Issue number 58 December 2020
The Principal Word Welcome to this December issue of the Newpark Newsletter, the first of the academic year 2020/2021. Back in August, we wondered with some trepidation what exactly we’d get to write about in this issue. We’ve come a long way both nationally and as a school community in the intervening months. I think you will see from this newsletter, that despite everything, activity, energy and learning have continued in the school. We have persevered and, with our growing and deepening understanding of this pandemic, we have strengthened our capacity to live with Covid-19 in ways that seemed unimaginable back in March or April. I acknowledge all members of the Newpark school community for their stoicism and fortitude since we reopened on August 28th. It is the commitment and cooperation of the collective which has led us to the safe and sustainable reopening of the school. All school stakeholders have played their role in this success. The students have shown maturity and good humour in both adapting to the changes and to engaging in their schoolwork in challenging circumstances. Their engagement with the school’s continued and developing use of Microsoft Teams has also been excellent. Their patience with, and without, extra-curricular activities has been commendable. Our staff has been impressive because of their industry, their professionalism, and their creativity in their approach and attitude to their work during this pandemic. In doing so, they have shown great leadership to the 864 students in our care. I hold all my colleagues in great admiration. Our parents and guardians have also continued to show great patience and support. With no meetings, no matches, no plays, no dropping in even, they have been kept distanced (that word, again) in ways that feel so counter intuitive. Yet our parents and guardians have remained explicitly and implicitly both positive of, and supportive to, the school throughout. I thank them all for that. It also behoves me to sound a note of caution for the weeks and months ahead. We have come this far, and we must hold as firm as ever in our practices and protocols, which have thus far led our school community to be as safe as it can be. When the Public Health teams have conducted risk assessments in the school, they have complimented and acknowledged our good practices. With me, they urge us to continue being resolute in relation to:
Sanitising our hands on entry to the building and on entry to each room. Wearing our masks at all times indoors and also
outdoors, where we cannot physically distance. As we know, our masks must cover both our mouth and nose. Ensuring our desks stay in place within the blue lines and that we sit according to our seating plans. Ensuring there is ventilation – open windows and/or doors - at all times in rooms. Not congregating or eating indoors. These last two protocols will likely become more challenging as winter continues. Yet the Public Health doctors have been both reassured by, and complimentary of the fact that our rooms are ventilated and that our students do not congregate or eat indoors. Thus far, it has greatly helped in significantly reducing the numbers obliged to restrict their movements as a consequence of a confirmed case in the school. Following on from the retirement of Mark Cookman last term – who I wrote about in the last issue - two more esteemed colleagues, Twila Cooper and Jimmy Kelly, retired this term. All three feature in the coming pages, but with what I hazard must be 111 or 112 years’ service between them, the school is indebted to all three and misses them all dearly. Twila Cooper’s contribution to Newpark was immense. She taught English and Physical Education, and her pedagogical influence was significant in both subject departments. It was also significant in her post as Assistant Principal with responsibility for School Development Planning and School Self-Evaluation, a role Twila developed expertise in, to the great benefit of the school. She was a long serving Transition Year form teacher, within which she consistently brought youthful energy. Twila was a career long supporter of Newpark hockey and one of its most respected coaches. Without Twila, there is no doubt Newpark girls’ hockey would not be what it is today. In all these endeavours, and many more besides, she was deeply respected and appreciated by her students and colleagues. Twila is a no nonsense, straight talking person. As a colleague, you always knew where you stood. She was in a long-time habit of not requiring an invite into the Principal’s office, a habit she chose not to break after her husband retired. I was very appreciative to her for this because you could always rely on Twila for honest feedback. I hope Twila and Derek are enjoying each other’s undivided attention these days and I know everyone here in Newpark wishes them both the very best in retirement. Jimmy Kelly joined the teaching staff in Newpark in 1978. I may stand corrected on this, but I believe that
makes him the longest serving teacher in the school’s history. Jimmy is a man of great integrity. A graduate of Thomand College in Limerick, he taught Physical Education throughout his career and latterly also Information and Communication Technology. His contribution to the Leaving Certificate Applied programme, both in Newpark and nationally, was unparalleled. In this sense, he was a great student advocate. Jimmy was also an Assistant Principal, with responsibility for ICT in the school, a post he took seriously and worked extremely hard at. He also took responsibility for the school’s book loan scheme, a job he went about quietly and without fuss. Jimmy is a lifelong trade union activist, and, whether in this school, or as an area representative, or nationally within the organisation, has been a dedicated servant to the Teachers Union of Ireland over many years. Mostly however, those of us who got to know Jimmy will remember him for his generosity and kindness. We wish Jimmy all the best in retirement, no doubt mostly planned to be spent in the great outdoors.
enormously to the school over this time and on behalf of the school community I thank them sincerely. May I also take this opportunity to thank Robert Grier for his chairpersonship of the Board, his unrelenting commitment to Newpark and for his ongoing support to me in my role as Principal. I hope we all get to enjoy a safe and well-deserved Christmas holiday. Christmas can be a time of mixed emotion, especially for those who have endured bereavement in the preceding year. Over the coming weeks, our thoughts and prayers are especially with the Fayden family and with all staff and students who have been bereaved this year. A school is first and foremost about learning and teaching, about its students and its teachers. Thank you all. And well done this term. Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh. By Mr Eoin Norton
Another teacher who left us this term, but for Greystones Community College rather than for retirement, was Ruth O’Sullivan. Ruth was a teacher of English, who made a great contribution to our AEN department and we wish her the best of luck in her new school. We also welcomed new staff members this term. Micheál Doyle has joined the PE department, Wesley Forsyth the English and AEN departments and Mark Cullen joins us as a Special Needs Assistant. However belatedly, each is very welcome to Newpark. This year we also welcomed back from leave, Naomi Good, Charis Rowan, Anna Johnston, Siona Cameron, Rachel Steele and Karen Cashman. Great to see them all back! I would also like to congratulate Lynn Anderson on her appointment as Deputy Principal and to welcome her to the senior leadership team in the school. As always, my sincere thanks to both Deputy Principals, Andrew Adams and Lynn Anderson, for their hard work and commitment to the school over a very demanding period. Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank the Board of Management. The Board meets eight times per year and has responsibility, derived from the Patron, to manage the school and to uphold its characteristic spirit, values, and traditions. Each member contributes voluntarily to this endeavour. Catriona MacAonghusa and Scott Rankin both stepped down from the Board this September having each given ten years’ service as Patron’s nominees to the Board. Both contributed
Congratulation to past student Mayka Aberasturi on her commendation in the Texaco Art Prize for her painting
Reflection See page 5
A Newpark Memoir
Templeogue and unlike those living in the vicinity of the school, we had no idea that the dress code was largely ignored and, sadly, we’d all followed it to a T. The excruciating part though was that I actually had THREE sets of this ‘uniform’; one in grey, one in navy and the already mentioned brown and these clothes had to be worn into school every day until I eventually wore them out. As a twelve year old, I was all set to attend Wesley until a new, progressive school, Newpark, was built and my parents gave me the choice of secondary school. ‘Would you like to go Wesley where you’ll have to wear a skirt or would you prefer Newpark where you can wear trousers?’ It was a no-brainer for a girl whose absolute dread was having to wear anything feminine but things weren’t that straightforward in reality! When Newpark first opened its doors the dress code stated that there was no uniform but that students must wear ONLY grey, navy or brown jumpers, skirts, trousers and a plain shirt or blouse so when I turned up as a first year, kitted out in what was essentially an all brown uniform complete with V neck jumper and boys’ slacks, I was dismayed to be greeted by all these cool kids in multicoloured hoodies and flared jeans. I wasn’t completely alone; several of us were trekking all the way from
As a student there were lots of things I loved about the school – I really appreciated that I was trusted to get on with my work and that no one ever hounded you. I loved the way it opened my eyes to new ways of thinking, different points of view and the ‘live and let live’ ethos. Most of all I loved the hockey – on the days we’d training or a match after school I’d spend the day clock-watching and listening out for the crackle of the intercom with dread in case there was an announcement that it was going to be cancelled. Friends were high on the list too and some of us still get together every May bank holiday for a weekend away. Life-long friendships have always characterised what it means to be a Newparker. And so, it was strange at first to return to the school and to be greeted as a colleague by my former teachers and in turn, many of those I have taught over the years have joined the staff as my colleagues. It’s another testament to the school that so many of us have wanted to come back to Newpark and that no other school could quite match up; the mutual respect evident in student/ teacher interactions,
By Twila Cooper
each student being viewed as an individual, the way diversity is embraced and the most vulnerable are cherished – these are some of the reasons I’ve loved being a part of Newpark for so many years and why I was happy for my children to attend the school. It was occasionally tricky teaching my own kids and their friends especially if I had to put one in detention. One story we often laugh about from our eldest’s time in the school was when a mate asked him, ‘How come your Dad is so nice and your Mum is such a bitch?’ Our son smartly replied, ‘Count yourself lucky – you don’t have to live with her.’ He was never taunted by that kid again and I sent my younger ones off armed with that reply in the event of a similar encounter! I retired from Newpark in September with so many mixed feelings; it feels like a lifetime since I first walked through its doors in 1975 and leaving all those friends behind is a real wrench. On the other hand, I feel really lucky to have worked with so many wonderful, quirky, caring, intelligent people and to have made solid friendships that will last. I feel lucky to have had so much fun with lots of classes and especially the transition year form groups and hockey teams. I feel more than lucky to have met my husband there too – we played staff indoor football on Tuesday evenings in the 1980s and everyone else had showered and gone home
while we were still chatting in the sports centre corridor and he was too shy to ask me out! Little did we think he’d be Principal one day. There have been many challenges for all those involved with Newpark over the years and of course Covid 19 has presented a challenge ‘like no other’. It’s been heartening, but not surprising, to hear that students and staff alike have shown resilience and creativity in ensuring that school-life is continuing in the most positive way possible in a pandemic. I wish you all the best going forward and look forward to catching up with you in the (hopefully near) future. By Twila Cooper
We contacted Jimmy Kelly to see if he would like to write a piece for this newsletter or be interviewed… His response (see right) was classic JLK. So we are remembering and celebrating his many years in Newpark another way!
Muddy Memories We arrived at school one morning for a field trip with the sun blazing down on our necks. We loaded into the banged up, teenage-smelling minivan that felt like a second home, roaring laughing and shouting over each other. As we arrived at the hike it started to rain and the ground became muddy, Mr Kelly warned us not to slip and dirty his precious van. When we arrived at the tomb at the top, he was daring anyone brave enough to go into the dark spider-filled abyss. As we made our way back down, he warned us again no mud would be entering his van, with everyone edging down slowly, scared of getting muddy. He thought of an idea... He walked up to a few students, very casually and effortlessly pushed us down the slope.
‘We will forever remember him by his long blue coat from the 1930s which he kindly left behind for the PE staff to fight over.’
For the rest of the “hike”, walking was non-existent, instead we were all sliding, pulling and pushing each other down the mud slide. I have many great memories of Mr Kelly and lots of mud. By Alabama Pashley, 6th Year
‘We used to call him Captain Caveman.’
‘Mr Kelly is a legend! He is a good man and a funny guy. Sometimes we annoyed him, but he would always help us out. The trips were fun because he came with us. He loves LCA, we are all going to miss him.’
Safi Bhatti, 6th Year
‘On a hike in Glendalough he once asked me to stop talking until we reached the top of the hill.’
‘I don’t read my emails.’
‘An intrepid explorer.’ ‘A legend of Newpark LCA. Always treated the students with humility, respect and encouraged them to think objectively.’
James Macklin ‘He always worked tirelessly on our behalf.’
Ger Sheedy ‘Playing unihoc in the hall and Jimmy shouting ‘TWO PUCS!’ and lobbing a second puc into the game. It was mayhem.’
‘I have so many fond memories of Jimmy's staff walks. They were not for the faint-hearted; they would frequently be 20+ kilometres and sit-down lunch breaks were for weaklings!’
