News from St. Aloysius Cork – February 2018

St. Aloysius School is a girl’s secondary school in the heart of Cork City. Having been founded by the Mercy Order in 1839, at the suggestion of Mother Catherine McAuley, we are one of the oldest Cork based girl’s schools; celebrating 180 years of educational, religious and holistic development next year.

Our school community has always striven to follow the example of the Mercy Order and play a positive role in the local community. In our first assembly of the second term, our Principal, Ms. Long, along with Ms. Kelleher, our Deputy Principal, began by reminding our students of the long history of Aloysian girls which they represent as they interact with members of the wider community. Recent examples of how our students keep this tradition of community care and involvement alive can be seen in our second year group, Breandán. These students, and their CSPE teacher, raised awareness of the homelessness crisis in Cork, collecting essential items over 2 months in order to create ‘packs’ which can be distributed among the homeless in the city. Through a cake sale a sum of money was also raised and donated to Cork Penny Dinners in the school’s name. This group epitomised the values of St. Aloysius, making their teachers and peers proud.

In St. Aloysius we are keen to celebrate all the successes of our students. In this way our assemby was also used as an opportunity for the school to congratulate last years third year students as they received their Junior Certificate Profiles of Achievement. These certs contain a copy of their Junior Certificate state examination results but also note the personal successes students have had in other areas of school life, i.e. extra-curricular involvement and volunteer work; taking a more holistic approach to education and achievement.

The school took the opportunity to commend students involved in other spheres of school life in particular those representing the school in external competitions. In particular the example they are setting for other students was highlighted. Two of our students who competed in the BT Young Scientist in January with their project; “Do countries with hotter climates have lower numbers suffering form depression? A study of the long term effects of vitamin D intake” were congratulated. These students were shortlisted from over 1,000 entries to be one of just over 500 to participate in the final of this national competition in the RDS. The school was very proud of their hard work and commitment which continued the tradition of our school’s participation in this competition. We strive to encourage our students to consider all career paths, emphasising the potential for women to study STEM subjects. The school has seen successs in this area beyond the Young Scientist, having had a group chosen to represent St. Als and Ireland in Vienna at the Pan European Sci Challenge Competition in July 2017. This encouragement to seize all opportunities and ignore stereotypes was highlighted for our Transition Year students in particular as they attended the “I Wish” conference in January in Cork. This wonderful event promoted critical thought and having an open mind to career options for young women.

Vitally, our religious ethos in St. Aloysius rests at the centre of all we do. It is a constant companion in our educational, holistic and overtly religious pursuits. Catholic Schools Week was therefore incorporated into the fabric of school life last term. We began the week with an address by Ms. Long, finishing with a reflective prayer which set the tone for the coming week, as well as settling our exam classes prior to the commencement of their pre-examinations. During the week students were given the opportunity for prayer each morning in our prayer room. This was complimented by Mass in our local church on Wednesday for first and second year students along with their parents, guardains and grandparents. We were also delighted to have two of our teachers present, “Living the CEIST Ethos in St. Als” at a meeting of Religion teachers from CEIST schools.

As the term closed our first year students were busy writing short stories to enter into a competition run by their English teachers in the hopes of winning bookish prizes; our TY students were to be found completing work experience in a wide variety of career paths including art galleries, bookshops, primary schools and even UCC’s science departments; while our exam classes looked forward to a well deserved break after a term of hard work and perseverence in preparation for their pre-examinations.

Life in St. Aloysius has certainly been busy since Christmas, but staff and students look forward to another half term of learning, collaboration and religious development.