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News at St. Colmcille‟s St Colmcille‟s Primary School, Ballymena Parents‟ Newsletter Publish Date: Christmas Term 2007

Issue Number 1

Welcome to St. Colmcille‟s first newsletter. This is an opportunity to record a number of the activities the children have been involved in during the first term. It has been a very busy term and an exciting time for us all. The children have settled well into the new school and are enjoying the very latest resources in state-of-the art surroundings. I trust you enjoy reading about our events as much as we have enjoyed taking part in them. I wish all our families and friends a happy and holy Christmas. (Mr Mc Kenna, Principal)

Opening Day: September 3rd 2007

Opening day was a historic day for St Colmcille‟s Primary School. After months of preparation and hard work from all the staff and the interim Board of Governors at the school, the doors were finally opened to over 300 children who excitedly began a new chapter in their education. To celebrate this extraordinary day we had a visit from Mr. Donal Flannigan (Chief Executive of CCMS) who visited the classes and introduced himself to the children of the school. Mr Gerry Mc Cann (Chairman of the interim Board of Governors) was also there to mark the occasion. Monsignor Connolly blessed the school as it embarked on the journey ahead. “My first day in St Colmcille’s was a little bit scary, but I was happy and thankfully in a class with all my friends. The classrooms are very big and each class has its own toilets. The new teachers are really nice to us. We have a great playground and lots of footballs and toys. Every class has its own football time. Mr. Mc Kenna is very good to us; he takes us to places like the new town hall.” By Emma Devlin (Year 6)

Bishop Walsh Visits St Colmcille’s! St Colmcilleâ€&#x;s was both delighted and excited to welcome Bishop Patrick Walsh to school. As part of his Pastoral visit to the parish of Kirkinriola, Bishop Walsh joined us for a morning assembly followed by lunch in the canteen where he had the opportunity to taste the delights of our school dinner service and spend some time with the children during lunch. Congratulations to Jack McKenna who gave a very confident welcoming address in assembly to the bishop. The school also hosted a mass celebrated by the bishop for deceased teachers in the diocese.

Ministerial Visit We also have had a special visit from the Education Minister in October, Mrs Catriona Ruane. Mrs Ruane spent the morning in the school and was welcomed by our Year 7 children; Niamh Carberry, Anna Fitzsimmons, Glen Murphy and Bryan Etherson. Mrs Ruane was then provided with a tour around the school meeting children and members of staff. We were delighted to have the opportunity to show-case our school and enlist the support of the minister in the future.

Our Opening Mass. St Colmcille’s marked the beginning of the new school year with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Burns – the school chaplain. The ceremony was attended by all the children and staff of the school and was the ideal opportunity to reflect and charge our batteries for the year ahead. The readings were read confidently by Catriona Mc Donnell and Matthew King and the children (lead by Mrs Mc Donald and Miss Stewart) sang beautifully. There was also a fabulous rendition of ‘Highland Cathedral’ on the Chanter by Roshan O’Donnell.

Fr Burns along with some year 4 boys and girls get ready to deliver the food hampers to Ballymena Rotary club who will distribute them to those in need within the area. On behalf of the Rotary Club, St Colmcille‟s would like to extend a huge thank you to all the families of the school who supported this cause so generously.

Philip, doing his bit for the environment and the Year 7 Eco Warriors! St. Colmcille‟s is a state of the art facility offering a quality education fit for the 21 st Century. The school encourages the children to be aware of the need to respect the environment and reduce the environmental impact of the activities of the school. The water supply within the school is heated in part by the solar panels on the roof and the under-floor heating system is energy efficient. On a recent trip to England Philip Mc Greevy, (Mr Murray‟s Year 6) was presented with a small Oak Tree from BBC News line. We planted the tree beside Mrs Kelly‟s class. Hopefully this will help a little in reducing our Carbon Footprint. Also the Year 7 children carried out a work shop in school on renewable energy lead by a member of the Action Renewable team.

It is very important to remember those who are less fortunate than us and perhaps receiving no gifts at Christmas. With this in mind the school decided that our first Christmas Appeal would be the Road of Hope Shoe Box Appeal. It is clear that the families of St Colmcille‟s recognise the need to help others at this time as we had a fantastic response to the appeal with over 200 shoe boxes brought into school. All of the boxes were successfully delivered to Croatia and Bosnia in time for Christmas day. Fiona Kelly, the coordinator of the Road of Hope, together with the school would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all those who responded so generously to the Christmas shoebox appeal.

