As we come to the end of another year it is indeed right and fitting that we should acknowledge and record the many and varied activities undertaken by students and staff within the High School. As principal, I am delighted to have the opportunity to express my gratitude to those staff and students who willingly give up their time and energy for the development and improvement of the school. The ongoing commitment and dedication of the staff ensures that core values (such as caring for people, inclusively and participation) are valued and cherished while at the same time allowing students to become actively involved in their own personal and social development. Likewise, the active participation of students encourages and develops creativity while also challenging them to become responsible and positively involved in the development of their communities and society as a whole.
There is no doubt that this newsletter highlights many essential elements of school life and gives practical expression to the concept of the dignity, uniqueness and value of each individual.
It is against this background that I would question and challenge the growing influence which the media and other market forces want to have on the education system. The motivation behind making schools more accountable and transparent does not seem to be based on a deep rooted concern for students nor indeed on any well thought out philosophy of education. Instead, the values of the consumerist society dominate. Implicitly and explicitly values such as success, individualism competition, prestige and power seem to be to the fore.
Little or no value is attached to the development of the other important aspects of personality or character. The promotion and development of student creativity, enterprise and innovation is of no interest while core school values like justice and tolerance are perceived as meaningless in the new order. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the recent decision by a Sunday newspaper to publish a league table outining the number of students from second level schools attending university. This flawed table suits a very narrow focus that is based on efficiency and competition and is characterised by targets and tests. There is no recognition for students attending the various Third Level Institutes ( Waterford , Sligo, Dun Laoghaire, Cork , Dublin etc.) or universities abroad. It does not reflect or understand the many other factors that must be considered when judging the effectiveness of schools (intake policy, family circumstances, location, lack of support structures, etc.). It does not recognise the reality that many students do not wish to proceed to Third Level Education and do in fact make alternative career choices. Nor does it acknowledge the fact that participation in extra-curricular activities is to be valued and admired. This newsletter is an attempt to address this imbalance and I hope that, by recording key elements of life within the High School, it will be appreciated and valued as such by students and parents alike.
I would like to thank Eamon Maher for editing this publication. Likewise, I am indebted to all those who willingly agreed to write reports on the many interesting aspects of life within the High School during this school year.
Finally, I wish Sean Twomey and Carmel Delaney well and look forward to seeing them back in the High School in the very near future.
Beannachtai na Nollag agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go leir
Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Picture shows Mr Ml O’Donoghue and some enthusiastic cast members of
Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
First Year Hill Walk
On one suitably fine day, during the last week in September, the entire First Year set out on an adventure together. The day consisted of a 10 km hike through the Knockmealdown Mountains . All, with varied reactions to the expedition, had a great day. Some walkers showed considerable athletic prowess while others overcame personal fitness barriers to complete the walk. It was a special moment for all the teachers involved to see their charges safely back onto the bus at the end of the day.
This day was planned to help new students to the school integrate with each other and get to know their Class Tutors. In this regard it is felt to have been an outstanding success.
It is hoped to repeat this event next year and every year for First Year students. It is hoped that next year some Second Year Students will join a school based walking club and pursue an interest in this exhilarating sport.
We congratulate Mr Conway, Mrs P Browne, Mr Rice, Mr Mullen, Ms G Browne and Mr O’ Sullivan on this very successful event in the school calendar.
Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme
The Senior Cycle Curriculum Review Committee is currently investigating the possibility of introducing the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (L.C.V.P.) into the High School curriculum. The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme is an intervention designed to enhance the vocational dimension of the established Leaving Cert. The Department of Education and Science introduced the programme in response to the challenge placed on Ireland ‘s education system by a changing work and business environment. This programme combines the academic strengths of the present Leaving Cert. with a new and dynamic focus on self -directed learning, enterprise, work and the community. The two-year programme aims to cater for the diversity of students’ needs at senior level.
The committee have prioritised this investigation so that a decision can be made at an early date. If it is decided to adopt the programme we hope to be able to offer it as an option to the fifth year students of 2004. Parents will be kept informed of progress.
The Friendship Club
Back row: Philip Bannon, Steven McGrath, Gerald Cunningham, Richard Anderson, Senan Byrne, Shane Prendergast.
