03 Oct 2022

News from Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town

News from Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town

6th Class Induction Day

Induction day for incoming 6th class students is now postponed due to National School Closure last week. All students will now attend school on Tuesday.  We will make contact this week with our incoming students to arrange a new date.

Parents Information Evening for Incoming 6th Class Students

The Information Evening for parents of incoming 6th class students’ takes place on Wednesday Evening March 6th at 7pm. This is a session where we inform you of life in the Abbey Vocational School and plans and expectations for your son or daughter.


We plan to hold an additional information evening for the Aonad 2018 on Tuesday March 13th at 7.30 pm. We appreciate that this is a new development and that you may still have questions. We are therefore organising an evening in the school where we will address your concerns and questions in an informal setting.  We will also outline in more detail the day to day plan for the students who are part of the Aonad.

We now intend to include the Aonad Classroom in the main building of the school and students will integrate with those in the main body of the school for the optional subjects as well as at break time and lunch time and through extracurricular Activities.

We will have a panel to help on the night, including students from Irish-medium schools, AVS staff, and a development officer from Gaeloideachas, who support all Irish-medium schools at a national level. Going forward we plan to run some conversational Irish Classes for students interested in this in the coming months in a fun interactive way.

We look forward to seeing you on the evening but in the meantime I attach contact details and further information.  If you are unable to attend, please feel free to contact me to arrange an alternative time to visit. Contacts to assist:-


Was established in 1973 as a national voluntary organisation to support the development of Irish-medium schools at primary and post-primary level. They provide advice, assistance and support to parents and guardians who want Irish-medium education for their children, as well as support services for naíonraí and schools. Gaeloideachas provides the following supports for parents, guardians and carers whose children are attending Irish-medium schools

Helpline 01 8535195

Parents are welcome to contact us in Irish or English. Our staff are happy to answer questions and give advice on Irish-medium education for your child. You can also contact us by email or via social media (Facebook and Twitter: @gaeloid)

Our website provides comprehensive information on Irish-medium education: news, a directory and

map of naíonraí and schools, research, resources and more.

Resources for parents who want to teach themselves Irish, and for teachers who provide Irish classes for parents. You can contact Clare Spáinneach, Development Officer with Gaeloideachas directly: | Mobile: 087 9724020 | Office: 01 8535193

The Parents Committee for the Aonad are also available to speak with you, you can contact: Catherine James: 0857577742 Marcus Flannery: 0874109204

Or you can contact Deputy Principal Mr Ronan Doherty or the Principal Ms Geraldine Diver on: 074 9721105

Minister for Education and Skills, Mr. Richard Bruton TD meets Abbey Vocational School Students

A selection of students involved in the Coding Programme at Junior Cycle attended the Launch of the School selected for the Computer Science and PE Leaving Cert Subjects during the Minister’s recent visit to Letterkenny.

This was a very special day for our students who attended the event with Principal Geraldine Diver and Deputy Principal Mr Ronan Doherty along with Mr Gavin Gorman the Computer Science teacher. A further group of students attended a Computer Programming workshop in LYIT on Wednesday last – this was a wonderful learning experience for the students involved. The Minister spoke to the students from both schools about the two leaving cert subjects and the importance of both and congratulated both schools for being successful in being selected for the initiatives and for their interest in both


Pictured with students are Minister Richard Bruton, Centre, Principal Ms Geraldine Diver AVS to his left and Principal St Eunan's College Mr. Chris Darby to his right. Mr. Gavin Gorman back row left computer science teacher, Deputy Principal Mr. Ronan Doherty back row fourth from left. Included also are local TDs and Senator and the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Gerry McMonagle.

LC Construction Studies Practical Examination

The Leaving Certificate Studies Practical Exam should have taken place on Thursday 1st March however, this was deferred. A new date not yet confirmed.

Home Economics

The Home Economics project deadline is now finished. The projects were to be completed by students doing the Junior Certificate by Friday 1st March.

MS Readthon

A number of students in the school participated in the MS Readathon and they raised much-needed funds for the foundation. The MS Readathon encouraged children to open their minds to the wonderful world of adventure and imagination through reading for a great cause! It gave our students the perfect opportunity to read. For students who were already bookworms, it was a chance to go deeper – perhaps to challenge themselves with longer, more advanced books. The English Department will be presenting students with awards next week. More details will follow.