‘I miss the counselling in all things LCA. It was always great to get the perspective of one of the founders of LCA in Newpark. So much insight. I miss the chats and the trips and the kindness to colleagues and students. Jimmy Kelly was at the heart of the good humour, the successes and the craic in the LCA group. He formed an LCA community around him, a sense of belonging. The student’s loved him for it. I miss him.’
Mark Cookman Has Left The Building
progressive, as students? Nathan: I think it is. I think they listen to students. Jess: I think in the last few years it has gotten better, even in our six years – the student council seems to have more leverage. Nathan: There seems to be a lot more interlinkage between the staff and the student body. Even with the proposed dress code policy, there was uproar – primarily from the students – and they said that they would take our opinions on board and brought it under review, so I think that they do listen to us. Nathan: Do you think the students in the school have changed much since you started? Mr Cookman: No. I think they’ve always been vocal and assertive, and they still are Last years’ Sixth Years Nathan Moore and Jess Whelan sat down with Mark Cookman to chat about his time in Newpark. Nathan: What was your funniest memory during your time in the school? Mr Cookman: I put your mother (Ms Crampton) in detention. It was my first-year teaching and she was in a second year history class. She started laughing and talking about something, so I put her in detention. She has never let me forget it since and has always blamed the person sitting beside her, just like any student. She said it was all Natasha’s fault. At least two or three times a year she brings it up in conversation. I’ve been made to pay for it and not forget it. Nathan: Has Newpark always been as open-minded and student orientated in its attitude to education as it is now? Mr Cookman: Do you think it is open-minded and
Mr Cookman: I came to Newpark in 1982. I had taught up in and had come from a school in Donegal. Newpark was very different to any other school that I had ever been in. John Harris and Michael Classon had fostered this culture that was very progressive at the time. And that has been preserved down through the years: it’s the role of every management team that takes over to make sure that that type of culture is fostered and maintained. That was all that myself and Mr. Lowry tried to do.Listening to students would have been a big part of that, but I think that a lot of schools do that now too. I think in 1982 Newpark was very different to a lot of places; there was a Transition Year – which most other schools did not have – there was no uniform, etc. Many schools have since caught up – most have Transition Years, some of the new Educate Togethers have no uniform, and many offer the same variety of subjects that Newpark did and does. However, I do think that the atmosphere that is fostered between students and teachers may be different to elsewhere. It’s not just face
school functioning as a human institution, as a place where the majority of students come into the school thinking ‘I want to be here, I’m happy to be here and I enjoy being here.’ That doesn’t happen to everybody and it doesn’t happen every single day, but you hope that for most it does, and for those who it’s not happening for, that we do try to do something for them. Nathan: Did you notice any changes in student attitudes in the move from the old school?
value in Newpark – we might not always be able to do what students want done, but we do want to hear what you have to say. Jess: What have been your favorite occasions or events to do with the school – like a play, or an open day, or matches – things like that. What have been your top three?
Mr Cookman: No, and that was one of the things that we were keen to try and keep the same. We wanted the school to be the same place, just in a different physical environment. The one big thing that did change was the graffiti. We were keen to promote the message that this was your school, a school for you to look after and pass on to your children someday. There was a newfound respect for the environment in the move that we had not seen before. We were in such a bad building that many figured ‘well it can’t really get any worse.’
Mr Cookman: Top three… hmm… The opening day Nathan: What were your first impressions of the school? was a great day. Dressing up as Ziggy Stardust has to Mr Cookman: I remember my first day in Newpark very be one of my top three. well! I was working up in Wesley at the time. All the Jess: That was iconic. males up there always wore a suit, and the females were Mr Cookman: I forget who talked me into that. But equally as well dressed. But when I walked into the that was a great day, to see so many people enjoying Newpark staffroom there were only two people in suits – themselves. The sixth year end of year activities are also one being the principal and the other being the caretaker. always something I really enjoy – year after year, The caretaker was a fella called Bob McCaul and he was simply because we’ve watched you grow and develop the only caretaker in a school that I knew of who always and learn – all those things that a school is supposed to wore a suit and tie to work. When he fixed stuff and do. All the staff play their part in that process and so it’s when he painted, he put on white overalls. I immediately always a wonderful day and a lovely moment, not just knew I was in a different place, and within a few months the graduation but everything to do with it. That is one I knew that it was a school that I wanted to be in and of my biggest regrets leaving this year - that I didn’t wanted to stay in. get to see the last sixth year in the school go through Nathan: What will you miss most about the school? that rite of passage. Mr Cookman: I don’t miss the work! But I suppose you Nathan: What has been the proudest moment or thing miss the social interactions – talking to the students, that you have achieved during your time in Newpark? talking to your colleagues. It’s a very social job. I miss Mr Cookman: Putting your mother in detention! talking to your mum! I wouldn’t have one single thing. Again – it goes back to watching the sixth years graduate. That’s not just me though, everyone in the school has played their part in that process – the students, the parents, the staff… Seeing you come in in first year and then leave in sixth year. Just to be part of that process is really what it is all about. It’s not a about a single thing that you do – it’s about the small things that you do that lead you guys to becoming the mature, young adults that you are by the time you leave the school.
Nathan: Why? Mr Cookman: I’ve known her since the first year I was in the school – she was a student; herself and Ms Johnston. Those two have been part of my life in the school for the last 38 years. Jess That’s mad isn’t it? Do you think Newpark has a higher student to teacher turnover than most schools? As in – going from a student to being a teacher?
Nathan: I feel like once you’re in the Newpark It’s about the little things that people do to keep the community you never really leave.
Mr Cookman: I don’t really know the answer, but I suppose there must be something positive about the school that so many come back and teach there. Nathan: What do you hope to do now that you’re retired? Jess: You should get an electric bike – I hear Mr Lowry and Ms Cooper have one. Mr.Cookman: I got one. Jess: I feel like it’s a rite of passage. Mr Cookman: I’m going to spend more time in Donegal. Do a bit of walking up there, go for cycles on the electric bike. Take a few courses, do a cookery course – Greek and Roman civilization, I’ve always been interested in that. Go to Italy and Greece, see a few of the sights over there. Just relax for a while. . Jess: Yeah, a bit of peace and quiet. There are too many lawnmowers in South Dublin… Are there any secret tunnels under Newpark? Or any Newpark secrets – nothing too scandalous now. Mr Cookman: Hmm, Newpark secrets? As in strange places to hide, or underground tunnels or... Jess: That, or is there anything haunted? Mr Cookman: See you’d have to talk to Philip Holloway about that – he’s been there all his life and has the all the lowdown. Nathan: Did you have a sneaking suspicion that March 12 was going to be your last day in the school? Mr Cookman: I did think that day that we wouldn’t be back. I was back obviously during the summer, but when I was leaving that day, I didn’t think I’d be back in the school with students. Nathan: Was that sad?
Mr Cookman: Yeah, I went home, and I remember saying to Barbara how I didn’t think we were going to be back, and how that was my career in the school ended. She tried to remain upbeat, but I do remember thinking ‘no, that’s it.’ Nathan: Someone actually said that to me – when you were saying goodbye to them that day, it very much felt like it was goodbye, as in ‘goodbye-goodbye.’ Jess: Finally, do you like when people call you Cookie, and do you actually in fact like cookies? Mr Cookman: I don’t mind when people call me Cookie. I’ve been called Cookie all my life – when I was in school that was my nickname. When I go back home and walk into the pub, they’ll never say ‘ah here’s Mark,’ they’ll always call me Cookie. That’s the only place where it happens though, it never really happens up here in Dublin. And do I like cookies? Yeah – chocolate digestives. Chocolate chip cookies aren’t too bad either. Mr Cookman became what it meant to be Newpark and was without doubt one of the best classroom teachers that the school has ever seen. He brought that skill into his role as deputy principal where he continued to live out the ethos of the school and lead by example. He always took the time out of his day to stop and have a chat – to ask how you were, how your family was. He had a personal touch and a gentle hand on people’s backs that endeared him to staff and students alike. Newpark’s ethos of caring for the individual has existed since the school’s inception, but it was Mr Cookman (and Mr Lowry) who took that ethos and brought it into a modern context, giving it a new lease of life. We are all heavily indebted to his legacy and the role that he played in nurturing each and every one of our Newpark experiences.
First Impressions First years Fia, Zoe, Garrett and Noah from 1RS were interviewed about their first few months in Newpark. Here's what they had to say!
How have your first few months in Newpark been? They’ve been good. Very good and interesting. A lot better than primary school. Probably better than all eight years in primary school. Did you find it hard to go from primary school to secondary school? Not really. Because of lockdown it was really good to get back to school. At the end of primary school I felt a bit weird about it, but then I started and it was fine. Yeah I was a little bit nervous but then after starting school it was good. The longer days have probably been the hardest thing to adjust to. What has been the best thing about starting Newpark? The teachers are a lot nicer. Yeah, better teachers. Sports have been really good. Yeah the sports have been more fun. Especially because outside of school with all the different lockdowns you can’t play some sports so it’s really great to do it in school. What has been the most difficult thing about starting Newpark? The longer days are difficult. Homework is also kind of hard. Getting used to the timetable and what we’re doing is a bit difficult. Having new subjects as well is hard. How is having hour long classes and a longer day? It’s way longer than primary school. When I’m getting home it’s almost dark and I feel like I’ve been in school for ten years. The classes are good, but it kind of depends. It’s good to have a lot of time for subjects like Science. But if you’re studying History or Irish for an hour it can get quite boring.
Has there been a difference in the amount of homework you get? Yeah there’s a difference. It feels like the work is easier but I might have just gotten smarter over quarantine. There’s definitely more work but it’s not as much as I had expected. Do you think it’s harder to talk to people or make new friends while wearing masks? I don’t think it’s harder but it’s different. It can actually be surprising when you go outside and you can actually see their faces. Yeah because usually you can only see the tops of people’s faces. It’s the same with the teachers when they have their masks on. What are you most looking forward to in the year? I have no idea. Playing sports. It would be good if we do get to go on a school trip. Yeah it would be good to go on an outing. I think I’m looking forward to the end of the year. It would be good to say that you competed the year and you’re then going into second year. By Edith Kelly, TY
Renewable Energy We have been studying renewable energy in Geography class and for our project, we had to make a model of something that demonstrates renewable energy in action. A lot of the class made paper airplanes! I made a water turbine which I used to pull up a small rubber. To do this, I made slots in a can and put bits of plastic in the slots. I put a skewer in it with a tub at one end and a rubber tied to a length of string on the other end. When I poured water into the tub, it turned the skewer and pulled up the rubber. I videoed this and sent it on Teams. Ms Rowan and the class were very impressed with it! By Oisin Smith, 1st Year
Julian Gester - Our New German Assistant This year the German Department has been fortunate enough to have been allocated a German Foreign Language Assistant to help with the teaching of the language in the school. We have had German assistants in the past and know the importance and value of having a native speaker in the classroom.
he was interested in Irish culture and had only ever been here once before on a school trip. He talked about some of the differences between school in Ireland and Germany. School begins earlier in Germany – around 8 o’clock – but also ends earlier, at around 1pm. He noticed that teachers here are far more personal and relaxed and actually have a relationship with the students, whereas in Germany teachers are generally stricter and less casual. He also said the teaching style is more modern here, particularly when it comes to technology. He thinks that the old-fashioned German ‘blackboard’ teachers need to ‘catch up.’ One thing he said he loves about Ireland is how friendly the people are and how they greet you. He pointed out that in Germany people are initially reserved – which he said lends to the stereotype of the grumpy, unfunny German – whereas the Irish are much more open and friendly from the start. As you can tell, Julian is already a great addition to the German Department and all the students look forward to their German classes with him. Oran O’Sullivan and Hanni Schmidt, 5th Year
Und Julian schreibt:
This year Julian Gester has joined us. Julian arrived in the middle of October and he will be working with us in Newpark until March. Julian comes from Dresden and is studying to be an English and Geography teacher. He has been working with all the German classes from 1st to 6th Year, and has been helping us with our German, in particular our conversation in preparation for the Oral Exam in the Leaving Certificate. Julian has also talked to students about German food and music and about the history of his hometown of Dresden. We asked him a few questions about how he is finding the school and country so far. We were wondering if he had a choice as to where he wanted to do his placement and he told us that he chose Ireland above places like the UK, the US and Canada, as
Liebe Newpark-Schüler, ich möchte mich auch noch einmal sehr bedanken. Für die Chance, dass ich dieses Jahr trotz Covid an eurer Schule sein kann. Denn ich bringe nicht nur etwas von meiner deutschen Kultur und Sprache mit, sondern nehme auch ein Stück Irland und Newpark wieder zurück nach Deutschland. Ich wünsche euch, dass ihr weiter eine so einzigartige und offene Schule bleibt! Und natürlich wünsche ich euch eine frohe und besinnliche Weihnachtszeit, viel Zeit mit der Familie, euren Freunden, und tolle Geschenke! Euer Julian
P.S: The photo was taken on my birthday two years ago, where I got a traditional German bouquet that consists of sausages, leek, and tomatoes. P.P.S.: We Germans are not funny, but we love to use irony and sarcasm.
