From the Principal’s Desk…

Mr. B McCauley

Notes from the Principal’s Desk.

4th May 2017

Notes from the Principal’s desk.

Principal’s welcome at the launch of The Star on the Hill – A History of Coláiste Éanna, 1967-2017 by Dominic Price. 4th May 2017

Good evening

This is a great Coláiste Éanna event and it is a great pleasure to welcome so many here this evening on this auspicious occasion. To say welcome to all those who are currently part of the school community, the Chairperson of our Board of Management and members of our Board of Management, to our teachers, our ancillary staff, Parents Association and Students Council. We also welcome members of the wider community from our local National Schools, Parishes and Ballyboden St. Endas.

We extend a very warm welcome to former members of Boards of Management, to former teachers, parents and to so many past pupils. You are the people who made Coláiste Éanna what it is today

Issac Newton said “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.  Tonight is about remembering and celebrating those giants of Coláiste Éanna, those students, teachers and parents, who litter the pages of this magnificent history of our school which has been written by Dominic Price with the discipline of the historian but also with the affection of one rooted in the very fibre of Coláiste Éanna and the Christian Bothers tradition.

Speaking of giants – I am so pleased to welcome previous principals, Mr. Brendan Vaughan and Mr. John O’Sullivan, Deputy Principal, Mr Seán O’Donnell.

As we stand at the cusp of our 50th Anniversary Year we find our school to be in very rude and robust health. We have a very broad curricular provision and extra-curricular provision that caters for all our students. In keeping with the Edmund Rice ethos of inclusion we do not discriminate on the basis of academic ability, ethnicity or religious belief and we have a calm and integrated school which is anchored in the Christian values of care and respect. Our current enrolment stands at 620 and there is a strong demand for enrolment.  Our exam results continue to far outstrip national statistics. As I said we are where we are today because of the vision and the toil of those who have gone before us and we look forward to the future with great confidence.

This book started with a meeting of a very small group in August 2013 and I want to that group, Colm Brady, Greg O’Toole and Daire Keogh. We were joined at our next meeting by Dominic Price who did us the singular honour of agreeing to research and write this book. Later were joined by our publication editors Georgine Byrne and Lois Kapila and designer Noel Smyth from Silverbark. Thank you.

It now gives me great pleasure to call upon our guest speaker this evening to formally launch The Star on the Hill – A History of Coláiste Éanna, 1967-2017. To use the word guest is a misnomer as he was such a significant person in the history of the school as principal from 1981 to 1986. It might be better to say ‘you’re very welcome back’ . I now ask Br. John Dooley to formally launch our book.

Brendan Mc Cauley,

Principal.

 

 

21st December 2016

The Christmas exams are all but completed and teachers are feverishly correcting papers so reports can be sent home over the holiday period (not from a sense of cruelty but to allow for those all-important conversations about making New Year study resolutions between parent and son).

The term draws to a close and we anticipate celebrating Christmas and the really important things in life. Christmas is a time for us to remember our own history and to celebrate our family and memories of past Christmases. It is time to cherish all those present and to embrace with fondness those who are absent either because they have died or because they live far from home.

Advent on the other hand is all about the present and the future. We prepare for the coming of Christ by asking ‘so what?’ What is the significance to me personally that the son of God was made flesh?  During Advent we are asked to reflect on what we are doing with our lives to make the world a better place. We see only too clearly that we have so much to be thankful for but we also see very clearly that there are so many in great need. We had an opportunity to reflect on these things during our Carol Service last week. Our choir sang O Holy Night beautifully and our 10-piece brass ensemble played God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen along with other pieces including a bluesy version of White Christmas to conclude.  

The importance of family and cherishing those close to us was brought to the forefront of our minds during our November Service this term. Few will forget the dignity, calmness and peace with which Mrs. Alice Cairns brought a candle to the altar to remember Philip. Our citation and prayer was for all those ‘who did not come home’.

This term  we had the ecstasy and agony that sport can produce. Our U14 Gaelic team produced both in equal measure in their Dublin County final but thankfully  it was an ecstatic team who brought the trophy home on a one-point margin after a last minute goal. Our U16 basketball team was equally victorious in the Leinster competition and there were many, many other great sporting occasions where boys learn about leadership, resilience and teamwork. It was this resilience and teamwork that saw our chess team do very well in the international tournament in Glastonbury in October and our young Europeans host the Dublin meeting of the European Youth Parliament also in October.

The term saw some unsettling school closures due to the ongoing industrial dispute but needless to say our teachers were magnificent in making up for lost time. It was a great pleasure to see this magnificence recognised in the recent Irish Times Education Supplement which places Coláiste Éanna in the top 25 boys’ feeder schools to university and third level institution in the country. One has had a jaundiced view of such league tables in the past as they suggest that boys who go straight into employment or who take up apprenticeships don’t count but it is very gratifying to see our efforts at striving for excellence acknowledged.

On this day of solstice, we look forward to the start of another exciting term in January when the longest night is passed and the dawn of hopefulness emerges.

13th September 2016

Parents Association AGM -Principals Report

As you are aware we will begin the 50th anniversary celebration of the foundation of our school this time next year, our school being founded on the 8th September 1967 (imagine secondary schools opened on the 8th of Sept back then!). Anniversary celebrations are great opportunities to remember our past, to acknowledge those before us who had the vision and the dream to establish a great school and those who carried that vision and worked hard to achieve it. We have to be careful though. Historical anniversaries have to be more than a remembering of the past. We became very aware of this as our country marked the 1916 Rising; our celebrations have to ask questions of us who are now charged with holding the stewardship of past vision and who plan to see that vison unfold over the next number of years. Anniversaries are about the past, the present and the future.

We will not go far wrong if we continue to reflect on our core values as a school – the core values that inspired Brother Mahady and the first Christian Brothers here in 1967 and the core values of the Edmund Rice School Trust which took over from the Brothers in 2008.

We do this instinctively in Colásite Éanna anyway. We reflect, I reflect, on the core values of our school.  These are in the five elements of the Edmund Rice School:

  • Reflecting on Christian Spiritualty
  • Promoting Partnership
  • Excelling in Teaching and Learning
  • Creating the caring school community
  • Transformative Leadership

We aim to strive for excellence in all these areas.

I am happy to report that we are maintaining and improving upon our success in each of the five areas.

At this time of the year the examination results are always at the fore, and exam results are central to what we do here in CÉ. This year our Leaving Cert results were again excellent. One of our boys, David Mullen, received a very generous scholarship from Trinity College for his interest and success in Physics and Colásite Éanna also receives a grant of several thousand euro for our science laboratories. We have no doubt the Junior Cert Results which are out tomorrow will also be magnificent.

But we are excelling in other areas as well. We would be failing as a school if we were not.

Christian Reflection. We will have our Opening of the School Year Mass next Wednesday 21st Sept and 11 boys will be commissioned as lay ministers of the Eucharist. Our sixth year Religion Seminar Classes are proving to be very popular and one of the boys told me today that it is the highlight of his week. Last June we had a group of 20 Transition Years who spent a week in the ecumenical monastery in Taizé in France and there will be a group going again next June. I have no doubt all this ‘spiritual capital’ is fundamental to the wellbeing of our school.

Creating the Caring School community – this week our Care Team have been having meetings with our year heads to make sure we know all our students and their challenges and opportunities especially those who may be vulnerable. Last year we took part in the national Cycle Against Suicide campaign in April. Our Care Team has reflected on the significance of this as it allows us to include the word suicide in our pastoral vocabulary. Our Anti bullying Team has been active from the first day of term teaching boys to recognise, reject and report bullying.

As for Partnership, we have one of the most active Parents Association of most secondary schools in Ireland as witnessed by this gathering this evening and the monthly meetings which Ms McCabe and I attend. Your very successful golf outing last weekend and your generous donations to the school throughout the year have financed the new school canteen and we look forward to embarking on the project to establish a new playing surface in the school yard presently.

I am pleased to acknowledge the work of our Parents Association. I wish you all a good year ahead and I am pleased to report that our school is in very good stead as we begin to reflect on our past and look forward to our future with confidence.

 

17th August 2016Results

Today is a very significant day in the history of Coláiste Éanna. The Leaving certificate results for the class of 2016 were distributed today. Another fine cohort of young men is beginning the next step on the journey as they make their way in life.

The results are spectacular. 7.2%% of our boys achieved over 550 points and 8.1% achieved between 500 and 545, making 15.3% who achieved over 500. The national figures are not available yet but in 2015 the national figure of those who achieved over 500 was 10.1%.

It is very easy to get caught up in the hype and hysteria that Leaving Cert results day brings. Our Ethos values the individual and not the numbers. And each individual young man this morning is to be congratulated for the Leaving Cert result he achieved. One of our constant dictums here in Coláiste Éanna is that one should always strive to achieve better than your previous personal best.  It is results seen in that context that is the real measure of the significance of exam results and not the number of students who achieved over 500 or 600 points. A boy who gets 500 points in his Leaving Certificate has done very well however what if he could and should have achieved 550? Similarly a boy who gets 200 points may well have struggled with a learning difficulty or great family trauma.

We conducted our annual survey of the previous Leaving Certificate class in June and we’re delighted to note that there is an increase in the numbers from the Class of 2015 who have moved on to UCD  and TCD.  Again we have to be careful here – one of the Class of 2016 achieved all passes in the Leaving Certificate he got this morning which is a tremendous personal triumph for him. He will not be going to university and according to the league table model popularized by two national newspapers he doesn’t count. What an outrageous notion and certainly one that our Ethos would never support. Every member of the Coláiste Éanna community counts.

Just as one class group moves on, another class group of First Years will be starting their journey in Coláiste Éanna next week. We welcome them and we look forward to seeing them grow in self esteem and wellbeing as well as intellectually and academically. Each one of those boys will always count in our eyes.

 

 

 

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Taizé 4th June 2016

Today, Saturday we had our last Bible Reflection small group meetings and we are free this afternoon. Assiduous packing and forensic cleaning of our dorms will hopefully happen ( though miracles perhaps may take a little longer!). Tonight at evening prayer we will all have individual candles lit from the Easter candle which we are told by veteran Taizé people is very special.

It’s been a wonderful week and there is no doubt we are all looking froward to the comforts of home and mothers cooking but there is so much to reflect on and much that will stay with us for a long time to come. One of the Gospel readings this week was ‘you are the salt of the earth….’ The real challenge now will be see how each of us can make a difference for good in our own little corner of the our own world.

Cillian tells us one of the brothers here is called Killian and that this brother was saying the St. Killian brought the Christian faith from the Land of Saints and Scholars to Central Europe in the Dark Ages. One can’t help wondering if the experience of church we have been part of this week in Taizé might not be the source of rebirth in Ireland to transform us from our recent dark ages when faith has been been eroded from those impositions of trust be they civil, political, financial or church leaders.

A big thank you to Mr. Carey for organising this wonderful experience and thanks to Luke Pendlebury, James Carrigan, Dylan Carroll, Cal Cunningham, Luke Cunningham, Rian Doyle-Salmon, Cian Hogan, Brian Egan, Sean Egan, Kevin Mc Grath, Tom Glynn, Ben Graham, Eoin Griffin, Callum Hazley, Ben Kelly, Cillian Lacy, Cathal Mc Cabe, James O’Reilly, Stan Polimashev and Ms Ann Loughman, Chaplain from St. Colmcilles CS, Ben Nolan and Mike Loughlan for being such wonder travelling companions on this special journey. And remembering especially our young friends from Holland and their teachers Adriaan and Mark.

 

Taizé 3rd June 2016.

We all agree it’s the silence that makes the prayer in Taizé so special. What seemed an impossibly long period of silence last Sunday night now is something that we relish. Silence is the absence of noise and clatter which gives one the opportunity to reflect, maybe to pray or maybe to zone out. Everyone contributes to the silence just as everyone contributes to the singing. One of our boys  commented that in the church here in Taizé each person creates a thread of silk which becomes a beautiful tapestry.
photo (9)We all had a meeting yesterday with Brother Jean-Marie who is from the US and he gave an insight into the life of the brothers in Taizé and his journey to becoming a member of the community. He was very interested to hear about what the boys in the group felt about their experience and it was wonderful to hear that everyone was enjoying themselves but also has gained a lot from the prayer experience.

The daily routine continues and the weather continues to disappoint but that has become a distinct irrelevance as one continues to engage in many, many snippets of conversation; most superficial but some quite profound…

We will have the Prayer around the Cross this evening. Brother Jean-Marie was explaining how many find the symbolic act of resting ones forehead on the cross of Taizé and placing ones worries or intentions there can be a powerful and liberating thing.

Taizé 1st June 2016

The Infant of Prague worked – warm and glorious sunshine. The food, which was concern to our young gourmands has been consistently good (compared to last year!), went up a notch too with frankfurters this evening.

All is well.

Taizé 31th May 2016

We should probably leave infallibility to pontiffs…

photo (3)The daily routine has now become well established. Up for morning prayer at 8.15am followed by breakfast. Bible study and group work at 10am for around an hour and a half. Mid day prayer at 12.30pm followed by lunch and in the afternoon there are a myriad of tasks for which one is expected to volunteer along with free time. Optional workshops at 5pm and dinner at 7pm with evening prayer at 8.30pm followed by free time at the Oyak which is an large area where people can hang out.

That’s a lot of praying but strangely it doesn’t seem too arduous for to be at prayer is to be with hundreds of other young people surrounded by song and an atmosphere that is part serenity and part mystical.

Where is that infant of Prague?

 

Taizé 30th May 2016

Our group of some 20 Transition Year students led by Mr. Carey and myself arrived as the sun was shining in Lyon Airport however as we approached Cluny the skies opened and a deluge of apocalyptical proportions descended. The surrounding fields resembled the fields in the midlands at home last winter. However the rains stopped just as we arrived in Taizé around 5.30pm.

The weather has been dry and dull and cold since with occasional showers.

After our welcome and orientation we volunteered for various tasks and several boys wisely opted for the kitchen detail thus securing extra helpings. We also had our first experience of prayer at Taizé as we joined with the Brothers and about 600 people from all over Europe. It made quite an impression mainly because it was authentic and simple. The words of one of the songs said it all; as night falls we search for meaning…Wait for the Lord, keep watch, take heart.

The morning saw a continuation of the indifferent weather but we got an opportunity to formally meet our fellow travellers and indifference was the last word one could use as discussions ranged about the nature of God, faith and justice especially in relation to Europe’s current immigration/refugee crisis.

This afternoon the work continues in preparation for the arrival of nearly 1000 more visitors this evening and tomorrow morning to this special place.  Many of our boys are helping to put up tents.

Mr. Carey’s weather app, which he describes with near infallible awe, says that the sun will shine bright tomorrow. Call me Thomas if you will but we await developments with great interest.

 

17th May 2016

Dr. Anne Looney, CEP of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment was the guest speaker at our annual Awards Night on Tuesday 17th May. This is the speech she delivered on the night

Coláiste Éanna Awards Ceremony

First of all I want to thank your school principal and his colleagues for the invitation to join you here this evening for this important event – important in the life of the school, in the life of the community here in Ballyroan, and important in the lives of those whose achievements are being marked here this evening and for their families who join them in celebrating their achievements

Events like this one are important for other reasons. They are part of the great story of Irish education, and of Irish schooling in particular. I spent last year in Australia; if you have visited you too will have been struck by the visible presence of Irish education across that continent. I was working on the McAuley Campus. Edmund Rice schools were everywhere, as were St Patrick’s Colleges, Patrician and Del La Salle schools as well as Presentation and Nano Nagle schools. It is a remarkable legacy, highly valued in Australia and part of Ireland’s global educational presence. Today there is a new global presence for Irish education. It is a continuing source of pride to me, and to those who work with me, that other countries constantly check in with us to see what we are doing here, what direction are we taking, what research we are doing. And when they come to visit – they do not get to see the best equipped schools in the world – far from it; nor do they get to see the flashiest computers; nor do they see the smallest classes, nor the highest paid teachers. They ask to taste the school meals – and we have to send out for a sandwich in many schools and we buy them paracetamol if they ask to see the school nurse.  These are still works in progress. Lots of other countries have things that we don’t…. but lots of others envy what we have they don’t. A passion for education and a conviction that education matters. We still believe – passionately believe in this country – that what happens in your school is not just about what happens between the pages of your book. We know – even if those of us who are or have been teachers don’t like to admit it, that children and young people do not come to school to learn – they come to school to be and to become. Education is in the learning business, but it’s also in the hearts and minds business. In Ireland people don’t talk about themselves as having attended a particular school but about being an Coláiste Éanna boy or a Sancta Maria girl… Policy makers like myself tend to focus on what education gives you in terms of qualifications, or exam results, but in schools, the focus is not on what education gives you, but on what it makes you. After your family, your schooling is the greatest force in shaping the person you will be and the contribution you will make. It’s not something that a country does, it’s not a service that you buy into, its not a facility… it’s how a country builds itself and its future. That’s part of the reason why Padraig Pearse became a teacher; education is about nation building.

