An eNewsletter from Dominican College

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A chairde,
This academic year has brought new opportunities for all at Dominican College; we can all look back at all that has been achieved in just two months with much pride.  The introduction of LCVP has proven popular and all engaged with this programme look forward to new prospects.  The introduction of Agricultural Science is another exciting new venture for the College that provides even greater variety to our Leaving Certificate Programme.  It is wonderful to see how readily our students embrace these new opportunities.  Yet again our Transition Year students are busily practising for our annual musical; this year we can all look forward to being truly entertained by ‘Aladdin’ - tickets are on sale this week.   Students in all year groups are engaged in extra-curricular activities and are busily engaged in a variety of sporting events, fundraisers, trips and workshops.
Our school mass at the beginning of October was indeed special; we gathered as a whole school community, prayed for one another for the year ahead and thanked God for all the achievements of the previous year. This year the new prefects and Ministers of the Eucharist were introduced during the Mass and and the music performed by the school choir and orchestra was of its usual very high standard. Two of our last year’s Leaving Cert students, Caitríona Quinn and Sarah Coughlan, were in attendance and were presented with awards for their outstanding achievements in the Leaving Certificate Examination.  Sarah has also been awarded ‘The All-Ireland Scholarship’ funded by J.P. McManus and I will join her in Limerick University for this presentation by the Minister for Education in November.  Laoise Fleming, another Leaving Certificate student from the class of 2015 will also be awarded a scholarship from Maynooth University in November.  Laoise was a regular singer/soloist at school masses and is now studying Music and French at Maynooth University.  We wish all from the class of 2015 the best of luck into the future as they pursue their careers and studies.
Friendship Week was one of the highlights of the year so far, it was wonderful to witness a whole school combined effort to embrace the true concept of friendship.  The week culminated in a large domino event, where each student decorated a wooden block with a positive message. These blocks remain on display in the Oratory and at the main entrance to the school and provide much inspiration for students, parents and teachers.  During Friendship Week, the parents and grandparents of our new First Year students were invited into the school to share breakfast with us and meet with their daughters’ new friends.   To celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi our First Years brought their dogs to school to be blessed. It was a wonderful, exciting and happy day for all and we are most grateful to Ms. Holohan, Ms. Goggins and all the teachers who acted as judges for organising it.
A special thanks to the parents’ association who held a very successful AGM on Wednesday 14th October. Our school walk is arranged this year for Wednesday 4th November.  We seek your financial assistance with this; all funds collected contribute towards, IT and library supplies.  I meet with our student council executive monthly and their contributions to the upkeep of our school are very responsible.  This week they organised a fundraiser offering students an opportunity to ‘Dress-up’ on the day of the mid-term holiday.
We continue to work with and teach our students to the highest possible educational standards, I thank you for your support and the trust you place in us. We are blessed with our students, our hard-working committed teachers, our kind office staff and supportive parents.  I hope that you enjoy the mid-term and a well-deserved break as we prepare for the next term. Ní neart go cur le chéile. (Dr. O. Laffoy - Principal)

Spanish Scholarship

Back in the spring months of Fifth Year, Rebecca and I had no idea that the video we were making on the tourist features of Castilla y Léon would be met with such amazing feedback. We posted this video as an entry to the Post Primary Languages Initiative's competition to win a scholarship to study Spanish for a week in Spain. The support that our video gathered online over just a couple of weeks was astounding and saw us successfully to the Spanish Embassy to collect our prize and our sunny destination of Salamanca, Spain. We spent the week immersing ourselves in the culture, trying out tapas and churros, taking language and grammar classes from native Spanish teachers and making new international friends all with a common interest in the language. It was an incredible experience that I'm sure both of us will take with us for the rest of our lives and will provide us with much to speak of in our Spanish oral exam later this year. We would like to thank everyone that helped along the way, namely Mr. Hurley for his technical video making skills and Ms. Moran for providing her expertise in the beautiful language of Spanish.
 If I could offer any advice to younger students studying Spanish, or any other foreign language, it would be to enter competitions like this one if you can. You never know what might happen with the support of your peers and the school. It might be you writing an article like this next year! (Ellie Halloran)