We had to wait until the 5th of October before ExtraCurricular Activities could commence in a safe and organised manner. Despite having lots of restrictions and regulations in place the students turned out in their droves full of energy, excitement and enthusiasm. The relief looked like herds of cattle being released bouncing into the fallow fields and open spaces full of freshness. It was great to see the smiles and hear the banter amongst the sounds of clattering sticks and bouncing balls at last. Two weeks after the all the sports commenced the Christian Union had an outing and the Drama clubs began. It is fantastic to see all these clubs continue to adapt, improvise and learn to live with and overcome the barriers these strange times keep presenting. All these clubs and their activities have been vital to breathing some life into the school community which has become somewhat suppressed by the new muted and anti-social experience the dreaded Covid19 restrictions have made to being in school at the moment. We are so lucky in Newpark to have such a committed staff to drive these extra-curricular activities. In addition, we are also fortunate to have the network of past and current students who support our staff with smooth running of all these activities and they are essential to making it all work. Most Thursday afternoons there are approximately 150 students in action about the school. It is so important to celebrate the small victories and getting this vital element of school life up and running is certainly a victory worth one celebrating. Thank you to everyone involved. By Mr Andrew Adams
Congrats to Lucie Smith who has qualified for the interschool's final in show jumping. Best of luck in the final Lucie!
The Basketball Diaries Well done to all the students and staff who have got involved in Basketball this year. Due to Covid 19 restrictions all training is happening on the outdoor basketball courts. Attendance records at training are brilliant. We all want to get out in the fresh air and have a bit of fun. A big thank you to all the basketball coaches, especially Dillon Hennessy who has joined the coaching staff this season. We really appreciate all your hard work. The training schedule currently is as follows: Monday: Second Year Boys. Coach: Mr Doyle & Dillon Hennessy Tuesday: Second Year Girls. Coach: Ms Morrissey Wednesday: Third- and Fourth-Year Boys. Coach: Ms Delaney & Dillion Hennessy Thursday: Senior Boys and Senior Girls. Coach: Mr Doyle & Ms Costello We hope all the players and staff have a fabulous Christmas break and a peaceful New Year. By Ms Siobhan Costello
Newpark ECA Timetable Time
Christian Union (every second Thursday)
Green Schools 1st 3rd and 6th Year
Junior Rugby 2nd and 3rd Years
Green Schools 2nd 4th and 5th Year
4 – 5.30
4 – 5.30
1st Year Rugby
4 – 5.30
1st Year Girls Hockey
1st Year Boys Hockey
Senior Girls/ Senior and TY Boys Hockey on Rotation (1.30 to 3pm)
Hockey Minor Girls (2nd Year) Hockey
4 - 5.30
2nd year Boys Basketball
U16 Girls Basketball
U16 Boys Basketball
Senior Boys Basketball
1st year Rugby (1.30 to 3pm)
Junior Rugby 2nd and 3rd Years Senior Rugby
4 – 5.30
Senior Girls Basketball
4 – 5.00
1st Year Drama
Minor Boys (2nd Year) and 3rd year Boys Hockey
2nd Year Drama
Junior Girls Hockey 9am to 10.30. Senior Girls Hockey 10.30am to 12pm
Niamh Carr—GAA Superstar Gaelic superstar, AIG ambassador, proud Donegal woman (is there anyone from Donegal who isn’t delighted to be from Donegal?) and most importantly, Newpark staff member—Niamh Carr is a woman of many talents. We sat down with her to talk all things sport. What is your sports background? I actually came from a soccer background, my family didn’t even play GAA to start, where I'm from it’s more like a soccer area. There wouldn't really be even a local GAA club. So, when I was younger, I played many different sports such as athletics and dancing and I did soccer. I didn’t start until I went to secondary school in the closest town and there was a Gaelic team. At first, I just played it for fun and wasn't really very good at it. When I was around 16/17, the local GAA club in a different town to where I lived contacted me and asked would I play, as they had a big final coming up. Since then, I have never looked back. From there then I went up and played county with Donegal at minor level. And then I played U21. I played senior then for Donegal as well after that. Many people who play GAA have played it since they were practically a toddler and then they play the whole way up and are on the county team by the time they are 13 or 14. Yeah, my story is very different to that. My younger sister who just turned twenty now plays club with me. Even my little niece who is only three watches my games on the TV and kicks around a ball with me. I have introduced the GAA tradition to my family.
drive to get there, I train on Saturday and Sunday. So, it's kind of strange for me having, you know, my fulltime job as a teacher and having all that work. Then also all the football training as well. Especially in the summer, you know, when I move home to Donegal, we train four days a week on the pitch and then three days a week in the gym. And then we have like video sessions, we have nutritional sessions, we have strength and conditioning sessions as well. So, the training that I get is very much professional, we just don’t get the perks of being a professional footballer. Have you ever wanted to take part in a sport that you could compete in internationally? I suppose for me growing up, I always played soccer. When I played with Ulster on the U15 or 17s there were always people and Irish scouts at the training and there was like conversations, you know, ‘Would you go play for the Ireland team?’’ and you know, at that stage in my life, there was part of me that was like, will I go down the soccer route, and you know, maybe I could go professional with that. If I went down to soccer route I'd be playing for Ireland and hopefully have a club in England, which would be professional and would be my full-time job. So, there was those decisions I had to make. At the time, you know, it was the time in my life like around 16 or 17 when I discovered that I love playing Gaelic, whereas maybe my love for soccer stopped a little bit you know, just for different reasons. At that stage it was a huge decision for me to decide which route to take, maybe go professional with soccer or stay with what I loved which was GAA. There’s a part of me that still wonders what would have happened had I gone down that route, but I don’t think that much as I love playing Gaelic.
Do you consider yourself a semi-professional athlete? I suppose I do in some ways. I train some weeks six or seven days a week and even on days off I might still be doing a recovery session such as a swim or exercises. I could train for six days, but in one of those days, I could be doing a gym session and a running session. I do feel like my life very much revolves around sport. You get up in the morning, you eat well, making sure that you're hydrated throughout the day, you're making sure you're eating all your meals. After school I go straight into training, whether it's in the gym or on the pitch. Then on the weekends, I go home to Donegal. It’s a four-hour
Have you ever gotten sick of the lifestyle? If I'm being honest, there was probably never a point that I said, I didn't want to do this anymore. For me, I've always said that if I reached that point, I probably
would step back. And you know, I went to college in Maynooth, when I moved there, and we had to travel home every weekend for training when the rest of my friends were staying at college, and they were able to do stuff and travel, there was probably a part of me then that was thinking ‘Okay, do I make a different decision? Do I go travel and enjoy? Go see the world? And do I stay up here? Or do I go home?’ And it was then maybe right at the age of like, 19 or 20 when I realized, no, I absolutely love playing football, and I love playing for my county. And I suppose since then, I've never really looked back.
pods. Then our championship got up and running so we were able to play matches. Then in September the county was able to get back training, with restrictions of course. We weren't allowed to travel to training or matches together, and we weren't allowed to get postmatch meals like we normally would. And at the minute, as we are playing for Donegal, we're seen as elite athletes, which means that we can still train as normal. I’m really lucky I can still travel to Donegal. What do you think is the best way to promote 20/20 and more women in sport? The 2020 campaign is trying to promote women in sport. So 20% more participation and 20% more people watching games, 20% more media coverage. For me, obviously, I can only speak from a Gaelic point of view.
I then went to UCD for two years, I did my masters when I was on a sports scholarship there. So, I played football the whole way throughout college. That helped me to keep my love for football and keep my love for sport. I was still traveling home on the weekends when the rest of my friends were going travelling and stuff. But for me, I made that decision and I had to be happy with that. And then obviously, I got my job here in Dublin. And then there was probably a point where I said, this is going to be tough, with all the travelling and routine, but I recognized that I still wanted to do this. So, it was never really an issue. It's very tough, absolutely, with a full-time job. But it’s something that I know I love, so stopping was never really an option. Has your training been affected by COVID-19? Originally when the lockdown started in March, I moved home to Donegal because I thought we were still having training for Donegal. Once I went home, obviously the restrictions had come in, and all GAA was cancelled. So, for a large period from I suppose April to May and part of June, there was absolutely no collective training. We were given a gym programs and we were given running programs that we did five days a week. We were getting gym programs that would either do with our own weights that we had at home or bodyweight. We were still doing a very strict plan so then in June we could go back to our club and train in
I think that starts at club level, and there's a lot of great work being done in our local club at home, there's a lot of females going into primary schools, and trying to talk to young kids and saying ‘get involved in sport, it's so much fun, you make friends and your friends for life and you develop skills’. A lot of it starts from there. And then once you have them there, it’s trying to keep them. That's probably the hardest thing. A lot of girls play sport at a young age, and then they get to secondary school, and there’s a drop off. For lots of different reasons. It's so important for your mental health and there's so many other benefits of playing sport. You make friends for life; the best days of your life normally are the ones in which you are involved in sports. You want it to be enjoyable. Have you ever played in Croke Park? Yes, I have. Last year, we played Dublin (and our first league game) and we beat them. It was a great experience. It was my first time playing there. As a young girl, I would have always gone and watched Donegal playing in Croke Park. I was there as a young girl as a fan of all these people. So, for me to get to play there last year, it was kind of one of those surreal moments. Hopefully get to play there again on a bigger day. What was the best moment of your career? When I was 20 we won an All-Ireland U21 medal with Donegal. That was a huge moment. I was at that time deciding if I wanted to continue with Gaelic football and after winning that I decide I definitely would. It was really great to win with a team of girls that I had been playing with since I was 16 and that were my close friends. After working so hard for so long I felt a great sense of accomplishment when we won that. By Emily Rowe, TY
Stand Up Week
The 15th to the 21st of November was Stand Up! Week 2020. Stand Up Week is a week to support all the members of the LGBTQ+ community in our school. The main event was Rainbow Day on Friday. Rainbow day is an annual non-uniform day where each year group is asked to wear a different colour in the rainbow, 1st years red, 2nd years orange and so on up to 6th years, who wear purple. If you didn’t have any clothes in your years’ colour you were asked to wear any bright colour. Teachers were also asked to join in. Everyone wore a bright colour and the school body turned into a rainbow for the day. People took photos of their outfits on rainbow day at #comein, because ‘no one would have to come out if everyone chose to come in.’ Some also designed their own #comein Teams logos. It was organised by the LGBTI+ Team, which if anyone (including allies) wants to join, they can email Ms. Keating. By Silvia Ciulli Cummins, 2nd Year
Stand Up Week is a time for second-level schools, youth services, and Youthreach Centres in Ireland to raise awareness and help stand against homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying. It's an opportunity for schools to improve their support for their LGBTQ+ students. One in five young LGBTQ+ people suffer from bullying, and 73% of young LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe at school. Stand Up Week aims to change that by educating students on LGBTQ+ matters and creating a supportive and safe environment for their LGBTQ+ students. At Newpark, we celebrate differences. We take pride in our diverse student body, not only our acceptance but our inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals. To show our support, Newpark organised a Rainbow Jumper Day. Each year was allocated a colour of the LGBTQ+ flag and would wear their respective colour on the day. The idea was a jumper, but any form of clothing would work. The day was a great success, and the entire school was vivid with colour. From a student-governed LGBTQ+ Club, to teaching about LGBTQ+ issues and information in classes, to proudly displaying the LGBTQ+ flag alongside the others at the face of the school, Newpark has been active with its support, and it will continue to do so. By Tom Murphy, 6th Year
Five Ways To Keep Well
Play board games
Draw or doodle
Talk to someone
Take time to stop and look around you. Notice the sounds, the smells, the colours, the change of seasons. Be present in the here and now.
