Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TY Trip to Dirty Dancing

At six o'clock on the 22nd of February the all the members of the SCC Transition Year, bar some sick Germans, set out to the Grand Canal theatre to view the latest performance of 'Dirty Dancing'. I really didn’t know what to expect as it was Mr. Sherwood taking us and it could really be anything. The title, however, made me nervous! 

We arrived and walked into the main lobby where we were greeted by a flock of programme sellers! Once passed them we all slugged are way up 12 flights of stairs to our mezzanine. Only when I took my seat right in the middle of the theatre did I realise the true scale of the place and more importantly how far away I was from the stage! This didn’t matter however because once the show had started I was glad I was so far away. The moment that the first group of dancers/actors pranced out onto the stage I was truly shocked as the choreography and the dancing itself was truly amazing! I was also amazed by the set changes. Me, being a school boy, I'm used to school performances which are good in their own right but don’t even compare to the real deal. I mean they changed the whole stage from a ball room to a bedroom in a matter of seconds! I also was impressed with the characters and subsequent actors. The two main characters Johnny and Baby were not surprisingly the most impressive, although penny was also very ‘impressive’ but in a slightly different sense... 

The plot was hard to understand, as later I was told I would have had to see the movie to get any of it. However I think I had a fair idea of what was going on as I am about to briefly explain: 

Basically Baby and her family spend a summer at a recreation camp and baby falls in love with the dancing instructor Johnny. My favourite part of the entire performance was when Johnny arrives at the end by strutting up through the crowd jumping onto the stage and shouting ‘nobody puts Baby in a corner!!!!!’ This had almost all of the middle aged women in the place standing. When the performance was over I was genuinely surprised how much I enjoyed the evening! Overall, a very enjoyable evening. 

William Wood. 

TY Subject Profile: English

In the first of a series of TY subject mini-profiles Mr Julian Girdham discusses English.

The English TY programme has been running for almost 18 years. While it is tweaked from year to year, the basic successful structure remains the same. 

Last term the main focus was on the Extended Essay, a major project comparing at least three books, which makes pupils examine literary texts in the sort of detail they have never done before, and often develops their writing and critical skills dramatically. The best of these essays are currently being posted on the SCC English site,, such as Siobhán Brady's analysis of racism in 20th century America, Lilian Glennon's piece on relationships in books by Arthur Golden, Adeline Yen Mah and Jennifer Donnelly, and Sadhbh Sheeran's essay on three books with 'room' in their titles, which received a Commendation. Pupils in Transition Years in the future will benefit from these impressive exemplars.

While those essays were being written, pupils studied Shakespeare's great comedy Twelfth Night in class (all forms from II on look at Shakespeare's work in one form or another), and have now after Christmas moved on to Harper Lee's evergreen novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Also this term at least half of the Work Portfolio must be done: this provides practice and development in short essay and story writing. In the spirit of the idea of more independent learning in TY, and academic self-organisation, pupils hand this work in when they wish (as long as they bear in mind the final deadline).

They have also completed three of four modules in a rota, going to different teachers for these: some creative writing, the poetry of W.B. Yeats, Old/Middle English and Geoffrey Chaucer, and Images in Poetry. Excellent poetry often comes from the last of these, under Ms Smith's tutelage, and some poems have already been posted on SCC English.

The relatively short summer term sees the completion of the Work Portfolio, as well as a study of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. The course ends with the annual (18th!) English Evening, on May 29th, when some of the best work of the year is heard in the presence of a distinguished guest. 

At the end of the whole process, all pupils will fill in an online questionnaire giving feedback on the course. This enables us to plan next year's course, but also is designed to make pupils reflect on the progress they have made. We hope they have made considerable strides in their critical skills and their writing abilities.

Sligo / Mayo Cycle cont.

A few more pictures from the North West and on the way out there.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

(Cycle) Into the West

And a few more from Day 2 - lovely shots outside the scenic Healy's Hotel near Pontoon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Royal College of Surgeons Ireland

Sadhbh Sheeran recently took part in the RCSI Mini Med course. Here she writes about her experience. Warning: it is not for the squeamish...

Monday was slightly daunting. There were over 150 TY students from around the country sitting in one of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) lecture theatres. Once I got past the first awkward ten minutes it was all great. Meeting the other TY students was interesting as we all had a strong interest in medicine and everyone seemed to be really bright. I met brilliant people over the course of the week and I hope to stay in contact with some of them. I could not begin to describe all the things we got up to during the week the variety and sheer volume of lectures and workshops were so huge! So I am just going to mention some of the highlights of my week.