Friendship Week - 2nd Year

Friendship week started for us with a talk about cyber bullying and cyber safety. It was a timely talk for us and we got a lot out of it. The importance of thinking about what you put up on the web is hugely important. I particularly like the “Granny Rule” – Don’t put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t be happy to show your Granny!
The week flew by with talks about friendship and bullying, but the highlight was of course our day trip. This year we went to Collins Barracks. We were put into groups and we visited the many exhibitions that were on offer. The exhibits were on a variety of areas of our history and we even got to march at the end of the day (after exhaustive training!).
On the last day we all met in the hall and saw our decorated bricks be used in a huge domino effect. Quite a finale for the week! Can’t wait for the next one.  (Tara Conlon 2.1)

School Mass
The school mass to commemorate the start of the school year took place on the 6th of October. It was the first opportunity for the whole school community to get together. The orchestra and choir was in full flow and Mr. McCartney didn’t disappoint in his “few” words. There isn’t yet a definitive number of the number of songs he quoted from!

In the presence of the whole school community, Fr. Tom Noone blessed the new ministers of the Eucharist and the prefects. In addition, two annual awards were handed out. Firstly, Sarah Coughlan, won the award for the best Leaving Certificate exam of 2015, while Caitríona Quinn took the Anne Kernan award for the student who achieves the best science grades in two science subjects and who studies a science subject in college. Both girls are studying in TCD and are studying psychology and physiotherapy respectively.

Choir and Orchestra
Over a number of weeks the music department has been working very hard in preparation for our annual opening school mass. Both the choir and orchestra spent a lot of their time along with Ms. Doyle and Ms.Goggins practising and perfecting their pieces to ensure that the opening school mass was filled with musical entertainment for all to enjoy. The mass was a great success for all participants and both choir and orchestra members performed beautifully. All in all their hard work and perseverance paid off and we are very proud of them.

There is no rest for the music department as they are now preparing for the annual Christmas carol service. Over the next few weeks both the choir and orchestra departments will be rehearsing and perfecting songs for the carol service. We have no doubt that the carol service will be a great success and we wish good luck to all taking part. (Christen Mooney)

Art Prefects
Ms Laffoy created a new category of prefects this year – the art prefects. Jan Rosales and I were given that honour and we hope to repay that trust that the school has put in us.
As art prefects, we have helped Ms. Collins design posters for friendship week and we are currently helping Mr Curry to build up a wall in the oratory using the bricks that each student decorated as part of friendship week.  We also intend to redesign the outdoor space near room 10 with a fountain and a wired tree with waterproof lights. It is also our intention to put tables in the courtyards along with the benches, to allow students to have lunch outdoors during the hot weather. We hope to achieve all this by having various fundraising events throughout the year. (Hazel Escabarte)

First Year Choir
The Dominican College First Year choir originated in 2014, managed by past pupil Laoise Fleming. This year the music prefects Sally Cryan and Aoife Brennan have continued Laoise's work. This choir provides a unique opportunity to our First Years to make new friends outside of their classes while learning basic sight reading skills and musical theory, a key factor in developing their appreciation and understanding of music.

The choir practises on Fridays after school until 2pm. They focus on learning contemporary material, and often organise themed weeks, such as 'Musical’s week'. They sing acapella or accompanied by the choir prefects play guitar, ukulele or piano. They are looking forward to their upcoming performance at the Dominican College Christmas Concert!

Pictured are the current members of the First Year choir alongside the choir prefects.

The TY production of Aladdin is well under way. The main characters  have all been cast, and our production will be starring Rosie  McLoughlin as Aladdin, Rebecca Murphy as Jasmine, Rebecca Egan as the  Genie, and Anna Husca as the baddie, Jafar. These are supported by various other characters as well as a talented dance ensemble which portrays the classic tale of 'a diamond in the rough' excellently.
This musical will take you on a journey following our main character, Aladdin, through massive changes in his fortunes and lifestyle. You'll be tapping your feet to the wonderful music, and looking in awe at the bright and colourful costumes made by some of the students, as well as their gorgeous hair styles and make up, also the work of more TYs. The stunning backdrop was also painted and designed by TY students. The tech team of 10 students has been working hard to ensure you can actually see and hear the actors on stage! Our stage crew are keeping us all sane with their help with everything. Ticket sales are now under way, pushed by our ticket sellers, and are flying out of the doors. Well done to Alex McGuinness who designed the excellent poster.
Get yours fast, before they're all gone! (Ali Donohoe)

Guinness Book of Records Attempt
As part of 2015 Science Week celebrations, some of our Junior Cert Science classes along with over 34,000 learners from 15 countries around the world are participating in an exciting attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the longest DNA strand to be modelled using balloons at the same time. Every student can enjoy the process of learning about genetics while incorporating maths through science. It will involve problem solving, functions, codes, pattern recognition, measuring, scale, statistics, sequences, permutations, the structure and chemistry of DNA, the use of DNA in identifying characteristics of cells and in forensic science.

