News from Abbey Vocational School Donegal Town

Work to start on changing rooms in school gymnasium

News from Abbey Vocational School Donegal Town

School Gymnasium

Following excellent work from our fundraising committee and the support of many members of the community in the surrounding area we are in the wonderful position of commencing work on our changing rooms in the gymnasium. A committee was formed some time ago and they work tirelessly in order to support our school and indeed the many members of the community who use our gym in our efforts to improve the sports facilities in the school.

We are now happy to announce that work will commence immediately. We are getting all of the changing rooms upgraded. Thanks to the Sports facilities fundraising committee of Keith Anderson, Orla Carr, Patrice Rooney, Paul Diver, Michael Meehan, Mary Canavan, Michelle Harvey and Mary Coughlan for raising funds for this project. We are indebted to them for their work. Thanks also to our Parents Association who also provided funds from their fundraising events in order to assist with this project. The Hall is still in use but there are new changing arrangements in place.

Health Promoting Schools Project

The launch day for our Healthy Schools project took place on Thursday last, January 19th. All students in their tutor classes were shown a video made by the Health Promotion team in the school to illustrate the aims of the project and make them aware of the importance of healthy choices. The homework journal was used to highlight the aims and the various elements of a “Health Promoting School”. Students and staff wore sports gear on the day to promote the project. All students on the day donated €2 to help support extra-curricular projects that are running in our school. €700 in total was donated in order to assist extra-curricular projects for the AVS. Each year group participated in walking or running three laps on the track. The guidelines are present in the school journal for parents to view. Fruit and bottles of water were given out for free at break time and lunch time to promote healthy eating.

‘Couch to 5k’

The main element of the project is for as many members of the school community as possible to become more active. To facilitate this we are holding a “Couch to 5K” event over the coming 8 weeks. Registration took place in the gym at lunchtime on Thursday 19th with the first training on the school track at lunchtime. Training will then continue each Monday and Thursday at lunchtime. We encourage as many students as possible, regardless of fitness levels, to take part in this ‘Couch to 5k’ event. Other events for staff and students will also take place throughout the year. Over 120 students have signed up for the ‘Couch to 5k’ project.

The AVS have a wonderful Health Promotion team who will be organising events throughout the year. A huge thank you to our school committee for organising the successful event. The committee is made up of students and staff:

Students:  Ailbhe Donnelly (4th); Brian Gallagher (3rd); Kyle O’Neill (3rd); Ellie Muldoon (4th);        Aine McGroarty (4th); Erin McCafferty (4th).
Staff:  Mr S Murrin, Ms R Myers, Ms A Dunnion, Mr K Clarke, Mr B Carty, Mr L McLoone,              Ms E O’Mahony, Mr J Daly.
We would be delighted if some parents came on board – please contact the school office if you are interested.

Mock Exams

Students in Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate will be sitting their mock examinations next month. Paper one in English, Irish and Maths for 3rd and 6th year students will take place on: February 16th and 17th. Following the midterm break the rest of the exams takes place from 27th February to March 3rd. We wish all of our students well in preparation for these exams in the coming weeks.

State Exams

Every Junior and Leaving Certificate student have been given their official timetable this week. The students have also been given a timetable for project due dates. In addition, the 2017 Leaving Certificate timetable can be viewed on:

Evening Study

Evening study has now commenced for this term. Letters and application forms can be collected from the school office. Please complete and return same as soon as possible.

JCT Closure Training Day

The staff will take part in a Junior Cert training day on Monday March 6th. The school will close to students on that day. There will be an Information evening for parents on the new Junior Cert in early February. All parents are welcome to attend on this date. A confirmed date will be communicated in the coming notes.

Option Talks for 3rd year and TYs

There will be an information evening for TY and 5th year parents regarding options for the academic year 2017/2018 on Tuesday, February 7th. This will include information on the TY programme at 7 pm and information on subject choices at 7.30 pm. It is important that parents attend on this evening please. All students are currently discussing these choices with the Career Guidance Department in their classes and will receive a similar formal talk in the coming weeks. TY Talk: 7.00 pm – 7.30 pm. Subject options for those going into 5th year: 7.30pm – 8.15 pm.