Front row: Aidan Casey, Robert Stafford, Brian Cairns, Ms Ann Byrne
Every Monday evening since September a group of nine High School students, under the guidance of Ms. Ann Byrne, head up to St. Luke’s hospital. The purpose of the group is firstly to talk to the patients and secondly to take part in various activities with them such as pool, table tennis and cards. Initially, facing the patients was a daunting task but the students soon realised that the patients were no different to themselves and are now thoroughly enjoying the visits. Some students are using the visits as part of their Gaisce award but all are agreed that it has been a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.
Chernobyl Bag Packing
Well done to all the Transition Year and 5 th Year volunteers who gave up their spare time to bag-pack for the Chernobyl Fund. The students raised €3,168, which goes towards the purchase of an ambulance that will leave for Belarus on the April 2004 convoy. The Chernobyl Committee members, the management, staff and customers of Dunne’s Stores acknowledged the politeness and manners of all the students involved.
November 28th 2003
The Remembrance Service was prepared for, and attended by all the fifth year students. It was a chance for us to pray for and remember the people we have lost in our families or just people we have known at some stage in our lives, who have gone before us.
The reflective music set the atmosphere for the prayer service; we had R.E.M. and a student played the concert flute.
The service was really quiet and peaceful. Every one was given the opportunity to write the names of the people they wanted to remember on “leaves” which were hung on the remembrance tree for the service.
As one student wrote afterwards; “I really liked the tree. We remember people who have died all the time but to have their name on the tree in the church was so much better.”
For many second and fifth year students the highlight of the year is undoubtedly the school tour. Each year along with a group of teachers they are taken on a tour of a major European city enjoying the opportunity to sample local culture.
Previous destinations include Paris , Milan , Barcelona and Rome and work is currently underway organising this year’s trip to Malaga .
First Year retreats
All first year students enjoyed their first High School retreat, which took place in Clonmel Og GAA Centre and the Church of the Resurrection.
The theme for the day was Peace in our Lives. The sixth year Peer Ministry team facilitated group work, drama and artwork, and Fr. Colm led the group in a Reconciliation Service.
Many thanks to the Peer Ministers for their hard work and preparation in the evenings leading up to the retreat. Without their commitment the two days could not have been a success.
Did you know?
In the year 1845 a campaign began in the local press to secure a Christian Brothers community and school for Clonmel. Their main concern was the instruction of male children, especially the poor, in the principles of religion and Christian piety. Four years later the Christian Brothers residence was built in Clonmel.
In 1881 Clonmel C.B.S. first took part in state examinations and ranked alongside the best schools in the country. A second school was set up in 1899 to provide fee-paying education. The school was so successful it was referred to as the ‘little university’. By 1924 the loan of the High School had been repaid and by 1926 all debts on house and schools were cleared. During the fifties there was a steady increase in the numbers attending the High School.
Many students distinguished themselves in state and university exams, among them the late Tom O’Flaherty, R.I.P. who himself was to guide many High School students to academic honours during his years of dedicated service to his Alma Mater. In 1967 there were 294 students in the school; the number has now risen to over 700.
Brother G.P.O’Neill built a new secondary school in 1970. The most recent extension to the building, completed in 2000, provides specialist rooms including a language lab, new woodwork and technical drawing rooms, and a technology room.
In 1991 Mr. Seamas Bannon became the first lay principal of the High School. The Christian Brothers are still involved as Trustees of the school.
The student leadership group was set up in 2002. Now in its second year, the group aims to address issues of importance to students with a view to improving facilities where possible. Much of last years work involved fund raising for various projects.
The main fund raising activity was a battle of the bands competition, which proved to be both entertaining and profitable. Comprised of 10 senior students the group is currently working on improving communication with the junior cycle students to ensure that their concerns are also addressed.
The members of this year’s student leadership group are: James Russell, Stephen Casey, Johnathan Blackmore, Seamus Shannon, David Carroll, Scott Ahern, Diarmuid Bolger, Shaun Todd, Andrew Mullins and Christopher Daniels.
