May 2004

There is no doubt but that this has been an extremely difficult and traumatic year for all of us within the High School community (staff, students and parents) as we attempt to come to terms with the untimely deaths of Seán Twomey, Shane Gleeson and Donal Carroll. The sense of shock and genuine sorrow that accompanied each of their deaths was immense and had a major impact on the whole school community. It also left many of us searching for answers and explanations as to how and why such things happen. Needless to say, there are no satisfactory explanations and we can only trust that time and prayer will help us to come to terms with the sad reality of what has happened. As a school community we sincerely mourn their passing while also remembering with gratitude the wonderful legacy and friendships that they have left behind. They will always have a special place within the High School.

This Summer Newsletter again highlights the many outstanding achievements of students and staff from the High School be it at local, provincial or indeed national level. It is indeed wonderful to see so many people willingly giving up their time, on a voluntary basis, organising and participating in extra curricular activities. This is an essential aspect of life within the High School and one which we proudly celebrate in this Newsletter. As principal, I thank all those who have represented the school and in so doing have brought great credit to themselves, their families and their town. I especially thank the staff for their dedication and commitment to the students of this school. The amount of time and energy given by them, to the huge variety of activities, is amazing and reflects an ongoing commitment to the overall development of students. I thank all those parents who have helped and supported the school in the promotion of extra curricular activities throughout the school year. I would also like to acknowledge the vital support and sponsorship that we have received during the school year from local clubs and businesses.

Eamonn Barry retires from the staff of the High School this August after 36 years of distinguished teaching service. During that time Eamonn has made a significant contribution to the High School at huge number of levels and on behalf of the whole school community I would like to thank him for his dedication, enthusiasm, loyalty and friendship. We wish him a long and happy retirement.

I wish all our students sitting State Examinations the very best of luck and I have no doubt but that those students who have worked will do extremely well. Remember to stay cool and to read the questions carefully!

To the Leaving Certificate students of 2004 I wish you well with your future lives and careers and I thank you most sincerely for all that you have contributed to the High School. I hope that you will keep in touch and that you will always be proud of your alma mater.

Finally, I hope that all staff, students and parents have a pleasant and enjoyable summer break so that we will all return in September refreshed and eager to start the new school year.

Séamas Bannon
Principal

Shane Gleeson – An appreciation

The sense of loss and sadness being felt by the staff, students and parents of the High School, since the news broke of Shane Gleeson’s tragic death on Saturday 24 th April last, has been immeasurable and has left a huge void in our lives. It has also left us searching for explanations and answers as to how and why such a tragedy could happen. It is terribly sad to think that such a bright life has been cut so short.

shane_gleeson

The deep outpouring of grief and sorrow within the whole school community – be it staff, students or parents – highlighted something that we already knew about Shane namely that he was an extremely popular and well liked young man who touched many of us during his time within the High School. This fact was well demonstrated by the huge turnout from the school community at his funeral mass.

There is no doubt that Shane was a very special and gifted young man who made a significant and real impact within the High School, since his arrival in September 2001. He leaves behind a legacy that will be treasured and remembered by those of us who were privileged to know him. He was a brilliant all round sportsman and athlete who was actively involved in sport within the High School. He was a student who took genuine pleasure and pride in representing the school at Gaelic football, hurling and soccer. Courage, determination, skill and a will to win were essential aspects of his character. He was not a glory hunter or an attention seeker. He never sought the limelight but always concentrated on doing the simple things well. He was a born leader, both on and off the playing field and he always played and trained with a smile!

Shane was just a lovely lad, best described by his classmates as “one of the lads”. Indeed, one of the nicest compliments that I heard was that he was “sound out”. He enjoyed school and his easy going and relaxed manner around the school meant that he made friends easily. He also cared about his fellow students and as one of his friends said “Shane never had a bad word to say about anyone and always saw the best side in people” What a wonderful compliment! This is not to say that Shane did not try to push the boat out on occasions be that with his Nire jacket, his hairstyle, his study or his mannerisms but again never in a way that was rude challenging or disrespectful. It was Shane being Shane.

