TY News

T.Y Reporters Declan Craig and Thomas Murphy   

Keep up to date with our T.Y adventures

January 2018

Cycle Against Suicide:

On the 18th of January the TY students hopped on a bus to travel to Dublin to attend the Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders’ Congress in the 3arena. We started the morning early as the bus left the school grounds at 7:45am. After a long journey, we arrived shortly before the congress began. The Congress kicked off to an amazing start when the Booka Brass Band blasted some tunes from their new album “Chilled Milk”. It wasn’t all music, fun and games though, as there was plenty of talks to remind us why we were there in the first place, to make sure people know that “It’s okay not to feel okay, and it’s absolutely okay to ask for help”.  

Sinead Kane  a blind woman who has achieved the remarkable accomplishment of running 7 Marathons, one in every continent (you probably know her from the Allianz add) treated us to an inspiring speech about how she never gave up on her dreams of both her running and her pursuit of work as a solicitor. She spend her days trying to convince teens  who may feel or be different that they are all unique and that she herself is living proof that people with disabilities can still achieve their dreams. Her message was inspired from her own life and experiences. This made it so much more meaningful and it left a big impact on all of us TYs.

Kevin Hines is a man who threw himself off the Golden Gate bridge in an attempt to end his own life, just like many others have before and after him. But Kevin was lucky, he was one of the only 26 people who survived the jump, and one of the only 5 who could walk again. He now spends his days trying to convince people that suicide is never the answer. We were lucky enough to have him speak at the congress about mental health and suicide. His speech was one of the most powerful parts of the show and his own experience with suicidal feelings made everything he said seem very real. His speech was on we would remember on the way home and maybe even for the rest of our lives. He encouraged us to look after one another to ensure no one ever feels that the world will be better off without them again.

Another brave speaker with a beautiful singing voice was Kayleigh Cullinan. She was brave enough to tell us about her own tragedies that shaped and defined her life. When she was a teenager she was overweight and the other girls would bully her to the extent of which one day she was hit so hard she lost the sight in her right eye. She told us the effects that all the negative comments and actions towards her had on her. Kayleigh told us her methods on dealing with her mental health issues was by singing, a gift she discovered she had while being treated in hospital. She advised us to follow our dreams, passions and hobbies before treating us to her amazing cover of “Fight Song” originally sang by Rachel Platten.

James Kavanagh told us his experiences with bullying due to him being a proud member of the LGBTQIAP+  community (that means he’s gay) . He told us that standing up against a bully even by doing something small can have a huge effect on the victim’s life and shows them that they are not alone. James told us that one day when he was in secondary school and his bully was passing around crude notes about him being really gay. The note was passed to one student and that student refused pass on the note, he threw it in the bin. This one act of kindness was enough to make James realise that his bully was in the wrong not him. And from that day on he no longer let the bully get to him. This was an empowering message to any students in our year who might be gay  and was a fun charismatic way to talk about such a serious subject.

There were plenty more powerful talks and groovy music played on the day and everything there was a joy. Every student who travelled to the 3arena had a blast and it was surely one of the best trips we went on so far in our TY year.

Alpha:

Over the past few months the TY’s have had an hour every Tuesday to talk and reflect on our religion and our faith. This provided us with the perfect opportunity to explore the word of God and our faith. In small groups we discussed questions offered to us by the Alpha crew. Our last session with Alpha will be on the 30th of January and we will certainly miss this enlightening way to kick off the day. One standout of Alpha we must mention was the day all three TY classes got together for a day long Alpha session, which mixed in reflections, games, tea and biscuits and a tour of St. Mel’s Cathedral! Us TYs have found Alpha to be very beneficial and enlightening. We are very grateful to the Alpha crew for volunteering to take time out of their very busy schedules to indulge us with their knowledge and beliefs about Christianity and for being such a delightful presence we looked forward to seeing every Tuesday morning!.

December 2017

Dundrum:

Christmas came early for the TY’s this year when they were treated to a day trip to Dundrum  Shopping Centre! We started the day early as the bus went off at 9:05 in the morning. We were treated to the lovely company of some of our school’s best teachers, Ms.Concar, Ms.Dempsey and Ms. Keegan. The day had an ICE start when we all went ice-skating.  This provided a great chance for the TYs to show off their skating skills! (Or lack thereof). After the fun and games of the ice-rink, everyone got to head to the Dundrum Shopping Centre to get some Christmas shopping done. The day was absolutely smashing! It was sure to be one that both the TY’s and the Teachers who accompanied will remember fondly!  

Refugee Workshop:

On the 7th of December our TY classes gave a warm welcome to Shelley Deane a proud member of Brehon Advisory. Brehon Advisory is a UK based company working to address conflict related crises, and to educate and train in conflict affected communities in the Middle East and North Africa.

Shelley told us some horrific facts about the everyday life of being a refugee. Shelly shared a very poignant story about where Brehon volunteers brought over pictures drawn by British children to show the children in a refugee camp. These pictures were of very generic things in the children’s lives like footballs, clouds etc. The refugee kids were asked to draw pictures to send back to England. The contents of the drawings were horrific! Military vehicles such as Tanks and attack helicopters, houses being destroyed and various other gruesome things.

In these third world countries propaganda is being fed to the impressionable youth with children’s books which promote a violent political agenda. One such book Shelley showed us is called “America is the Terrorist”. This book tells the story of a boy whose town is destroyed. His family flee to seek shelter and asylum but he stayed behind to fight for his country against American “terrorists”. To combat this Brehon are giving out books which are more child friendly and teach kids positive morals and how to overcome your fears and anxiety.