This evening we mark your contribution to that process; and acknowledge excellence, resilience, creativity, competitiveness, commitment. Although Pearse did not name these specifically from the GPO on that Easter Monday, I think he would be pleased to see a Coláiste Éanna celebrating these attributes here this evening. He would be pleased at the strong community connection that marks this school and of course he would be particularly pleased at the strong connection to Ballyboden St Enda’s. Next year is a big one for this school; it will mark 50 years since its foundation and will celebrate its story in the greater story of Irish education. There will be lots of nostalgia around. Lots of gathering of past-pupils. And past teachers. And telling of old stories and sharing of old photographs. Those gatherings are always interesting. Teachers, have you ever noticed that when you meet a past-pupil, as you struggle for that name, or a clue to that class, they always ask that question, often with pity in their voices… Are you still there sir? Because they have moved on, but in their minds, you are the same, wearing the same jumper, with the same hairstyle, you had when they were in school. School time has a strange rhythm to it. Some in school (like teachers) are frozen in time, others fly through it. Parents, don’t tell me this evening that as you prepared you did not give some thought to the day you first dressed him in the school jersey, smoothed his hair, packed his lunch and sent him on his way. You may even have taken the opportunity to share stories of prizes you won or lost in school. And lads, although they may not admit it, in offices, shops, and other places across the city tomorrow and the day after there will be casual mention of ‘my son’s award’s night’ and some sharing of photos and pride. And at some point in the future, the awards you receive tonight will be found by your son, or your daughter, in a box somewhere, and you will be asked what you got it for, and you will start to tell them all about your school days, and how it was in Coláiste Éanna in 2016, and your children will start looking at their watches and eying the door. School time reaches across generations, and so do school stories. Events like this one remind us of that.

Of course they also remind people like me – on the coffin side of 50 – that we are past it, and that the business of nation building is passing to a new generation. We look to you, because, frankly, it’s your job now. We, I am afraid are past it. We who want phones that just ring, and wish that banks had nice men and women in them who did things on paper and wrote things in books, for whom one remote was a challenge, but three an impossibility. We learned how to use Facebook, as you moved on to Snapchat,  and we love vinyl too, because it’s a really useful floor covering for high use areas. We are thrilled to have great seats for Springsteen. You are delighted to be in the muddy campsite of any festival; the muddier the better. We are just hanging on in the present – you are the future. You have some challenges ahead, but the thing that strikes you about the young people here this evening is that they are ready for it. We don’t do you any service of course when we hold mirrors up to you and say this is what you are like….stereotypes of young people who drink too much, or play too much, or work too much, or earn too much, or care too little. Do not allow yourselves to be defined by these stereotypes. Your education enables you to challenge these, and what you know tells you that this is not how you are, nor who you want to be. Resist being boxed and labelled. We know you can. We know you will. And we know that you will take up the challenges of the work still to be done in shaping the nation… in fact as we get older, and someone has to look after us, we are depending on it.

So I wish all the award winners my heartiest congratulations. I envy you. Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven said Wordsworth. He was right. It is your dawn, your heaven, our sunset. Do great things. Be great people. Be people of whom we will  proudly  say ‘Him, yes, I knew him when he was at school, in Coláiste Éanna in 2016. And I was there on May 17th when he got his award.

 

26th April 2016

The excitement and busyness of school life continues unabated.

Last week we had our Leaving Certificate oral exams in Irish which went very well as expected. On Thursday last we had the oral examiner in Russian for four of our sixth year boys!

On Monday we marked the date of the anniversary of the 1916 Rising by planting trees in a grove to honour the 1916 dead.

On Monday we also began a week to mark Cycle Against Suicide week of which the highlight will be a local cycle to Stepaside on Wednesday. Other events include gym bikes in the canteen area for ‘cycle-offs’ and the creation of a mural containing a thumbprint of everyone in the school.

On Wednesday we have the Leinster soccer final for our U19 senior soccer team against St. Kilian’s Bray in the Wayside Celtic grounds. We also have the start of the Gaisce overnight hike along the Wicklow for our Transition Year boys. And if this wasn’t enough our U13 Table Tennis team represent Coláiste Éanna and Leinster on Thursday in the All Ireland Schools finals in the National Basketball Area.

Our drama department are on tenterhooks as they prepare to go to the Bord Gáis Energy Young Theatre Awards next week as they have been nominated for an award.

It will however be drama of a different sort as we welcome Inspectors from the Department of Education for a Whole School Evaluation – Management, Leadership and Learning Inspection starting with formal meetings on the 5th May. As we said in correspondence to parents and talking to the boys ‘we are looking forward to showcasing the school as we continue to strive for excellence’.

 

15th March 2016

Comments from the Principal at the ceremony to mark Proclamation Day.

I welcome the entire whole school community here in this place who gather to honour our National Flag, the 1916 Proclamation and remember the 1916 rising as we approach the 100th anniversary of that event. We are remembering our past and honouring our history. We also welcome our young neighbours from the crèche to join us today.

So boys, today is a day to remember our history but more importantly it is a day to imagine our future and you are the ones who will shape that future over the next 50 years. Every one of you here will play an important part in the future of Ireland. You are the leaders of tomorrow and I do hope the part you play in the future will be to bring about decency and justice wherever you find yourself. In the last paragraph of the Proclamation Pearse says “… we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity or rapine.” (Rapine or rapaciousness means ‘excessively greed’). So let us all resolve this afternoon to be leaders for good in our country and that we will never be cowardly, inhumane or greedy.

There are three other events we will be doing tom mark the 1916 Rising.

This afternoon A3 from first year will be going to St Enda’s school on the Grange Road for their afternoon classes. They will sit in the classroom where Padraig Pearse taught his pupils. 

Tomorrow the Justice League and the Student Council have asked for a non-uniform day to raise funds for Sophia House, a charity for homeless families and also the library fund in Scoil Mhuire. We are asking everyone to wear green tomorrow. They will also be selling the Tricolour badges.

The Easter Rising actually took place on the 24th April and we will mark that date here in school by planting 16 trees to honour the 16 men who were executed on Monday 25th April 2016.

11th December 2015

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

We had a great celebration in our parish church today. Our school community gathered and we sang carols and listened to some glorious music.

The words of the opening reflection guided us

We gather in joy for the gift of love,

And do not know what to say, and so we sing.

We gather remembering the loss of our loved ones,

And do not know what to say, and so we sing.

The choir singing O Holy Night said all those things for us. We were reminded how much we have to be grateful for, that we all have someone in our lives who will make sure we get something nice from Santa Claus and that there will be a fine dinner on Christmas day. The boys were reminded how important it is to say ‘thank you’ to the person who does all the hard work to make their home such a special place at Christmas. We also remembered those for whom the Christmas dinner table will a lonely place as significant people will be absent. We had great fun as our junior music ensemble finished the service with a wonderful version of Jingle Bells.

On Monday morning we will have the Parents’ Association Christmas draw. As ever there is great expectation to see who will win the lap top. The seller’s prize of the Beats Headset is eagerly sought after. Also on Monday we will deliver Christmas hampers to those who find Christmas particularly difficult. Each tutor group from first to third year made up hampers full of festive delights and the senior classes collected funds for supermarket vouchers.

Sadly, into every garden a little rain must fall. The Christmas exams start on next Tuesday. We will have the results of these exams ready by Tuesday 22nd December, the day we close for Christmas, but because we do want our boys to have a wonderful, stress free Christmas we won’t be posting the reports home until the 29th December.

Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration, a time for families and friends gathering and seeking the goodwill that unites us all and is born in the manger in Bethlehem.

We wish all our boys and their families every good wish and many blessings for this joyous season.

 

16th November 2015

An act of remembering and honouring those who died in Paris…

(Principal) On Friday evening last in Paris at 9.20pm as people were enjoying a night out in their city terror struck when 132 young people were killed in an act of brutality.

Over the next few minutes we will remember those who died, we will remember the people of Paris and France at this time.

(Niall Donohue, Student Council) Let us stand with victims of terrorism everywhere, especially those in France and the Lebanon, by sharing messages of support and love as the world comes to terms with what’s happened. This is about more than sympathy for nations in shock. It’s about defying the murderous logic behind this, and showing that even now, on this worst of days, our hope for the world will overcome the fear, sadness and pain we’re all feeling right now.

(Mr. Hennessy, French Dept) Les valeurs de la France sont la liberté, l’égalité et la fraternité. Ce sont des valeurs positives qui réclament un monde où nous pouvons tous vivre en dignité. Seul l’amour peut vaincre la haine. Plus que jamais, nous devons tous poursuivre le chemin de la tolérance et du respect mutuel.

The values of France are liberty, equality and fraternity. They are positive values which call for a world where we can all live in dignity. Only love can defeat hate. More than ever, we need to continue on the road of tolerance and mutual respect.

(Tom Giblin, Student Council) Let us remember those who died on Friday as we say together the words of the Our Father

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

(Principal) Let us now stand for a moments silence which will conclude by the sounding of the Last Post. As we stand let us think about and make a personal commitment to these words… I am for peace, that means I will always try to create peace, at Home, at School, in the Workplace and in my small part of the World

Silence

(Fionnán Keogh, Fifth Year) The Last Post

 

23th October 2015

The Friday before mid-term break was interesting. We had a non-uniform day in aid of Temple Street Hospital ‘Trick or Treat’ campaign and our Sixth Years as per recent tradition wore fancy dress. Friday was also the day that the Year Head and myself met with the Sixth Years to have our ‘end of half term de-brief’ assemblies focusing on their study planning and particularly on the September Scores.

The September Scores are based on each teacher awarding marks in each of four categories; homework, application to studies, attendance/ punctuality and behaviour. A total of five marks is awarded in each category and the average ranking is then calculated. We would expect that everyone student would get the perfect score of five particularly as these scores are based on effort rather than academic ability. These scores are very good performance indicators and excellent barometers of future achievement in the Leaving Certificate.

We decided to split the year group into three. Those who achieved a score of five; those in the medium group who scored four and a half  to five and those who scored below four.

So reminded of the old Jimmy O Dea song The Charladies Ball when we addressed students in varying types of fancy dress we were making the very important point that the midterm break was an opportunity to study and prepare for the Christmas exams as well as a chance for a rest. However we tailored our presentations for each group.

To the larger group who scored fives we said well done and keep up the good work and really praised them for the contribution we knew they would be making to Coláiste Éanna achieving its goal of ‘Striving for Excellence’ in their Leaving Certificate results.

The medium group is always a challenge. These are the boys who are fairly smart, never are a problem in class and do just enough work to get by and stay out of trouble. They use their charm as a fig leaf to disguise lack of genuine effort. We put it to them – are you satisfied to be a medium, to be mediocre when excellence is a possibility?  We offered them some study tips which they could employ over midterm break.

To the last, thankfully much smaller group, we cajoled and encouraged secure in the knowledge that some would hear us and that for some miracles take a little longer.

There was cowboys and indians that came from Drumcondra

Sweet Frances St. fairies all diamonds and stars

There was one of the Rooneys as a clock over Mooneys

And a telegram boy with a message from Mars

Mary Moore from the Lotts was the Queen of the Scots

With a crown out of Woolworths perched up on her dome

There was young Jimmy Whitehouse came dressed as a lighthouse

And a Camden St. Garbo that should have stayed home

 

22nd September  2015

We had our first India Immersion Project meeting last night with the boys who will take part in the IIP 2016 and their parents. This is a milestone on this very exciting journey which will have a very significant and transformative influence on the twelve young men and four teachers who will travel to Kolkata, India.

The India Immersion Project started in Coláiste Éanna in 2001 and has taken place every two years thereafter. The first group visited and worked with Christian Brother’s schools in Kolkata and now the boys and teachers visit and work with schools run and supported by our Past Pupils, all of whom have been on the IIP and who have returned later to that great city in their college years. They established a charity, Calcutta Connect, and through this charity they fund three schools which look after c.400 children from the slum areas. We started going to CB schools and now we go to schools directly linked to Coláiste Éanna; isn’t that the direction all such programmes should develop towards? I had the great privilege of being part of the Immersion Programme in 2014 and I’m delighted I took part on several counts. Firstly, as Principal I wanted to see at first-hand how this important part of the life and culture of the Coláiste Éanna community works and secondly the visit to Kolkata challenged me as a person and as an educator. The Justice League was established as a result of the 2014 Programme thanks to the good work of Mr. Carey and the Justice League have done fantastic work promoting awareness on justice issues here in Ireland and abroad since then.

Another milestone was our information Morning for boys in fifth class in primary schools who intend coming to Coláiste Éanna or who wish to find out more about the school. On last Saturday 19th September we had nearly 500 boys and their parents visit the school. We had a great morning and it was terrific that so many teachers and senior students were here to direct our visitors and answer their many questions. The thought did strike that our visitors last Saturday will be the First Year Class of 2017 and the Leaving Certificate class of 2024!

 

10th September 2015

Yesterday was a great day for Coláiste Éanna. It  was Junior Cert results day and again our results were really strong. Several boys got all straight As and we have virtually no one who failed in multiple subjects. These great results are a testament to the calibre of boys we have; boys who irrespective of their academic ability do their very best to reach their potential. They are a credit to their parents who have invested so much in them and to their teachers who have worked so hard in helping the boys achieve these results.

It’s not all about examinations and examination results. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and we will be marking the day with a brief presentation during announcements on the school PA. However we mark suicide prevention every day through the way we deal with each other and through the workings of our Pastoral Care Team, our tutor system and our Anti-bullying Programme.

The following is an extract from the announcement today on World Suicide Prevention Day:

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Let us all make a promise today to do everything we can to prevent suicide. This promise starts by us all hearing and acting on the words “it’s okay not to feel okay and it’s absolutely okay to ask for help”. Let us all make a promise you don’t feel okay – talk to someone you trust…

Tonight at 9pm buildings in Dublin city centre and around the country will be lit Orange to make this special day and there’s a campaign for family to switch on an orange light or light a candle at 9pm as part of the #letsgoorange and #break the cycle.

Let us take a moment now to remember all those families who have been touched by the sadness, separation and shame of suicide and let us all remember that “it’s okay not to feel okay and it’s absolutely okay to ask for help”.

 

12th August 2015

What an exciting morning! The Leaving Certificate results arrived from the State Examinations Commission very early and while we were checking exam numbers, photocopying and preparing envelopes for the boys it was becoming very apparent that this year’s results were going to be exceptional.

The boys started to arrive at 9.30 am and one by one came into the Principal’s office to receive ‘the envelope’.  It was a great pleasure to see their excitement (and in some cases relief) as they read their results. It was also a great pleasure and a source of some satisfaction to eavesdrop on teachers’ conversations in the staffroom as they commented on the success of all their students, especially the boys who struggled during the year and required a lot of support and encouragement.

  • 14.7% of the Class of 2015 received over 500 points, which is 5% above the national figures
  • 7.3% received over 550 points which is 3% above the national figures
  • 4.2% received over 600 points which is 4% above than the national figures.

It’s not all about the points but today we can be extremely proud of our students and our teachers.

Congratulations to all the boys of the Class of 2015 and best wishes to them in the future. We hope the values of decency, respect and tolerance as well as their academic success will stand them in good stead. We also salute their parents and families who supported them.

 

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3rd June 2015

The Class of 2105 began their Leaving Certificate Examinations this morning. Very few of us who have gone through the process will not forget the mixture of exhaustion and trepidation we felt when we did our ‘Leaving’.  Perhaps it is a national rite of passage! In any event the majority of our boys were calm and focused as they approached English Paper 1. There were a few nervous souls but it was good that their English teachers were on hand to offer reassurances. One hopes my own jaunty exhortation of ‘ there’s nothing to it, all you have to do is answer the question on the paper’ has the desired effect but the disbelieving looks suggested otherwise.

Our Junior Certificate boys also started their exams with English.