Play video games
Make a toasted sandwich
Go for a swim in the sea
… with people around you, friends, family and try to make new connections where possible.
Be Active Get moving. Go out for a walk, try a dance class or go for a cycle. Choose something you enjoy that suits your mobility and fitness.
Keep Learning Try something new; a new recipe, hobby, or language course. Try something new in school. Set yourself a challenge you will enjoy achieving.
Give Do one good deed every day. Smile at a passer-by, make something for someone, join a community group. Doing something good for someone else is good for your mental health.
Here are some tips from Newpark students on how to give yourself a lift during these times:
Go out for a walk
Take the dog out
By Ms Jenny Crampton
On the 9th October and the 16th October, the Newpark community supported two important causes, helping to make a real difference to the weak and suffering especially in the present climate of Covid-19 which has had such a devastating impact at home and abroad for so many. The first fundraiser on Friday, 9th of October was Jersey Day for Goal, a charity which saves lives, eases suffering and helps the most vulnerable people across the world. That day many staff members and students wore a sports jersey, an old jersey or just their favourite jersey in support of the charity. Parents and students were incredibly generous and over €650 was raised online. This is especially impressive as due to Covid-19, money boxes couldn’t be used as was the case in previous years.
Goal Jersey Day
This year in Newpark we had two very important fundraisers. On the 9th of October we did a Jersey Day. This was where the students and teachers wore a jersey of their choice into school. Everyone who participated brought in a donation for a charity named Goal. Goal helps vulnerable communities in need. On the 16th of October it was World Food Day and we had another important fundraiser. This year the school did the fundraiser for Ndiini School Food Programme. This charity is run by one of our very own teachers in the school, Ms Dempsey. The helps to provide a primary school in Kenya with much needed lunches. The students and teachers donated by texting LUNCH to 50300 and many students shared the charity on their social media. Both the fundraisers did very well and I hope we can do another fundraiser for these charities in future. By Sadie Bennett, TY
Light up the Night The Lighthouse is a charity on Pearse Street which has been feeding over 300 homeless people every day since the start of lockdown. For Christmas, they are trying to The following week, on Friday 16th of October, World fill 300 old schoolbags with presents and supplies for Food Day, the Newpark community once again came the homeless. together to support Ndiini School Food Programme, a charity which provides a school lunch of rice and beans The original idea was to fill shoeboxes but we quickly to approximately 500 primary school kids near Nairobi, realised these would not last long in the rain. So, we Kenya. People could donate by texting LUNCH to came up with the idea of filling backpacks that they can 50300 or they could donate online. By the end of the use to store their new things and that are easy to carry. day an incredible €2000 had been raised through the For one week in December, the Religion Department charity’s website and texting platform. collected supplies A huge thanks to everyone who donated, giving much a n d o l d needed support and hope to those less fortunate by schoolbags. Thank doing so. you to everyone who brought By Ms Margaret Dempsey things in. Ms Charis Rowan
Halloween Dress Up Day On the 30th of October we had a Halloween dress up day in aid of Focus Ireland. Everyone gave in â&#x201A;Ź2 and dressed up as whatever we wanted. Altogether we raised â&#x201A;Ź1080. There were lots of creative costumes such as pirates and witches and Superheroes. Some of the teachers dressed up as well, much to our amusement! By Isobel Smiley, 2nd Year
European Day Of Languages
The European Day of Languages takes place every year on September 26th, it is an opportunity to celebrate the linguistic diversity of our continent and learn about languages other than our own. In order to mark the occasion, the 3rdâ&#x20AC;Żand TY European Section classes put together a newsletter. They wrote articles about the origins of European languages, the meaning of Irish names and the way language influences our outlook on things, to name but a few topics. They put a lot of work into this project, and the final result is something they should be proud of. If you are curious to know more about European languages, the newsletter can be found on the school website. Merci! By Ms Jeanne Bombon
Science Show On November 13th we had a science show, the whole show was based on mixtures and compounds and the things they can create. It was really cool and some of us even got to help with one of the experiments. They started off the show by putting dry ice into water. I think they were trying to get a misty or foggy effect to try to make the show seem mysterious but most of the smoke got blown away by the wind. My favourite experiment was the one with the teddy and the water bottle. They mixed calcium carbide and water and poured it into a water, they then put the teddy on top. Ms.Cashman then set fire to the ethyne gas produced inside the water bottle and it set off a minor explosion causing the teddy to go flying into the air. There was many more experiments each one odder and more interesting than the last. I really enjoyed the show and I hope we get to do something like this again. By Hannah Young and Abigail Burns, 1st Year
CPR4 Schools Award
really well with the programme and all agreed that the skills they were learning were very important. This achievement was recognised by the IHF as we were selected as the school to receive the 2019 special recognition award. We are only the 10th School to receive this award and we are so proud of all of our students.
Newpark receives special recognition award from the Irish Heart Foundation CPR 4 Schools is an initiative run by the Irish Heart Foundation that seeks to create a generation of lifesavers. It is a free programme available to all post primary schools in Ireland and provides students with the confidence to recognise cardiac arrest and perform hands only CPR. CPR 4 Schools takes a train the trainer approach and each person who successfully completes the training is equipped with the skills to pass on their knowledge with others. The hope being, that every person who is trained will train someone else and in turn creating a generation of life savers in the process. Having initially attended the teacher training in February 2019, I was guided through the process of how to deliver CPR 4 Schools training in the classroom and to staff. In September 2019 with the help of the teachers in the science department we set out to achieve a very ambitious target of training all of our students in hands only CPR. The science department made room in their class schedules to deliver the CPR programme through science lessons. Two lessons were needed to train each class. Mr. Adams runs a very comprehensive CPR course to all 4th year students and he supported us in delivering the programme during 4th year first aid. Lessons were guided by a variety of physical and online resources provided for by the IHF. Each new school to the programme receives a Manikin kit and training aids worth over â&#x201A;Ź1,000. The manikins are provided with clickers so students were able to tell when their compressions were successful. Between September and November 2019, we successfully trained approximately 900 members of our school community in hands only CPR! Students engaged
While Covid-19 has put our plans for an official IHF launch day to receive our award, the IHF have asked that our school be used as a case study on their website in early 2021 to showcase to other schools how to successfully run the programme. Ms. Anderson is organising certificates for all our students, and will hold a celebration to recognise their successes when restrictions lift. Around 5,000 cardiac arrests take place in Ireland each year. Over 70% of these happen in the home. In every case having someone nearby who can perform CPR immediately is crucial to their survival. Lack of confidence is a deterrent to administering CPR and this initiative seeks, above all else, to give students and staff the confidence to put the skills they have learned into practice. We are proud to have a school community of confident skilled lifesavers. By Ms Anita Boyle
By Maya Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Sullivan, Sunny Cooling and Michael Gormley
Riyadh Khalaf, a Newpark alumni, entered celebrity MasterChef 2020. He is an Irish broadcaster, author, activist and a YouTube personality. He wrote the best selling book ‘Yay! You're Gay! Now What? A Gay Boy’s Guide to Life.’ After 18 episodes Riyadh finally won the celebrity MasterChef title with his monkfish scampi, beef fillet and white chocolate fondant. We’re all very proud here at Newpark! By Noinin Cooling, 2nd Year
David McCullagh has recently started co-presenting the six-one news. But well before this he went to school in Newpark. After Newpark he went to UCD to study politics. He then began journalism in 1989 with the Evening Press. In 1993 he became an RTE reporter and eight years later, he started as a political correspondent with RTE. He co-presented Prime Time from 2013 up to starting at the six-one news in September. He has achieved so many things, including writing four books, winning a prize in the ESB National Media Award in 1999 and he has a PhD in politics. Congrats to David from all here at Newpark! By Silvia Ciulli Cummins, 2nd Year
Two for TEDx
Throughout quarantine, 6th year students Bruno Ciulli and Rhiannon O’Leary worked on Ted talks for the Ted x Dun Laoghaire event. Although things were different due to the restrictions, thankfully, live recordings of talks went ahead on the 18th September. "Thrilled to be involved in the Tedx Dun Laoghaire event, I began to think of talk ideas. While it took lots of time, thought and post-it notes; I eventually landed on an idea. My talk was about the sometimes detrimental effects of the media on students perceived to be LGBT+ and action we can take to counteract this. Filming the talk during the pandemic was certainly different than delivering it to a full auditorium but the occasion proved to be a unique learning experience.” Bruno “My talk was on the treatment (or rather neglect) of Irish culture and identity in schools, my personal experience of learning to love being Irish through English - and where the priorities lie within the Leaving Cert system. The influence of this year I changed what was important for me to talk about through Ted, and ultimately, my approach to school and the 2021 exams. This gave the experience a valuable nuance that made me almost grateful to do it in the year that I did: restrictions, masks and all.” Rhiannon “Always the bully, never the bride” and “Embracing Irishness through English” can be found on the “TED x Talks” YouTube channel. By Rhiannon O’Leary Murray, 6th Year
Although times have been especially tough for the Arts and Performance industries, artists and musicians across the world have continue the share their gift with the world in order to keep spirits lifted.
WinterFest has arrived. Newpark will be celebrating Christmas from Monday 30th November. Events have been planned to spread some festive cheer among staff and students.
Close to home, past pupil Patrick Dexter (Class of 2007) has done just this by sharing beautiful melodies in a stunning backdrop of the West of Ireland. Filmed outside his cottage in Mayo, Patrick has compiled many videos of himself playing the cello (or its Baroque counterpart, the viola de gamba) with scenes of the Staff Searching For Elfie beautiful West of Ireland countryside to compliment his playing. He has shared a range of styles, with each as Thanks to the support from management, the staff pleasing to listen to as the next. His incredible musical welfare committee, and several generous hardworking skill and style creates a comforting and calming elves, I am delighted to listening experience (and the impression that it never present the plan for our rains in the West!). first ever Winter Fest. It is a month-long event with lots of festive surprises along the way. We hope that Winter F est will ignite the spirit of Christmas in us all and spread the festive cheer throughout the school. Activities include:
The 'Festive Selfie Competition' beginning on Monday 30th. Winners announced on Friday 4th December.
Elf on the Shelf Staff Competition. To the great amusement of many staff, an elf on the shelf was hidden in the staffroom, with a prize to be won by whoever found it. Safe to say things became tense after three days and no sign of Elfie!
Patrick recently caught the attention of many news outlets, including BBC News for which he made a short video.
There will be a Christmas Fancy Dress on Friday 18th December and a Christmas jumper day on Monday 21st December.
There will also be Carols by Candlelight on Patrick Dexter Cello will bring you to his music on Monday the 21st December. YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and I highly recommend taking a short break in your day to We hope you enjoy the festivities in the lead up to appreciate a nice tune. Christmas as well the main event, of course. By Ms Amy Morrison
By Mr Hugh Gallagher
One Man One Camera The following interview is with Killian Sundermann, a Newpark student who graduated in 2010. He has now become mini-viral through his sketch comedy videos on Instagram and Tiktok. He is interviewed by Isaac O’Neill, a current Newpark student with little to no journalistic abilities.
