not require a specific skill set, just a keen interest in technology. They also went on to say that there is not a high demand leaving cert points-wise for computing degrees in college. However, the imagine cup winner told us that in his class of 30 consisted of 26 boys and merely 4 girls. 

Next I was carted off down to the hands on lab where we were asked to design a basic computer game. We used software which made it quite easy, but unfortunately we were under time pressure so the end result was not great. We then got to play other peoples’ games and mark them out of 25. Only two of the games I was assigned to play actually worked though! 

After that was lunch and we were allowed to eat in the canteen with all the actual Microsoft workers as if we were employees there, which was cool. 

The game centre was interesting as they had all the x box kinect games and the latest x box controllers also. There were a few serious gamers from other schools who knew the anniversaries of x box games who were nearly beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of being able to play the latest games with the new gyroscopic controllers. 

My favourite part of the day however was a speech at the end given by a Canadian evangelist called Wilber! He was talking about the powers of the kinect (which is a way of playing x box by moving your body instead of your fingers, the kinect device can comprehend your body movements and apply them to what is on the screen). He showed us how one day we will be able to go shopping from our living rooms. Swishing our hand from side to side, to browse from product to product, maybe even virtually try on the clothes to see if you look good in them. He explained to us that we will also be able to just pick things off the shelves in a shop and walk out, they will automatically be charged to our credit cards. He also flew a remote controlled flying machine over us (the spectators) from an x box remote with a live camera on it, which he told us can also be operated using a smart-phone and will soon come on the market for private consumption. 

It was a great day out, it did not convince me to go into a career in IT but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I would like to thank Mr. McAlinden for bringing us and for Mr. Jones for arranging the day. 

Harry Johnson. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Recent Twilight Hike

Continuing on with our love of hiking in TY Mr. Coldrick takes his turn, below, to report on a recent twilight walk.

On Saturday evening, November 27th, a group of 14 TY pupils accompanied by myself, Ms Cauldwell and my hiking partner and friend of many years Brian Bell (a qualified and experienced Mountain Guide) completed a very enjoyable evening hike over the Dublin Mountains. We started in Tibradden Woods and followed the newly developed Dublin Mountain Trail up Cruagh Mountain before descending steeply through Massey's Woods. We then climbed up to the haunted Hellfire Club where we were rewarded with a stunning view of the lights of Dublin in the dark.

This fit and enthusiastic group of TY pupils are forming the SCC TY Hikers and we plan an exciting programme of challenging hikes over the coming months including completing the Wicklow Way, Dawn walks (led by Mr Swift), climbing a number of Ireland's highest mountains and hopefully aiming next April for the West Highland Way, Scotland's famous long distance route.

Many thank to Mr Patterson who helps with the transport and logistics.

Photos to follow soon.

National Youth Orchestra of Ireland

Many congratulations to TY member Clara Booth who has been selected to play the harp in the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. A most accomplished musician, she has played in front of the college on several occasions already and we look forward to hearing her again soon.

Both Clara and fellow TYer Siobhan Brady have been awarded music scholarships by the college. Bravo!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Visit of Deerfield Academy

For the past three years there has been a close association between St. Columba's and Deerfield Academy, Massachusetts, USA. Founded in 1797 Deerfield is one of America's oldest schools and a group of girls from there visited last weekend with one teacher and several parents. Some members of TY were charged with the task of providing their counterparts with a warm Irish welcome. One of them was Sadbh Sheeran and she writes about the experience below:

Deerfield in the fall

After lunch on Friday 18 November,  a group of TY pupils and I met ten girls from Deerfield Academy. We showed them around the college, bringing them to various classroom and buildings including the cricket pavilion to show them some of the college’s history.

The girls were curious about the Irish language so Siobhan and I took them to Dr.Bannister's VI form Irish class. Here they got to learn some Irish and because one of the girls was Mohawk we got to learn some of her language in exchange. The Deerfield girls also told us more about their school, it seemed very different from ours!