Congratulations to Roshan O’Donnell who received 1st Place and Shauna Hughes who won second place in this years Credit Union Art Competition. This was a great achievement as there were over 40 schools entered into the competition. Both Roshan and Shauna received certificates and goody bags as a reward for their effort. I‟m sure it is just the first of many awards for our school! Well done to you both.

Well done to Eoghan Daly (Year 2) who won 3rd place in the all Ireland under 8 golfing championship. What an achievement. Well Done Eoghan.

Eimear Irvine from Year 6 (Mrs Kelly‟s class) and Aimee Brett from Year 4 (Mrs Smith‟s class) have recently performed in the St Patrick‟s Players production of “Peter Pan” in the Braid Arts Centre. They have had great reviews and I hear gave a sterling performance. I‟m sure their names will be in lights in the West End before long!

Anthony McGuigan and Ganesha O‟Donnell sat their Grade 1 viola examination with the Associated Board of Music, London. Miss McBride, their peripatetic tutor, was delighted with the boys‟ efforts – with daily practices and even giving up their lunchtime to rehearse.

The Revised Curriculum has arrived for Year 1 and Year 5. A new component of this curriculum is to develop children‟s thinking skills. As part of the Hallowe‟en celebrations the children gathered in the school assembly hall to watch a fantastic science show, “Think Differently” which aims to develop children‟s thinking skills in a fun and dynamic way. The children throughout the school watched in amazement as science was transformed into magic and displays seemed to trick the senses, leaving the children astounded and fascinated. The interactive science show both enthused and wet the appetite of all our young budding scientist and thinkers of the future. A great morning was had by all!

A number of children in the school have been taking part in the school‟s „Time to Read programme. Members of staff from M&S spent a short time each week with the children reading together from books that have been specially selected for the scheme. The programme aims to help develop children‟s enjoyment for reading and build both their confidence and fluency. All of the children who took part have enjoyed their weekly reading sessions. They were especially happy as they received their selection boxes as a reward for all their enthusiasm and I think it was diligence. The stories were excellent and the ladies who we read with were nice. Kevin O‟Kane

I liked the books that we read, and the M&S staff were really friendly. Kayleigh Mewhirter

brilliant. They were really kind to us and the books were really good. CATHERINE MACALARY

I thought it was great and the teachers were very nice. The novels were really interesting Aaron Mc Cambridge

I thought the people reading with us were nice and the stories were exciting. Josh King

Soccer Coaching In St Colmcille’s Primary School. St Colmcille’s might have the next Ronaldo of the future! Year 6 and 7 have been developing their soccer skills each week with soccer coaches, Brian Scroggie and Tommy Wright as part of Ballymena community football programme, (which has been funded through the EU commission for peace and reconciliation). The children have been working towards their gold award in soccer skills and have already achieved silver!

St Colmcille’s First Trophies Winners! MIXED 7’S,had GAELIC St Colmcille‟s theirCOMPETITION first sporting St Colmcille’s had their first sporting event on outingthon the 27th November 2007. the 27 November 2007. Five, Year seven Five, year seven pupils had the chance pupils had the chance to participate in a mixed to participate in a mixed Gaelic Gaelic tournament at the Ballymena North tournament at the Ballymena North Community Centre. The emphasis of the Community The emphasis occasion was inCentre. having fun and getting toof met the occasion was in having fun and and mix with other schools. The boys getting to enjoyed meet and with thoroughly themix event and other were schools. The boys thoroughly enjoyed fantastic ambassadors for St Colmcille’s. A big the event and fantastic thank you to Mr were Murray who organised and attended the tournament. ambassadors for St Colmcille‟s Jack Mc Cann and Jack McKenna receive their trophies alongside Brendan O‟Mullan, Danny Murray and Luke O‟Rawe.

Hurling at St Colmcille’s Primary School

At the beginning of the first term years 1-4 attended weekly football sessions, followed by years 5-7 in the run-up to Christmas. The scheme focused on developing the fundamental skills of both Gaelic games. This programme has been sponsored by the local All Saints GAC to whom we are indebted. A big thank you also to Ciara Quinn from the Antrim GAA who coached each weekâ€&#x;s session. The children had a great time and looked forward to their Friday practice.