Even as the exams are in progress preparations for next year are well under way when we welcome back our new sixth year class of 2016 and get ready for the new First Years. Its the nature of school life that one gets to know a year group so well as they journey through school and then they move on and make way for another group.

The timetable for next year is nearly completed and will be sent out to teachers towards the end of June. Our team of cleaners are forensically cleaning the classrooms in the areas of the school not being used for exams. Our planned programme of painting and floor refurbishment will start as soon as the exams are concluded on the 19th June.

Thus another great year in the history of Coláiste Éanna draws inexorably to a close and we look forward with great hope and anticipation to next year.

 

29th May 2015

Notes from Taizé

We all agree it’s the silence that makes Taizé so special.

During each prayer there is a silence which can last for 10 minutes. This was unimaginably long at the start  but now as we reach the end of the week it’s disappointing when it ends. The silence is such that despite 2000 people in the church one can hear the birdsong outside. In this silence comes the head space and the opportunity to enter into a profound dialogue…

On  Thursday  each national group had a meeting with one of the brothers from the  Taizé community. We met with Brother Jean Marie who is from the US. We were also joined by 17 students from Trinity College who are also here for the week. We had a very lively discussion about faith and our experience here and the church in Ireland. We also bemoaned the fact that we can’t speak two or three languages fluently.

We also did volunteer work for an hour in the afternoon. The work varied but my group cleaned one of the toilet/ shower blocks. This was the second time in the day the toilets are cleaned and with a team of six we managed to complete the task to a high standard in no time. We also took part in a treasure hunt which brought us to the significant areas of the hill of Taizé for example the village church where Brother Roger and his three Lutheran colleagues first prayed in 1940s and where he is buried.

Yesterday, for the Bible Study we had to spend 40 minutes in silence and reflect on Psalm 139. So it was quite special to see individuals sitting in stillness on their own in  park land  area known as The Source. Everyone got some special word or phrase from the Psalm that was significant to them.

The evening prayer on Fridays has the Prayer around the Cross. This is when people are invited to place their head on the Taizé cross and I leave their special intentions on the cross. The sight of hundreds and hundreds of young  people  from all over Europe, including the Éanna boys, lining up in what could be called the knave of the church to pray around the cross is hugely touching and will stay in the minds eye for along time.

Today, Saturday we had our last Bible Reflection small group meetings and we are free this afternoon. Assiduous packing and forensic cleaning of our dorms will hopefully happen ( though miracles perhaps may take a little longer!). Tonight at evening prayer we will all have individual candles lit from the Easter candle which we are told by veteran Taizé people is very special.

Breaking news on the food front however, The Michelin Star awarded for the sausage earlier has been stripped away. The lentil and carrot stew for Fridays  lunch was quite a  gastronomic  challenge!

It’s been a wonderful week and there is no doubt  we are all looking froward to the comforts of home and mothers cooking but there is so much to reflect on and much that will stay with us for a long time to come. The cooking metaphor cannot have been lost on anyone but this mornings Bible Reflection was on ‘you are the salt of the earth.’ The real challenge now will be see how each of us can make a difference for good in our own little corner of the our own world.

A big thank you to Mr. Carey for organising this wonderful experience and thanks to Eoin Ward, Conor Mulligan, Niall Donoghue, Brian  O Boyle, Seán Kelleghan,  Josh Hickey, Tom Giblin, Kevin Lalor, Ryan Christian, Matthew Somers, Ross O Mahony, Ashur Fernandes, Chris Doyle, Luke Pendlebury and Ciarán Ryan for being such wonder travelling companions on this special journey.

 

27th May 2015

Notes from Taizé

Today the sun shone and the heat returned.

We had the second day of the Bible Reflections. All the young people in an age group met for a short talk from one of the brothers of the Taizé community and then break up into small groups. We have two sessions before and after lunch. Our boys are with leaders from other groups, mainly Swedish or German. Mr. Carey and I also have a group- I have two Swedish and five German youngsters, a mixture of Lutherans and Catholics.

Today the theme was the parable of the Good Samaritan and our boys were asked to read it out to the large group. The land of saints and scholars comes to mind thinking of St Columcille and particularly St Killian who preached in Switzerland where Brother Roger who founded Taizé in 1940 was born. Europe was going through what became known as the Dark Ages and our missionary saints brought learning and scholarship. The observation could be made that in some ways we are coming out of our own dark ages now after our flirtation with rampant consumerism and especially after years of cover ups in the institutions we trusted. The young people we meet here at Taizé, the vibrant churches and communities they come from and the joy and vitality of this European ecumenical community points the way to where the renewal of our spiritual life in Ireland might come from.

The food has shown a remarkable improvement. We had a pineapple curry with cold meats on the side for lunch with the usual cheese and fruit. And as if this wasn’t enough we had sausage for the evening meal!

The entente cordiale between our boys and the youth of Europe (at least the girls from Germany and Sweden who are here) continues apace. We might need those hawthorn sticks yet!

 

26th May 2015

Notes from Taizé

Our boys have volunteered to do wash up detail. Despite admitting that this is an activity they are most  unused  to at  home there is method to their madness. Those who volunteer get to eat first and this is quite an advantage given over that over 2000 meals were served at yesterdays evening meal  and the lines are very long. Our boys wash and put away the utensils and cutlery.

The food is good in a ‘balanced diet’ type of way…. Breakfast is hot chocolate, bread and butter, and chocolate. Lunch was rice risotto with corn and beans, garlic cheese spread, bread, tangerine orange. Mid afternoon saw iced tea and waffle and the evening meal was pasta salad, bread, fruit and yogurt. But all that is a detail and although it leads to occasional talk of fantasy food dishes it’s the prayer that we comment on. We all find it hard to articulate what draws us to the three prayer services each day. Evening prayer last night saw the new arrivals fill the church. We were told that nearly 1,000 people arrived today and the collective sound was transcendental. The church at Taizé which was built in 1962 has had many extensions added can hold 6,000 when at full capacity. It’s hard to what it must like in ‘high season’.

So as we start our day there is a more defined structure. Prayer followed by breakfast and then all  the young people in the same age group as our boys  have a scripture  reflection led by one of the brothers from the Taizé community and then we break up into small groups led by the various group leaders. Noon prayer and lunch follows and then singing practice for an hour and more small group work till tea and then dinner and evening prayer.

There’s an area called the Oyak where people gather after that for the remaining hours of the day. Last night our boys managed to get a group of German girls dancing a version of the Walls of Limerick which while it went down rather well with the assembled masses.

Today should be another interesting day.

 

25th May 2015

Notes from Taizé

Our day starts with morning prayer at 8.15am.  The church at Taizé is a low roofed structure with no furniture except for prayer stools and a wonderful stillness despite the thousand or so young people from all over Europe. The prayer takes the same format as last evening. Very simple melody with a scripture reading and the great silence. There was also Eucharist. And then to breakfast – continental of course.

We arrived yesterday afternoon around 5pm after a very pleasant flight and an hour long bus journey. Dublin airport was initially slightly fraught as we had decided to bring only carry on luggage and bring three big kit bags to check in for sleeping bags. Except boys brought pillows, teddy bears and essential sundries like hair gel and conditioner. All was resolved by the wonderful Bernadette at Aer Lingus group check-in. She checked in all our carry ons and surplus luggage through without charge including Kevin’s hurls which on reflection might have caused a security issue if he tried to take them on board. God Bless Bernadette and the National Carrier!

We settled in very quickly – there is an easy going, good natured and well ordered routine here. We were welcomed by charming volunteers who gave us a brief orientation. We got our accommodations which are basic and rustic  to say the least but the dorms are impeccably clean and the boys who brought their own pillows were wise…

After our evening meal we had evening prayer. Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday so the Veni Sancti Spiritus was sung with a little more gusto. The boys said they really liked it especially the sense of youthful solidarity. Many remained for some time to be embraced by the stillness and calm after the service was over.

And then there were the Dutch girls. Our boys, full of Coláiste Éanna charm and the Netherlanders with their Nordic good looks hit it off. To the  great sadness of  young men and to the much relief of Mr. Carey and myself, the girls were leaving to go home at midnight. It could be a long week however we have fashioned hawthorn sticks from the hedgerows.

This morning we have a brief furlough as the volunteer  work crews set about cleaning up the campus. We will be briefed this afternoon about the various tasks that we will volunteer to do and the people who arrived yesterday will take over these duties for the rest of the week. An easy going, good natured and well ordered routine.

 

23rd March 2015.

It is timely perhaps to reflect back as we begin the last week of this long term.

One of the highlights must be the all-Ireland soccer final against a very good St Joseph’s (the ‘Bish’), Galway side. We won on the last shot of the penalty shootout. The character, resilience and tenacity that our boys displayed on that afternoon in Athlone bear the hallmarks of the excellence to which we constantly strive in Coláiste Éanna. A nice touch was that the principal of St. Joseph’s is Mr. Ciaran Doyle, a past pupil of Colásite Éanna. We had a different outcome when our senior Gaelic footballers played in the Leinster Gaelic football final later that week on the 14th March. We had come up against a well drilled and very efficient side from Carlow CBS who had a very significant surplus on the scoreboard by half time. The Colásite Éanna boys were not disheartened however and played the second half like the gallant warriors of old. They kept their heads, didn’t panic and fought to the bitter and sadly unsuccessful end.

It was tough. But in that disappointment comes great opportunities to grow and learn. One could not help but think of another gallant and resilient Colásite Éanna boy, Padraig Harrington, who also learned from disappointments, didn’t give up and fought back in the Honda Classic at the beginning of March to again be placed amongst the best in the world.

Our first year and second year basketballers are having a great season and the first years will be playing in an all-Ireland competition in Limerick in May.

Matthew Somers from TY and Conor Lehane from Fifth Year will attend the next session of the European Youth Parliament later in the year possibly in Leipzig having been very successful in our first outing at the EYP in Dublin.

The work of our young entrepreneurs led us to being awarded the Dublin Young Enterprise School Award for 2015 and particular congratulations go to Dara Ward in second year who won the junior award.

Our U16 Gaelic footballers play in a Leinster semifinal this week Vs Scoil Dara Kilcock. Our u15 soccer team also have a Leinster semifinal pending.

Our nascent Bridge Club was in Belfast last weekend at an all-Ireland school Bridge championship and while not securing any laurels they have set a great foundation for the future of bridge in the school.

Kevin Fletcher in sixth year won the gold medal at the national senior Chemistry Olympiad in DCU.

Our athletes are preparing for their first outing of the season when they compete in the Rice Games in Santry on Thursday next.

All of these activities help us to achieve the fifth element of the Edmund Rice School Trust Charter Inspiring transformational leadership. It is through participation, making friends, taking tough decisions, coping with victory and defeat that real character and leaders are forged.

Lest we forget we also had a busy term regarding the other elements of the Charter.

  • Nurturing Christian spirituality – our Justice League are busy preparing for their visit to Taizé in May.
  • Promoting partnership – new class delegates and senior student council members were elected to the 2015-2016 Student Council.
  • Creating a caring school community – the anti-bullying team continue to enable and empower bystanders to help us keep bullying out of our school.
  • Excelling in teaching and learning – the ‘mocks’ took place just after midterm and the sixth and third years now have set very clear personal attainments targets for the June examinations.

As we look towards Easter and the hope of the Risen Christ which is at the centre of all our endeavours we revel in the optimism of the springtime and continue to help our students and ourselves to develop and grow.

 

2nd March 2015.

The cold winds of March belie the burgeoning optimism of spring. There are hints of buds on trees, daffodils and crocus and most conversations note the ‘grand stretch in the evenings’. There is great excitement in school today as we play in an U19 soccer All Ireland semi-final in Waterford. Our team put on a tremendous performance in the Leinster final and produced a wonderful 7-3 score line against DLS Dundalk. We wish the boys and their coaches well today. These are the memories that will last long into the future.

Our senior Gaelic football team are in a Dublin county final this Friday as they meet St. Declan’s CBS in O Toole Park, Kimmage.  Our U16 Gaelic footballers who recently beat St. Declan’s in the county final await details of their Leinster semi-final encounter. Our U15 soccer team is also awaiting news of their Leinster final encounter having secured a victory against Adamstown CS recently. And its not all about sport – three boys Conor Lehane, Ciarán Healy from 5th Year and Matthew Somers for TY are taking part in the national conference of the European Youth Conference in Dublin next weekend.

All of this activity takes place as our mock exams for our Leaving and Junior Certificate classes are also taking place. We might bemoan the overwhelming influence of summative assessments on the teaching and learning in our schools but ultimately achievement in exams does matter. It is the currency upon which success in school is determined and entry to university places is secured. We will have failed our boys if we don’t encourage them to succeed to the best of their ability in the SEC exams. But we need a foil. That is why we value extra-curricular activities in Coláiste Éanna so much. It is through ECAs that boys learn about teamwork, leadership, resilience and the loyalty of good friends.

For us it is not a case of either/ or.  Either academic achievement or extracurricular triumphs. It is a matter of both and we strive for excellence in both.

 

 

28th January 2015

Principal’s welcoming comments at Mass in Ballyroan Parish Church on Wednesday 28th January 2015 as part of Catholic Schools Week.

We are here to celebrate Catholic Schools week.  Each day this week a different year group are here at the 10am Mass. We are delighted that today we are also celebrating grandparents.

Our First Year class join us today and they have asked their grandparents to come to Mass with them for several reasons.

  • To say thank you to our grandparents for being kind. To say thank you to our grandparents for maybe being a little more relaxed than our parents especially when it comes to the issues like  coke and crisps or extended bedtimes.
  • To say thank you to our grandparents for telling us the mad things our mothers and fathers got up to when they were children.
  • To say thank you to our grandparents for passing on the really important things about life that we certainly hear from our parents but maybe grandparents have a little more time to explain why good manners, thriftiness and fair play are important.
  • To say thank you to our grandparents for sharing their deep sense of faith and belief in prayer and the goodness of God.

It’s with the last point that it is really so important that we should remember and celebrate our grandparents during Catholic Schools week. In recent times the bad things that a small number of people in our church have done have made many in today’s world lose a sense of value in all the good that our church does. In many, many parts of the world our church runs schools and hospitals for the poorest of the poor. In many parts of the world our church is the only voice that is heard speaking out against injustice and unfairness. Also many have lost a sense of the importance of faith in God which guides us and gives us strength and confidence during difficult times.

Grandparents know these things. Maybe when you get older you think more about the really important things in life and less about the flashy and noisy trappings of modern life.

So thank you to our grandparents for their love and for sharing all these things with us. We have organised tea and coffee and cakes in the parish centre. Thank you also to Fr Dan and the parishioners here in Ballyroan parish for having us here this week and apologies for any disruption this may cause you.

 

10th December 204

Principal’s welcome to the annual Carol Service for the whole school community in Ballyroan Church, 10th December 2014.

Welcome.

It is great to be here. Our whole school community gathering in this place of worship for this Carol Service. Actually it is a mixture of a celebration of Advent and Christmas. Christmas in many ways is a celebration of the past. It marks an event in the history of mankind which had an enormous impact on the course of world history. That is the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is a time for us to remember our own history and to celebrate our family and memories of past Christmases. It is time to cherish all those present and to embrace with fondness those who are absent either because they have died or because they live far from home.

Advent on the other hand is all about the present and the future. We prepare for the coming of Christ by asking ‘so what’? What is the significance to me personally that the son of God was made flesh.  During Advent we are asked to reflect on what we are doing with our lives to make the world a better place. We see only too clearly that we have so much to be thankful for but we also see very clearly that there are so many in great need. We remember the homeless during Advent. Imagine not having your own pillow? As we finish off our hampers for delivery tomorrow afternoon we remember those for whom providing for Christmas is huge worry.

We, both individually and collectively, can make a profound difference in our small part of the world.

This Advent let us be open to the possibilities of being a prophetic voice.

This Christmas let us celebrate our families, let us be thankful for the many gifts we have and let us remember with great affection past Christmases.

 

7th November 2014

The silence in our parish church when Barry Lyons sang Tears in Heaven during our November Service was truly one of those moments which will linger for a long while. Our whole school had gathered last Wednesday 5th November to remember family members, friends and past pupils who have died. We all had placed a candle at the altar in memory of a specific person and the poignancy of seeing the brightness generated by so many candles which represented countless stories and memories, happy and sad, was very profound.