On Saturday Molly Buckingham, Molly Dunne and I headed off on the bus with the 2nd XV rugby team to Wesley. The Americans wanted to see a rugby match so Mr. Coldrick asked us to go and keep them company. When we arrived in Wesley the place seemed quite empty but the team wasn’t perturbed and started to warm up. After about 10 minutes Mr.Cron realised something was up as the other team hadn’t arrived. He called their coach who said he was very sorry as they must have gotten the days mixed up.

We had a problem! The Deerfield girls were to arrive soon and there wasn’t a team for our boys to play! They started playing amongst themselves anyway and I frantically tried to contact Mr.Coldrick to ask what we should do. At this point a security guard arrived to ask why we were in their school, on their pitches, on a Saturday when the school is closed and playing a match against ourselves...thankfully he was sympathetic!

Eventually Mr.Coldrick arrived and said we should wait for the girls and then head back to school which we did, Molly Dunne and I getting the taxi back with some of the Deerfield girls while all the others went back with Mr.Coldrick taking a minor detour to Superquinn.We congregated in the Drawing Room before heading down to Mr.Patterson's classroom to watch a movie, Four Weddings and a Funeral and eat the sweets Mr.Coldrick had bought us.

After the movie we took the girls to dinner and then we all split up and took three girls to each of our houses, Hollypark, Iona and Beresford. We showed them our dorms which are very different to theirs. Soon it was time to take them to the college’s production of Shakespeare's play, The Comedy of Errors, where everyone wanted to meet the American girls! At the end of the play we reunited them with their parents and teacher.

On Sunday evening they all came to our evensong chapel service, a particularly nice one as it was Mr. Jackson's hymns of praise service. He selected his favourite hymns a lot of which are very popular with us as well, so the Deerfield girls heard us singing at our best.

It was lovely to meet people not only from a different school system but also from a different continent and getting to hear about the way their school differs from ours. I hope the Deerfield girls enjoyed their time in Ireland.

Sadhbh Sheeran

The Deerfield website is found at www.deerfield.edu 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Laura Lynn Children's Hospice

Last Thursday Molly Dunne and Alex Owens took a stand at the Sunshine Home Christmas Fair to sell calendars in aid of the Laura Lynn Children's Hospice. These colourful calendars for 2012 feature artwork by Columban pupils and are for sale at €10 each. Any parent or friends who would like to buy one and support this deserving cause will be able to do so at the Coffee Morning at the Exodus wekend and on the night of the College Carol Service.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

TY Film Society - Review No. 2

Molly Buckingham shares her views below on the most recent screening of the TY Film Society.

Once a month, on Tuesday evenings, Mr Coldrick comes into our prep for a film society night. This particular Tuesday (15th November) we watched 'The Woman in Black'. This is a horror film set in 1889, about a young lawyer (Arthur Rawlins) who goes to the town of Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of a woman Alice Drablow and to retrieve some legal documents from her house. However while there he begins to feel a sense of unease, as people are reluctant to talk about Alice - the woman in black of the title, who he later starts to see everywhere.

He slowly uncovers the true origins and intentions of the woman in black and her frightening purpose. The plot really brought together the string of events very well making for some shocking revelations and clever narrative twists as Arthur investigates the tales surrounding the woman in black, as well as Alice Drablow's house.

I think that the whole of TY really enjoyed this film as it was really scary and entertaining and was the main topic of conversation for everyone at hot drink afterwards! There has been a play version of this 1980's classic running in London and there is supposed to be an adaptation of the film coming out in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe who is better known as Harry Potter to many of us. So I'm sure everyone who was a fan of this film will go to watch it! So if you do sit down to watch this film (which I would recommend) then prepare to get some serious goosebumps!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

International Maths Olympiad

Following an outstanding performance in his Junior Certificate Higher Level Mathematics Exam, William Wood has been invited to attend enrichment classes in UCD run by the International Mathematical Olympiad. These classes lead into Olympiad training classes where he may be selected to represent Ireland in the next IMO in July. The IMO is a prestigious annual team competition for mathematically talented second - level students. Ireland has participated in the competition since 1988, and Irish students have won medals in eight of those competitions. We wish William all the best and congratulate him on this fantastic achievement.