Leaving Certificate Information Evening

On Wednesday 18th January an Information evening took place in the school which parents and guardians attended. The aim of the session was to inform parents of the challenges of third level, the settling in period, how finances, accommodation, assessments work etc.  The topics covered on the night were: the CAO application process (Nicola Dunnion), the transition from second level to third level (Michael Margey) and student support services available in third level Institutes (Roisin McCormack). Thank you to LYIT for providing such an informative session.

Events for incoming first year students

Over the coming weeks, our Deputy Principal Mr Doherty will visit all of the primary schools in the local area and distribute our enrolment packs to all of our incoming students. We will then hold an open evening here in the school on Wednesday 15th February from 5pm to 8 pm. All of our incoming students are welcome to attend with their parents.  All persons under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  An induction day will also take place on March 14th where all students will follow a day in the life of the Abbey Vocational School.


Enrolment Deadline – Friday, 24th February 2017

Induction Day for 6th class pupils – Tuesday, 14th March (Approx. 9.30 am to 2.30 pm) 

Information Evening for 6th class parents – Wednesday, 15th March (7.00pm – 8.00pm)

Jigs and Reels

The Abbey Vocational School will be hosting Jigs and Reels on the 24th March in the Abbey Hotel. The couples dancing will consist of one student who has experience in Irish dancing and the other who has never stepped before. Auditions will be held between the 23rd and 27th January.

The Gambia Schools Project

The Gambia Schools project committee wishes to say a big thanks to the school community at AVS for their great generosity to us at Christmas. The carol singing at Supervalu brought in €370 while the collection at AVS Choirs at the Church of Ireland raised €730. Then our cake sale brought in €295 and our raffle at the Christmas concert raised an additional €150 making a total of €1545.

Alec Reid, one of the founders of the project stated: “this is a great start for Gambia in 2017. The project costs between €4500 and €6000 annually. We have the total running of our ‘flagship’ school, IRIDU Junior School to take care of, namely teachers’ salaries and the upkeep of premises. There were unexpected repairs carried out in 2016. In addition, school uniforms for every child, one school meal per day, for many students this is their only meal and teaching materials.

This is the first school we built in Gambia. We have helped build and repair several other schools and continue to support them when we have the means. The Ebola outbreak in the recent past and now political upheaval makes it difficult to visit these schools at present but we have partners, Vrienden van Gambia, mostly made up of retired Dutch teachers who keep a daily eye on the project for us. Last year, Tricia Britton of Donegal Town, who is with a group of retired INTO teachers, traveled to Gambia regularly to train teachers and visit our schools. She hopes to visit again this month, conditions allowing”.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in this wonderful project. We are preparing pictures for AVS website at the moment – do watch out for them. Alec also looks forward to our help again this year.


170 first year pupils will take part in a Skipathon event on January 30th from 2 - 4pm. The students will attempt to jump the equivalent distance of Malin to Mizen Head, 659km within 2 hours. This is a sponsorship event in aid of the school’s extracurricular activities and bus expenses. It will be held in the gym along with a live DJ and lots of spot prizes to be won on the day. Skipping competitions will take place along with single person skipping and multi-person skipping on a longer rope.

Sleeping Beauty

Rehearsals for ‘Sleeping Beauty’ take place Saturday and Sunday in the Bosco Centre with Ms. Carr. The Panto will take place on Friday 21st to Monday 24th April. The following students from the AVS are involved: Jenny Green, Aoife Breslin, Daniel Gallagher, Aidan Mc Hugh, Aaron Friel, Kevin Canny, Gerard McIntrye, Ellen Mc Groary, Aine Mc Groary, Siofra Mauerhofer, Ella Duffy and Ciara Joyce.

Scratch Module

Ten 1st and 2nd year students are taking part in an after school ‘Scratch’ module. The module offers an introduction to code and gaming. Scratch is a programming system where students can create their own games and stories online.

John Paul II Awards

A number of our students are involved in the John Paul II awards. The Award is non-competitive, flexible and voluntary and requires an ongoing commitment. Awards are earned by taking part in parish and social activities – 1 hour per week over 8, 14 or 20 weeks. There are 3 Award levels – Gold, Silver & Bronze”. ( The following students are taking part: Phillip Myers, Marguerite Mac Hugh, Eoin Gallagher, Grace Mc Callig, Cliodhna Thomas, Aidan Mc Hugh and Shaun Campbell.

Cardiac First Responder Course

On Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th January TY, LCA’s and 5th year students will be completing a Cardiac First Responder (CFR) course. This course aims to train students in all aspects of CPR, dealing with a choking casualty and use of the AED. Since 2012 approximately 420 students have been trained to CFR level at AVS.

