Student account of his Transition Year experience
” We’ve certainly done a lot this year and I think that everything that has been done has been very worthwhile.
The first thing I have mention is, of course our trip to Delphi. It was a fun and enjoyable experience as everybody got to know everybody else. The activities were great and were based a lot on team effort. It was a great couple of days and it helped the class to bond – a bond that has held throughout the year.
Early in the year we also had a driving and safety course. This was run by Hynes Driving School and we all learned something of the basics. We learned how to drive, about the 999 services and the importance of road safety.
For our Home Economics class we took a trip to Ballymaloo Cookery School and met Darina Allen. We had the chance to see her fruit and vegetable gardens and we also had a sample of herbs from the herb garden. It was a very interesting day out.
Safety is very important, as we all know, and for this our class was given a First Aid Course. This involved a C.P.R. exam, and exam on the functions of the human body and how to treat some common infections and life threatening situations. From this we got a certificate of completion and more importantly a learning ability which can be used for life.
Ability to communicate is a very vital asset to have after leaving school and for this the class did Public Speaking and Communications Exams. It was a great experience for all involved and everybody received first class honours, which was a great achievement..
Some of the class also took part in the Concern Debates, which also helped us with our public speaking. We did well to beat Rockwell in the first round and you could really see that the debating and communication skills for each person improved in every round.
In Art we have been learning about the Impressionism and this year the class was taken to the Impressionist Art Exhibition in Dublin. This was very good and I felt that after the day everybody had a better appreciation for art. To sell art you need to be a good businessman and this is exactly what one of the students (Matthew) did for the Y.E.S. Everyone participated and six in particular (Stephen, David, Aidan, Des, Matthew and P.J.) were successful enough to reach the county final. This was a good achievement because it required a good business mind.
This year we have taken part in the Toastmasters speaking course to improve our self-confidence on the podium and speaking techniques. I believe that the whole class benefited from this experience and did very well when speaking in front of the parents. After this no one in the class will have any trouble speaking in front of an audience, We have also seen two plays put on by the Galloglass group and had a workshop on each. In the workshop we learned a little bit more about the plays and the mood of them.
As well as learning about drama this year the class also gave something back. The class put on the play ‘Juno and the Paycock’ as part of a competition in Macroom. It was a great acting experience and some of the students were congratulated on their performances.
We were also taken to Mountjoy Prison early this year to learn about the prisoners and to realise that they have feelings just like us and that they are God’s children as well.
We also had a retreat to Mount Sion, which was very interesting and it was a very different experience.
This year the class was also asked to do some voluntary work. One of these was the Early Reading Intervention Programme. This involved going to Ss. Peter & Paul’s Primary School and doing reading with the first class pupils. It was an enjoyable experience for both First Class and the Transition Year because we got to know each pupil and their individual skills.
We were also offered the chance this year to do voluntary work for the Noonan Centre for Disabled Children. Every week, half the class would go swimming for a half an hour or so and I believe the centre was very grateful for our enthusiasm and contribution.
We also did Faith Friends Programme with the Sisters of Charity and Presentation Convent Primary Schools. We had to learn how to communicate with the children and keep them active for the whole duration. It was interesting to see the reactions and answers that some of the kids had for us and I think that both groups enjoyed it.
In P.E. class we did a lot. At the start of the year we went horse riding with Daverns School of Horse Riding. It was an unusual thing to do and it was more pleasing than I though it would be. I probably would never have had the opportunity to partake in this sport without Transition Year.
We have also participated in a Soccer Coaching Course with Darren Murray (a coach from the FAI). It’s great because we all like soccer and at the end we got the opportunity to coach for ourselves with the involvement for the First Years.
Transition Year, above all things has given me the chance to learn about a future career and I am now able to focus myself on different paths after Leaving Cert, which makes it invaluable in this regard. The one thing that has helped me the most in this regard is the two terms of work experience that we have had during the year. This gave each pupil a chance to view at least two possible careers for after school life and was very beneficial. For the end of the year we have planned to go to the Gaeltacht and some of us are also doing an interview exam for public speaking.
I am very pleased with the way things have been this year and with the challenges and various activities that Transition Year has afforded me.”