We had our Sixth Year parent teacher meeting on Tuesday. This always marks the beginning of the leave taking for parents of boys in sixth year. One is always struck by the number of parents who comment on how is their last parents’ teacher meeting in Coláiste Éanna and this can be very significant if they had  two or three boys and their association with the school might stretch back many years.  Such thoughts intrude as we finalise our enrolment for next year’s first year class which will in time become the Class of 2022! We have had 198 applications for 108 places and it is now necessary to create a waiting list. Priority on the waiting list is given to the primary schools on our list of feeder schools and a straight line measurement from Coláiste Éanna to home. Such is the nature of school life that as our formation and education of one group of young men moves inexorably to an end another nascent group is in creation.

We had a wonderful reunion of all those who took part in the India immersion Project over the years on Thursday. The first group to go to Kolkata (or Calcutta as it was known then) was in 2001 and there has been a group who travelled every two years since. That is 66 pupils and 12 teachers from Coláiste Éanna have taken part. There were representatives from each group here last night and it was very well noted that while the initial groups visited Christian Brothers schools in Kolkata now the main focus of our India Immersion Programme concentrates around three school which are supported by Calcutta Connect the charity set up by our past pupils who have been on the IIP. There was a very strong feeling evident of still wanting to effect change and to try to alleviate the hardships of so many in that wonderful city. This change is relatively small in the great scheme of things but is hugely significant for the boys and girls who attend the Calcutta Connect supported schools (would it be very presumptuous to refer to them as Colaiste Éanna ‘outreach schools’?). We heard of two young people who are now in very good secondary schools in Kolkata and have a very clear exit route out of the dreadful cycle of poverty into which they were born.

 

25th September 2014

Two encounters were weaving though my consciousness this week as we prepared to celebrate our Mass for the whole school community to mark the beginning of the academic year. The two have very disparate sources and locations but hugely connected.

The first was a meeting I had with the redoubtable Sr. Cyril, the Loreto sister from Bray who I met in Calcutta in February during our India Immersion visit. She said

If we are only teaching the students in our schools to pass exams and to obey the rules then we are failing as educators, there must be a justice dimension.

This conversation ultimately led to the establishment of our Justice League by some of the boys on the trip and supported by Mr. Pat Carey who was also in Calcutta. The Justice League or JL has met every week and has several projects in play. They raised a bursary of €200 and decided to present this to one of the schools in our area which has a high level of needy pupils. They have a drive to collect toys and DVDs for the children visitors’ room in the Hospice in Harold’s Cross which we visited as part of our preparation for the India Immersion Programme. These toys are for children visiting patients. They plan to embark on a major Christmas Hamper drive in November/ December. On the longer term they plan to support the provision of IT equipment for the Calcutta Connect schools run by our past pupils in Calcutta.

The second encounter was a speech presented by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at the JMB Conference last May on ‘Celebrating Catholic Education’. Dr. Martin proposed that our schools should have a ‘Resurrection ethos’ that

A resurrection ethic and a Christian education must lead us to live and foster life fully, to rejoice in the gift of our own life, to want to flourish in that life and to be impatient in ensuring that every other person created in God’s image can also share that life to the full.

The Archbishop went on to say something that resonates with our stated vision in Coláiste Éanna:

Religious education is never about mediocrity.  It is about constantly striving to go beyond our own mediocrity towards excellence.

 

So how do you articulate the vision contained in both those encounters?

We did this yesterday in our parish church. We gathered, we shared the good news of the Gospel and we broke bread in that most central of actions in our ethos and tradition, in that grace filled sacrament of the Eucharist.

 

10th September 2014

Junior Certificate Results Day.

We will distribute results to the boys who sat their Junior Cert last June just after 12 noon today.

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the tyranny of summative exams and efficacy of testing memory and the ability to synthetise concepts and large tracts of text within the short time offered in an exam. Our teachers have been engaging on this topic over the course of many staff and subject department meetings of late. All of that will be put to one side this morning as we celebrate the many boys who have secured spectacular results and indeed there will be great joy for the boys who, while not getting As and Bs did very well in the face of considerable challenges.

Well done to everybody today receiving results – it is a day of celebration. We look forward to seeing everyone in class tomorrow at 8.45am for a full school day.

Speaking of results, we completed extensive analysis of the Leaving Cert results of the Class of 2014. Some results were indeed remarkable. 28% of boys in Coláiste Éanna got a grade A in higher level English while the national figure is 9.3% (this assumes greater significance when one looks at the national figures in English for boys only, which is a ‘like for like’ comparison , where 7.7% achieved an A grade at higher level. In Spanish, 25% of boys in Coláiste Éanna achieved an A grade at higher level while the national figure is 16.3% (the boys only figure is 14.2%). In all our subjects boys in Coláiste Éanna did much better than the national figures which is what we would expect and aspire to given the high value and appreciation that our parents, pupils and teachers put on education and academic success.

We also carried out a telephone survey of all our Leaving Certificate Class of 2013 to see where they went to university or college and also to see if they remained in their course of choice. 90% of boys went on to further education, the vast majority of these to the three city universities,  NUIM and to institutes of technology. 87% of these have completed first year and intend to finish their degree which must be huge relief to their parents in relation to the registration fees! We have to be careful here. Of the 10% who didn’t go to third level – two are starting apprenticeships, two have full time jobs with career advancement, one is awaiting a scholarship to the US. Two had part time jobs and were as yet unsure of what they might do in the future.  According to the hoped-for frenzy created in some national media about feeder schools and the universities these boys ‘don’t count’. That is shameful and a disgrace. In Coláiste Éanna all our pupils count and are valued for the contribution they make to our school and we are hugely confident that the values and comradeship they learned here will stand to them as they face the challenges and opportunities on their future journeys.

 

13th August 2014

Today is a very significant day in the history of Coláiste Éanna. The Leaving Certificate results for the Class of 2014 were distributed today. Another fine cohort of young men is beginning the next step on the journey as they make their way in life.

The results are spectacular. 6% of our boys achieved over 550 points and 9.4% achieved between 500 and 545, making 15.4% who achieved over 500. The national figures are not available yet but in 2013 the national figure of those who achieved over 500 was 10.1%.

It is very easy to get caught up in the hype and hysteria that Leaving Cert results day brings. Our Ethos values the individual and not the numbers. And each individual young man this morning is to be congratulated for the Leaving Cert result he achieved. One of our constant dictums here in Coláiste Éanna is that one should always strive to achieve better than your previous personal best.  It is results seen in that context that is the real measure of the significance of exam results and not the number of students who achieved over 500 or 600 points. A boy who gets 500 points in his Leaving Certificate has done very well however what if he could and should have achieved 550? Similarly a boy who gets 200 points may well have struggled with a learning difficulty or great family trauma.

We conducted our annual survey of the previous Leaving Certificate class in June and we’re delighted to note that there is an increase in the numbers from the Class of 2013 who have moved on to UCD  and TCD.  Again we have to be careful here – one of the Class of 2014 achieved all passes in the Leaving Certificate he got his morning which was a tremendous personal triumph for him. He will not be going to university and according to the league table model popularised by two national newspapers he doesn’t count. What an outrageous notion and certainly one that our Ethos would never support. Every member of the Coláiste Éanna community counts.

Just as one class group moves on, another class group of First Years will be starting their journey in Coláiste Éanna next week. We welcome them and we look forward to seeing them grow in self esteem and wellbeing as well as intellectually and academically. Each one of those boys will always count in our eyes.

*****

 

23rd May 2014

“… and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best.” Phil. 1:6

“The true measure of a man is not how successful he is but how he deals with failure”

General N. Miles, USA, 1864.

 

These two quotations may well encapsulate our hopes for our boys as they begin their last week of the academic year 2013-2014 and especially for our Sixth Years as they take their leave and finish off preparation for their Leaving Certificate exams.

The first is from St. Paul to the Philippians is taken from the second reading at our Sixth Year Mass last night in Ballyroan Parish Church. The Mass was a wonderful celebration of all that we do so well in Coláiste Éanna. We started with a moving Ceremony of Light where we used the Easter light, the symbol of Christ’s Resurrection, we ask that the light of their past will help brighten the path they tread and that Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of all journeys may  always be with them as they travel forward. Our Liturgy of the Word was chosen by the entire group over a period of two seminar classes. The music was provided by the school choir and the Senior Band. We are as ever grateful to Fr. Brendan for saying the Mass. After Mass we moved back to school for a wonderful reception hosted by our Parents Association.

The second is from our guest speaker Professor Patrick Geoghegan, Academic Dean from Trinity College, Dublin at our Awards Night the previous week. Dr. Geoghegan was making the point that one will encounter failure and loss on one’s life journey. This is an inevitability and that our institution of education must help students to have the resilience and life skill to cope with this. He quoted the life of Robert Emmet and Padraig Pearse to illustrate his point. He could also have said that our Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate as it is presently constructed teaches our young that the worst thing possible is to make a mistake…

As we bid our Sixth Years every good luck in their exams and many blessings as they begin their exciting journey we hope that the will always recognise what is right and have the resilience and courage to see the opportunities for growth that failure can bring.

 

1st May 2014

It was probably no surprise to receive the call the call from the Darren Clarke Foundation when they were looking for a school in Dublin to give a golf master class to a school golf society. Darren Clarke set up this foundation in 2007 to ‘give something back to the game which has been so good to me’ and has concentrated its outreach to schools in Northern Ireland. They are now moving further afield.

25 boys from our golf society had a wonderful morning yesterday taking part in the coaching sessions. The PGA professional Andy was full of praise for Coláiste Éanna and remarked on the number of really promising golfers. He also commented on the fact that he has never been in a school where so many had their own golf clubs. So on our football field surrounded by the Dublin hills, within ball striking distance of many fine golf clubs and walking in the footsteps of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley the present crop of Coláiste Éanna golfers perfected their craft.

One hopes our school mantra of ‘Striving for Excellence’ and ‘always seek to do better than your previous personal best’ was in their minds. It certainly did not fail Padraig and Paul.


11th April 2014

Comments from the Principal at the Parents Association Benefit Night for the ICT Development at Killiney Castle.

 

This is one of a series of firsts over the past while. We’ve had our first hugely successful school musical last November with the staging of Elvis in Jailhouse Rock. We hold the accolade of the Dublin County Board as Hurling School of the Year 2013-14. Our senior u19 soccer team will be in the first ever Leinster Soccer Final for Coláiste Éanna in May. We had our first group of young men to be commissioned as Ministers of the Eucharist last February.

We are fast becoming the go-to school in Dublin.

When DIT were looking for a school to mentor in the recent European Space Agency CanSatelite competition they called on our Physics Department – this is where our boys constructed a satellite which was successfully  launched  and transmitted data to an earth station in the national finals in March.

When Professor Mona O Moore of the School of Education Studies at DCU  was looking for a school to showcase an exemplar Anti-bullying programme for a group of visiting Norwegian teachers she called on Coláiste Éanna and we will welcome this delegation in May.

Tonight marks the launch of our five year plan for Information Technology in Coláiste Éanna. Our vision is that when someone is looking for a ‘go-to’ school in relation to digital excellence in education that they will turn to Coláiste Éanna. We were at the cutting edge of Information Technology 10 years ago when we unveiled our two computer labs, a fully computerised technical graphics room  and a fully networked system for the entire school. I’m delighted that the man who led that plan, my predecessor Mr John O Sullivan and his wife Maureen are with us this evening.

My constant mantra to the boys at assemblies is to always do better than your previous personal best and to constantly strive for excellence. Nothing but the very best is good enough. We want to build on the great work that was done in developing IT as a wonderful educational tool in the past and in order to better prepare your sons for an unimagined future.

We want to future proof the school for e-learning. We want to create a connected school that harnesses the best in IT in education and we want to provide the infrastructure and the hardware to prepare our young men who will be leaving CÉ in the middle decades of this technological century.  This exciting and challenging endeavour will require significant funding. Your generosity here this evening will start that fund.

So I say thank you for that support. Thank you for helping to make your son’s school a ‘go-to’ school for digital excellence.

Thank you to the steering committee…. I have been at their meetings and if we could hook up their energy to the national grid it would reduce significantly our dependence on imported fuels

Ms Caroline Quinn

Ms Anne Marie Dermody

Ms Linda Touhy

Ms Elaine Pendlebury

Ms Siobhain Garvey

Mr Jerry Corcoran

Ms Fiona Lacey

 

4th April 2014

Two events bookend this week.

On Monday we welcomed the State Examinations Commission French and Spanish examiners. For our Sixth Year Class of 2014 this is the formal start of the Leaving Certificate exam. We have heard so much criticism about the Leaving Certificate, about how it is not fit for purpose, about how it tests memory and rote learning rather than understanding. These things are true to an extent but how could it be otherwise when the universities created this machine called the Central Admissions Office to select those who attain the highest points to allocate students to university courses. It is a selection procedure which is cheap to run and shows very little imagination. It might better suit the universities to create a more nuanced selection procedure for their colleges rather than criticising the secondary schools system for being so successful at ‘getting students over the CAO line’.

The other event was our Sports Day which took place today, Friday. We had a wonderful display of truly heroic endeavour coupled with great esprit des corps and good fun. This was a whole school activity and the main events were track and field as well as novelty events. One couldn’t but wonder isn’t this what we want our education system to be; an education which encourages heroes, teaches team work and is enjoyable.

If education is led by people who are supposed to be intelligent surely it must be possible to create a method of assessment which recognises the hard work and talents of those students in the system and which is also transparent and equitable.  One can argue that this is what is being attempted with the current Junior Cycle as we attempt to shift the emphasis from summative to formative assessment and one can certainly argue that alienating the teachers who will operate the new system  is not the right way to set about facilitating this paradigm change, however change most happen.

In the meantime schools like ours will continue the true work of education as we hold our sports days, have our musicals and debating societies which allow our young people to triumph and grow in self-confidence.

 

26th March 2014

Occasionally one can be very pleasantly surprised…

We have embarked on an evaluation of our 6th Year Religious Education Programme and started remote preparation for the 6th Year Graduation Mass. We introduced a new structure and RE programme in 6th year last September. The boys were asked to create small group of eight of their friends which would form the basis for the RE classes. Each week this group would have an 80 minute class period with one of nine teachers. The group had a different teacher on a rotational basis. Effectively each group had a retreat style class each week. I was fortunate to be one of the teachers.

The response from the boys in the evaluation was overwhelmingly positive. They loved that each person had a voice and was listened to, that each member the group participated and that there was something and someone different week. One of the questions was ‘do you think that you or your attitude has changed as a result of taking part in the RE programme’ One written response was ‘My attitude to going to Mass has changed. I never went for two years, now I go more often’.

In the preparation for the Graduation Mass which will take place on Thursday 22nd May we are asking the boys to reflect on what the theme for their Mass might be. One question asked was ‘give three characteristics of school life in Colásite Éanna’ and one response was ‘Confidence, Courtesy and Courage’.

In sporting parlance one might say – that’s a result!

 

28th February 2014

We all arrived home from Kolkata safely on Sunday morning. Little vignettes and images of the amazing experiences we shared interrupt the ordinariness of returning to school life. The smiling faces of the children we met; the extraordinary love, respect and dignity of those we met who work with the poorest of the poor; the words and tune of the song in Mother Theresa’s ‘…that all will be well, that all will be well in the Lord’; the inspiring vision of a few.

That we transitioning from one very special place to home was exemplified in Dubai Airport Duty Free shops. All the leading brands were on offer and each concession seemed to be saying – look how inadequate you are, wear this brand, buy this item and then you will be part of the lifestyle of the urbane, of the sophisticated.   I think we all learned that the truth comes from within and that we should cherish and not take for granted the most important things – good health, good family and friends and good opportunities. Hopefully all the seductive marketing in the world will not shake that.

The teachers who went to Kolkata had a very detailed de-briefing meeting on Wednesday and we will meet with the rest of the group next week. We have many great ideas for making sure the India Immersion Programme visit to Kolkata 2014 does not end in Dubai Duty Free.

 

21st February 2014 – Kolkata

Our last full day! Mixed emotions. Very sad to leave this wonderful, vibrant and exciting place. Anticipating joy, whether reuniting with family, looking forward to no car horns, smog or crowds.

Today was a tough day. We had Mass at the Mother House and that was lovely. It was our last time to be there and the other volunteers sing and clap to those leaving.

We went out to the brick fields where the Loreto sisters run schools for the children of migrant workers. This was very, very sad and of all the places we have visited over here it was the least hopeful and yet there was slivers of hope there through the kindness of strangers.  The migrants come from neighbouring Indian states and work there for seven months. The work is back breaking and the workers don’t get their pay until they arrive home. An agent pays them and takes 35%. A family of mother, father and kids could make 300 rupees (c €3.70 for making 1000 bricks). This involves filling a mould with heavy clay, emptying it and then transporting it to the kiln.