In terms of the lectures my favourite were Neurology, Orthopaedics and Accident and Emergency. I liked the neurology because in the end everything comes down to the brain. The surgeon who spoke to us was funny and charismatic. He was willing to take a myriad of  questions. He also showed us x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s of some of his past patients so we got to see everything from bullets to arrows to pencils lodged in people's skulls. Both Orthopaedics and A&E appealed to my gory side. Orthopaedics seemed to be about imaginative reconstruction a lot of the time which I found fascinating where as the sheer rush, buzz and adrenaline of A&E as well as the organisation needed was compelling.
In terms of the workshops I loved them all. Over the course of the week I attended one on Physics in Medicine, which was surprisingly interesting. I also attended a workshop on CPR, I learnt how to set up and take ECG’s as well as meeting Fred (their breathing, eating, talking, sweating, excreting, teaching dummy) When it came to learning to sew stitches I was not a natural but I picked it up after a while. My highlight of what they called “Clinical Skills” however was undoubtedly when I got chatting to a doctor about broken bones. When I explained I had never broken anything so had never had a cast and had always wanted one, he told me to roll up my sleeve...within five minutes I was kitted out with my very own authentic cast, I was so proud! I probably had the most fun in the “Chemical Chaos” workshop, mainly because my bench was the least serious and most entertaining! I mean who couldn’t be amused by bouncy polymer balls?! We were deemed the best Chemical Chaos group ever by the mentors purely due to our enthusiasm.
One of the  highlights of my week was getting to see the surgeries. My favourite was the keyhole surgery to remove a woman’s gall bladder .The experience was indescribable. We met both patient and surgeon and were able to ask them questions. Within 20 minutes the patient was on the operating table, we were able to see both the operating theatre and directly inside the woman’s abdomen via video link to the lecture theatre. The whole thing was slightly surreal! Throughout the surgery we were able to ask the surgeon and his team questions and he asked us for our opinions as well. He wouldn’t remove the detached gallbladder until one of us worked out how to do it, it took us at least 10 minutes! As soon as he had completed the operation the surgeon came back to us to take any more questions and the next morning both he and the patient paid us another visit to answer any remaining queries we might have.
From the start of the week the part I was most looking forward to was meeting my idol. Is it odd that my idol happens to cut up the state's murder victims?  State Pathologist Marie Cassidy was just as inspiring as I had thought she would be! My favourite of her lines being “I would much rather be going to see a dismembered body at 2am than a patient with a headache!” I was thrilled when at the end of her talk I with some of my new friends were asked to remain behind to ask her more questions and have our photo taken for the Irish Times. The photos made last week’s HEALTHplus supplement accompanied by an article on the Mini Med School Course, in which I was quoted!
I have mentioned just a few of the lectures and workshops I attended and I hope what I have written reflects the incredible time I had. It was completely worth the two hour commute from school to Beaumont. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done so far this year and I would like to thank the RCSI as well as Mr. McCarthy who offered me the opportunity.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Muffin Making Mark II

Baking is Basically Applied Chemistry...right Sebastian?
Emily Speckter reports:

On the 18th of January ten of us from TY went to Rice to make Muffins with Ms. Kilfeather. She had prepared everything perfectly to start and brought in all ingredients and products. We had the recipes for Chocolate-Brownie Muffins and Banana-Cinnamon Muffins, which we finally changed into only Banana Muffins...there was no cinnamon to be had!

They Simply Call Themselves The Muffins
We started with the chocolate ones, mixed the ingredients as we were told and worked all together. Then we filled the forms up and put them into the oven. While they were baking, we made the banana ones and filled them up as well. When the chocolate ones were finished we took rhem out and let them cool down.

Ideal Muffin Lighting
Then we did the same with the banana ones, but they were quite spongy and warm. The chocolate-brownie muffins were really good, I prefered them. Overall it was very nice to cook something delicious, as I sometimes do at home too. It was a nice evening with tasty muffins to eat at the end and it was great fun. Thank you so much to Ms Kilkfeather.

& Remember Always Clean as You Go...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


TYer Sadhbh Sheeran recently completed the Mini Med School course in the Royal College of Surgeons. In Tuesday's HEALTHplus supplement in The Irish Times she is pictured in conversation with the State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy - Sadhbh is pictured in the leopard-print hat! She is also quoted in the article. She really enjoyed the experience and will write about it in due course.