JCSA - Business in Action CBA

From the 12th – 20th March 2018 students in 2nd year will complete their Business Classroom Based Assessment. During this period students spend four weeks completing the Business in Action CBA.

Debate Club

The club will meet again on Tuesday 6th March. Students of the club have been given a school related topic that they will work on over the next two weeks.

World Book Week

The AVS is delighted to celebrate World Book Day again this year. World Book Day took place all over Ireland on Thursday 1st March 2018 however; we could not celebrate it in the school this year on the set date due to the weather. Over the last 22 years, World Book Day has become firmly established as Ireland’s biggest annual event promoting the enjoyment of books and reading. The main aim is to encourage children to explore the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with an opportunity to have a book of their own. The English Department in the last 2 weeks hosted competitions in 1st and 2nd year classes. 2nd year students were given time in class to design a book cover (they could choose any book they wish) and 1st year students created posters to promote the day. The designs were displayed in the assembly area on Wednesday. The winners will be announced next week.  

Well Read Initiative Guest Speaker - Josephine O’Donnell

Josephine O’Donnell workshop with 3A on Friday was cancelled and will be rescheduled in the coming weeks.

5th Year HL English Trip – Macbeth

108 5th year students travelled to the Millennium Forum Theatre in Derry on Wednesday 28th February. The trip benefited students studying the text, which is examined at Leaving Certificate. The Forum promised an excellent take on the Shakespeare classic and a vicious, barbaric and bloodthirsty production.

English teachers of 5th year HL supervised students on the trip. Everyone enjoyed the day and students had some time to shop and chill out after the production. Thank you to the English Department for organising such an enjoyable day.


The closing date for this year’s Texaco Art Competition was Wednesday 28th February. Mr. Daly and Ms. Mc Callig are delighted to have seen so many creative pieces entered. You can view some of the students’ pieces on the Abbey Vocational School Twitter page. Well done to all who entered! Leaving Cert Applied students from the AVS are working with Kerri Waugh and past pupil Cora Murray over the last week. The students are doing a Personal Health and Wellbeing module in conjunction with Foroige.

5th year RE Talk - Stephen Richmond

Thank you to Stephen Richmond, a Presbyterian Minister, who visited the Abbey Vocational School to speak with 5th year Religion students on Monday. The students thoroughly enjoyed this session and welcome another visit in the near future.


Leaving Cert Chill out day

On Monday 26th all Leaving Certificate students visited the Bluestack Centre, Letterbarrow, Drimarone. This day had been specially arranged for our students following their Mock Exams. It gave them a day to unwind, relax and re charge the batteries after the exams. Thank you to Ms Mc Morrow who has co-ordinated the day’s events and to all of the staff who attended on the day. Thank you to the staff in the Bluestack Centre who provided an excellent array of activities and a lovely lunch on the day. The trip is always an enjoyable day full of fun filled activities for our students.  

Young Social Innovators

Well done to team SHEHR who took part in the Young Social Innovator Speak Out last Tuesday. Young Social Innovators (YSI) is Ireland’s largest social awareness and active citizenship and education programme for 15- to 18-year-old teens. Its main goal is to get young people (15-18yrs) involved in action which helps improve the lives of others in their community. YSI involves thousands of young people in Ireland each year in hundreds of projects and social enterprises which are youth-led, team-based and action-focused. Each year, each YSI team is invited to present their project at the YSI Speak Out Regional fora. This year the team of David McGuckin, Oisín Doherty, James Smith and Conor McAllister presents their ideas in Ballybofey to a panel of judges and an audience of over one hundred. Team SHEHR project is based on giving patients the power to collate, organise and share their own medical records and health data easily and securely and make healthcare providers more efficient and connected.

They will find out in the coming weeks if their presentation was successful. 

Couch to 5k 

The couch to 5k programme is in the final few weeks of the programme. All participants are working towards the 9th March were they will take part in the Cara 5k. As this incentive has been such a success for both teachers and leaving cert students it will continue after the race on the 9th March. There are many mental health benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal. This is important as our 6th year students prepare for their Leaving Certificate in the coming months. Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression. The programme will continue to run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after school on the track.