When did you graduate Newpark and what was school like for you? What year did I graduate? You’re making me feel old. 2010 maybe 2011? I’ve been out of the school a while I’m 27 now and I was 17 when I graduated so yeah 10 years. Newpark was a great school—I had a lot of fun. It’s a really cool place and I never got to appreciate that amazing new building you guys have. I went through in the last days of this old building. It was just like dripping all the time; it was very fun but the building wasn’t great. The teachers were always great. There’s a nice relationship with the teachers always in Newpark, There’s less of an authority thing and more like you can chat to your teachers in a nice way. Lots of things you can do there like arts and sports. What do you do now? Oh yeah I basically make short comedy sketches online for like Instagram and social media, TikTok and Twitter. Usually I make them about Irish politics—that kinda thing or just silly ideas that come into my head. I always made little videos and put them online. I’ve done that for a while but never seriously, then the pandemic happened and like most people I was sitting at home bored and the I thought well there’s these comedy videos, there’s lots of news happening maybe I should spend some more time on these videos … and then you go mini viral get an audience and then that just makes you want to make them more.
What drew you to your style of comedy? I do short sketches that are kinda just like one man, one camera type thing. (I’m sure you know because you’ve done extensive research!) I guess when you’re sitting at home and you have somewhat of a creative mind there’s often two things you can do. One is to say I really want to make these great ideas but I need a certain type of technology to do that—like I really want to make a short film, I have to get a camera, I have to get lighting, I have to get actors, I have to get all these different things. Or you go and say I wanna make these ideas I have in my head but all I have is a mobile phone. How do I do that and you start using the tools that you have and I suppose the sketches I make. When I imagine them they’re not just me with my phone but the reason they look like that is that is all I have. I don’t have a big studio or million dollar budget. I just have me and my phone and that’s why they look like that. Using this small tool to create what you have in your head becomes almost like a game. My sketches look a lot like everybody else’s sketches because it’s an easy way of doing it. A lot of your videos centre around Covid and the Irish Government, would you describe your videos as political or against the government or just for comedy? I don’t think anything’s just for comedy. No matter how you try and make things, it’s hard not to have a political edge. I definitely think art as a whole should be used in a way to kinda critique power or critique things that are going on and to add your view. Personally I wouldn’t say they just exist to critique the government even though I would be critical of the government. I think that art is a tool to critique those in power but at the end of the day I’d say my videos are not that serious. People on both the left side of things and the right can probably enjoy them because I haven’t gotten any hate. I made one restrictions video and anytime a new swathe of restrictions came in people would message me and say hey: can you make another video on these restrictions? They just did well so I made them why not? They’re kinda funny. As a content creator what kind of content do you consume? I don’t like the term content creator. I think it sounds like a marketing term or some type of tech job and that’s not what I think I do. I make comedy videos so you could say I’m a sketch comedy comedian. I think
content as a term is the kind of language people in marketing would use. I’m not saying “Don’t call me a content creator” - it’s just that you often find these terms come from advertising companies and stuff like that. The kinda stuff I watch online is actually similar people who do similar stuff to me. Sean Burke, Ryan Carrick, Justine Stafford, Daire Conway, Tony Carrick, all these other Irish comedians who are around. I think they all make really funny things online. I think Michael Fry is one of the best things on the internet at the moment. All these sort of online comedianesque people who are figuring out how to entertain people during covid. I like all their stuff. What most commonly triggers a sketch idea for you? The best ideas you get are when you’re just walking around and you spot something and say oh that’s funny, is that a funny idea? And you just work it out in your head. Maybe just human behaviour and habits of human behaviour. Big news scandals are also good. Or if the government are having some unholy mess up like if Fianna Fail have sold a tractor with dole money. Is there much overlap in your comedy and music writing process or how you use it as an outlet to express your thoughts and ideas? No, they’re kind of different because the way I write comedy at the moment (because we’re all at our homes) is on my own and it’s all kind of individual. I might ask Anna my girlfriend (who also went to Newpark) for some feedback but it’s generally something I do on my own. With music I’m in a band (with all ex-Newpark students, one of them expelled but whatever) and we write our songs together. We might come up with an idea on our own but I generally find that because of that music and comedy don’t really intersect. They’re kind of different things. Music is very emotional and personal and when you make music you just know something is good whereas with comedy it’s more self doubt and hard work. Cause you’re like, is this funny? Is the thing that I find funny actually funny? And that’s a whole thing! During my extensive research I found your podcast in which you do interviews and film reviews; to you, what makes a movie good? Oh Jesus. I think I go through different phases of
finding different things good. Generally, I think a film has to be discussing humanity to have something interesting about it. Usually, it has to be about humanity in some way or some aspect of what it means to be human. Good acting of course as well. I think films these days are far too long. People take liberty with the lengths of films and let them go on for too long. I really appreciate a film that’s concise and doesn’t have any meaningless scenes, all dialogue is purposeful, every shot is purposeful. I think if a film is considered and cared about usually it will turn out ok. How has covid affected you as a musician? Well I’d say it’s completely obliterated the band. We can’t jam, can’t play concerts, we can’t write music together, we can’t do anything. The only thing we can do is record our individual parts in our separate locations and then put a demo together. We’re just some amateur band that’s just started this year but if you think about professional musicians and how it’s affected them. It’s just decimated the industry. Newpark is home to many aspiring artists of all kinds, is there any advice you would give them? (No is an acceptable answer as well!) Don’t do it. No, I was asked recently a question like this and I think most important is your reasons for doing it. I just think the most important part is that you are doing something you really want to do. That you really like or you have these ideas in your head that you just have to make or otherwise you’ll just be regretting the fact that you didn’t try. I think it’s fine if you want to get a few followers or get a bit of fame or whatever. Those things are fine—it’s natural to want those things but if that’s your sole desire than you're just not going to find the satisfaction you want from a couple of thousand followers. I think some people feel that they want to or have to do stuff like make comedy videos. Only do it if you feel like you have to do it. Is there any final message you want to deliver to the tens of readers at home reading this in the Newpark newsletter? Yeah, if it’s all Newpark students. Count yourself lucky you’re in a wonderful school. If you’re interested in making things, just make them. It’s really fun, the internet can be a wonderful place. It can be but if you ever get any hate don’t worry about it. And be nice to Mr Doyle. He is a dear friend of mine ... and that’s it. By Supreme Leader Isaac O’Neill, 6th Year
Earn While you Learn and Generation Apprenticeship The world of apprenticeships in Ireland is rapidly changing. The most recent apprenticeship launched is
traditional craft areas and in newer areas such as logistics, technology, auctioneering, biopharma, engineering, culinary arts and many others. An interesting example of where Ireland has evolved the apprenticeship model is that we are the first in the world to develop a recruitment executive apprenticeship for the recruitment Industry. This apprenticeship qualification leads to a level 8 honours degree. One of the primary drivers for the redevelopment of apprenticeships in Ireland has been businesses. They see value in being able to influence and guide the development of their people and to be able to recruit from more diverse groups with varying educational levels and varying work histories. The Generation Apprenticeship model is something that we all should have a look at and understand more about. By Ms Sheila Ahern
the principal Engineer apprenticeship. This is a collaboration between business, government and the University of Limerick. It leads to the apprentice qualifying with a PhD. To take another example, you can become a chartered accountant via the apprenticeship route. All apprentices are earning while they are learning. This is all part of a radical restructuring of the Irish approach to apprenticeships. All apprenticeships in Ireland now lead to qualifications across the National Framework of Qualifications beginning at level 5 and moving up to level 6, 7, 8 and in the case of the principal Engineer apprenticeship, level 10. The skills required for them have evolved in tandem with the National Framework of Qualifications. As an example, a motor mechanic working with a hybrid electric car needs to understand not only traditional mechanics but also chemistry to look after the battery, IT to look after the thousands of euros worth of technology in the modern car as well as thermodynamics to understand how the engine works. Many of the new ‘green collar’ jobs will require traditional apprenticeship skills to install solar panels, look after wind turbines, and troubleshoot advanced electro-mechanics. The new approach in Ireland has been modelled upon the long-standing apprenticeship tradition of countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden where apprentice skills are developed and fostered. In Ireland there are now at least 58 apprenticeship programmes currently in operation. These are in the
My Apprenticeship Journey On Thursday 3rd December Mark Deegan the head of Apprenticeships in TU Dublin came to talk about apprenticeships. Before his visit, I didn’t think much of apprenticeships but when I heard about how much potential there was, I was immediately hooked. I was also determined to get my first apprenticeship. I decided to go to a jewellers where I had previously sold some of my gold and silver. I ended up getting one-week work experience. He said if I do a good job, I can get a fulltime job to help him out. This is the start of my apprenticeship journey. I was so happy to have got this opportunity and it was thanks to Mark Deegan who had encouraged me to make the first steps. These are some of his main tips on how to get your very first apprenticeship:
Pick up the phone to ask potential employers to take you on.
Try to get in the door and meet them.
Have your name clearly written on your CV, with examples of work that you have done.
Make a LinkedIn profile.
Keep your social media footprint squeaky clean.
Get a work experience in the area or in any area showing that you are prepared to work.
All employers want to see that you are prepared to work and get your hands dirty! Denis O Connor, 6th Year
Inspirational Relatives On the 30th of October 2020, I walked up to my Auntie Audrey’s and Uncle Jim’s house to find out about the life of a blind couple. I asked them both a number of questions. They were both very open with their answers which made it very interesting and easy to interview them. Here’s how it went! At a very young age Audrey was diagnosed with cancer in her eye. Her mother, Mary, and dad, Tom, used to bring Audrey back and forth to London to get treatment for her eye. Audrey was lucky as she only went blind in one eye first; she was only one year old when she got treatment. Then when she was five years old she went blind in her other eye. Audrey used to love going to school. She went to GKNS for one year. Then she started to get her treatment again for two years. Audrey wanted to go back to school after her treatment, so she went to St. Mary’s school for the Blind for twelve years—St. Mary’s is a primary and secondary school. She then went to UCD to study languages. She did a Masters Degree in both French and Spanish. After school, Audrey went to Lille in France to teach for one year. When she came home she went on a ski trip with a few friends and met her husband Jim. Audrey met Jim in 2001. Jim was born totally blind. He was from Mayo and when you were blind back then like Jim you were sent off to a boy’s school when you were very young. Jim was only three years old when he was sent away. His aunt was a sister in the convent where Jim boarded. Jim only got to go home during holidays. Jim’s father was a farmer. Jim used to love helping out on the farm as much as possible when he went home on holidays.