Brehon provide free teddy bears known as “trauma teddies” to help children deal with and express their emotions. The teddy’s act as an object in which the children can project their feelings onto. One boy, known as “Bandage Boy”, was photographed by Shelley. At first he was extremely shy and intimidated but opened up to Shelley after she gave him a bear and a book to help him learn to read. Later Shelley witnessed  a conflict between the boy and a woman, it’s unknown if the boy knew this woman or not, but she tried to take the bear and book of him. Shelley bravely stood up to the woman and the boy got to keep his book and bear and enjoyed a safe day in school.

Shelley told us some interesting facts such as, that if you double the percentage of kids in school, which is 30%, it will halve the likelihood of a war breaking out. Many children are missing out on an education because they start work at a very young age (usually 7 or 8), for a very low wage (usually a dollar a day). Shelley also spoke at length explaining what things influence how a child goes through trauma. She said small factors can make a big difference in how a child can move past traumatic parts in their life.

 Girls are at a higher risk of suffering from conditions such as PTSD than boys are. Another  interesting statistic is that children with educated mothers get over trauma a lot quicker and have less chance of suffering from long-term mental illness such a PTSD. Everyone in TY was grateful for the time given up by Ms.Shelly Deane . It was indeed a valuable learning experience and opened our minds up about some of the problems currently facing our world today!

November 2017

Horticulture trip with Brendan Farrell:

On the 29th of November, St.Mel’s TY classes 4A and 4C were brought to Kellys Nursery, Moate. The two classes have been studying Horticulture since September. Our classes were accompanied to the Nursery by Brendan Farrell, a Horticulturist, former St.Mel’s teacher, Mr Jim Waldron and Mrs Keegan.

Brendan was very excited to show us the Nursery and he told us a little bit about the history of the Nursery. Brendan is a good friend of the owner of Kelly’s Nursery, Billy Kelly. Brendan couldn’t wait to show off his knowledge of the many different plants we seen. We learned that plants have two names, one in English and one in Latin. Our classes were informed by Brendan that some plants are named after famous people, like the Jeffersonia Diphilia is named after Thomas Jefferson.

Our classes have learned so much from this tri. Brendan is a well-informed teacher, and his love and passion for horticulture has been shown throughout all our lessons. He is teaching methods are a lot more appealing to us as he allows us to get a more hands on experience in his field of horticulture and makes everyone gets involved with the lesson.

Battle of the Wits:

Congratulations to St. Mels students Mark O’Boyle, Tiarnan Hussey, Adam Kelly and Dario Cigliano who were the runners up in the Battle of Wits which took place in Longford Library on Tuesday 21st of November. Six schools from across the county took place in the quiz some of which included Mercy Ballymahon, St.Mel’s and Scoil Mhuire who placed first, second and third. These three teams will go forward to the regional finals which will take place in Athlone on December 6th. Well done boys!

LGBTQIAP+ TALK

Last Thursday the T.Y classes learned about everything to do with the LGBTQIAP+ community. They learned that there is more than two genders and up to twenty six known so far.We learned that 53% of the LGBT community are women and they are more likely to identify as LGBT than men.The boys were shocked to hear that words like gay and queer have different meanings. Bella and Michael, two proud members of the LGBTQIAP+ community, took time out of their busy schedule to come to Longford from Dublin and inform the TY classes about the LGBTQIAP+ members. Michael and Bella also told us about the new letters that were recently added ,QIAP, which stand for Queer, Intersex, Asexual and Pansexual.

Garda Drug  Awareness Awards

Jack Finn, Mihai Paiu, Tiarnan Hussey, Dario Cigliano and Simon Moorehead (cameraman) were asked by TY Co-Ordinator Ms. Dempsey and the Gardaí to make a video promoting drug and alcohol awareness. In the video the students play the roles of young teens abusing drugs and alcohol. On Friday 24th all the students who made videos for the Gardaí will assemble in the Temperance Hall to receive an award for their videos. Every student receives a voucher as a gift for participating in the drugs awareness competition. Steven Spielberg you better watch out. 

St. Mel’s Driving School Beep Beep

The school was visited by George Coyle from Coyle driving school. George gave our T.Y students an opportunity to learn the basics of driving. George’s wealth of experience is shown in the 90% pass rate his students have achieved. H

is approach is both simple and easy to understand and encompasses all aspects of the driving test. The lesson the students received was very helpful in giving students a glimpse into what it’s like to drive a car. 

Science Week

Guest speaker Aidan Gray from the SEAI came in yesterday gave a talk about climate change. The TY workshop engaged students on the topic of climate change and sustainability. It addressed the causes and global impacts of climate change and renewable and non-renewable technologies. The first part of the workshop was mainly a discussion based using video clips, maps, pictures, games and activities to help students evaluate how everyday activities and actions such as the burning of fossil fuels for heat and electricity in our homes can have a global environmental impact. It introduced the concept of su

stainable development and encouraged the students to think critically about global issues and their solutions.

Science Week – Trip To Ardagh

Ty students enjoying learning about the properties of light at a science week workshop in Ardagh heritage centre. Boys got a chance to discover how to create their own colours and the physics behind it. 25 boys took part in the workshop. 

September

2017 got off to a great start with their fantastic bonding day at Cuilcagh Mountain Walk. The group walked an impressive 14.8km. Shout out to Darragh O Connell who walked the 14.8km on crutches! Since starting the 75 strong TY group have been to the Ploughing Championships and started their personal development courses. Courses started already are Horticulture, Cookery, Karate and community outreach in St Joseph’s Care Centre. Thanks to Longford Community Cardiac Responders who gave a first aid course. TYs say goodbye to Ms Farrell as their coordinator and welcomes Ms Dempsey to the role. A huge thanks to Ms Farrell who started the first TY class 9 years ago. She developed the course to what it is today and we know that even though she has passed on the baton she will always be on hand with help and advice for this year’s TY group