TY Photography Competition

The deadline for the TY photography competition was this Friday 2nd March. The competition was open to all students and there will be a first, second and third place prizes. Winners will be announced in the coming week.

Work Experience

Thank you to all the businesses and work places that took our TY students last week. We appreciate this and the TY’s had a fantastic time.

Architect in Schools Project

Thank you to Ms. Siobhan Gallagher who visited the AVS to work with TY students on Monday 26th February on the TY Architect in Schools Project. The National Architects in Schools Initiative is an exciting programme for Transition Year students. Architects are placed in schools to facilitate hands-on design workshops with student groups in 25 schools across Ireland. This initiative builds on five years of successful schools programming from the Irish Architecture Foundation and provides students with the opportunity to develop an appreciation of architecture and design, learn a variety of new skills and gain insight to the professional life of designers and architects. Participating architects are recruited and mentored by the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) and placed in schools to devise and facilitate workshops in collaboration with teachers.

Cake Decorating

On Tuesday 27th February TY A and B participated in a Cake Decorating workshop. Group C and D were scheduled to do this on Friday on Friday 2nd March however, this will be rescheduled. Group A and B were given white balls of icing and they dyed them different colours like pink, yellow and blue. They then proceeded to mould Easter bunny structures on top of cupcakes. In addition, students were shown how to pipe cupcakes properly. They had to sculpt carrots out of orange icing as well. It was really enjoyable and they also got to keep the cupcakes! 

PE Expo

On Wednesday 7th March all TY students will attend the PE Expo in Dublin City University. The event has been coordinated by Mr Carty, Ms M Gallagher, Ms Mc Donnell, Mr Mc Hugh. 3 teams have been entered in this competition with 4 students in each team, 12 students in total. On the day students will be demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of one of the following category titles:

1. I.C.T. and Sports Photography

2. Power of Sport – Inclusion & Cultural

3. Wellbeing- Physical, Mental & Social

4. Components of Fitness – the Science behind sport

5. Nutrition

6. Games Development & Teaching games for Understanding (TGfU)

7. Sports Psychology

The students have been researching and putting together their project with their PE teachers over the last number of months. Best of luck to our TY who have been entered into the competition.

School Tour

The countdown to the school tour is on! During the Easter holidays from Monday 26th till Thursday 29th March our TYs will be enjoying the lovely weather in the Lake Garda district, Italy. We ask all parents and students to ensure they review the itinerary and prohibited items list on the schools website. The page can be found under the activities tab, foreign tours and the information on the trip is located here. Students are reminded they must ensure they have their passports and European Health Card with them. In addition, students will be flying with Aer Lingus and Ryanair Baggage – Any person checking in more than one bag will be charged an additional cost by the airline both on the outgoing and on the return journey even if the combined weight is less than 15KG. There are strict limits regarding the size and weight of the carry on bag. It must not exceed 55cmx40cmx20cm in size and 10KG in weight. Please see Aer Lingus and Ryanair websites for full details. We are staying in the Hotel Van Vito during the trip; the staff hope that the students all have an enjoyable and memorable tour. The information should be reviewed on the site prior to the trip as it is provided to improve your experience.

More details will follow on the trips activities!




Training continues every Tuesday after school for all age groups. Cross country training is on Friday at lunch time. The students participated in the Bank of Ireland Talent ID Masterclass in the National Indoor Arena at the National Sports Campus. Together with 190 other participants they made up the top 200 students from 20 Irish schools, receiving coaching, advice and tips from Irish International Athletes Elizabeth Morland, Barry Pender, Brian Gregan and Dara Kervick in their respective events. Students displayed their talents through a series of testing in the 60m Sprint, High jump and Long jump, and were unfortunate to miss out on the top spots in a highly competitive field. After lunch, Brian took us through his career to date, the challenges he faced and finding the right balance between sport and school. Each of our students put in a great performance on the day, showing great dedication and were excellent representatives of the school. Students included; Sarah Donovan, Dylan Barrett, Rohan O'Hara Nolan, Stefan Parajka, Ciara Gillespie, Seamus Og Caldwell, Declan Duignan, Sophie Kennedy, Matthew Byrne and Catriona Moohan. Well done to all involved!