The children get 3 hours school with teachers who get a stipend from the school. They are young and enthusiastic and are delighted to be trained by the sisters and are given lesson plans etc. These are hedge schools except there is no hedge but a backdrop of drudgery. The children were much more withdrawn and didn’t react or interact as the children in the other schools. We would never dream of buying a brick form these establishments. ‘…That’s a lovely top’… ‘Oh this? I got it in &@#<*^¥’s for 3€…

We had the great pleasure of meeting Sr. Cyril from Dublin. While she was principal in Sealdah she came to the conclusion that her students education was very two dimensional – learn, study and pass exams. They must be taught about social justice and to misquote St Francis, ‘maybe we use words if we have’. She introduced the Rainbows School and the peer teaching idea. She set up the brick school and so many other programmes. We asked her about the unfairness of the way the workers are treated and she said ‘ so you protest and wait for the revolution that will bring change, isn’t it better to light a candle rather than curse the darkness’.

That became the theme for our reflection this evening as we tried to gather our thoughts on this most wonderful experience. We have all changed.

Tomorrow we go back to Sealdah for their weekend fete and then a visit to the Ghats where cremations take place on the river. And then to the airport, and home.

 

20th February 2014 – Kolkata

It will take a long time to process all we have seen and and experienced here in Kolkata.

This morning we started with Mass in the Mother House and then off to the Loreto school at Sealdah. This a remarkable school where they don’t just talk the talk but they walk the walk when it comes to social justice. We took part in the daily assembly with the main school and then went to the roof area to the Rainbows school. Rainbows is for kids from very difficult circumstances, rescued from abuse, orphaned or destitute. They board there, get extra one to one help with school work from the the girls from the main school and then go out to state primary school. They then move on  to join the main school which is fee paying but 50% of the girls in the main school don’t pay fees and there is no distinction between a fee paying and a non fee paying girl.

It was here that Rudi and Peter met Sucharita a first year girl who was peer teaching in the rainbows school. She is intensely proud of her country and wants to right a lot of the wrongs that she sees in political life. She wants to be lawyer and get into public service and maybe politics to make a difference. She likes One Direction and all the other essentials for a first year girl but is passionate about her future role in life. She told the boys that she too gets up at 3am to study…

Luke left his iPod in a taxi and resigned himself to his loss. He got a Facebook post to say the iPod was found and handed into the German consulate…

We took the train to Titagath Leprosy home set up by Mother Theresa and run by the Missionaries of Charity. The train station at Sealdah had crowds of apocalyptic proportions – impossible to describe. The Leprosy home is beautifully kept, self sufficient and again the ones who are outcast and abandoned by society are valued and seen as having great value and worth. A poster there said ‘there are no lepers only leprosy which can be cured’.

We then split up and half the group went to Topsia and half to Tangra. In both places we quickly remembered all the actions songs from our childhood and had an Indian/ Irish sing off.

The thought did strike us as we left these wonderful children who we may never see again and walked out through the dump that we were going back to our wonderful and bountiful lives and the children remain. The great hope and promise for their future is that with education the cycle of poverty can be broken and they too can walk out through the dump to a better life.

There were no clichés or casual comments at our reflection this evening…it was quite profound.

 

19th February 2014 – Kolkata

Yesterday and today are certainly the highlights of our visit to Kolkata  – thus far.

Yesterday afternoon we visited Brian’s school at Topsia. To get there you get a tut tut from near our hotel to the Topsia bypass which is home to the Emirates Office and the Porsche and Mercedes dealerships. Ten minutes away and a walk through dense shanties one arrives at an oasis of wonder. the school there is filled with eager children, mainly ages 4 to 10 who were so pleased and proud to show off their skills at mastering the Roman alphabet and counting. They were impressive and you can see that some kids are really smart. It’s great to know that though Brian’s schools and the generosity of the people far away in Dublin these kids will have a chance to get on to GCSE level and beyond. We met Ibrahim and Achbar who will take their Boards GCSEs in Economics and history and geography on March 3 rd. coming up the exam the boys will study in the sewing workshop from after school (4pm) to midnight and then sleep for 2 hours and get up and study till school time 8am. I thought this sounded a bit fanciful and asked Brian who confirmed that this is the level,of commitment these guys have. That there is a sewing workshop has an Edmund Rice touch as Edmund Rice set up a tailors workshop in his first school in Mount Zion in Waterford in 1804.6

Today, Thursday we were up at 5am and back to the Mother House for Mass and then we split up. Six guys went to visit The Sisters of Provenance School as a result of David’s cousin who was Prioress of the congregation. This is a boarding run by nuns for very ordinary kids socioeconomically, and they run it as only nuns can! The boys spent the morning in classes discussing India, Ireland, world affairs and justice. The teachers taught classes. The other six guys went back to Nabo Jabon. This was a great experience. We brought some soft  footballs and because our number was smaller we could really interact with the young men there. We discovered that one chap aged about 17 who appeared very withdrawn can say several words in English.

In the afternoon we went out to Brian’s other school at Tangra. The environment around the school at Topsia is an estate agents dream compared to Tangra. However despite the playground being in a dump on which which pigs forage, the care and respect and hard work of a good school continues for 60 young children and about 20 women who are involved in ‘Community Mobilisation’ The dump is in fact a recycling sorting centre where tons of rubbish is sorted and a worker earns c. €1.20 a day for a huge builders supplies bag of plastics. And you thought you had a bad day at the office?

We had a lot of the games donated by the Coláiste Éanna parents with us and our boys sat on the floor and for about 30 minutes the air was full of concentration as snakes and ladders, battleship, scrabble were played. The children moved out side for games. What were we saying about needing to getting our school yard resurfaced? We left the Tandra school with a lot more items in their library….

Tangra is near Sealdah, another major train station and we had another extraordinary odyssey home.

Some issues…

*  how lonely it is to be a ‘locked in’ teenager abandoned to the kindness of strangers

*  how unfair it is that all children cannot get the same educational opportunities

*  there for the grace of God…

*  that all things will be well…

 

February 18th 2014 – Kolkata

What an extraordinary 24 hours….

The sunshine has returned and the temperatures have risen to c. 25c.We left Howrah train station at 8.30am Brian booked the tickets for us and we were singing his praises as we sat in very pleasant carriages that afforded us great views as we rolled thought the paddy fields and sped through villages on our 2 hour journey. There were people working every where – in the rice fields, in quarries, chopping wood, breaking-stones. Every level crossing we went through there was a sizeable number of people and vehicles waiting  to cross.  In the course of our journey we saw one tractor, two mechanical rotavators  and many oxen.

We were net in Asansol by Brother James and a bus. Brother James, who is the superior of the community and leader of the four school on campus turned out to be a very gracious and generous host. We had houses formerly used by teachers when there was a boarding school. We got a great lunch, dinner and a fry for breakfast. As if to prove the Irish  provence of the place, roast potatoes were served at every meal – including breakfast.

The four schools consist of St Patrick’s Academy where the boys and girls wear the same tie as in Coláiste Éanna; St Vincent’s College (where we stayed) and an open source school and a technical college. The former are very affluent schools established in 1890 and 1926 respectively. The brothers are not directly invoiced in these schools any more except at Board level. Both have lay principals. We visited the classes in the open source school which is for children from very impoverished families who cannot afford to pay for schooling and for whom the state school have proved less than well managed or successful. Some of the pupils are in age appropriate classes but some are in classes for where very basic literacy and numeracy skills are taught because these mid teenagers missed out in early education. There were more girls than boys in most classes as the girls are more ambitious and prepared to stick with the work. One girl in the senior class said she wanted to go to college and go into banking and finance.

We went for a bus tour to the local Domodar Valley dam – a masterpiece in engineering and later we visited a Chesire Home for elderly women with special needs which was a masterpiece in humanity and kindness.

If we thought the roads and driving in Kolkata was crazy we had our eyes opened even more in Asansol. Suffice to say that we are great that no one on the trip has yet succumbed to any malady of the stomach or other internal organs – however this bus ride confirmed that we must have very strong constitutions and robust sphincter muscles.
If the train journey out was luxury  the return was, well interesting… We were on a long distance train and shall we say of a style that was fashionable 50 years ago.

Some issues that arose…

  • setting  up mosquito nets – Brother James said the mossies were nice ones that didn’t carry malaria!
  • what would happen to the small farmers if  agriculture was practiced on an industrial scale. Would all the profits go to Monsanto,Tesco et al.
  • How do Indian people view poor people in their midst? How do we view poor people at home?

We had a brilliant afternoon in one of Brian’s schools. More on this anon…

 

February 16th 2014

The Muezzin calls the faithful to the first prayer of the day at 5am. This also serves as a wake call for our group. We leave the hostel at 5.30am for the Mother House and thus began another wonderful day.

We met on the rooftop of the hostel for our second reflection last night just before going for dinner. The conversation was fairly pedestrian and possibly predictable at first – mentioning things that are different in India compared to Ireland.  But then a comment from one chap about how his community care week was in a home for children with special needs run by Brothers of Charity  in Dublin and he noticed the same dignity and respect in the Brothers of Charity home in Nabo Jabon that morning. And another mentioned about the difference in the way people, visitors, attended at Mass at the Mother House. And we spoke about the signs of wealth in the city compared to the poverty that we saw on our walk that day.

We met Brian Kelly again at dinner. Brian has been a God send to us. He met us at the airport , had organised taxis and gave us a great orientation as we went on ‘walkabout’ the first afternoon. He is very patient with us and our many, many questions about Indian society. We will be spending the bulk of our time in Brian’s schools this week and are all looking forward to that.

There was torrential rain during the night and this brought a big drop in temperature. And so it was rather bleak when we left the Mother House after Mass and chi to go back to Nabo Jabon. To say the bus was packed would be the greatest understatement of all – the bus was packed.

The rain started to descend again as we approached Nabo Jabon and this required a big change in the way the events of their day. On Sundays the Brothers open their doors to the street children to let them play, give them a good meal, wash, medicines if necessary and a change of clothes. The rain meant we were confined to two covered areas. The Brother  didn’t  want football played as the ground was very slippery (and wet!)  despite this we had good fun as we improvised with tug of war, piggy back races. Cricket is the huge sport in India and these little children can certainly pitch a ball. We were put to shame! There were about 50 children, much less because of the rain. They come from the shanty town near the railway, aged between 3 and 8, this is an important day in the week as for some as it is the only good meal they get. most of these children do not go to school and it is quite disturbing to think about their lives. Our boys served the food. Maybe we did a little to help…

We were free for the afternoon because the rain meant an early end to our visit at Nabo Jabon. after a hastily convened meeting on the Esplanade, the main city centre boulevard and home to many, many market stalls we agreed this afternoon would be our shopping day and we will make alternative plans for Saturday afternoon.

 

February 15th 2014 (Saturday)

Greetings from Kolkata.

We had a very interesting morning.

We left our hotel (though hostel would be a much more accurate name) at 5.30am to go to Mother Theresa Mother House. That journey was remarkable in itself. The streets are swept during the night – swept as in men with twig brooms sweep. The piles of rubbish are set alight so our route was punctuated with small bonfires billowing plumes of black smoke skyward.
We saw lots of people having their early morning wash. Every couple of 100 metres there are stand pipes where 2 or 3 people of all ages in various states of undress wash.

The oratory for Mass was very simple, rough carpet and no furniture except for an altar. There were about 60 or so sisters and novices and about 30 people like ourselves. The visitors were young and old from all over the world. We had tea and bread thereafter and met with some of our fellow visitors. We were dispatched to a Brother of Charity home for boys and adult men with disabilities.

We were the only group to make the journey there (we guess because we are all male). The nun gave us directions and we set off to get two buses and had to walk thereafter (a short distance but we ended taking the scenic route – that was an extraordinary excursion! It is almost impossible to describe the sights, noise, smell and constant shouts of greeting and waves from people.

The home was awe-inspiring. The residents have all been abandoned – we were with the young boys mainly teenagers. But the brothers introduced the teachers to some of the  adults. Our boys did  were great – they played ball, arm wrestled and just walked hand in hand with some young men around the yard because the brother explained for some of the boys this was what calmed them down and they enjoyed the human company and contact. We helped at mealtime. It is quite something to see a boy from Rathfarnham feed a boy from Kolkata – miles apart but linked by a common dignity. The Brothers have a wonderful place and treat the people in their care with such respect and love.

We were quite subdued as we left.

That didn’t last long as we negotiated our way back to the city centre on probably the most chaotic bus ride ever!

The boys spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the markets.

The reflection meeting this evening will be interesting……….

 

 

February 2nd 2014

I note that Pope Francis tweeted recently

Dear young people, let us not be satisfied with a mediocre life. Be amazed by what is true and beautiful, what is of God!

I wonder was the Pope eavesdropping on our PACÉ assemblies….. ?

I was impressing upon the boys as we presenting the Positive Attitude in Coláiste Éanna – PACÉ Awards that ‘mediocre or mediocrity’ was not good enough. That you will get by on ‘mediocre’ – just do enough work to keep the teacher happy, keep the mother happy and ‘sure it’ll do’. I have been hugely impressed by the calibre and character of the boys who will be travelling to India next week. By dent of hard work, by an absolute refusal not to accept mediocrity they and their families have raised over €38,000 for the India Immersion Programme.  The visit to Kolkata (formally Calcutta) is for 10 days but from our experience over the years the impact on those who take part will last a lifetime.

Two of the key elements in the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Charter is Inspiring Transformational Leadership and Nurturing faith, Christian spirituality and Gospel-based values. We have found that the young men involved in the Programme develop a great sense of social justice, an empathy and understanding of the causes of the unjust distribution of resources and a hunger to make a difference to the world they inhabit on their return. An obvious example of this is the Past Pupils who run Calcutta Connect and support the DAS street schools in Calcutta. Less obvious are the numbers who volunteer to work with those facing great challenges in our own city. That so many of the present group on the Programme have been commissioned and have served as Ministers of the Eucharist is a great indication that we have another group of ‘transformative leaders’ in our midst.

The etymology of ‘mediocre’ is from medieval French and translates as ‘middle rock’ .

At the PACÉ Awards the boys were encouraged never to accept the middle group and to strive for excellence in all their activities. They were encouraged never to accept ‘sure, it’ll do….’.

 

27th January 2014.

Last week was a very interesting week……

On Tuesday, our U16 footballers were playing in the Dublin County Final against Coláiste Choilim, Swords. The fixture was in the DCU grounds and final transport arrangements were being put in place for our many fans. Into this excitement comes an Inspector from the Department of Education for what is formally called An Incidental Inspection, though colloquially known as ‘driveby……’.

The inspection was fine. The Inspector observed five classes during the day and had an opportunity to meet with those teachers thereafter. As a principal it is great to have such confidence in ones teachers that one would not have any misgivings about him calling into any classroom. He commented on the quality of engagement from the boys and the quality of the teaching and learning. He also commented very much on the very pleasant demeanour of the boys as they moved about the school. He said he noted this very much when he was waiting at the start of the school when they did not know who he was.

Our U16 final was a magnificent performance of speed and skill. Both sides started sharing attacking and scoring opportunities but it became apparent that we had the lion’s share of breaks and points. Our opposition fought back and by half time it was far from obvious who would prevail. The second half belonged to Coláiste Éanna. Wave after determined wave saw point after point and we won with a score line of 3-14 to 1-9. The match was a very a great sporting occasion. Hard won but the Éanna boys were magnanimous in victory as one would expect.

We started Catholic Schools week early. We had a Grandparents day on Wednesday. Our First Years invited their grandparents to the 10am Mass in the parish church and had baked cakes and other confectionaries for the ‘cup of tea’ after Mass in the Ruah Parish Centre. It was a really wonderful occasion. It was quite touching to see young chaps greet their grandparents so warmly when they arrived at the church. Mrs Marie Printer, President of the National Grandparents Association addressed the congregation. She spoke about the invaluable contribution that grandparents made not only to the lives of their grandchildren but also to society at large. Grandparents were repositories of faith and manners and because they didn’t have an overtly discipline role in a family they perhaps were listened to more. This event was a huge success and we have over 100 grandparents present.

