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Each year, the students in Mercy College raise funds for a number of different charities. This year, because of the scale of the disaster in Central America, we decided to focus all our attention on supporting Concern's Appeal for Honduras and Nicaragua.
On November 18th, sponsorship cards were distributed to all who wanted to take part in the Dance Marathon or the Fast. The response was enormous with most of the students opting to take part in some way. They collected pledges of sponsorship ever the weekend, danced through Monday and Tuesday, fasted through Wednesday and Thursday and by Friday the money had begun to pour in.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 1st December, the entire school gathered in the gym to present a cheque for £4,725.46 to Concern's representative, Cait Bohan. This was the highest figure collected for this appeal by any school. Ms. Bohan praised the efforts the students made to alleviate suffering in Central America and stressed that the money will make a real difference in people's lives. The amount raised surpassed all our hopes and we are very proud of the students. A big "thank you" to all who were involved and a special word of thanks to the Fourth Years, who helped to organise both the Dance Marathon and the Fast. Well done everybody!
STOP PRESS: The current total reads £4893.96.
Since the beginning of the year, retreats have been held for all Junior classes and for the Fifth Years. We are grateful to the Board of Management for generously undertaking to subsidise the retreats again this year. Their support ensures everyone is able to take part.
The Junior classes made Peter and the rest of the team welcome - for many of the students they are old friends by now. The daylong retreats were very successful and feedback from the students very positive.
The Fifth Year retreat ran over two days and was given by a team who was new to the school this year. The students found that the retreat helped to build connections between those who came to Fifth Year directly from Third Year and those who had done Transition Year.
Probably the greatest tribute to all those who worked on the retreats this year is that the students are already looking forward to next year!
DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY AND MERCY COLLEGE
Four Leaving Certificate students won a special £1,000 per year Scholarship for each year of their study at Dublin City University. They were: Jane Last, who is studying for a Degree in Journalism; Natalie Doyle, Eva Murray and Sinead Tracey - all of whom are studying for Business Studies Degrees. These scholarships were awarded to students from Mercy College through The North Dublin Access Programme offered by D.C.U. As well as the scholarships, these girls were invited to do a full-time Pre-University Programme funded by D.C.U. last September. Special Achievement Awards were also made to Transition and Filth Year pupils by D.C.U. These are all part of The North Dublin Access Programme.
This year saw Mercy College entering the Dublin Colleges' League at Junior level. Selection was open to all students under sixteen years of age. The panel consists of:
Aisling Lyons, Tara Walton, Orla Haughey, Jennifer Egan and Laura Scott.
Sarah Fraughan, Susan Traynor, Rachel Scott, Karen Moore and Rachel Fitzgerald.
Jennifer Wall, Sarah Hayden and Laura Churchard.
To date, Mercy College is undefeated in the league. Three victories have been achieved against St. Peter's, Dunboyne; Castleknock Community College; and St. John of God, Artane. The remaining matches are against Maynooth and Holy Faith de la Salle, Skerries.
There was great enthusiasm amongst First Years concerning table tennis. As a result, Mercy College entered a First Year team at Minor level. Unfortunately there was no Minor league, so the team had to take part in the Junior League. They have played two league matches so far, losing 1-5 to Rosary, Crumlin, and winning 5-1 against Holy Faith de la Salle, Skerries.
The girls are doing extremely well considering they are out of their age group. They are enthusiastic and committed to training. Many First Years enjoy table tennis at lunchtime - too many to list. Those who have played in the matches are Tara Nolan, Tara Walton, Hazel Troy and Jennifer Kelly.
A Senior team also entered the League and so far has only played one match - drawing 3-3 against Firhouse Community College. The members of the Senior team are: Louise Sterritt, Linda O'Brien, Alison Gowran and Carol Sweeney.
The Senior hockey team have played two matches in the Leinster League. They beat Loreto, Bray 4-0, and Mount Temple Comprehensive 1-0. They still have three more matches to play before the quarterfinals - Mount Anville, A L B and Our Lady's, Rathnew. Keep up the good work girls!
At the beginning of the season the Minor team played Holy Faith, Clontarf and drew. They were unfortunate to be drawn against such an experienced team as Loreto, Dalkey in the first round of the Cup, and although they fought a hard battle they failed to score, and were beaten - better luck in the Northside League!! We have a very promising First Year squad who played their first match against Mount Temple and were only beaten by one goal. They will be playing in the Northside League after Christmas and should do well if they continue to practice as they have been.