Girls Basketball

Hard luck to our 2nd years girls who were defeated by St. Catherine’s, Killybegs on Wednesday the 28th February. The AVS girls had a weak opening at the start of the game, the Killybegs girls started strong but it didn’t take the AVS girls long to get into the game. The girls had a good offence. There was also great speed from Amy Carr and Ella Doherty, which helped the girls stay in the game. 5 fresh legs came on for the second quarter including Enya Gallagher who covered a lot of court and scored an excellent basket almost backwards. The girls had a great team performance throughout the game, with excellent support and communication. An improvement on their passes lead to more shot opportunities. The girls were well settled going into half time. The AVS girls game out fighting, upping their game for the third quarter. Catherine Campbell had excellent runs for the remaining of the game.  The girls had good tackling and were great at receiving rebounds. The powerful Killybegs side continued to put good pressure on the AVS girls and dominate them. Ciara Cox and Aisling Murphy were subbed on and were excellent from the minute they stepped onto the court. In the last quarter Aisling scored from a fast drive while Lily held the base well. The AVS girls began to ball watch, which helped the Killybegs side, grab offence rebounds. The pressure got to the girls in the last quarter. Overall, it was an exciting game, with a lot of high quality basketball played. Well done to all involved. Final score- Killybegs 19 , AVS 12.

1st year girls training continues every Wednesday after school in the school gym. The 2nd year girls training has been moved to Monday after school in the gym. The girls game on Friday against Ballinamore in Leitrim was cancelled and will be rescheduled.

1st and 2nd Year Boys’ Basketball

1st and 2nd year boys’ basketball training has moved to Thursday after school with Mr McHugh and Saturday morning at 9-11am in the school gym.

Mr Mc Hugh’s team 1st and 2nd year’s boys’ basketball team played in Castlebar Co. Mayo on Wednesday 21st February where the AVS boys’ played St Gerald’s. 

1st Year Team: E. Kenny, J. Kenny, J. Graham, D. Quinn, C. Gillespie, B. McNeely, C. McCallig, S. Óg Caldwell, P. Lyons, N. Prenderville

2nd Year Team: D. Quinn, J. Graham, S. Quinn, M. Jordan, C. Sweeney, H. Pearson, R. Kennedy, D. O'Donnell, L. Carey-McDermott, C. Campbell

Girls Basketball

Well done to the 1st year girls who had a great win over the St Catherine’s side. The AVS girls began to dominate from the opening minutes. Emma Meehan showed great determination from the start which boosted the girls confidence. From the opening minutes the girls gave a great team performance showing good communication and support on the court as well as from the bench. In the first half Sarah Donovan covered a lot of court and scored many baskets to keep the Abbey girls get ahead. Ellie Timoney and Shauna Doherty were subbed on and helped the girls continue to dominate. The girls went in ahead at half time. The girls were full of energy coming out for the third quarter with a few fresh legs. They had a good offence and were excellent at putting the Killybegs girls under pressure. The girls were very good at getting the Killybegs rebounds and got many baskets as a result. For the final quarter the AVS girls finished off the Killybegs girls, there tackling was excellent and there passing was very accurate. It was an excellent game and the AVS girls had an amazing performance overall. Well done to everyone involved. 

Girls Gaelic

The U14’s girls’ Gaelic team were set to play Virginia College, Cavan, away on Thursday 1st March but again the date will be rescheduled.

Boys’ Soccer

1st year boys Gaelic                                                                      

The boys have begun training for the U13’s competition in March. We are delighted also to have county coach Paddy Hegarty visiting the school to do some coaching.

Ladies Gaelic Football
U14 girls training will continue after school every Tuesday.  Please bring runners, a warm top, water and a gum shield. The U14 league will start in the coming weeks. 

Girls Active                                                      

The girls will be participating in running in the hope of building up to a 5k in the coming weeks.

U14’s hurling training continues Tuesday at lunchtime. All 1st and 2nd years are welcome to attend training especially new members. Declan Sherlock, Ulster coach, will be in attendance with Mr O’Neill at training. Four Masters U14 Hurling are also looking for new members any student interested please contact coach Damien Mc Dermott. The team trains Tuesday at 6:30 pm.
Lunchtime Activities

Lunchtime activities continue as normal. Please check the notice board in the gym. There is a least two activities a day. We remind all students that anyone can get involved and it’s good to participate in new activities.

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