Late Friday afternoon found oneself at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross. This was part of our preparation programme for our India Immersion trip to Kolkata (formally Calcutta). This was a profoundly moving experience for all travelling to India.  It is easy to say the words but to experience the reality is so significant – and the reality is to celebrate life and to live it to the full despite the ravages of terminal illness. The words of the Chaplain struck a chord – most people who are terminally wish to go back in time for just one day before they were sick. ‘Boys you have that one day and many more besides’ she said, ‘don’t waste them’.

Saturday morning saw the India Immersion crew in Dublin city centre on a much lighter note as they took part in a treasure hunt around the city. This was a team building and leadership exercise which proved to be very valuable and good fun.

And so we launch into Catholic School Week proper. Each day a different year group will go to 10am Mass in the Parish Church. In the middle of this week is the U19 Dublin Soccer final when Coláiste Éanna take on St Joseph’s, Marino in Marley Park on Thursday at 2pm.

Another interesting week beckons……

 

20th January 2014

Two events which book-ended this weekend made me very proud to be Principal of Coláiste Éanna.

The first was at a meeting late Friday afternoon in Trinity College to announce details of the new qualification for secondary teachers called the Professional Masters in Education. Our school had been invited to be a partnership school with the School of Education in TCD. The Provost of Trinity, Dr. Patrick Prendergast, when welcoming the principals of partnership schools said he was delighted to be collaborating with educational institutions who shared the same emphasis on excellence, intellectual integrity and academic quality as the university. We look forward to welcoming young student teachers to Coláiste Éanna in August as they begin their two year Masters programme and I hope they will indeed experience our commitment to excellence in all that we do.

The second event was in Ballyroan Church where a group of boys were commissioned as Ministers of the Eucharist. The parish had invited Bishop Brendan Leahy who was appointed Bishop of Limerick back to Ballyroan to celebrate Mass in the parish where he grew up. It seemed appropriate that as the Bishop would no doubt reflect on the past and the community that nurtured his faith that he might commission the young men who would be central to the future of that community.

We are proud of our commitment to excellence and we are proud to be a Catholic school in the midst of a vibrant community. This weekend was a celebration of both.


10th January 2014.

Einstein must have developed a formula that measures the speed of the passage of time over a holiday period from school as a function of the amount of time it takes for a new term to start and get into full momentum! It has been a very busy first week.

Our Christmas exam reports were processed and ready for posting on December 20th even though our exams just finished on December 19th, which is a great testament to the hard work and dedication of our teachers. The reports were posted on 31st December however – it seemed cruel to risk jeopardising the Christmas dinner! The exam results of our Sixth Years were exceptionally strong and augur well for another term of hard work.

Our India Immersion Project is at the zenith of fundraising activity and we are very gratified by the support and encouragement of our local parish at their coffee morning and cake sale after all the Masses last weekend. It was wonderful to meet so many people whose sons and even grandsons have gone or are going to Coláiste Éanna. It is very gratifying to note that the boys who are going to Calcutta in February have signed up for and begun training to serve as Ministers for the Eucharist in school and parish liturgies. They are a wonder group of young men and they rose to the challenge of being of service to others both in Calcutta and at home.

Another very pleasant duty was to introduce Brian Kelly to all our class groups on Thursday in advance to our ‘non-uniform day’ today. Brian left Coláiste Éanna in 2003. Whilst at school he took part in the India Immersion Project to Calcutta and as a result Brian and several past pupils set up a charity called Calcutta Connect which supports and runs schools and homework clubs for children from the poorest of families. He told the boys of the huge obstacles that face poor street children and prevent them from going to school and how school and education was the best way to break the cycle of poverty and improve outcomes for future generations (something that we in Ireland and particularly those in the Edmund Rice tradition know only so well).

Our chess teams had a spectacular victory against St Benildus College on Wednesday and are now moving towards the Leinster finals as they meet St. Kieran’s Kilkenny next week.

It was a very busy but exciting week as we begin another term full of possibilities and resolution.

 

 

6th December 2013

From the school announcements made by the Principal on Friday 6th December 2013.

No doubt you will have heard of the death of Nelson Mandela last night. I think it’s important that we take a moment to reflect not so much on the significance of his death but on the extraordinary significance of his life.

Nelson Mandela was a very bright light in our world and a symbol for the power of reconciliation and forgiveness. When he released from Robin Island Prison where he had been incarcerated for 27 years by the cruel Apartheid regime he said ‘let us put the past behind us’. He conducted his life through the lens of hope rather than fear especially the fear of failure or defeat. When he was inaugurated as first freely elected President by all black and white South Africans he quoted from the a poem by Marianne Williamson  – in his speech he said:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?

 

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.

 

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Boys of Coláiste Éanna and teachers as we remember Nelson Mandela this morning, maybe we should be asking ourselves, can I be liberated from my own fear and can my presence liberate others. Can I be like Nelson Mandela in my small part of our world?

 

27th November 2013

Programme Notes for Jailhouse Rock

This is the third annual production of the Coláiste Éanna Drama Society. It is with great pride and pleasure that I welcome you to Jailhouse Rock and the Music of Elvis!

It was a very brave decision to stage a musical especially as we only established a Music Department in the school last year. Henry Ford said that ‘whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t – you are right’.  Tonight’s performance is a testament of self-belief, tenacity and confidence. These are three qualities that our production team, actors and musicians have in abundance. Tonight’s show is also a testament to the huge multiplicity of talent we have here in Coláiste Éanna. This is a great platform to showcase our actors, dancers, musicians and singers. Along with our neighbours in Sancta Maria College our young people have provided us with a great evening of entertainment and I hope you leave here this evening a little lighter of heart on this dark November night. I want to acknowledge the great vision and hard work of our producer Ms Ní Bhrosnacháin and our music teacher, Mr. Matthew Quinn who were joined by our direction consultant, Mr. Garry Montaine.

Tonight’s performance also showcases the great sense of community and collaboration that is so strong in our school. I hope you enjoyed the prequel video showing how this gym space was transformed into this theatre space. There have been so many who made that transformation happen. Our Caretaker, Mr Dave Grant, our construction studies teacher, Mr. Paddy Nunn and his transition year students who made and assembled the set. A big thank you to our Parents Association who helped acquired the props for our show and who also provide the hospitality tonight.

Our art teacher Ms Hogan who helped design the set. I also want to thank so many of our teachers who have helped with make-up and by also supporting the producer and musical director by taking their classes if necessary. A huge thank you too to our Deputy Principal, Ms McCabe who produced this programme and also contributed to the many stages of gestation for this show. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Ms. Geraldine Kennedy, Principal in Sancta Maria College for allowing her very talented students take part and facilitating our demanding rehearsal schedule.

Please support the many businesses how have sponsored our show by taking out advertisements in our programme. A special thank you must also be extended to our many patrons who are listed within this programme.

Finally, thank you to your selves for joining us this evening. Your support is so important for all on the stage but also for the wider school community as your affirmation encourages us to grow in self-belief, tenacity and confidence.

 

 

6th November 2013.

From the speech made at the lunch to mark the visit of Bishop Brendan Leahy to Coláiste Éanna.

This is a very special day for Coláiste Éanna as we welcome an Éanna boy, Bishop Brendan Leahy as our special guest, back to his Alma Mater.  We were very pleased to hear, earlier this year, of his appointment as Bishop of Limerick. So I’m delighted on behalf of the whole school community to welcome Bishop Brendan today and to thank him for meeting with some of our classes this morning and joining with us at our November Service in the Parish Church.

I also want to welcome some very significant people who contributed hugely to the nurturing and growth of the Coláiste Éanna school community in the past and indeed who featured in Bishop Brendan’s education, growth and nourishment during his school days here. To Brother Dooley, Brother Donlon, Mr. Brendan Vaughan and Mr Sean O Donnell we extend a heartfelt welcome.

I welcome Ms Helen O Brien, Director of Governance in the Edmund Rice Schools Trust, Mr. Paddy Collings, Chairperson of our Board of Management. I welcome Fr Brendan Madden from our Parish, Mr Brian Cotter chairman of our Parents Association. A heartfelt cead mile fáilte to the Principal of St Patrick’s National School, Ms Marie McHugh and the Principal of Ballyroan BNS, Mr Des Morris.  I’m delighted Robert Smith is here on behalf of our Past Pupils Union.

I welcome former teachers who spent a life time of service here in Coláiste Éanna and I welcome current teachers who I am proud to work with as we add our contribution to the life and history of Coláiste Éanna. I welcome members of our student’s council.

The phrase Alma Mater, referring to one’s school or college has become a part of our vernacular but the direct translation from the Latin reads as the ‘nourishing mother’ and I think Coláiste Éanna fits in very well with this image as a place which nourishes and helps one to grow. Nourishment was central to Edmund Rice’s vision of a school when he included a bakery in his first school in Mount Zion in Waterford. There was great hunger among the poor children at the time. Coláiste Éanna attempted to and I hope still does seek to alleviate the great hunger of our time. A hunger for knowledge, spiritual growth and a thirst for truth, justice and fair play.

Bishop Brendan on behalf of the Bothers and teachers who taught you and I hope nourished and guided your growth during you days here and on behalf of those of us who are the current stewards of the tradition of Edmund Rice I am very proud to welcome you to your alma mater and wish you many graces and blessing in the years ahead.

 

11th October 2013.

A group of our Transition Year boys were in Knock last Friday at a Gathering Event to celebrate the Year of Faith. Travelling with Mr. Sterling, they joined 4000 young people from all over the country to hear a range of speakers on various aspects of faith and then celebrate the Mass with the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Brown . Two of our boys read and took part in the Offertory procession at the Mass. These guys had a great time, speaking with them earlier this week they talked of the fun meeting students from all over the country and also feeling that they were part of something very special in their church. I didn’t notice any coverage about this in our national media.

I had the great joy of being in Assisi last Friday. I was there in a personal capacity and was part of the large group that celebrated Mass with Pope Francis in honour of the feast day of St Francis of Assisi. There certainly seems to be what the intelligentsia like to call a paradigm shift in the perception of the role of the church in our world.  I remembered a line form a reflection from my youth – sometimes it better to be kind rather than right – (and before I am accused of relativism by Pope Emeritus – this line was in the context of having arguments and relationships rather than moral theology!). The thought did strike me that the simplicity of Pope Francis’ concern for the poor, the simplicity of putting world conflict in the context of ‘doing the just/ kind thing rather than always putting  national self-interests first  might be the real paradigm shift.

There may be a caution and weariness about the Church amongst some, particularly in Ireland, but maybe, just maybe in the words of Seamus Heaney we are witnessing a time when hope and history rhyme.

 

25th September 2013

Words of welcome form the Principal at the Mass to celebrate the beginning of the school year

Welcome to you all to our celebration of Mass here this afternoon to mark the beginning of the school year.

As I said when I called around to your classes yesterday and today – we are here to call upon the grace and generosity of God in the coming year in our school. That is of huge significance and the words are not really adequate to convey the enormity of what we are doing.

We are here to call upon the grace of God in the coming year in our school.

One of the privileges of being Principal of a school like Coláiste Éanna is that I know what is going on in the background for so many of us in our school community. I know that there are many here today whose lives are substantially different since we gathered here this time last year. We ask that the grace of God will be with you in the presence of your friends and support of your teachers and fellow teachers.

I know that a lot of you are very anxious to do well in your exams this year – especially the Leaving Certificate Exam in June – we pray that the grace of God will be with you. I know that the  First Years, especially  in the first week or two of the school year had a lot of challenges to face, and that you met those challenges face on and I’m delighted to welcome you formally to our school community.

I want to thank Fr. Brendan, Caitríona  and the Parish Council for welcoming us here to the Parish Church, we appreciate your time Fr. Brendan in leading us in the grace filled sacrament of the Eucharist. I want to thank the RE teachers who have planned this celebrations and Mr Quinn and the musicians for their hard work

Finally boys and teachers I ask you to be really present in this sacred place and my wish for you at this Mass and over the coming school year is that you may feel the powerful grace of God in your lives especially at those times when you will need it most.

 

9th September 2013

It has extraordinarily busy over the past while.

Cyber Bullying

Our parents Association are holding their AGM tomorrow, Tuesday 19th Sept. at 8pm and they have asked Ms Mary Kent to be the key note speaker. Ms Kent coordinates our Anti-bullying Team and will speak specifically about cyber bullying. There is considerable unease around the area of cyber bullying due no doubt the sad and tragic deaths of young people as a result of this behaviour.

TV3

Our school featured on TV3’s Midweek  news programme last week in a report on bullying. We were making the point that the three pillars to our Anti-bully Policy are To Recognise, To Reject and To Report bullying behaviour. We contend that there are always three parties involved in bullying; the bully, the person on the receiving end of this behavior and the bystander. Our Anti –bullying Programme actively empowers the bystander to reject and then report inappropriate behaviour. We were asked by the reporter from TV3 was there not a fear amongst boys about ‘ratting’  on others and we made the point that if you see a fellow student copying his homework and shout ‘teacher, teacher Johnny  is copying his homework’ that this might be ratting because the sole intent here is to get Johnny  in to trouble, whereas your intention in reporting bullying is to say ‘I reject this behaviour, it is unjust, it is unfair and  it is hurtful and I want it to stop’.  We teach the boys the difference and that they must acknowledge their role as bystanders. Our first year boys will be having classes on the ‘3 Rs’ of our Anti-bullying Programme at present and we have four significant times during the school year when this message is reinforced with every other year group.

Sixth Year Religious Education

Sixth Year Religious Education class is looking very different this year. We asked each boy to select a group of seven of his friends which would become a small group class for RE. This small group will meet with each of the religion teachers on a rotation basis for a double class period and have the opportunity to discuss their spiritual journey, moral and social issues. We are into the second week of this rotation and so far the feedback from both students and trenchers has been very positive.

Elvis.

Elvis is indeed alive and has been seen in Coláiste Éanna. Auditions were held last week and we believe we have found Elvis. Ms Ní Bhrosnacháin who is directing and Mr. Quinn who is the musical director were very excited to discover ‘a natural talent’ who gave a very good audition! Watch this space for more breaking news on this subject…

Performances of ‘Jailhouse Rock’ will take place on 26th to 28th November.

 

The joy of a good book.

Our Transition Years have a ‘reading class’ once a week in our school library. For 40 glorious minutes the students sit and read – the only rule is that it cannot be a text book or a magazine. For some reading for pleasure is a novelty as they spend an inordinate amount of time playing with electronic devices.

Study Skills.

Another new initiative this year is a Study Skills class for Fifth and Sixth Years. Here they will have instruction on study techniques and revision skills. There will be also be analysis and review of a boys study methods until he finds a way of studying that suits him and makes the optimum use of his study time. Our Third Years had a Study Skills Seminar with Student Enrichment Services last Friday and our Fifth Years in a study seminar in January.

Past Pupils Union.

We are currently gathering contact details of all our past pupils. A very active and enthusiastic steering group has been working since our initial Past Pupils Gathering last May and plans are in  place to have a Past Pupils event here in Colíaste Éanna on 21st November 2013.

Extra curricular Activities.

One of the tasks that the Principal does is to make announcements on the school PA system and we have had a constant flow of information concerning very many activities ranging from hurling, athletics, chess, soccer, basketball, table tennis.

For the record…

Mondays – Athletics and First Year basketball

Tuesdays/ Wednesdays – Hurling

Wednesday – Chess, Table tennis and senior Basket Ball

Thursday – Soccer

Friday – Athletics.

The Chess Club also meets in Room 38 each lunchtime.

Jailhouse Rock rehearsals begin this week.

 

3rd September 2013

An air of calm pervades the campus as the steady hum of teaching and learning fills our corridors. At this stage all the really hard work that marks the beginning of a school year has been completed. Because we started back a few days earlier, we had a full week of class completed by Friday 30th August. That week of work is invaluable as the energy and enthusiasm levels are high amongst all in the school community and we can forge ahead with the words of the Irish seanfhocal:  Tús maith, leath na hoibre (a good start is half the battle) ringing in our ears.

Our first years have really settled in well however we remain ever vigilant as out Pastoral Care Team and all out teachers of first Year classes are very aware of the challenges of transition from primary to secondary school. We are also aware that sometimes it can be difficult for a chap to let his teachers know that he is finding things difficult.  A lot encouragement and a myriad of activities designed help boys to engage with others is a significant part of our Tutors work at this time and will help all with the settling in period.