Jim now works with computers and is very high up in his job. People thought it was very weird for a blind man to work in I.T. Jim and Audrey got married in 2010 and are very happy and in love. They were never blessed with kids, so all their animals are their children. Audrey and Jim were so kind and made my interview very interesting. They are people that live their lives to the fullest and don’t let anything stop them, which I really look up to. Inspirational Fact: My Auntie Audrey was the first blind person in Ireland to do Art in the Leaving Cert. She made a sculpture of hands together. She was in the newspaper because of it! By Lucy Drumm, 5th Year
Warm, Funny and Strict— Goodbye Mr Kelly Mr. Kelly is a really good teacher, he manages to be warm and funny, but strict at the same time. If you needed help with anything he was always there to help you figure it out. His Active Leisure classes were also the best classes with all the trips we went on. There was one time when we went up Killiney Hill and it was raining. Mr. Kelly was set on walking (he was the only one wearing all the right gear). He lightened the mood by singing and telling us the history of the area. He then took us to the edge of the cliffs and showed us the views. Everyone was a bit fed up (and drenched) but we still had a lot of fun. That day the weather wasn’t good but the spirits were kept high because of Mr. Kelly. By Natasha Kelly, 6th Year
Sustainable Travel Webinar
On Wednesday the 18th of November, our green schools committee went to a webinar on sustainable travel. It was hosted by activist and actor Aoibhéann McCann. We were looking at the UN sustainable development goals. In particular we were focusing on SDG3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG10 (reduced inequalities), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG13 (climate action). After the introduction to what we would be talking about, we split into two breakout rooms, each focusing on two of the SDGs. We went to Breakout Room 2, which was SDG10 and SDG13. Cycling to School Within the Breakout room, five people spoke, including Kate Clooney who is in 6th year at Ashford Community school. She was talking about the gender gap in people cycling to school in secondary schools. Did you know that only one in 250 teenage girls cycles to school? Newpark is much better in this way than most schools, mainly I’d say because we don’t have to wear skirts, but there’s still room for improvement. Kate was a big part in launching the #andshecycles campaign in 2019. She talked about how you always see little girls, having fun on their bikes but so many stop as they get older. Last year she and her school did a sponsored cycle to encourage girls in her school to cycle more. The History of Cycling After the five speakers, we joined back into to the main meeting where Elaine Gallagher told us about the history of cycling. The first sort of bicycle was invented in around 1790, by Comte Mede de Sivrac of France, who called it the ‘celerifere’. In 1815 there was the ‘hobby horse’ and in the mid19th century the closest thing to a pedal bike was first made by Kirkpatrick Macmillan in Scotland. Then the ‘Laufe machine’ was made in 1870, by a German Bard. The first invention of the modern bike was the velocipede, nicknamed the ‘bone shaker’, and soon there was the Penny Farthing in the 1870s and 1880s.
At first bicycles were only really upper-class gentlemen’s toys. It was not until the invention of the safety bicycle that cycling became a mode of transport. Soon women were also cycling, and as cycling in the ankle-length skirts they wore was impossible, they wore shorter skirts, t r o u s e r s o r b l o om er s , t h e i r undergarments. Because of this, conservatives started calling bicycles ‘the steed of Satan’. But women thought they were ‘freedom machines’, even if women were arrested for cycling in their bloomers. Cycling meant no more chaperones. Bicycles were used for recruiting suffragettes and giving out flyers. Being able to cycle meant woman were more independent. It is still illegal for women to cycle in some countries—we can in Ireland, so we should. By Silvia Ciulli Cummins, 2nd Year
2040 Recently 2nd Year students watched the film 2040 as a part of Climate Action Week. 2040 is a movie that explores positive possibilities on what we can do to heal our planet. Filmmaker, Damon Gameau, directed the movie on what the future could be like for his daughter. Gameau travelled to different countries and talked with innovators and experts, on how we must change for the better. In one instance, he met with a farmer who takes a slightly different approach to farming going for a greener way to farm rather than using lots of pesticides. He grows plants like sunflowers to draw carbon back down into the soil improving its quality for his crops. Gameau explored benefits of this way of farming and how it could tremendously help the atmosphere. In another case he explored the benefits of underwater seaweed farms in terms of restoring life and habitats to waterways while giving use a source of food. And it’s not just big changes we have to make to our society. We help by trying to grow a few more plants in our gardens and our homes. These ideas suggest a way we can improve our lives and our planet for the future. By Sarah Glanville, 2nd Year
Green Schools Poster
Competition Green Schools ran a competition amongst junior years under the theme of Travel. This is to update our noticeboard for the Travel flag which we will be applying for very soon.
outline of the bike. I wanted to show the beauty of our planet, and how cycling helps keep it beautiful. I did this by keeping the bike white, contrasting with but not changing the landscape. I finished off by adding the green schools logo. By Eva O’Donnell, 3rd Year
There were four winning entries, an overall and three runners up. Well done and thank you to Kate Glanville, Sara O' Flaherty, Max Cullivan and Eva O'Donnell. All have received One4All vouchers as prizes. Eva has written a short piece about her design concept. We chose her poster as the winner because the clear bike, made the 'clear' messaging all the clearer and maximised impact - it is visually a pleasure. By Ms Kim Achari
A word from the designer I designed this poster to encourage more people to cycle, especially now that proper cycle infrastructure is being put in place all over our local area. I came up with the slogan 'Clear air, clear head, clear conscience', because cycling does all these things and more. It keeps car exhausts from the atmosphere, improves your mood and prepares you for the day ahead, and makes you feel like you are doing something good for our planet. I wanted to make the poster eyecatching, so I used bold lettering. I made circles the base for my font to match the circular wheels of the bike. I painted a nature scene in watercolour using cohesive blues and greens, carefully avoiding the
By shopping local you can cut down on the emissions caused
by importing items, and support your local economy. You can also find a sense of community in the shops you buy from. Just think about it - wouldn't you rather support someone you know than a random billionaire? So please shop locally this Christmas.
Eve Cullen has prepared some local suggestions here:
Class of 2020: From Leaving to the Leavin’
Tano Faria: How it started, how it’s going... Alex Howard: How it started, how it’s going...
Newpark’s class of 2020 ended their final year rather abruptly. It’s been eight months since that Thursday afternoon we all waved ‘see you in two weeks’ goodbye. At this stage most of us have moved on and are either enjoying a replenishing lockdown 2.0 or pulling our hair out over daily video lectures. The only forms of social interaction we have are the zoom chat box and breakout rooms. I might forget how to speak to people like a normal human being. By now the excitement has vanished and many of us are already bored of our course - my brain is fried by jazz harmony and improv ensemble, and if I hear Coltrane’s Giant Steps one more time I might cry. I should have studied theoretical physics. One thing I particularly miss about Newpark is that everyone knows everyone, everyone’s local and in the community. Most of the people in my course now have never been on the DART before. How weird is that? I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Of course I miss other things - like the coffee from Spar, walking up Newtownpark Avenue (or getting the 114 if I was feeling particularly lazy), last class on a Friday, RB1, the five minute break in the middle of double English, am ciorcail... We are all hoping that one day we’ll finally get our farewell pints with the teachers, but today is not that day. By Alex Howard, Class of 2020
From leaving to ‘the Leaving’ it is still difficult to put into words what this whole experience has been like. The only thing I can say for a certain is that it has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I can only try to make sense of it all using a series of oxymoronic statements. Firstly, preparing for the Leaving from home was both incredibly stressful and pleasantly relaxing. Stressful because of the uncertainty around what was going to happen yet, relaxing because now I had all this freedom to control my timetable and suddenly, I was sea swimming before study. When I got news of the cancellation, I was relieved to be getting a summer but nervous because I could no longer affect the outcome of my results. It was somehow an anticlimactic experience but also an incredibly exciting one. We had no graduation, no debs and no exams. But then again, we got a fantastic yearbook, lots of sentimental messages from staff plus we got to watch all the drama unfold every night on RTE News. Weirdly it feels like it happened a lifetime ago but also like it happened just recently. Well, that’s because it has been almost seven months since the Leaving was cancelled but it was only last week that I actually finished my last exam after deciding to sit some in November. What I realised overall is that without a proper goodbye moving on from something you’re attached to can be difficult. Leaving Newpark the way we did felt like a chapter of our lives was left unwritten or at least not finished on our terms, I felt a real sense of dissatisfaction all summer long. But when I came back last month, I returned to a slightly different yet, same old Newpark and the reception I received reminded me of what a special place this school is and the six incredible years I spent here. I was reminded that once a Newparker always a Newparker and that I would always be welcomed back in this community. So now that it is finally all over, I can assertively say I feel satisfied, no matter the results of the resits.
By Tano Faria, Class of 2020
Aoife Grogan: How it started, how it’s going...
A word from the crazy lady that will eventually haunt the school. Memory is a funny thing. As I write this, I am struggling to remember anything between the months of March and May. One of the few distinct memories I have from my online Leaving Cert experience is the twenty minutes I spent every morning aggressively encouraging my painfully slow computer to start up. It’s all a blur of blue ink-stains on my left hand and being constantly surrounded by rubber shavings. When the exams were postponed to the end of July, I don’t recall having any strong feelings about it – it only
meant I’d be carrying on with the same routine for a slightly longer period of time. A little while later, in May, when rumours started flying around that the exams were to be cancelled, I remember thinking that it was the most ridiculous idea I had ever heard. How could something that my entire life had revolved around for two years just not happen? Nonetheless, at 2.04 pm on the 8th May, the man himself Joe McHugh confirmed that the exams were postponed to November and that we had the option to receive calculated grades. Suddenly my entire perspective shifted. I stood up, left my textbook open on the page I had been reading and the cap off my pen, and sat outside in the sun, with absolutely nothing to do. Believe me when I say I did not feel disappointed, robbed or hard-done-by in any way. My first concern came with the sudden realisation that I didn’t have enough hobbies to fill all this free time—a problem that I welcomed with open arms. Around mid-July, at which time I was enjoying the tropical climate of the West of Ireland, I couldn’t imagine having to still be studying for the exams. The idea made me feel ill, but it was something I had originally accepted without complaint. Even still, I am in awe of the insanity behind this. By the time results came around I was definitely ready start college, and I was fortunate to benefit from the calculated grades system. Although, this particular grading system, like our regular examination system, is not suited to everyone’s style of learning. Many students chose to complete the exams, and as I am writing this a number of my classmates are in the middle of sitting their Leaving Cert. Even though they’ll be well finished and hopefully relaxing by the time anyone sees this, I want to wish them good luck – not that they’ll need it. All in all, the part of the Leaving Cert I actually did was pretty grim. I’d rate it a 3/10 (the 3 is for the comp experience, but other than that would not recommend to a friend). That was my Ted talk—thanks for listening. By Aoife Grogan, Class of 2020
Strange Times in Newpark Creating Connections The two hour form class on the first day back to school was the longest I had ever worn a mask for. I couldn’t have imagined being able to survive a day wearing one, and now with the odd breakout of ‘maskne’ it feels like second skin. From braving the cold lunches and being confined to singular desks in class, I sometimes find myself forgetting the positives about being back in school. I think being able to socialise is definitely my number one. Having a chat with friends was something I took for granted before lockdown and even now I can forget how lucky I am to be able have this social interaction. Even just having face to face classes, it all makes such a difference for me. Sport and other extra circulars continuing in school is also such a positive, one I didn’t see happening back in September. Even though you will find the senior hockey girls dreading the idea of hockey fitness every week, I can’t deny that it has brought back a sense of normality, creating connections between our years and chatting to people you wouldn’t see at lunch. I do feel for the first years trying to settle in. We had a team building day with 1st years and the prefects a few weeks ago, and it’s great that they’ll have a friendly pair of eyes in the older years now. I hope moving forward that we can see similar connections build between all the years as we look out for each other. These times are hard but it will get better! By Iona Hamilton, 6th Year
The Little Things Being back in school is definitely weird.. for lack of a better word. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to be back. There’s something about being surrounded by other people your age and talking about the mundane daily things that you just miss at home.
I think lockdown made me appreciate the little things in life a lot more, and made me more grateful for what I have. I’m lucky to be able to come into school every day and learn and see my friends, and it’s nice to be able to have conversations about homework and tests with the random people in my year who I didn’t even realise I missed talking to. Obviously the changes to how we learn has been hard, especially as it’s my last year and it’s obviously different to how I envisioned it, but it’s been easier to adapt to than I thought it would be and overall it just feels good to have a reason to get out of bed every morning. By Holly Windle, 6th Year
Strangely Natural If you had told me back in March that we wouldn’t be back to school until September I don’t know what I would’ve said. If you t o l d m e t h a t w h en w e went back we’d be wearing masks inside and have to wipe down our tables after every hour long class I would’ve been shocked but now that we’re three months into school with restrictions those parts of it feel strangely natural. A lot of the time I forget I’m wearing my mask and handing out the blue paper towels is starting to feel like it was always the routine. That’s not to say nothing has changed with the new normal. The biggest difference I felt in Newpark in September was the change in atmosphere. Fixed seating plans for all classes, keeping us in a grid a metre apart at all times takes away from the usual level of interaction between students in class, and makes group work or any other break from watching the teacher at the whiteboard much less common. But as we’ve adjusted to this new environment there have been more reminders of what marks the differences between online and in school education. The dress up day for Halloween had the same type energy as you’d see in normal years. Seeing the first years enjoy their bonding day reminded me that together we can make the best of this new normal. By Adam Walsh, 6th Year
A New Perspective
It's good to be back. This is the first thing that I would like to say in my reflections on our return to school. It's good to have a routine. It feels good to earn the weekend after months wondering what day it is. Friday night feels like it may have some potential again and not some variant of any other day of the week when you are in Lockdown.