ISTA Science Quiz
Best wishes to the Leaving Cert. Biology, Chemistry and Physics students who are currently preparing for the ISTA Science Table Quiz Dublin Regional Finals in Trinity College on November 12th, 2015. The three teams consist of Natalie Chizaza, Jan Rosales, Ailish Keating, Aisling Patterson, Claire Caufield, Sita Coogan, Emily Clarke, Nana Odikadze, Jennifer O’Connell, Elisabeth Murray, Niamh Wilson and Naoise Murtagh. All of these students have been working very hard revising and learning new material each lunch time in preparation for the regional finals during Science Week.

We are lucky in Transition Year that we have the opportunity of taking Horticulture as a module. It deals with the art, science, technology, and business of vegetable gardening and plant growing. We learn a lot here that we can bring into our own garden at home. So far, we have planted vegetables like onions, garlic, broccoli, and carrots, herbs, and some flowers. At the moment we are growing hyacinths to make wreaths for the upcoming Christmas season. These will be very useful as gifts!!

Watching these plants grow is very rewarding and we get to work as a team and bond with our class mates! It is the one practical class where we can head outside, leave the books behind and get some fresh air. It is a very relaxing, yet hands on class at the same time. We have spent a few classes shovelling, digging and preparing the raised beds with compost, fertiliser and top soil both outside and in the polytunnel. Who knew we would be spending many of our mornings knee-deep in manure!

We also help with the maintenance of our school’s potted plants, gardens and courtyards. It is a lovely feeling walking by the courtyard and knowing we have made our school prettier and more enjoyable to be in! Horticulture is a lot of fun and rewarding. We will all be disappointed finishing the module at Christmas. (Megan Walsh, Lia Watters, Róisín Ryan and Louise Whelan - TY)

On the 23rd September class 5.4 boarded the bus at 7.00am, wellingtons in one hand, packed lunch in the other, and travelled to The National Ploughing Championships in Laois as part of the LCVP link modules. The girls had one goal in mind, which was to interview their chosen entrepreneur as part of their portfolio work for this subject.  Students received first-hand information on the life of an entrepreneur and got a great insight into the few challenges that face entrepreneurs today in Ireland.
Having finished the interviews, the students made their way to the many food tents to sample the food that was on offer. Tractor demonstrations, fashion shows, sheep shearing and Irish dancing were some features of this year’s event and students really enjoyed escaping from the city to the countryside, even if it was only for a few hours.
On the 21st October, students invited a guest speaker to the school to speak about CV preparation and interview tips. Ed O' Hora gave students many tips on creating that perfect CV and covering letter, which is of real importance to students as they are engaging in finding work experience as part of the Links Modules.
From a teaching perspective, we are really enjoying teaching the LCVP modules here at the school. It is a practical and extremely engaging subject for students to be involved in. We are looking forward to what next term has to offer. (Ms. F. Moran)

Science Week
The theme of this year’s Science Week is ‘Out of this World’. All students are invited to enter a science poster/model competition. The deadline is Wednesday the fourth of November and there will be a prize for the best entry.
We have a packed schedule for the girls. Here’s some of what’s on offer.

  • The First Years will attend DCU for a free show called ‘From the Invisible to Beyond’. The key focus of the show is on light; how we see, colour and colour mixing, optical illusions and perception of vision.
  • There will be fun lunch time experiments taking place in the science labs throughout the week for all students.
  • The Second Years will come together in the library for a science table quiz with lots of prizes to be won.
  • Ms McCool will provide a CSI double class for the Third Years where they will learn all about crime scene investigation techniques.
  • The Transition Years will be invited to visit the Dunsink observatory in order to learn about the solar system and view stars through a large telescope. The year group has already completed a full day forensic workshop and the successful candidates to the BT Young Scientist have been announced.
  • Some of the senior students are currently working with Ms. Ward preparing for the ISTA science quiz in Trinity College.
  • Mr Moriarty will take Fifth Year Physics students and some TY students to a STEM event in The National Gallery.
  • There will be quest speakers from DCU and the Sixth Years will take part in a DNA model making class.
  • Senior chemistry classes will be taking part in a chemistry quiz during science week. They will also be going on a trip out to visit an industry site in the coming weeks

Forensics Workshop
On Thursday the 10th of September, Transition Year students had the chance to participate in a Forensic Science Workshop in the hall. They learned how forensic scientists assist police investigation and solve cases.