Year 6 make waves at Ballymena Leisureplex.

Well done to all our year 6 children, who received their swimming awards this week. The boys and girls have been attending swimming lessons every Friday afternoon, developing their skills, fitness and having great fun at the same time. Last week each child had to complete a swimming test over various distances and using different swimming styles. They were all delighted to have successfully completed the tests and to receive their awards.

Primary one had a very special visitor in class as part of their Science project on the senses. They all got to look after Phoenix the pup! Beth particularly loved stroking Phoenix who was very soft.

Year 2 Get Wise with Money! Financial awareness is becoming ever more important within the revised curriculum. Well year 2 is ahead of the game! They had a visit recently to Sainsbury‟s in Ballymena. During their visit they found out how the groceries are delivered, placed onto the shelves, advertised to the customer and most importantly how people pay for their goods. Watch out Donald Trump the Year 2‟s are coming!

Year 3 Building Homes! Fluffy is a3very special at topics St. Colmcille‟s. part ofhard the The year children as teddy part ofbear their have beenAs working year 3 „World Us‟the project, theThey children a home to build a homeAround for Fluffy Teddy! built designed him a home using for Fluffy using 3D materials. Fluffy is a very important member 3D materials. One lucky boy or girl who has tried their very best all of the( and yearbecomes 3 class pupil – everyone wantsistochosen take him home at the week of the week) to bring fluffy weekend but that privilege is reserved for the „pupil of the week‟. home!

We were so lucky to be able to allow all of the children from years 1 to 7 to attend the pantomime in the Braid Arts Centre. Over 300 children moved excitedly onto the numerous buses that would take them on their Christmas adventure. A cave of wonders, a flying carpet and, of course, a magic lamp was all part of the Aladdin show! Mr Rodgers got to know the Widow Twanky a lot better and Mr Murray nearly lost an Arm! A great time was had by all.

Mrs Kelly‟s Year 6 class put on a fantastic performance on Radio Cracker in December. The school was invited to sing a range of Christmas Carols live on the radio. I‟m sure for those that heard it, that you will agree the children did Mrs Mc Donald and the school very proud, not only singing beautifully but also playing guitar. Well done Year 6 and the Guitar players.

Mrs Kelly’s Class warm up and the guitarists get ready for their big performance

This year the children from years one to three, worked very hard to prepare for their Christmas concert. The children carefully retold the story of the nativity through song, dance and music. Well done to all the children from Years 1 to 3 and of course a big thank you to all the teachers and classroom assistants who helped to make St. Colmcilleâ€&#x;s first Christmas concert so special. Here are some photographs of the big event.

The children from Years 4-7 will be putting on a spectacular carol concert in All Saints‟ Church on Thursday 20th December at 7.00pm. The children will retell the Christmas story in song, accompanied by the school orchestra, guitars and percussion. Mrs Mc Mullan‟s Year 5 children will re-enact the nativity scene, with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, Angels, Shepherds and of course the Three Wise Men. We hope that as the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations reach their climax, those attending the carol service will have the opportunity to pause and reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas.

Term 1 finishes on Friday 21st December 2007 at 12.00noon.

Term 2 begins for the children on Tuesday 8th January 2008.

Mid-term Break: 14th – 18th February 2008 (please note the additional date due to staff development)

Term 2 finishes on Thursday 20th March at 12.00noon.

New Entrants – Open Night St. Colmcille‟s invite the parents and children due to start primary school in September 2008 to an OPEN NIGHT on Thursday 17th January at 6.30pm. This will give you the opportunity to look around the school and talk with the staff. Application forms for admissions are now available from the school office. Please contact the school by telephone (028 25639970) and an application pack will be sent to you.

Christmas Raffle Winners 1st Prize: Christmas Hamper – 2nd Prize: Meat Voucher – 3rd Prize: Turkey – 4th Prize: Cameron’s Voucher – 5th Prize: Selection Box 6th Prize: Selection Box 7th Prize: Selection Box 8th Prize: Selection Box –

Next PTA Meeting: Monday 14th January at 7.00pm

The Governors, Principal and Staff wish you all a very holy and happy Christmas and best wishes for the new year.