The moment we found out schools would be closing almost nine months ago felt like something out of a war-time movie (not to be too dramatic). Everyone sat in complete silence leaning forward on their chairs to try and hear the announcement which was playing on the teacher’s phone.
I miss the extended family time, the leisurely 10am coffees, having time to read books was a real pleasure. I think all of us would probably admit that while this last year has taken things away from us, we have also gained certain unexpected and welcome new perspectives. For me, we had just moved to our new home when this disease reared its head. We got in with just enough time to slam the door shut and stock up for what was to come. My gran died during Lockdown, old age, my own mum couldn't nurse her through her final days and hours. This is something that we lost and something that will mark us from here on. I'm aware that others suffered far greater tragedies along the way. And this is a perspective that I have been taught this last year. Covid taught me to accept my limitations more. I have noticed how I simply don't let myself get bothered by the little things that used to niggle me with glee. I don't feel that I experienced any existential moment, there was no white light of realisation but I'd like to think that we all managed to trim some of the fat off, to smooth the edges and value simplicity a bit more.
I left the school with a ‘see you in two weeks’ and could never have imagined that our return to school would be masked, socially distanced and above all else, six months later.
Back at school, of course it is different. The Newpark community has lost its mojo right now, there's a part of the puzzle missing but we will find it again. It has probably just fallen down the back of the sofa or left in another jigsaw box. That's the funny thing about losing stuff, it invariably turns up when we least expect. The masks, the one way systems, the lack of classroom chats, no Friday music sessions, limited sport, less clubs, a worried staff and student body...none of these challenges are fun but we will find that lost piece again. And when we do, I hope that the entire puzzle will look even better than it was before and that we'll value it that much more, hoping to never misplace a piece again. By Mr Mark Twamley
The first few weeks were a bit of a shock to the system but I find myself adapting more and more every day. The thought of sitting inside without a mask on seems crazy and sanitising my hands before entering a room is practically ingrained in my muscle memory. This is a hard time for everyone and I’m just happy to be in school seeing my friends every day. You start to appreciate the little things more and find ways to still have a laugh even though the situation can sometimes get mundane. The return to school has had its challenges but overall I’m glad to be back. By Rachel Baum, 5th Year
Alien Hardships The journey back to school has been fraught with many a small but alien hardship. The eternal torrent of news, which one endeavours to avoid at the best of t i m e s , i s e v e n more omnipresent during this catastrophe. Anyone with their head on straight knows this: most news items, especially in the context of a provincial, national, or even (God forbid) international broadcaster, will have no material effect on one’s life. I am saddened by those who, upon hearing a news item, have an ephemeral but strong feeling of worry accompanying them for some time. I know I have had this myself several times, and it truly is a pathogen of the mind unlike any other. So, this Christmas, I invite you to change the channel, turn off the radio, kick up your feet and enjoy this time with your families. Merry Christmas everyone. By Matthew Sweeney, 5th Year
Hazmat Suits At the beginning of the school year, I felt as though many questions were left unanswered. Over the summer many predictions were made about what school would be like when we returned. I heard everything from sighs about facemasks to brief whispers of hazmat suits. I don’t think anyone really knew what it was going to be like when we came, but now I don’t remember school being any other way. Break and lunch are not exactly what I was expecting. I mean I don’t know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t 20-40 minutes of “should I put on my mask”, “are we sitting too close to each other” and “was that hay fever or the deadly plague”. While these changes have become easier to live with, I also find I've never felt so guilty in my life. Every minor mishap and slight mistake feels like I've just infected fifteen people with the virus I don’t actually have. Not to mention public transport now feels like I'm committing a crime. I'm not supposed to be on the bus and everyone on it is judging me even though they're just looking at their phone or out a window. The same overwhelming feeling of being judged appears after a cough or sneeze in class, followed immediately by intense remorse Given that the restrictions and regulations are everchanging, and the structure of daily life continues to waver, there is only one thing I can say for sure. I have burning, undying hatred for people who don’t sufficiently wipe down their desk at the end of class, I mean really no one wants to sit in a puddle of disinfectant for an hour, what happened to you that made you decide to punish the world? By Flora Lyons, TY
The Worse Option Midway through March of this year we were sent home with the message that we would be back in school within t wo or three weeks. About nine months later we’re beginning the lead-up to Christmas in masks while separated from loved ones.
interact with my friends. In comparison to the experience many people in Ireland are having in which they have had to avoid leaving their houses for over half a year wiping down desks and lunch outside doesn’t seem like the worse option. Our efforts are being rewarded as the government attempts to give us a safe and semi-normal Christmas. If we continue to persevere through these tough times we can then return to our normal lives. By Gavin Mac Aonghusa, TY
Be Kind One good thing that has come out of school during this pandemic, is that I’m a lot more connected and friendly to people. I don’t know if that’s just me but I feel more comfortable talking to people because I was without real social interaction for so long. I’ve also gotten pretty used to the mask at this point, I almost feel weird without it. This year has flown by, full of stress and weird feelings, but at the same time it’s been really painfully slow. I can only really see my friends at lunchtime, if I meet a new person I’m only going to see half of their face, sanitizing your hands every hour is annoying but you get used to it, and in the end, we’re protecting each other, which is really the most important thing. One thing I’ve learnt over the course of this year, you never know what someone is going through, everyone’s fighting their own battles, so just be kind. By Maeve Cooper, 3rd Year
Keeping Each Other Safe Back at the start of September, if had told me that we would still be in school by the end of September, I would’ve simply laughed in your face. From the start of the year, I've been quite sceptical of how the school was going to stay open. I thought the school would be overrun with cases and we would be shut down within a week.
Quite honestly, the school has done a great job, from Earlier this year I doubt I could’ve student to staff, at wearing masks, wiping down chairs, fathomed some of the changes to my life that have taken social distancing, and in general keeping each other safe. place. Despite all of this I still go to school and get to
It’s also been really nice to be able to meet my friends every day, rather than sitting at home, staring at a computer screen trying to learn. Although masks were a bit of a pain to start off with, I’ve gotten so used to them. It feels weird not having them on at this point. Sometimes I forget that I’m wearing one when I'm outside. By Ollie Gordon, 3rd Year
Like A Dried Up Raisin The man, the myth, the legend, Covid-19. A love-hate relationship I would have once called it. The buzz in the corridors resonated across the c o u n t r y a f t e r the monumental decision was taken to close schools back in March. The idea of getting a twoweek break was unheard of. But shortly after, the buffoonery of it all dried up like a raisin and the harsh reality set in. After a rollercoaster of a summer, full of mixed emotions, we were ready for anything. As we arrived back to school in September, no one really knew what to expect. The thought of returning to school was almost tantalizing. Most people were already accustomed to the regulations implemented in the school such as masking and sanitizing.
cost millions of lives. After a long and dreadfully boring summer of unstructured living and barely seeing friends, I was looking forward to coming back to school. School, to me, felt like the light at the end of the tunnel. The return of some semblance of normality. However, some adaptations had to be made. The first thing that struck me was the distance. Even though I could now see my friends, I couldn’t whisper to them in class or partake in any group activities. This further accentuated the sheer length of the classes. They say that the human mind can only concentrate for a maximum of 40 minutes and boy did I feel those extra 20 minutes. I’m sure I physically felt my brain shut down halfway through each class. Then there were the masks. I had never worn a mask for that long so my body clearly needed some time to adapt, as I would get awful headaches every day from them. Those first few weeks seemed gruelling. The hour-long classes, the constant breathing of your own oxygen and the consistently cold classrooms. There was also the disappointment that I wouldn’t be able to experience everything that TY had to offer me. Now that I’ve been back for a while, I can say that I have adapted to this strange new world. I no longer get headaches and classes don’t seem quite as long. I’m hopeful that with the coming of the vaccine, we’ll get to do some of the things we otherwise might have done in TY. It all seems normal to me now. At some point forced normalcy simply became normalcy. By Ciara Behan, TY
As we retire from the first semester, having learned lots of new ways to do simple tasks, I can safely say we have made the most out of the situation we have been put in and had our fair share of horseplay in between. The thought of going back into lockdown for six weeks will stay in my head rent free, just like the Leaving Certificate I’ll be sitting in six months. By Marcus Tidey, 6th Year
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel When it was announced that we would get a few weeks off school due to the coronavirus, I am ashamed to admit that I was excited to be getting a break. I never anticipated that I would be doing my Junior Cert online, or that the pandemic would last for the entire rest of the year and Lino Self Portrait—Lilly Cross
It’s Good To Be Back It’s good to be back in school. We bring some new vocabulary with us too; “Lockdown”, “social bubble”, “new-normal”, “selfisolating”. We have all been impacted by the last few months in different ways but finding words that help us to express our anxieties, worries and stresses, helps to unite us, even if that unity started off remotely. School is a different place than what it was this time last year but it’s still good to be back! This pandemic has reminded us what really matters in our lives. The time we spent at home, although it brought its own tensions, helped us to reframe our outlook on life and we learned to be kind to each other again. Of course, there have been arguments, the virus LOVES an argument, but we were able to push the reset button and slow down. We need to see the positives in this situation; what we have learned is the importance in taking time out and re-evaluating from time to time. This second Lockdown has been difficult in other ways. We have not been as isolated as the first and the return to being a non-virtual member of the school community has been amazing for our social and educational lives, but it has still been tough-going getting used to this “new-normal”. Complacency and quick responses can flourish in high-stress situations. Our tempers, alongside the days, have shortened. Mindfulness is so important in times like these. This is why we need Christmas now and I am planning on getting as Christmassy as possible! “Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” - Dr. Seuss By Ms Amy Keating
A Debt of Gratitude The squirrel leap frogging from branch to branch and onto other trees like it was high on something has no idea that there is a virus plaguing our land. He is quite happy, out and about gathering his nuts for the winter ahead.
I on the other hand relish the walks, the cycling and anything else that could fill my days in this compulsory lockdown period. The animal kingdom however I think might take a different view to this sudden onslaught of humans invading their territory. The ducks in the park lake are quacking with delight as their new chicks stumble around at the water’s edge to the great delight of the passing visitors. But mamma duck is not terribly impressed though at the sudden increase in humans staring down while she performs her ablutions and attends to her babies. I guess even ducks need their privacy. What about the poor domestic dog? Fido and his fellow canines are facing extinction from the sudden sadistic rush to go ‘walkies’. As if to punish their owners, and us, Fido and his cohorts have conspired to over-foul the park grasses and paths, especially where humans sit and walk and especially too if there are young children around. The trick being to keep the owners unaware of said crimes lest they clean up the messes. It seems the dogs got pretty good at fooling their owners. Such was life for the animal kingdom when we were confined to a 2km lockdown. Visits to our nearest park or woods or in fact anywhere out of the house became the norm. Walking, cycling, jogging and a little bit of driving within the 2km radius. The sweaty joggers panting profusely as they stagger pass you doesn’t exactly enhance the atmosphere of nature’s beauty around us. Actually, neither does the current sight of discarded PPE littering our parks and streets do much enhancing either. As we punctuated our daily routines with all of the above, we were and are of course painfully conscience of the acute suffering of many in our land who are seriously ill and the too many who are dying from this virus. We owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to our front-line workers. By Bobby Ryan
A Narrower Focus Since the twelfth of March, I have enjoyed the narrower focus that life has taken on. I am part of a busy family, where a day without plans, people to see, and places to go would be a very rare thing. It was so nice to live a simpler, less frantic life for a while. I loved the sensation of waking up and not being able to hear the white noise of cars in the distance, replaced by the surprisingly loud and varied
sounds of birds. I got to know places right beside our home that I had never noticed before. An anonymous triangle of overgrown land that is probably intended for ‘development’ at some point became a beautiful place with its own secrets to discover, once I took the time to stop and look. It was teeming with very well developed life systems, and I enjoyed the bees on the wild flowers, the goldfinches, the baby horse chestnut trees. I discovered a path that follows the course of Three Trout Stream from close to my home right down to the sea, past the plastic factory and the sewage plant. The bird and insect life were endlessly fascinating along this walk, and the more I looked, the more there was to see. I came to understand and value the small distinctive places around me, from the turn in the path where the space closes in, to the steep bit beside the fence, to the hiding place behind the big tussock of long grass and ragwort. It may be naïve, but as I ran along the middle of car-less streets in the sunshine, listening to birds, and waving at my neighbours from at least two metres, it felt like we were all getting a little break. As we emerge from this time, I hope I can be mindful in deciding which activities are worth bringing back, and which of the frantic habits can be left in the pre-covid past.
