Presentation Castleisland News – December 2020

St. Vincent de Paul

Giving back to the local community

Presentation Castleisland teamed up with our neighbours The St. Vincent de Paul society to support their Christmas hamper appeal 2020. We were very conscious that due to the unusual circumstances families find themselves in this year, demand would be higher than ever for their Christmas food hampers. Our local SVP office made a special request for items to brighten up the festive season and the student’s council ran the campaign. The campaign was organised by Ms. Leen and Mr. Dargan along with the student’s council.

Student council representatives in each class encouraged their classmates to donate. We knew we could count on the generosity of the school community ,we were delighted with the response to the appeal and the Students council did a fantastic job.

Liz Galway from Castleisland St. Vincent De Paul accepted the donations on behalf of SVP on Tuesday. Our donations will be added to the Christmas hampers making their way to local families this week. Thanks to all who donated to this very worthy cause.


Science Week

Launch of STEM Role Model Videos:

Presentation Castleisland is the only secondary school that was chosen to take part in a STEM school digital excellence fund. Our students are STEM role models for pupils in local primary schools in our cluster. (all videos are available on our social media outlets)


Our 1styear STEM role models launched two videos during science week:

  1. STEM virtual experiment – first year students have made a video to show the students in our cluster schools how to use the microscopes and prepared slides that cluster schools received in their STEM packs at the STEM Showcase day last March. Our students used our STEM iPads to shoot and edit the video.
  2. COVID safe video – 1styear STEM role models narrated, filmed, and assembled a COVID safe video. We thought that Science week was an opportune time to spark enthusiasm for this discussion. Therefore, we decided to run a COVID safe competition and invite all primary schools to participate. All primary schools are invited to take part in a competition where they can show us how their school is being COVID safe. They are free to choose from multiple different ways to communicate your message, for example posters, slogans, videos, PowerPoints presentations etc. The best entry in each class group will receive a prize. These prizes include Science packs, PPE, stationary and more. Please check out our social media for more details.



Many workshops took place in Presentation Castleisland during Science week, including:

  1. All 1st, 2ndand 3rdyear classes all got to engage in in a workshop called ‘Surprising Science’ with Dr Matt Pritchard. Students witnessed science magic tricks and were encouraged to ask the Wow, How and Now questions. (Wow- the initial reaction to the experiments, How-finding an explanation behind what they saw, Now- what can this experiment can be used for. ) These are the questions real scientists ask themselves and each other everyday. Due to COVID, all classes were able to engage in this workshop virtually, in their own class groups.
  2. 2ndyears enjoyed an interactive workshop called ‘discover your tap water’ where they learned about the intriguing science behind the processes of the hydrological cycle, all the way to everyday water use.
  3. 1styear students enjoyed a Forensic Science workshop run by Science Foundation Ireland. They watched an interactive video and then took park in some forensic investigations. They enjoyed examining fingerprints and footprints, making invisible messages using indicator solution sodium bicarbonate, using chromatography to identify who wrote the ransom note and using UV light for examinations.
  4. A SOPHia Physics workshop took place for TY students and was all about the exciting world of physics! It featured science experiments, some information about what physics is about, stories about famous physicists, career options in physics, and some things for students to try out at home or in the classroom. Physics students in the University of Limerick explained their story of how they came to study physics too. The workshop aimed to get more young people considering physics as a subject, and have some fun along the away too. Students in Presentation were encouraged to challenge the stereotypes of careers in physics and were able to try out some fun experiments too.



  1. TY students took part in IMR (Irish Manufacturing Research)‘Who wants to be a Kahootaire!’ Quiz in which they competed against over 1500 students.
  2. All 1st, 2ndand 3rdyear classes took part in Science Week Quizzes. Winners received Science packs and vouchers for some delicious food in our canteen
  3. Each day during Science Week, a science riddle competition took place. The whole school community took part, answering the riddles through our Office 365 Teams. Science packs and vouchers were won by the lucky winners each day!



Transition Year

Transition Year is recognised as an opportunity for second-level students to experience new subject areas, develop new skill sets and participate in exciting educational activities and excursions. It is a year for students to mature and develop socially, holistically, and personally. Achieving these goals in the current climate of COVID 19 presented a significant challenge to schools however from adversity comes fantastic opportunity. Transition Year students in Presentation Castleisland have excelled in music, art and physical activity in the short four months from September to December 2020. The 27 strong group completed this year’s virtual VHI Womens Mini Marathon in October, successfully fundraising €400 in the process. Juliette O’Connell from Breast Cancer Awareness Ireland visited the school on December 8th to provide input on the topic and receive the cheque for this most deserving charity. Online workshops formed an important aspect of the Presentation Castleisland Transition Year course this term with ECO-UNESCO’s ‘Drastic About Plastic’, Listowel Writer’s Week event and University of Limerick’s ‘Physics Sophia Project’ most recent additions.

Through their European Studies class, TY students chose to host their own virtual Presentation Castleisland Eurovision Competition. Visiting students from Germany, Norway and Spain have contributed immensely to the Transition Year experience thus far and provided the group with wonderful insight into the musical culture and history of their respective countries. Six iconic acts took to the virtual stage on Friday December 11th: ABBA, Bucks Fizz, Riverdance, Jedward, Nicole and Amaia and Alfred. The performances were broadcast to class groups through Zoom, after which classes voted for their favourite act or performance. An excellent solution to overcome the challenge of audience participation. Drama and debating also featured this term with renowned presenter and author Anthony Garvey guiding Transition Years through the process of speech writing and public speaking. A workshop in the area of circus and juggling skills provided an opportunity for students to develop their fine and gross motor skills in a fun and dynamic way.

Excursions to Cappanalea Adventure Centre, Glanageenty Woods, Torc Mountain and surf school in Banna enabled students to experience sports activities in a safe and controlled outdoor atmosphere. An excellent and engaging workshop with professional make-up artist Andrea Murphy taught TY students the skills necessary to create special effects make-up. Wounds, burns and other special effects were skilfully created by this talented cohort. This workshop and the skills learned will be utilised in future drama performances in the school. Musician Michael Vignoles visited and implemented a full day bodhrán making workshop. Students learned the skills necessary to create a bodhrán from scratch, the design process involved in decorating their individual bodhrán and progressed to learn how to play the instrument. An excellent lesson in the value of perseverance, hard work and creative ability. AWARE implemented a four-week positive mental health and resilience programme with the class group throughout the month of November.

Students achieved a qualification in hospitality through participation in a detailed food and beverage course with facilitator Fiona Dunne. This certification will enable students to work in the hospitality sector in the future in a safe, informed, and confident manner. Students learned the importance of food labelling, food safety, allergies and other skills which included the correct setting of a dinner table and use of docket systems.

We look forward to an exciting Transition Year ahead in 2021, with forensic science workshops, debating competitions, First Aid and driver education school all set to feature.