Our Transition Year classes are off to Carlingford Adventure Centre in Co. Louth tomorrow for a few very important days where they will learn about leadership, teamwork and resilience. We have made some significant additions to our Transition Year following extensive surveying of last year group. We have increased the number of electives, specifically in the areas of computing/ coding, music performance, martial arts, bridge  as well as continuing with our sapling programme of Leaving Certificate subjects and an activities afternoon to facilitate trips to cultural venues in the city and hikes in the Dublin mountains.

Auditions are underway for our school play Jailhouse Rock, which will hit the stage on Tuesday 27th November. This is another first for Coláiste Éanna as we have decided to put on a musical and we wish Ms. Ní Bhrosnacháin and Mr. Quinn the very best of luck with this years production.

We were all shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Seamus Heaney last week. When addressing parents of Sixth Years at our the information evening last night I  quoted from the poem popularly known as ‘Peeling the spuds’ but which is entitled ‘Clearances’ in memory of the poets mother.  He ends the poem with the lines;

So while the parish priest at her bedside

Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying

And some were responding and some crying

I remembered her head bent towards my head,

Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–

Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

I was trying to convey the importance of communication between parents and their sons, especially through mid to late adolescence and  making the point that true intimate, communication occurs doing the ordinary things and not in conversations about CAO points. And while Leaving Certificate points are very important we must keep all things in their proper perspective.

 

14th August 2013.

Today is a very significant day in the history of Coláiste Éanna. The Leaving Certificate results for the class of 2013 were distributed today. Another fine cohort of young men is beginning the next step on the journey as they make their way in life.

The results are spectacular. 5% of our boys achieved over 550 points and 7.7% achieved between 500 and 545, making 13.2% who achieved over 500. The national figures are not available yet but in 2012 the national figure of those who achieved over 500 was 10.1%.

It is very easy to get caught up in the hype and hysteria that Leaving Cert results day brings. Our Ethos values the individual and not the numbers. And each individual young man this morning is to be congratulated for the Leaving Cert result he achieved. One of our constant dictums here in Coláiste Éanna is that one should always strive to achieve better than your previous personal best.  It is results seen in that context that is the real measure of the significance of exam results and not the number of students who achieved over 500 or 600 points. A boy who gets 500 points in his Leaving Certificate has done very well however what if he could and should have achieved 550? Similarly a boy who gets 200 points may well have struggled with a learning difficulty or great family trauma.

We conducted our annual survey of the previous Leaving Certificate class in June and we’re delighted to note that there is a 10% increase in the number of Coláiste Éanna Class of 2012 who are attending UCD and 6% increase in those attending TCD. Again we have to be careful here – one of the Class of 2012 got in apprenticeship in the Botanical Gardens and according to the league table model popularized by two national newspapers he doesn’t count. What an outrageous notion and certainly one that our Ethos would never support. Every member of the Coláiste Éanna community counts.

Just as one class group moves on, another class group of First Years will be starting their journey in Coláiste Éanna next week. We welcome them and we look forward to seeing them grow in self esteem and wellbeing as well as intellectually and academically. Each one of those boys will always count in our eyes.

 

*******

May 24th 2013

The following is the words of introduction at the Sixth Year Mass in Ballyroan Parish Church, 23rd May 2013

Good evening. You will have noticed that there were two candles in our procession. I was carrying our new school candle, which was lit for the first time tonight. We will use this at every liturgical service for many years to come. The base is beech and was turned by Robbie Blake in TY. We felt that the election of our new pope was a worthy occasion to mark with a new candle. Pope Francis said ‘today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope, we need to protect creation, to look to the poor,  to open up a horizon of hope”. This candle will be the light of hope in our school.

Mr. Johnstone carried the Sixth Year Candle and placed it on the Our Lady Altar, here at the side. Gentlemen it will be lit here every day at Mass and the parish community will pray for God’s support for you and your families during your exams. We say thank you to Fr. Brendan and the parish community for their prayers.

Tonight is a very significant occasion for you men. It marks the formal end to your schooling, not just in Coláiste Éanna but from the time you first went to primary school. It marks your moving on to that horizon of hope. The image of light is very appropriate. I hope you appreciate the role your parents have played in your lives. The lighted candle at your baptism, the light that was left on at night so you wouldn’t be afraid of the dark.

The light in the kitchen preparing lunches as you went to primary school.

The light that is on now when you come home late at night, even though I’m sure you’d wish it wasn’t. Boys it’s your job now to take this light, armed with what we have taught you in Coláiste Éanna, to go and make your own way in the world, with your head held high and your aim to be a successful and decent person

To parents,  I am acutely aware of the significance of tonight. I thank you for placing your confidence in us to educate your son. But now is the time for moving on….

I am very mindful of the words of Kahlil Gibran in his book The Prophet when He says to the mother:

Your children are not your children.

They’re the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls.

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow…

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with his might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the Archers hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Gentlemen, after Communion this evening Mr Johnstone will call the roll for the Class of 2013 for the last time and ask you to come forward to your Tutor to receive a specially commissioned pin with our school crest. It is our gift to you a souvenir of tonight but more importantly a symbol of the essence of what you learned at Coláiste Éanna. Gentlemen wear it with pride.

After Mass we will be distributing our School Leavers magazine and you are all invited back to the school Sports Hall for a reception.

I now call on Barry Morton from our Student Council to formally welcome you this evening.

 

May 10th 2013

The following are the comments made by the Principal to mark the National Commemoration of the Famine.

The Famine in Ireland lasted for five years from 1845 to 1849. The population in Ireland in the 1841 census was 8 million people and in 1851 the population was down to 6 million. It is estimated that 1 million people died from malnutrition and related illnesses and 1 million emigrated. The effects of the famine were catastrophic and some historians would say this shaped how Ireland developed up to the 1960s when Ireland eventually started to develop export industries with foreign investment.

The causes of the Famine were complex and as our country continues to develop we are moving away from the overly simplistic cause that ‘the food was taken by our imperial masters’ to the fact that famine was a result of the system of distribution of wealth and free market economy at the time. It was the poorest people who died in the Famine- Ireland had huge food resources in the 1840s and exports of food from Ireland were very strong. This is one of the ironies of the tragedy of the Famine. Another bizarre irony today is  that the song the Fields of Athernry, a love ballad about the Famine is now an unofficial national anthem of celebration.

Today, in May 2013, let us remember those who died, let us remember those who were forced to emigrate. Let us also remember that famine is still very real in parts of our world, let us remember that the world is very rich in food resources and yet the poorest of the poor still die.  Let us encourage our government to maintain the high level of aid we send to those in need. Let us remember to encourage each other to contribute generously to NGOs such as Trocaire, Concern and Goal. Let us celebrate the success of our emigrants around and welcome them home in this year of ‘The Gathering’.

We will now have a moments silence.

Today we have planted an oak tree to mark this special day.

An oak tree can take many years to mature – as this oak tree grows, its roots will grow down deep into the soil of Coláiste Éanna. May it be nourished by all who have attended this school and let it be nourished by all the efforts that have been made in this school  to bring justice to our world, let it be nourished by all  the efforts in this school that have been made to alleviate world hunger.

The branches and leaves of this tree will reach up to the sky, let they be touched by the sunshine and rain so lavishly provided by the environment that we are committed to protect.

Let all our efforts be to the greater honour and glory of God. Amen.

 

 

29th April 2013

The following are comments made by the Principal as he welcomed boys from the incoming First Year Class of 2013.

This is a very significant date for you in a very significant week for a lot of you. A lot of you will be making your Confirmation. When you will be making commitments as young men moving towards a more mature faith.

But it is also a very significant date for Coláiste Éanna. Even though your actual first day at school with be in August – tonight marks the beginning of the relationship between you and Coláiste Éanna. We are an excellent school. We aim to be the very best school in Dublin and you are a very important element of us achieving that goal. We only want boys who will give of their best. We only want boys who will take what we offer, and you will hear some of what we offer tonight. We have brilliant teachers who have many years experience bringing out the best in their students. We have excellent facilities for sports, drama, music, and a wide range of activities. We hope in your first year you will find something to be excellent at and will work at being brilliant.

We want families who value learning and education and I want you to appreciate the effort and work and love that your parents have given that has brought you to this evening and to August when you start the next chapter in your life.

To you parents I say – thank you for choosing our school to continue your son’s education. We are humbled and proud that you will be entrusting that which is most precious to you and I assure you that all of us here in Coláiste Éanna, from our senior management through to all our teachers will strive to deliver an excellent education for your son. There will be many references made tonight about how you can contact us, so please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us should the need arise.

Boys, this is a time for commitment – for those of you making your Confirmation certainly but also for all of you who are finishing up in Primary School in Sixth Class and will be joining us here in First Year in August.

 

17th April 2013

It’s difficult to believe that we are back from the Easter holidays for nearly two weeks at this stage. It is wonderful to see the weather has got a little milder and it is great to report that spring has eventually arrived. On reflection we were truly blessed with the weather we had for our Sports Day on 14th March. The weather that day was ‘fresh’ and dry. We have been evaluating the day and looking forward to establishing this as an annual event, though we may well choose a date later in the term! Interest in athletics continues to grow. Today we had 25 athletes at the Rice games and last week we had several teams at Santry Stadium and we’re pleased to note that our minor team came a respectable fifth overall.

Our Business Studies quiz team competed in the National Finals in Athlone on 11th April and 64 points the winning team scored 68 points. Our team came sixth. Ms Julianne Scanlon and the team Aiden Mellet, Cillian O Riordan, Conor Mc Grath and Cian O Toole deserve great credit for this performance.

Our chess team, who style themselves as the Knights of Éanna, took part in the National Chess Finals   in Gonzaga College last Saturday 13th April. Our team was made up of Conor Lehane, Luke Pendlebury, Cian Dunne, Kevin Lalor, Nadeem Naber and Ross Cotter. They took bronze honours against very stiff and vastly more experienced opposition. Mr. Dave Grant and Mr. Keith Murray accompanied the teams.

Our Junior Debating Team gallantly challenged the senior boys to debate the motion that Eamon de Valera was the greatest Irish statesman. It was a magnificent spectacle as the two teams faced each other in front of an audience of the entire first and second year groups. Cicero would have been proud of their rhetoric and our politicians should fear their political insight. In the event the Senior Team carried the motion and in the words of the adjudicator it was their experience at rebuttal that gave them the edge.

Monday this week marked the beginning of the Leaving Certificate exams for our Sixth Year. The French and Spanish oral exams began and the day started with the SEC examiners introducing themselves and giving an outline of the format of the exam. The examiners comments have been very encouraging, especially their remarks on how courteous and how well prepared the Éanna boys are.

 

11th March 2013.

The following was part of the school announcements today………

Is é seo Seachtain na Gaeilge agus ba ceart do gach duine sa scoil bheith ag iarraigh caint as Gaeilge. This is Seachtain na Gaeilge. Everybody in school has some knowledge of Irish including those who haven’t studied Irish in primary school. Its been said that if Irish people had the same amount of vocabulary and grammar in another language, say French or Spanish, they would be very quick to say they can speak French or Spanish. It seems to be a cultural thing that previous generations of Irish people have big issues about speaking Irish. Maybe your generation will be the ones who will change this attitude to an Gaeilge. So, bain triail as…..

One attitude that your generation have been very good about is accepting people who are Lesbian Gay Bisexual or Transgender. This is also ‘Stand up’ LGBT Awareness Week and this year the focus is on homophobic bullying.  Adults who are gay frequently recall that their teenage years were a very lonely and difficult time. This ‘Stand Up’ week we all need to reflect on this and be aware that our words and actions towards others may add to this sense of loneliness and isolation whether that was our intention or not. We need to reflect on the second element of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust Charter that states that we promote inclusiveness, mutual respect and a sense of interdependence for development of the school as a community where personal growth is facilitated. That means that all in our community has a right to be themselves.

Plans are progressing for the Sports Day on Thursday. We do have to take the weather into consideration and  on Thursday we have to be prepared to have to postpone Sports Day at the last minute so everybody needs to come to school with school bags and homework just in case.

Finally, we hope our Transition Years have an enjoyable afternoon at the cheili with the TY girls from Sancta Maria as they mark the start of Seachtain na Gaeilge.

 

8th March 2013.

There was a wonderful moment today when all in our school community celebrated World Book Day by… reading. At 11.05am silence descended and on a quick tour of the school I was delighted to observe that each boy was reading either a book or other suitable material. We live in a world that has changed so much over the past few decades. Nostalgia can distort the past, but one has clear memories of one’s youth when nearly everyone read, whether it was newspapers, magazines or books. It would be wonderful to think that the current dearth of reading will be reversed over a similar number of decades.

For our part, we have made a small step in playing our part in encouraging reading and there was a very positive reaction from the boys and the teachers. Our school library, which has just received delivery of many newly published titles, was very busy this week and this is a cause for optimism, as is the excitement generated by the re-opening of Ballyroan Public library which is within a very short walking distance.

The Principal also managed to Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) himself but these few delightful moments were interrupted by a phone call from an Inspector from the Department of Education informing us of an imminent subject inspection. There is a bold streak lurking in the back of one’s mind to call a spontaneous DEAR during his visit. Surely the Department can’t argue against the government’s literacy and numeracy strategy?

 

 

27th February 2013.

Pope Benedict XVI gives his last public Blessing in St Peter’s Square today and one can’t help thinking about journey and change.

Our Sixth Years will finish up their Mock Leaving Cert exams tomorrow and this marks another major stage in their journey towards leaving secondary school.  Assuming there are no seismic changes to the retirement age ( given the industrial relations climate of the past weekend one can’t be certain of that!)  and they will retire from working life in 2060. We really have no clue what the world will be like in 47 years time. We can hardly speculate on what will happen over the next five years and yet we hope that our curriculum will stand them in good stead. Really what we hope is that our Ethos will sustain them. We hope the values that our boys have from home and what we have re-enforced here in Coláiste Éanna  will endure. We hope they will always value respect and tolerance for themselves and for others, we hope they will always strive for excellence and integrity we hope that they will always  do the right thing, we hope they will always value friends and comrades.

This feeling of the need for sure footedness was brought home when we were visited by a Past Pupil of Coláiste Eanna  last Friday afternoon. Patrick Murray left school in 1976 and was here as part of the European Commission’s ‘Back to School’ programme. The Commission asks employees to tell of their experience of working in the Commission and of course about the overall vision of the European Union. Patrick originally trained as an engineer and by a circuitous route that involved working in the nuclear power industry in the UK he   joined the European Commission and now work as head of security for the 120 diplomatic and foreign programmes of the European Union  worldwide.  While the senior classes were fascinated to hear about how to avoid kidnap and the need to wear bullet proof protection in some of the very dangerous parts of the world such as Afghanistan, Syria  and Mali  they also heard a very important message from Patrick. Career paths will inevitably change and one has to be always open to the possibilities of change and secondly the core and character of the man is the most important ingredient to success in life.

We wish Pope Benedict XVI well in his retirement and God speed to the Conclave.

One wonders what the Church will be like in 2060.

 

20th February 2013.

Catholic Schools Week.

We were pleased to mark Catholic Schools Week just before Mid Term Break. Each day a different year group joined the congregation at 10am Mass in our parish church. Our attendance at Mass was made all the more poignant when we heard the sad news that Mr. Alan Doran, father of Colin in Second Year had died suddenly that week. Our second year boys and Colin’s basketball team at his dad’s funeral Mass.

Catholic Schools Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a Catholic School. Essentially it means that we demand nothing but the very best from all of us in the school community. That the principal, teachers, staff, pupils and parents have to always strive for excellence as nothing but excellence is good enough for the God who created us. Also, that we care for each other as Christ showed us in the Gospels. We are a Catholic School who welcomes boys and families of all faiths and none but our ethos is firmly rooted on these two principles.

Mock Examinations.

It must have been with a degree of irony that our Sixth and Third years embarked on Mid Term Break as their Mock Exams commenced just as we returned to school. One teacher was overheard to refer to Mid Term as Study Break! We wish both class groups, especially the Leaving Cert Class of 2013 the best of luck in their exams.

New entrants to Coláiste Éanna.

School life has a strange dynamic and life cycle. As the boys move through their years here and especially as they journey through Sixth Year, strong relationships and many bonds of friendship are formed within the school community. Eventually a year group leaves and is replaced by other boys and other sets of relationships. That process begins around this time of the year. We will have our Assessment Tests for boys who are joining us in August 2013 on Saturday 23rd February and we are holding an information morning for boys and their parents in fifth class in local National Schools on Saturday 2nd March, gathering in our Sports Hall at 10am. We will be also attending information evenings in different local national schools.

 

25th January 2013.