TASTY Project

On the 17th January TY students received a talk from Dr. Seán Duffy (Head of School of Tourism, LYIT), Mr. Conor Daly (Hive), Mr. Enda O'Rourke (The Village Tavern) Ms. Emily Browne (Smugglers Creek Inn), Mr. Zack Gallagher (Irish Food Guide), Ms. Eve Anne McCarron (Donegal Local Enterprise Office) and Mr. Donal Cox (Operations Manager Solis Lough Eske Castle Hotel), on an initiative that is being set up in conjunction with our school. 

This project involves approximately 35 Transition Year students and 7 local hotels and restaurants.  During this project the students will be split into teams and they will be allocated to a specific hotel or restaurant.  The teams will then work with the staff from their assigned establishment in order to make a savory or sweet food product that is suitable to be sold in Hive, an artisan shop in Donegal Town. 

At the end of this event, there will be a gala evening in Solis Lough Eske Castle where the groups will present their food product.  Friends and family will have a chance to sample the food before picking a winner.  As there were a large number of students interested in participating in this project, interviews were held this week to select the participants.  Before the students begin working on the food project with the hotels and restaurants, they will attend a series of lectures on Food Product Development at the LYIT School of Tourism Killybegs.

Health Promotion Photo Competition

As Healthy Schools launched this week the TY’s will also be running a photography competition to promote the health initiative. The theme is ‘healthy living’ and prizes will be given to the top three photographs.

LYIT Taster Day

On 19th January fifty TY students attended LYIT’s Taster Day.  The students attended lectures in design & media, sport, business and other subjects.  This gave students an insight into student life.  The students found this day beneficial as they learned about the campus and the structure of lectures and programmes.

Occupational Therapy Talk

Rachel Crawford came to our school on January 18th and delivered a talk about her job, as an Occupational Therapist.  She explained the work of an OT and what they do in order to assist others on a daily basis.  Rachel has worked in the U.K. and was able to share her experiences with the students.  She also had some of the tools used to help people that have had a hip replacement and demonstrated their use. She also discussed study options and reviewed career options that are available once you qualify. This was an interesting and beneficial talk as students learnt about the work of an OT. 

Art Trip

The TY’s are visiting the Model Arts Centre in Letterkenny on Thursday 26th. They will be participating in a workshop based on the exhibition called ‘’Reconstructing Memory’ by Cléa Van Per Grijn. They will also watch a film in the Centre.

Ceílí dancing

Every Friday for the next couple of weeks TY students are attending Ceílí dancing lessons taught by Clement Gallagher.  These lessons are energetic and are a fun activity for all involved.

Texaco Art Competition

A number of students are working on their entries for the Texaco Art competition. The entries are due in Dublin for February 28th.



U16 and U14 hurling training will take place Friday evenings on the All–weather pitch from 3:20 – 4:30 pm.

U14’s Gaelic

U14 boys’ training continues every Monday and Thursday at lunchtime.

Senior Boys’ Soccer

The senior boys’ soccer team are playing in the Ulster semi-final on Monday 23rd January in Drumkeen against St. Eunan’s at 12pm. We wish the team best of luck.

U15’s Soccer

The AVS U15 soccer team visit Milford next Friday in the 2nd round of the U15 Schoolboy’s Cup.


The senior girls’ basketball team are going to Monaghan on Monday 23rd January for the All–Ireland play-offs against Loreto, Crumlin and Coláiste Oiriall, Monaghan.


On Tuesday 17th January our AVS U16 boys’ rugby team took on St. Columbus in Ballybofey in the local Donegal Town rugby club pitch. In the dry but windy conditions, it was a very tough game for both teams with neither side scoring at the start of the game. St. Columbus eventually scored a converted try which put them up to a 7-0 lead. AVS hit back with a converted try from Victor Joe Mitchell. Unfortunately, St. Columbus were the stronger team and won the game with a score of 31-9.

Sports Nomination Awards

Four AVS students have been nominated for sports awards. They are: Peadar Mogan (6th year), Caolan O’ Callaghan (past student), Sophie Carr (2nd year) and Mia Mc Calmont (3rd year). We wish all the nominees the best of luck.


Our first year boys and girls athletic team have both qualified for the County Final in Deele College next week. The top eight schools in the country will go head to head in events such as indoor.

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