There were nine forensic stations set up in the hall that included handwriting, autopsy, DNA, and ballistics. Students were presented with a case that they had to solve using digital evidence, fingerprinting, DNA profiling and more.

At the beginning of the workshop students were given a background on the case by a forensic scientist who ran the workshop. They were given some information about the crime, the suspects, and shown the crime scene. After this introduction students were given sheets with questions that they had to answer and outlined the tasks that had to be done at each forensic station.

Text messages were read carefully, fingerprints were identified, tyre tracks were compared, and all the clues were put together. In the end, most students figured out who the murderer was and walked out of the workshop educated about the work of a forensic scientist.

Many thanks to the science department for giving 4th Year students this experience and we look forward to more events like this in the future. (Sophia Fronda, Class 4.1)

U19 Basketball
The U19 Basketball season got off to a difficult start on Wednesday, October 14th against Manor House, Raheny. After leading for much of the game, the girls were unfortunate to get pipped at the post in the last couple of minutes. The U19’s will play the rest of their matches in November and December, where they will hopefully turn their season around. Well done to a terrific display by Ailish Keating, Sara Guebaili, Ciara O’Leary, Jennifer O’Connell, Tara Donohoe, Ernesta Klusaite, Ali Donohoe, Brónagh Monaghan, Patricia Mirt, Grace Ryan, Sadbh Capper and acting manager Siobhán Horan.

Slingshot Academy
Slingshot is an educational initiative that aims to educate, mentor and inspire the next generation of young people in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Our Fifth
Year physics students attended the National Gallery on October 22nd and found that the academy was true to its mission.

Arriving early, we had to gather sustenance for the busy schedule and luckily there was a café in the building! We were delighted to meet Lauren Dempsey (LC class of 2015) who was part of the events management team.

The day started with a panel discussion with three undergraduate students about their courses and how they came to choose their degree. We were encouraged to ask questions throughout. Each was asked about their maths ability and I was surprised to hear that one of them had taken ordinary level maths for Leaving Cert. Next, we had a talk about computer science and the mentor encouraged us to take out our smart phones and code for a very basic website online.

After lunch, we were treated to a talk from Ms. Eithne Harley. Ms. Harley is the Director of Integrated Marketing at Accenture. While your grades will get your foot in the door, problem solving, creativity and social skills will help your progress in that job (Mr. Moriarty was delighted that physics ticks all the boxes here!). Ms. Harley told us that she believes in the 3 C’s; Compassion, Curiosity and Confidence.

The TY classes who will attend the Slingshot in January have a great day to look forward to. (Meagan Hoffman)

'Get going, get rowing' - This initiative has been created by Rowing Ireland specifically for schools to give pupils the opportunity to engage in a new sport.
The project involves bringing indoor rowing to schools by means of the Ergometer. It gives pupils the opportunity to engage in a new sport, where they may not have had the opportunity to do so before. Not only that, it is promoting fitness, general well-being and positive eating habits in youngsters, particularly girls.
So far, classes 1.1 and 1.3 have been involved in this indoor rowing programme and had a one-off trip to Commercial Rowing Club at Islandbridge.
The girls had the opportunity to row on the river Liffey with the able assistance of the leadership coaches from Rowing Ireland. Everyone had a great time!

Sixth Year Update
While the main concern for many of us at the moment is, of course, the Leaving Certificate, there can be even more stress worrying about what we will do after the Leaving Cert. There are so many possibilities and opportunities today it is hard to decide what you want to spend your life doing. So, as part of our Friendship Week we visited the Higher Options Conference in the RDS to hopefully find some answers.

The hall was filled with stands from almost every single college or university in Ireland and many from abroad. We had the opportunity to take prospectuses, talk to students and teachers and try and find out as much as we could about college life and study.

Many of us found the day very insightful and came out with a new sense about where we want to go after school. It was of great benefit to us.

Furthermore, our annual retreat for many has been a highlight of our year to date and for our final retreat all 6th Years took the trip down to Glendalough for a day of relaxation and fun. While surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Glendalough, we travelled along the rocky road to the lake to “cleanse” ourselves. We each took a rock, symbolising all our worries and each took a turn to throw them into the river, mimicking losing all of our worries and anxieties for the year. It was a day where we came together as a year group which, of course, led to a good sing-along. It was an enjoyable day for all. (Caoimhe McMahon)

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