Two events at either end of this week were significant in the history of Coláiste Éanna.

On Saturday last, one had the pleasure of attending a Mass to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the first Christian Brothers’ community and school in Dublin. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke about the huge contribution that the Brothers had made to education and the well-being of young people in Dublin. That the selflessness of the Brothers had given the poorest of children the opportunity to attend school, oftentimes the first generation of a family to do so and thus ‘get a leg up’ the social ladder. He said that it would be remiss of him not to acknowledge the harm and abuse that some children suffered but that it would be equally unjust not to acknowledge the great affection and gratitude that the vast majority of young people and their families  had for the Brothers in the city.

The first foundation was opened in Hanover Street on the south quays in 1812, with St James Street CBS being the oldest Brothers school in Dublin. A remarkable 95 communities and educational establishments were opened in the course of the next 200 years. Some have since closed but many are thriving centres of scholarship and care. Our school was opened in 1967 and it interesting to note that five schools were founded in the same year – Colaiste Éanna, Coláiste Chaoimhín Parnell Road, Clonkeen College, St. Kevins Ballygall, Coláiste Cholm Swords.

While Coláiste Éanna is relatively young in the Edmund Rice family it is a school that is eager to create its own history. We are always evaluating and looking to keep the ways that we know to be valuable and to constantly seek to innovate as we continue to strive towards excellence.

Our school was closed for pupils today and our staff engaged in  Staff Development or Continuing Professional Development. We were exploring new methodologies that encouraged the pupils in our classes to be fully engaged in their learning, to be curious, to be adventurous and questioning, to be creative. The input today came from within our own staff as colleagues lead colleagues in examples of constructivist learning techniques. It was a hugely successful day.

 

16th January 2012

It’s been a week of good news for Past Pupils… and this gives us great inspiration to continue striving for excellence in all our endeavours both in the classroom and in other areas of school life.

  • It was announced by the Vatican that Professor Brendan Leahy, from the Class of 1977, has been appointed Bishop of Limerick. Fr. Leahy who is a priest of the Dublin Archdiocese, trained initially as a barrister and latterly has been professor of Systemic Theology in Maynooth.
  • It was announced that Paul  Mc Ginley , from the Class of 1984 has been appointed Captain of the European Ryder Cup Team, the first Irishman to hold this captaincy.
  • Trinity College are hosting a Reception on Thursday 17th January to present the Entrance Exhibition Awards 2012. Three Coláiste Éanna boys from the Class of 2012 are bening honoured; Damien Thompson, Jack Cahalne and Colm Kelleher. These awards are presented to students who achieved a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate.

Such success, determination and excellence provided the backdrop to our Information Evening on Transition Year 2013-2014 which was held for parents and boys on Monday night  this week. We have an excellence Transition Year which has four elements: The core Subjects: Irish,  English, Maths, Religion and French/ Spanish; the subject sampling element where boys study a module in each of the twelve Leaving Certificate subjects we offer in our curriculum, finally there is the TY specific element which includes Philosophy, Psychology, Classical Studies, Outdoor Pursuits, Bridge, Home Economics, Legal Studies, Self Defence, Horticulture and many other subjects. We stressed to the boys that underlying all their work in Transition Year, as in all areas of life in Coláiste Éanna, is the pursuit of excellence and the determination to achieve better than your previous personal best.

 

 

9th January 2013.

It is with a heavy heart that we note the death of Ian Mc Keever who died on Mount Kilimanjaro in the first days of the New Year. We have all been impressed with Ian’s enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude. One remembers back to the first time we met Ian when he addressed our Transition and Fifth Year boys  in early November. To say that one was awed by the impression he made on the boys about not putting barriers on what one can achieve would be an understatement, this was evidence by the huge numbers who applied to take part in the Kilimanjaro Achievers challenge.  One colleague remarked that talking with Ian was like being in a vortex of energy and enthusiasm.  We understand that Ian’s funeral will take place this weekend in Co. Wicklow and we extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and his fiancé.

 

 

14th December 2012.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

We had a great celebration in our parish church on Wednesday. That our Carol Service began at 12 noon on such an auspicious date added to the event. Our whole school community gathered and we sang carols and listened to some glorious music. The boys were reminded how much we have to be grateful for, that we all have someone in our lives who will make sure we get something nice from Santa Claus and that there will be a fine dinner on Christmas day, even despite these difficult times. The boys were reminded how important it is to say ‘thank you’ to the person who does all the hard work to make their home such a special place at Christmas. We also remembered those for whom the Christmas dinner table will a lonely place as significant people will be absent. We had great fun as our music ensemble finished the service with a wonderful jazz version of ‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’.

On Thursday morning we had the Parents Association Christmas draw. There was tremendous excitement to see who had won the lap top and all the other marvelous prizes.

On Thursday afternoon we delivered Christmas hampers to those who find Christmas particularly difficult. Each tutor group from first to third year made up hampers full of festive delights and the senior classes collected funds for supermarket vouchers.

Also on Thursday evening 12 of our boys were presented with Pope John Paul II Gold Medals by the Archdiocese in St. Paul’s Church, Arran Quay, for their contribution to the church mission of care for our community at home and abroad. The 12 boys had raised significant funds for and travelled to Kolkata in India earlier in the year.

Sadly, into every garden a little rain must fall…. On Friday morning we started the Christmas exams. We will have the results of these exams ready by Friday 21st but because we do want our boys to have a wonderful, stress free Christmas we won’t be posting the reports home until Wednesday 2nd January 2013!

 

30th November 2012

It was a quiet week…..

We had a Study Skills seminar on Thursday for our First Year students to prepare them for the Christmas Examinations. We are very mindful that for these boys this will be their first experience of formal examinations.  We are also very mindful that one does not naturally or intuitively know how to study. So with this in mind we focused on the acronym SMART. We impressed on the boys that their study must be specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and timed, and then we proceeded to show them how this can be achieved. Despite the winds of change that are blowing through the body pedagogical, exams will always be a significant feature of school life and as ever we want Coláiste Éanna boys to achieve beyond their previous personal best. For the First Years that means improving on their Halloween Assessments. We wish them well on their journey.

It was a quiet week, except for…..

Monday, our Under 15 Table Tennis team scored a massive victory over Gonzaga College.

Tuesday, our Under 18 Soccer team won in a match against Old Bawn CS.

Wednesday, the Kilkenny hurler and many times All-Ireland medal winner, Jackie Tyrill held a Master Class coaching session with our Under 14 Hurling team on our school pitch.

Wednesday, our Under 15 Soccer team beat Ardscoil, Raheny.

Wednesday, our Knights of Éanna chess team travelled to St Benildus College and played in a keenly fought challenge match which St Benildus won.

Thursday, our Knights of Éanna chess hosted Gonzaga College in a league match encounter. The Knights won one game however Gonzaga won the match.

Thursday, our Under 16 Gaelic football team won in their Division A match against Clonkeen College.

Thursday, the fifteen Transition and Fifth Year boys who had been shortlisted to take part in the Kilimanjaro Climb challenge had their interviews to select the six who will climb Kilimanjaro in June 2013

Friday, our Senior Debating team had a special training day.

It was a quiet week……….

 

23rd November 2012

Wednesday last was an important day for Coláiste Éanna….

The annual school play

On Wednesday saw the opening night our school play All in Favour Said No by Bernard Farrell. It was a tremendous success and enjoyed three very successful performances on subsequent nights. On Wednesday afternoon we had a preview matinee for our pupils and Fifth Years from Sancta Maria. We felt we had to give a little back ground to this play. While it is a light hearted comedy in the tradition of the farce, Farrell uses this to present us with a scathing observation of a world that our young people would not be familiar. A world where a factory in 1980s Dublin could be closed down as a result of intransigent and restricted work practices led by intransigent trades unions,  a world where middle management would include a fool  promoted up to a level of his own incompetency . Indeed an Ireland where there were locally owned factories hadn’t been out sourced to less expensive economies in the far east. It was a world where all the clerical roles depicted on stage would be  replaced by computer, e mail and mobile phones. On a lighter note it was a world where there was a daily delivery of milk in glass bottles, shoulder pads and double breasted suits. Those of an unkind disposition suggested that the wardrobes of several teachers were raided by the costume department.

Irish Independent ‘University League Tables’

The Independent published, with much fanfare, the ‘league tables’ of so called feeder schools to university. Such bald statistics are of little value to parents, as the newspaper suggests,  and help perpetuate the malaise of the points race which has ironically lead the universities to condemn the Leaving Certificate as ‘not fit for purpose’.  While we are pleased to note that Coláiste Éanna have a considerable number of boys who go on to university and third level surely the most significant thing for any parent is that their child attends the university or third level institution that is right for them and is the best fit for their career aspiration. Perhaps such ‘league tables’ should show how many students from a given school remain to finish a degree course rather than ‘dropping out’ and engage in the expensive business of changing form course to course. Coláiste Éanna conducts a telephone survey of each boy’s parents twelve months after their Leaving Certificate exam and we can report that 98% of the Class of 2012 report that not only are they enjoying their college course but that they are committed to completing the three or four year programme.

Invitation from Trinity College.

On Wednesday we received an invitation to attend a ceremony in Trinity College to honour three of the class of 2012, Colm Kelleher, Damien Thompson and Jack Cahalane,  who will receive Entrance Exhibition Prizes for achieving over 560 points in their Leaving Certificate.

 

16th November 2012.

Heath Awareness Week

We have just concluded our annual Health awareness week. This was the culmination of several weeks of preparation as RE and SPHE teachers discussed with their classes the issues that would be dealt with during the week. Each year group had a seminar with a guest visitor who then brought their expertise to bear. A wide variety of health areas were covered. From sexually transmitted infections with sixth years to positive mental health with the first years; a talk from Alcohol Anonymous to the Transition Yar and a talk on cyber bullying by our Community Gardaí to second and Third Years. Our thanks to Mr Joe Glennon and Ms Maeve Browne for organinsing this very successful week.

PACÉ and UCD

One had the pleasure of attending four events this week; the Positive Attiude Coláiste Éanna  – PACÉ assemblies for first, second and third years and the Entrance Scholars Awards Ceremony in UCD.

This week we awarded the Student of the Month and class of the Month as part of our Positive Attitude Programme known as PACÉ. These were the first such assemblies for this academic year and the criteria for the PACÉ awards are two fold. Class groups are given credits at the end by their teachers assuming the class  showed a good attitude and applied themselves. Teachers also award credits to individuals for exceptional work or for making a significant contribution to their class. The teacher may also  give a negative credit for tardy or shoddy work or not having the required books etc. Mol na h-oige agus tiochfigh said – praise youth and they will arrive is the overarching philosophy for our PACÉ programme and it is very effective as pupils strive to be excellent.

On Thursday this week three of our recent Laving Certificate Class of 2012 were awarded Entrance Scholars Awards at a ceremony in the O’ Reilly Hall in UCD. Entrance Scholars Awards are presented to students who achieved over 540 points in the Leaving Cert. Jamie Desmond is studying Business and Law; Conor O Rourke is studying Health Sciences and Robert Jones is studying Science. It was a matter of great pride to see our boys receive their parchments and for Coláiste Éanna to be recognized as one of the top schools in the country.

 

7th November 2012.

It is with a heavy heart that we learned of the death last Monday of Ms Orla Geoghegan, mother of Dylan Phillips in Sixth Year. This news added a particular and raw poignancy to our November Service which took place in our Parish Church at noon today. Our whole school gathered for a service of remembrance for those who died in the past year and other family members and friends who have died. Boys and teachers were invited to place a candle at the altar in remembrance of a loved one. Each small candle combined with the memories and candles of others  to make a great beacon of hope on this sad November day, a beacon of hope in the Resurrection of Jesus which was a central theme in our readings. There was a very special moment when we all stood for a moments silence after placing our candles and Alex Hallahan from Third Year played the Last Post ( Alex’s brother Conor from Sixth Year also played a Chopin prelude) . Our Service included music from our much increased music ensemble and featured fine singing from Jake Richardson and Patrick Lyons in Fifth Year.

………….

We were pleased to take part in the RTE programme ‘Bullyproof’ with David Coleman which was broadcast on Tuesday 30th October.  Unfortunately, bullying is always topical, but the reality of the damage that bullying can do was brought home by the recent tragic deaths of young teenagers in Donegal and Leitrim. Perhaps because of this, Coláiste Éanna and our anti-bullying programme was mentioned in various other media. We were concerned that the impression was given that we conduct anonymous surveys/ questionnaires if we suspect that bullying might be taking place. The surveys which we carry out are not completed anonymously, surveys must be signed, although they are strictly confidential and no identities are ever disclosed. The reason for the signature is to allow the student to take ownership of their statements in relation to behaviour which they have observed. It is a common misconception that bullying involves only the direct participants. Rather, it involves the bullies, the bullied and the bystanders. The bystanders may unwittingly have created an environment in which bullying may flourish. However, they also possess the power within our programme to change an existing environment or to create a new one in which bullying is simply an unacceptable behaviour, not just to authority figures such as teachers and parents but more importantly to the community of students. Ownership, of which the survey signature is a symbol, is a very important constituent of the whole process.

……..

We are pleased to note that our Fancy Dress/ Colours day fundraiser on 26th October raised over €600 which we will give to the parish Homeless Campaign led by Fr. Brendan.

 

26th October 2012

Coláiste Éanna was in good mood today. We had a ‘non-uniform’ day to raise funds for Ballyroan Parish homeless project which is led by our Parish Priest, Fr. Brendan and for which several of our sixth year volunteer. Our sixth years wore fancy dress and the gathering at the sixth year locker area this morning was a sight to behold!

During the week we received the results of the PRISM mathematics tests (PRISM stands for ‘problem solving in second-level maths and is set by NUI Galway Maths Dept.) Kevin Fletcher in third year scored a perfect score of 20, which is the highest in the country and Joseph Mc Donnell in fifth year score 14 which places him the top 30%. Well done!! This news was preceded by the invitation of Luke Dunleavy in Transition year to participate in the European Science Olympiad on the basis that he achieved the highest marks in his recent Junior Certificate exams.

Preparations are at an advanced state for our drama production. This year we are staging All in favour said no by Dublin playwright Bernard Farrell. The play is about a Dublin factory in the1980s which is has industrial relations issues and there are many comedic moments which require excellent timeing and delivery. Our actors are up to the challenge as is our woodwork department as they recreate a 1980s office space. Some unkind boys suggested that finding 1980s costumes should not be difficult as they would raid their fathers wardrobes. The performances are on 21st to 23rd November.

Our senior hurlers did us proud last week as they won in spectacular style against Ard Scoil Rís in the Dublin County final. Both our soccer teams at senior and intermediate level are doing very well with the Under 15s defeating St. Aidans 5-1 and the seniors beating St James CBS 6-0.

Last week also saw the conclusion to our voter registration campaign led by Mr. Hennessy whereby any sixth year student who will be 18 by the time of the upcoming referendum on Childs’ Rights takes place filled in the necessary paperwork, had appropriate identification and our local Community Guard, Garda Whelan set up a temporary office in a sixth year classroom and stamped these documents. In all 18 boys are now registered to begin their careers as active citizens.

As we begin our mid term break for Hallowe’en we wish our Muslim students and their families best wishes for Eid-al-adha.

 

5th October 2012.

It was a pleasure to attend the Edmund Rice School’s Trust Principal Conference last Friday, 28th September. The theme of the conference was exploring the essential ethos of an Edmund Rice school and how that manifests itself in our schools. It was wonderful to meet up with colleagues from the 97 schools in the Trust, to engage in this area and of course to forge and renew friendships.  One wonders if a stranger were to arrive in our school, how aware would they be that ours is an Edmund Rice school? I feel confident that any visitor would see the respect that all within the school community show each other; that we are an inclusive school that welcomes all who apply irrespective of their faith or ethnic background; that we are always anxious to excel at learning and teaching; that we care for each other; that we work closely with all in the community and that we inspire leadership in each other though our various curricular and extracurricular activities. Ethos is more than statues and saying prayers – it’s about a way of being.

We had a very good Staff Development Day on Monday last, 1st October.  The focus for the day was on ‘Developing a Literacy and Numeracy Strategy’. We have been doing a lot of preparatory work based on the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy launched in July 2011 and now we are in the process of creating a policy for each subject area. Literacy and Numeracy does not just involve English and Maths teac

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Coláiste Éanna
Hillside Park
Ballyroan,
Dublin 16

T: +353 1 493 1767
F: +353 1 493 3489