Mercy College has an U16 and an U14 team in league this year. To date the U16's have drawn one and lost one match.
The U14's have not yet started their campaign. Badminton lessons are available on Mondays from 4.30 p.m.- 5.30 p.m.
One of Ireland's top coaches - Mary Dinan - is here at that time.
Both the Senior and Cadette teams have almost completed their leagues. The Cadette team has improved a lot this year and if they continue to work hard they should have a good Senior year. The Senior team with one game to go in the League should qualify for the Leinster Semi-Finals, having won four and lost two games so far.
The First Year team is a very dedicated bunch this year and they look like a good team in the making. The Club teams are going very well, with the U~9 team qualifying for the National Cup Finals in January.
The following adult courses are presently running in the Parents' Room:
1 "Pathways Through Post-Primary School". This is a six- week course for parents of First Years and of Fifth and Sixth Class in Scoil Chaitríona. It aims to provide a guide for parents through the second-level system as well as offering information and guidelines on coping with adolescent children.
2. "Help Your Child Through the Junior Cert. Maths Programme". This is a five-week module, the content of which is decided by the parents with the tutor, based on the areas of mathematics with which they most need to help their children. It is not an attempt to cover the whole Junior Cert. Maths programme.
3. "Art". The Art group is now well established and doing extraordinary work. A couple of new members joined this term and are very pleased with their progress.
It is hoped to run a computer course next term and perhaps a second Maths course so keep your eye out for notices in the schoolbags.
Meetings were held for parents of Third and First Years this term. The Third Year meeting for parents and their daughters was very well attended. This session was called, "How to Help Your Daughter to Study", and the response from parents and students was very positive.
The First Year meeting was aimed at finding out from parents whether their daughters have settled into life at Mercy College. Again this meeting was very well attended and the parents were very vocal in their expressions of satisfaction with the school and also got a chance to air their concerns.
Thanks to all the parents and staff who attended both meetings.
The Third and Sixth Year students were offered the opportunity to do study on four evenings a week from 4.00 p.m.-6.00 p.m. There was a great demand for places and it is hoped to offer it again after Christmas. The cost is kept to a minimum so as to give the students every opportunity to avail of it.
Sixth Years began the journey through the maze of points, colleges, degrees and certificates with a trip to the Higher Options Conference in the R.D.S.
The event was excellent. Students met tutors from various third-level institutions, attended career talks and gathered information. Students will again have the opportunity to apply to Dublin City University (D.C.U) under The Direct Access Programme.
Students are encouraged to visit all third-level institutions to which they wish to apply. All third-level colleges adopt an open door policy and are willing to assist second-level students in their choice of career.
Parents are always welcome to consult with Guidance Counsellors.
THE BEIJING QUILT
The Beijing Quilt was displayed in the main school hall during the first week of November. Transition Year pupils studying a politics/gender issues' course were shown the quilt as a practical example of women's empowerment and the work which can be achieved when women join together in solidarity and co-operation.
The quilt, with all its many messages and symbols, was created for, and displayed at The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. At the Conference, the voices of Irish women, North and South, were united with those of women across the world in calling for the setting of new targets for women's needs and interests to the end of the millennium. Governments and NGO's were called upon when planning their budgets, policies and programmes to take account of the equal but often different needs and interests of women and men.
The Beijing Quilt project has been deemed a great success by organisers, and it is hoped that pupils and staff at Mercy College took enjoyment from having this spectacular work of art displayed in the school.
On Tuesday 17th November, the Junior Cert. Music students attended, "Music in the Classroom", in the National Concert Hall given by the National Symphony Orchestra. The NOS. conducted by Gearoid Grant, performed the music to songs and some works on this year's course. The girls from Maryfield College performed the songs. One of this year's set works is, "Ripples in the Rock Pool" From Granuaile by Shaun Davy. Liam O'Flynn performed the uilleann pipes in the piece. He also performed a piece from "The Brendan Voyage", also by Shaun Davy.
Overall a very enjoyable morning.