Shane was extremely proud of his farming background and of his roots deep in the Nire, deep in Waterford . He was, without doubt, a very proud Waterford man who enjoyed and took pleasure in defending his native county (both the hurlers and footballers) in the sometimes heated exchanges of a Tipperary schoolyard. Needless to say, few if any of his peers got the better of him in these debates!

It was a privilege and honour to have had Shane as a student in the High School and the staff and myself, thank his parents, Jim and Mary, for allowing us to have had the opportunity of getting to know him over the last 3 years. We will always treasure the many wonderful memories that we have of him and will remember him as an exuberant, smiling, cheerful, energetic and playful 15 year old who enjoyed his short life to the full.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Shay Bannon
Principal
My Experience in the Reserve Defence Forces – Gary Egan
It seems like only yesterday, I was entering Kickham Barracks to join the Reserve Defence Forces. I was joining the 3rd Cavalry Squadron, one of the best reserve units in the Southern Brigade. All that was required was going down for 2 hours on a Tuesday night. After months of marching, drilling and weapons handling, I was ready to fire a rifle for the first time in my life and on the 10 th May 2003, I fired the Styer AUG assault rifle which is the standard weapon of the Irish Defence Forces. After another month of training, the recruit platoon went on our annual camp to Lahinch, Co. Clare, which was a solid week of military training. We finished the camp as 2 star troopers.

garry_egan

At the start of my second year I was a trained man and had different and had different responsibilities. I had to get ready for my 3 star training which involved firing the BREN light machine gun. After firing the gun, I was promoted to a 3 star trooper. In March, I volunteered for the Falling Plates Team and I got accepted and training began in February of this year and was great fun. On 24th April, 2004, the Falling Plates Competition for the Southern Brigade was on and I was delighted to be part of the team that won the competition. I couldn’t believe that I was part of a shooting team that won the Southern Brigade at the age of 18.

I am now looking forward to the All-Army Shooting Competition at the end of May.

I would recommend people of 17 years of age to join the Reserve Defence Force because it is a great way to make friends and get useful military experience.
Maths problems – no problem to Conor
Fifth Year student Connor Slattery was invited to join the very prestigious Mathematical Olympiad Team in University College Limerick for the 2004/05 school year. Needless to say Conor also distinguished himself in the Junior Certificate Maths Examination 2003.
Quiz
A High School Quiz team consisting of Brian Carey, Diarmuid Bolger, Philip O’Reilly and Thomas O’Leary won the first round of the Examiner Quiz which was held in the High School. However they were unfortunate to go out in the next round. It has been suggested that the team, managed by Ms O’Mahony, did not study Mr Shanahan’s “Book of Useless Information”.
School Tour 2004
The School Tour this year was to Malaga in Spain and Gibraltar . We were slightly worried about weather conditions in the area before we left because there were reports of heavy rain and flooding. We needn’t have worried, however, because apart from the first afternoon, the sun shone and indeed some students and Mr. Conway were even able to get in a swim in the Mediterranean .

The 48 students and 6 teachers flew to Malaga by Aer Lingus. Our hotel was the Hotel Flamingo. It was clean and comfortable with a swimming pool and the food was good and plentiful. There was, however, no disco available in the hotel. Mr. Shanahan resolved this dilemma by finding a suitable disco in Torremolinos.

On the second day of the tour we travelled to the Rock of Gibraltar. Our guide explained the history and culture of the area as we passed along. We had a guided bus tour of the Rock, which took us to see the famous Barbary apes and the spectacular St. Michael’s cave with its stalactites and a magnificent auditorium in a cavern, where the Vienna boy’s choir once performed. Some students took photographs of the apes stealing the chocolate bars they had just bought. On our way on to the Rock, we were stopped by traffic lights to allow a plane to land. An interesting sight.