TY Pupils Attend Microsoft Inspiring Careers Day

Twelve members of the Transition Year, accompanied by Mr. McAlindon, are spending the day at Microsoft European Development Centre (EDC) in Leopardstown. The event is organised as part of Science Week and the day is jam packed with a wide range of activities and talks for the students on the careers available within the IT sector, including marketing, sales and programming. There is also a panel discussion on the future of ICT, a Game Zone to chill out in and a Science Fair! A full pupil report will follow in the coming days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Visiting Speaker: Irish Heart Foundation

On Wednesday 26 October, everyone in Transition Year sat in the Lower Argyle, learning about the work of the Irish Heart Foundation. Ciara Mealy, who is head of fundraising with the IHF, spoke to us about the work they do and the areas of heart health in Ireland that they have helped to improve.

She explained to us how a heart attack happens when an artery in the heart becomes blocked. She stressed the dangers of smoking and how smokers are more likely to suffer a heart attack than someone who doesn’t smoke at all. The Irish Heart Foundation was involved in the implementation of the smoking ban in Ireland.

Ciara reminded us that we should all be getting our five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and that teenagers like us should be doing an hour of physical activity a day (this is compulsory in St Columba’s so we have no choice!). 10,000 people die in Ireland each year as a result of heart disease, so the things she stressed to us about how to have a healthy heart are really important.

She then spoke about strokes and how they occur. 10,000 people suffer a stroke each year in Ireland. We learned that people who are under 65 can have a stroke. A girl who is involved in the IHF had a stroke when she was just eighteen years of age. The Irish Heart Foundation has been running a campaign to help people realise when someone is having a stroke. Remember FAST: Face (if someone’s face is drooping downwards), Arms (if the person can’t raise both arms), Speech (if their speech is slurred, Time (it’s time to call 999/112)

To finish, Ciara demonstrated CPR to us on a small dummy. We saw that you have to do 100 chest compressions per minute for the CPR to be effective. Somewhat ironically, if you just think of the Bee Gees song “Staying Alive” you will be able to time the 100 compressions a minute. We will be learning more about CPR in SPHE classes later in the year.

I really enjoyed the talk because I found it interesting and informative.

Juliana Huggard

International Charity Bazaar 2011

Next Sunday, November 13th, a group of TY Business pupils will travel to the Burlington Hotel to conduct a customer satisfaction survey at this event. The International Charity Bazaar is held each year by the diplomatic corps in aid of Irish charities. During the day 48 embassies will be selling traditional foods and crafts and showcasing their culture. We have been invited by the chairwoman to participate by conducting the survey, and this should prove to be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Democracy in Action

Pupils' Council representatives for the coming year were elected last month. Each form elects a boy and a girl and the successful TY candidates were Molly Dunne and Ugo Onwurah. Both of them also represented the college recently on the Dublin South Comhairle na nOg and Molly writes below about their brush with representative democracy. 

On Wednesday October 26th Ugo Onwurah and I represented St. Columba’s in the South Dublin Comhairle na nOg. Comhairle na nÓg are local youth councils, which give children and young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies. We signed ourselves in and mingled with pupils from various schools while we waited for the others to arrive. At 10 am we had a short introduction to the work of the council and then we listened to a speech on mental health and the importance of staying positive and having hope and belief in ourselves.

We were then all separated into groups. In our groups we discussed topics such as teenage drinking, drug use, tobacco, mental health and a variety of other important issues along those lines. All of our information was taken down by a member of the comhairle and it was good to have our opinions and views appreciated. It wasn’t all work though! We played a game of human bingo (to be honest I didn’t know what to expect!) and also another game which involved tying balloons to our ankles and the running around the conference room trying to step on and break other people's balloons! Overall I found the experience very enjoyable and worthwhile, we met a lot of interesting people and as I said before it was really great to have our opinions heard and taken into consideration.