The Mercy College Debating Society is a hive of activity again this year. Already, the Juniors have taken part in the Community Awareness of Drugs Competition. Although the girls were excellent on the night, they lost out to Pobal Scoil Neasain. However, Louise Costello (Second Year) was voted best speaker on the night. The team to take part in the Mental Health Public Speaking Competition is currently preparing for the first round of the competition, while the junior team is preparing for a "friendly" against Ard Scoil Rís. The Seniors await details of their first round in the L & H competition. Meanwhile, the School Debating League is in the process of being organised. There is a large entry for this competition which was a huge success last year. After Christmas, there are more "friendly" competitions planned - the first of these a rematch with the lads from Ard Scoil Rís. A big "thanks" to the Committee of the Debating Society who work so hard to make debating so successful in the school. Finally, a reminder to any student who would like to get involved - the Debating Society meets every Monday at 12.30 p.m. in Room 30. All are welcome.
The Mercy College Drama Society is taking a new, exciting direction with this year's Christmas show. We're moving on from the traditional characters of Mary, Joseph and Scrooge and onto Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey. Yes, you're correct, they are the characters in "Friends". This year, Mercy College has joined forces with the amazingly talented boys of our neighbouring school, Chanel College. Our very own Linda O'Brien (Fifth Year) is producing this hilarious interpretation of the hit comedy. The people responsible for making you laugh on the day are Deirdre Murphy (Rachel), Eve O'Reilly (Phoebe), Pamela Blake (Monica), Christy Ward (Ross), Daniel Hunter (Chandler) and Stephen Bennett (Joey). We will be performing, "The One Where No-one's Ready". This award-winning episode was originally performed in front of a live audience. Also on the same day, the Junior members will be performing a funky dance routine from the Disney movie, "Hercules". The very talented Elaine Burke is choreographing this. In addition, Karen Griffin, Caroline Brennan and Natalie Bruen will be putting on their very own, very funny episode of, "Kenan and Kel". They wrote the script themselves. - Good Work Girls!
The Summer School was held at The University of Limerick from 6th to 10th July 1998. Brid Clarke and Mary Stanford attended as Parent Representatives from Mercy College. Margaret Quinn, Angela Lalor, and Maura Mooney represented the teachers. This was the first year parents were invited to attend. Fifty-seven teachers and twenty-six parents participated. The parents who attended worked in two parallel groups, one with John Lahiff and one with Pauline Walsh.
The aim was to provide participants with a basic training in personal development and group work, and to facilitate personal reflection on their roles in family and school.
Work on self-esteem involved: the use of personally designed logos, a reflection on real and ideal self, an assessment of one's own level of self-esteem, and discussion on how to build self- esteem in children.
We discussed the importance of good communication and listening. Feelings were explored. Criticism and conflict, and how to manage them were other topics which we examined. The importance of giving and receiving support from others were also studied.
We were invited to share dreams about parents in education and we looked at the importance of parents and schools working together. Group work was looked at under the headings of, "Rules for Groups", "Roles in Groups", and "Why Groups?"
IF YOU G0 DOWN TO THE WOODS T0DAY
Sixth Year Biology students went on a field trip to Baltinglass Woods on Friday 25th September. The course, organised by Co. Wicklow VEC, covered the theoretical and practical parts of the Leaving Certificate Ecology course.
D.C.U. OUR LOCAL CAMPUS
Senior Biology and Chemistry students attended a lecture presented by D.C.U. Biochemistry Society earlier this term. The lecture provided an insight into the research work currently being done in our local university.
Computers have been part of Mercy College since 1983. The first machines were Apple 11's and the Apple GS soon joined them. Then came the PC's. They were 486's and later Pentiums. We currently have 21 PC's including one Pentium 11. These machines run two different versions of Windows and consequently some of the newer programmes will only run on the more modern machines. The government grant from the IT2000 programme is being spent in linking all the computers together and having them all running Windows NT. This new system should make it possible to use the latest versions of our favourite progrgmmes on all machines. It will also be possible to demonstrate the same lesson on all computers at the same time. At the moment, all the wiring has been done and we await the arrival of our new Server PC which will run our network.
The new Board of Management took up office on 15th October 1998 for a three-year term.
The Board of Management, Principal and Staff wish all our parents and pupils a very happy Christmas. We look forward to another successful year of continued co-operation and respectful harmony.