The following day we went to Granada by coach. The influence of the Moors was everywhere. We had a guided walking tour of the main areas of interest, visiting the tombs of Queen Isobella and King Ferdinand, the catholic monarchs who defeated the Moors. High on a hill over the city was the famous Alhambra Palace . After dinner we went ten-pin bowling. Palm Sunday saw us in Seville . Our guide for the day was excellent. She showed us the pavilions of the Seville Exhibition and brought us on a guided tour of the Alcazar Palace – Seville is a beautiful city. In the afternoon we saw the wonderful procession for Palm Sunday. There were thousands of penitents dressed entirely in white from head to food with pointed hoods having only openings for eyes, nose and mouth. Then arrived two magnificent statues of Christ crucified and the Blessed Virgin, it was a truly uplifting experience.

All in all the tour was very successful and enjoyable. The group behaved extremely well and are to be complimented on their co-operation and good manners.
Austrian Scholarship
Every year the Austrian Embassy in conjunction with the Irish-Austrian Society organise a national essay competition. Students are encouraged to write an essay of approximately 300 words in the German language on a given topic. This year the title was “Der Traum ein Leben” (The Dream a life) which is an Austrian play written by a very well known Austrian writer called Grillparzer. Gary Minogue, a 5 th year student studying German decided to tackle this very abstract and complicated essay, did a lot of research and came up with an excellent essay. As a result he won first place in the national competition that attracted over 300 entries. His prize is a 2-week scholarship to Austria . Gary will travel to Salzburg in July where he will join up with other European winners to attend a 2-week German course. All expenses are included in the scholarship and various trips are organised including an excursion to Munich in Germany.

paddy_kelly

This is the 5 th year in a row that a High School student has won this prestigious scholarship. All previous winners thoroughly enjoyed their trips and returned to the school after sitting an exam at the end of the 2 weeks. The High School students attained some of the highest marks in these tests beating many of their fellow European comrades. Gary has been invited along with his teacher, Ms. Martina O’ Reilly and the School Principal, Mr. Shay Bannon, to attend a prize giving ceremony at the Austrian Embassy in Dublin . Gary is very excited about his pending trip and no doubt he will represent his school and his country very well.
Y.E S. Success
The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well in the High School during the year. The 12 businesses which were set up by the students, sold their products on Market Day in the school before Christmas in preparation for entry in the Young Entrepreneur Competition sponsored by the County Enterprise Board. The School Final was held in January and in the Junior category Eoin Corby (1A4) was first with his “Flog a Log” enterprise and Niall Maher (1A4) was second his very novel “Calendars & Ring Boards”. In the Senior category Thomas O’ Dea (T.Y.) took first prize with his comprehensive range of “Wood Turning Products” while Diarmuid Bolger & Ciaran Burke also from Transition Year took second with their very enterprising “Puzzling Triangle”. The winner from both sections – Junior & Senior went forward to the County Final which was held in Cashel in February.

For this the students undertook the following tasks:

• Set up a business on their own or with others (max. 5).
• Sell products/services within or outside the school.
• Keep accounts and write a report.
• Participate in an interview and display a business exhibition.

In the County Final Eoin Corby did exceptionally well to take second prize in the Junior category with “Flog a Log” and Thomas O’ Dea, despite stiff opposition took third prize with his “Wood Turning Products” Every entrant in the competition was presented with a certificate and award winners all received cash prizes that were sponsored by the County Enterprise Board. Students learn a lot from the competition because it requires them to work on their own initiative. All who participated at both school and county level are to be congratulated.
Green School Campaign
This year and into next, 2A2 will be attempting to get the Green Flag for our school as part of their CSPE project for the Junior Cert. The Green Flag is only given out to tidy, hygienic and environmentally friendly schools. To achieve their goal, they will need to form a committee, which will include management, staff, students, Board of Management representative and a Parents Council representative. This committee’s aim will be to think up ideas on how to get the Green Flag award. Any people interested in joining can go to the undersigned or Mr. Maher. They are also planning to enter a Tidy Schools competition, taking place in October next. This competition is being run by the County Council and will involve getting our school tidy and improving the appearance of our school. The lads are putting in a lot of work so please help them in keeping our schools tidy.