Back L-R: Seamas Shannon, Andrew Mullins, James Russell, Shaun Todd, Scott Ahern, Stephen Casey.
Front L-R: Diarmuid Bolger, Christopher Daniels, Johnathan Blackmore, David Carroll.
New Tutor System
A new Tutor system was put in place for all First Year classes this year. This process will be reviewed at the end of the school year but so far the system seems to be running very well and it has widespread support in the school. First Year tutors this year are; Mr Mullan, Ms G. Browne, Ms P. Browne, Mr Rice and Mr Conway.
As reported elsewhere in this issue, all First Years and their tutors took part in a hill walk organised by Mr O’Sullivan. The purpose of the walk was to allow the students get to know each other and their tutors in an informal manner. It was so successful that there were rumours of a hill-walking club being started in the school!!
High School jerseys go on sale
The official High School jersey will be available shortly. It has been especially designed and customised for the High School by O’Neills. They are offered at a special reduced price of €45. Past pupils and former players may be particularly interested in the jersey as a souvenir of their times in the school. Anyone who wishes to buy a jersey are advised to book early as there will only be a limited stock available. Enquiries to: Mr. Keher, Mr. O’Shea or Mr. Rice. (052-24459)
Peer Ministry by Richard Meddick
My understanding of Peer Ministry is that it is a Faith Development Programme that incorporates a training in Leadership Skills. To be honest I think it goes beyond that; apart from all the work that has to be done it is actually “some laugh.”
You have to sit through a tough selection interview with Miss Hickey and Mr. Conway in order to gain a place in Peer Ministry. When I found out I was accepted I didn’t know what to expect. The team consisted of thirteen fellow students. I knew some of them and others I did not really know that much about at all.
From day one we were told what would be involved: Go on a two day retreat which we would prepare and facilitate for each other… and eventually become a strong enough team to finally give a two day retreat to first year students.
At the start of the peer ministry programme we had to engage in some very unusual activities – At the time they didn’t make much sense to me: role playing what it would be like if a mobile phone went off during a peer ministry session… creating a constitution for our group… imagining God as a piece of cotton wool and placing Him in the appropriate place in the prayer room…. The purpose of such weird and wonderful activities was to help us all to get to know each other a bit better, make us work as a team. We each had to bring our own individual talents and insights to the team.
Back row, L-R; Shane Prendergast,Richard Anderson,
Steven Roche, Ms Hickey, Eoin Connolly,
Steven Brauer, Paddy Kelly
Front row, L-R; Noel Forristal, Eoghan Twohig, Daniel O’Meara, Eoghan Corr, Robert Stafford.
For any Peer Ministry team it is essential that the team get to together and create their own bond and their own success.
Our first big venture was to give a retreat to the sixth year class in St. Mary’s C.B.S.. This reflection day was in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation and it was based on The Lord of The Rings. This gave us a taste of what it would be like managing “young fellas” for a day. Then we went to Grace Dieu in Waterford for our own retreat. Our projects for the retreat trained us to stand up in front of a group of people and present ourselves, our work and lead discussions on our ideas. Staying over night meant we had great craic amongst ourselves.
The big days of facilitating the first year retreats was very stressful. All the work had to be prepared to the last and presented to the best of our abilities. However when we got over the nerves, we were a great success – even if I say so myself. It was all worth it for the free meal we got in The Chinese afterwards!
Overall I can honestly say I gained a lot from Peer Ministry. I have more self confidence in communicating my ideas and in getting to know strangers. I feel more mature and know I have the ability to stand up in front of a crowd and speak or make a presentation. I actually enjoyed my time as a Peer Minister even though I sometimes moaned about all the work involved. My advice to any rookie Peer Ministers out there is You can only make it happen yourself – GO FOR IT!
Christmas Hamper Collection
The annual St Vincent de Paul Hamper Collection took place again this year in the school. As usual the response was tremendous. The aim of the collection is to help the needy in our local area at Christmas time, a time for giving helping and caring. Mr Delahunty would like to thank the students and their parents for their generosity and the staff members who helped him organise the event. Our support is greatly appreciated by the local St Vincent de Paul Society.