By:David Nugent, Ciaran Kendrick and Ewan Moir.
German
Paddy Kelly, a fifth year student in the High School, received a letter of congratulations from the Department of Education and the German Embassy for achieving the highest mark in the Junior Cert German State Exam. Over 10,000 students sat the higher German paper, and the High School student came out tops. Paddy was invited to Dublin to attend a thirty-minute interview in the German language, with a panel of five interviewers representing the department of Education, the German Embassy and the Goethe Institute.

paddy_kelly

Leaving Cert. Vocational Programme
Preparations are under way for the commencement of the Leaving Cert. Vocational Programme in the forthcoming academic year. This programme has all the strengths of the academic Leaving Certificate as well as the added benefits of the Link Modules, which forge links between class subjects and the world of work. Students of the programme will undertake career investigations in which they will research different careers and find out the skills and educational requirements necessary for entry into their chosen professions. These career investigations will give each student a much clearer understanding of what it is like to work in a particular job. As a result of this, the student of L.C.V.P. will be able to make an informed career choice. The course aims to encourage students to develop self-confidence, as well as to nurture creativity and resourcefulness. In other words, to a greater degree, they will be prepared to cope with the rapid changes that are taking place in the world around us. The ability to adapt to these changing conditions is an essential component of a student’s preparation for full participation in social and economic life. They are also essential skills for the student who wishes to continue his education at university. Third level education is, after all, founded on the principle of increased self-directed learning. Employers also are always looking for people who are educated in the broadest sense of the word and are multi-skilled, good communicators, capable of making decisions and potential life-long learners. It is recognised that L.C.V.P. will provide this type of education.

In the High School, our L.C.V.P. class of 2004/2005 will be taking six ‘traditional’ Leaving Cert. subjects as well as the Link Modules. The programme is fully recognised by the C.A.O. for the calculation of points and for entry into all third level universities and colleges. It is interesting to note that a recent report into the future of education in Ireland , prepared by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (N.C.C.A.), has recommended that the Link Modules studied by L.C.V.P. students should be made compulsory for all Leaving Cert. students by the year 2010. This is a very strong endorsement of the strengths of the programme. If anyone has any queries with regard to L.C.V.P. please contact Colm Keher who is co-ordinating the programme.
Twenty four pound rock comes flying through High School roof
Believe it or not this did happen in 1932 when land was being levelled to accommodate the present High School playing pitch. Some worker miscalculated and used just a little too much gelignite, launching the missile through the old High School roof. Brother Irwin was the person responsible for acquiring the land, which sloped greatly and had to be levelled without the use of modern machinery. Brendan Long in the “Centenary Record of the High School” describes the work, which took twelve months to complete as ‘a labour of Hercules’. The venture, which was completed at considerable cost to the school and the community, was a great success as our pitch, despite all the use it gets in all seasons, is remarkably dry and recovers in the minimum of time. Thanks to the foresight of Brother Irwin, we have on our doorstep an asset of incalculable value to the school.
Editor’s Note
I would to thank the school management, teachers, Clare Ryan and all the students who cooperated in the compilation of this Newsletter. Teachers who have selflessly worked in the many areas of extra curricular activity in the school were cajoled (some might justifiably use a different term) into not only contributing reports but also presenting them on a floppy disc or via e-mail. This, as some among you might understand, is quite an undertaking for those of us who are digitally deficient when it comes to a keyboard and completely befuddled when it comes to terms like “outbox, word format, spell check etc”. If any newsworthy item was overlooked, I apologise and will try to make amends in the next edition. It is our intention to report on notable achievements of students, both within and outside the school. If there is something that you think should be included in the next publication, please contact me – but be warned you might find yourself becoming familiar with “Microsoft word”.

Eamon Maher