Artwork by Alex Stewart Miller, TY
By Mr Ciaran Byrne
First Impressions This year, after many months of lockdown and not being at school, Newpark invited the incoming first years back to school. It was quite an odd thing for us at first as no one had really been back at such an environment for such a long time. Like most of my peers, I had no idea what to expect and it was a relief to find that so many friendly people attended the school. Movies heavily influence children’s views of secondary school and it was quite comical to experience what secondary school is actually like. So many people had such odd and unique expectations that were beyond comparable to the real thing. Overall, it was a refreshing and overwhelming event Hopefully every other brand new group of first years will make just as many good memories and friends. By Kate Glanville, First Year
PPE Man by Ulyana Kuzmenko, 6th year
turned into a sweatshop. Eventually towards the end of lockdown I ran out of fabric and thread and had to wait for the shops to open to continue my lockdown hobby.
Lockdown Edition 1.
Over lockdown to me it seemed there wasn’t a lot to be happy about until one day my dad got a Facebook ad that said the DCPCA were closing because of the Corona Virus and had to foster away all of their twelve baby goats. So that’s exactly what we did, we fostered twelve baby goats over lock down and a whopping four survived which just gave me so much optimism for the future.
Ruby O’Leary Murray, 5th Year 7.
Isaac O’Neill, 6th Year 2.
Over lockdown, one thing that kept me happy was watching early seasons of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I set myself the goal of watching it until I saw someone win the million pounds. I finally achieved my goal in August after five months of casual watching and it was the best day of my life.
Jordan Young Elliot, 5th Year 8.
Rachel Baum, 5th Year 3.
Just before we went into lockdown I invested in a PlayStation. My games of choice were FIFA and Red Dead Redemption. RDR was my favourite, I enjoyed watching the characters struggle with the morals in a world that was often lawless. Plus shooting people is fun!
Over lockdown I learned loads of new songs on my piano and baked. Victoria sponge, red velvet cake, oreo cheesecake and cookies!
During lockdown I tried growing a beard. By tried, I really mean I just became too lazy to shave it off. I’m also not sure you could call it a beard – more of a face warmer if I’m being honest. Once I left the house it was gone down the drain never to return … unless a new lockdown keeps me inside again. Mannix Kerskens, 5th Year
During lockdown we fostered a baby duck for three months. We named her Daisy. We used to bring her to a pond in Carrickmines and she would sit there in the water with all the other ducks. I miss her following me around the house.
I took up baking (like every day!) and bought a cake making and decoration kit. I started posting pictures of my cakes on a local forum and started making and selling customised cakes. It kept me really busy and was fun and creative. I became a lot better at baking and learned how to set up a little business that made a profit and paid for my ingredients.
Críosa Killarney, 2nd Year
Sarah Kenny, 5th Year
Oz Klug, 3rd Year 5.
I tried walking the pier around the same time every day. It was within my 5km – an ideal place to get a break from the house. Only locals were to be seen walking – in was very quiet in comparison to the usual crowds. With lockdown going into summer it was pretty unsettling at first seeing the empty pier on sunny days when it would usually be swarming with families. Emily ní Chiarain, 5th Year
Ms Lesley Ring 4.
I started smoking meat in a woodfire offset smoker. I can’t remember how or why. I started out small, half rack of ribs, pulled pork and so on until I tried to smoke brisket. A brisket is so large it takes roughly eighteen hours to cook. The wood has to be hardwood – preferably from fruit trees. I used apple and peach wood.
I have always loved sewing and fashion and during the lockdown I really dived into my sewing kit and taught myself how to properly sew. I decided to design my own fabric facemasks – within a week I was buried in dozens of them. I became glued to my sewing machine and started selling masks online with a portion of the profits going to charity. I would spend hours sewing. Hours! At one point my parents got concerned. My bedroom
At the start of the lockdown one of my main goals was to make a salad from scratch. I was fortunate to have a collection of seeds I had acquired over the years from Lidl and a window box that had stood empty since its purchase. I started off with an ambitious selection including lettuce, aubergine, carrots, cucumber, chilli peppers, tomatoes, chervil and parsley. Nature proved to be cruel and unyielding, particularly the slugs and
birds. Battles were fought and casualties were felt by both sides (particularly my ego). Scarecrow building grew out of control and days of construction were fruitless due to my ineffective effigy. By midsummer all that remained of my garden was a few carrots, some lettuce and a particularly successful parsley plant. These made a measly, unpalatable salad.
Prince of Denmark. Aside from reading, I played video games. Truly the pinnacle of entertainment, video games. And as the ukulele I did not own did not look in terror because it did not exist, I played and played. I played games like there was no tomorrow. And the ukulele that did not exist sat on the shelf in my room and did not look because it couldn’t.
3 out of 10, wouldn’t try again.
Neal Dowling, 3rd Year
Mr Cillian Costigan 12.
I persuaded my mum to get a treadmill. It was easy because it turned out she wanted one too (I don’t know why because she hasn’t set foot on it since). I soon realized how unfit I was, but I kept up running every day which I felt really good about as I hadn’t gone on a run in years. I looked forward to my run each evening to see how far or fast I could push myself. I even started to see a change in my mind-set – I was way more positive. Ria Phillips, 5th Year
I started learning how to backflip. It was going well until I landed wrong and hurt my shoulder. I looked up some YouTube videos and started practicing on my little grass area in the back garden. Then I went on to plant vegetables instead! I planted garlic, onions, raspberries and rhubarb. Cian Adams, 5th Year
Much like my peers, I had a great amount of time to not do something over the lockdown. I had many months, locked in my house with nothing to do, and I did not look to my ukulele for entertainment. It took a lot of time and effort, not learning the ukulele. I did not start watching YouTube ukulele guide videos for the ukulele I was not learning, I spent hours in my room not learning the ukulele that was not in my bedroom. Over the summer I didn’t play all my favourite songs on the ukulele that I did not own. Instead of learning the ukulele, I read. I read all that there was to read. As the ukulele I did not own looked in horror, I spent most of the lockdown reading, reading all sorts of things. I read the newspapers, and when there were no more newspapers in the house, I downloaded multiple news apps onto my phone. I read Animal Farm again, I read The Wave, I am still reading Sophie’s World because it’s so long, I received The Complete Works of Shakespeare and I am currently reading Hamlet,
I decided to buy a gift of an archery set for a male family member. (It’s really hard to buy presents for men). This was the best gift ever, BUT you need a long back garden or at least a place where arrows do not appear travelling swiftly and dangerously into the neighbour’s garden. Suddenly all four family members were aiming for the centre target board at any spare moment. Points were adding up on the scoresheet, bets were being made and booking slots had to be organised. The two minute breaks from working online were opportunities to aim better, pull stronger and longer on the bow line, aim the bow higher or lower. The competition was fierce and even the baking stopped. Ms Gormlaith Ormond
25 Reasons To Be Cheerful
Every morning I would wake up with a smile across my face. What a beautiful day! As I walked my dog, I would think about all the sweet nothings to avail of. Of course, I did things, but I by no means felt as though I had to, and that was the real beauty of it. – Matthew Sweeney, 5th Year.
There were two things that really lifted my mood during lockdown: movies and music. I watched around three movies and listened to four albums a day during lockdown and the whole of summer. I don’t feel a single minute of my life was wasted. Yes, I had to sit through terrible movies such as Mamma Mia and I also had to listen to albums that were stabbing my ears such as St Anger by Metallica. But other than the bad they were good. I would watch many mediocre movies that I would forget as soon as I’ve finished watching them, but I would then come across a filmmaking masterpiece such as Her directed by Spike Jonze and Oldboy directed by Park Chan Wook. I would also listen to forgettable albums and eventually find albums that would massage my ears such as Floa by Mammal Hands and Shadow Theatre by Tigran Hamasyan. – Hasan Al Sader, 5th Year
If there is anything positive to take out of this year, I think it is that the virus and the isolation seem to have triggered our desire to care for one another. I have been in touch with some of my friends and family more than I used to be, and despite the distance I have enjoyed endless philosophical discussions and banter via zoom. – Ms Jeanne Bombon
Inspired by a recent Irish Times article 75 Reasons To Be Cheerful, Newpark staff and students share things that bring light into the darkness. 1.
Gardening and planting bulbs that will sprout in the spring. Having barbecues with my sisters and mum about four nights a week, laughing into the night forgetting all about the virus. Lying in bed till whatever time I wanted and not feeling the need to get dressed since no one would see me and I wasn’t able to go out. Going on walks and saying ‘Hi’ to every random person that walked by, since it was the only other human interaction I was getting apart from home. The exciting experience of going to Tesco and inspecting every bottle or item on the shelves to spend more time outside the house. Doing zoom calls and Kahoot quizzes for all my friends’ birthdays. These were the reasons I stayed happy during lockdown. – Maeve-Aoife Byrne, 6th Year After years, and I mean years of asking my parents to get Netflix for the family, over quarantine they finally relented. I know it sounds like the laziest reason in history to be cheerful, but after spending years of “sailing the seven seas”, so to speak, in order to watch any good shows, it was really jaw-dropping and surreal in the best possible way to have so many shows available to watch so easily. This reason to be cheerful was sponsored by Netflix. – Fionn Murray, 6th Year
During quarantine I painted, but I soon ran out of canvases and had to get creative. I started to paint the walls, even the ceiling: cityscapes and the skies with bright colours. I filled another wall with album covers by my favourite artists and my walls now pay tribute to Prince, Amy Winehouse, The Beatles and more. – Caoimhe Burns, 5th Year
I found much happiness and relaxation in going on walks. It gave me a sense of normality and it felt good to get out the house. Baking over lockdown has also been a wonderful and tasty past time. I never did much baking before, but I find it very fun. I’d like to call it a new hobby! – Grace Patterson, 3rd Year
Every morning during lockdown I switched on CNN and listened to experts tell the world about Trump and all of his wrongdoings. It makes me feel happy that I’m on this side of the Atlantic. – Colin Dowling, 5th Year
Eating food. And knowing restrictions would be lifted soon. – Henry O’Sullivan, 3rd Year
What kept me happy during lockdown was finally completing a rabona and getting my football to land in the bin. I also shaved my head and helped my granny in the garden. – Mark Roche, 3rd Year
I often would help my parents in the garden. We made lots of flower beds and planted lots of vegetables. I would also go on walks and cycle up
Something that made me happy during lockdown was getting on my bike, switching off my phone and then cycling until I was lost. It was an adventure trying to get home without Google Maps! – Malachy Jambrina, 5th Year
to my grandparents. – Rachel O’Sullivan, 3rd Year 13.
Playing video games! I know it’s not the healthiest thing to do but playing through a good game is like getting attached to a good book. The only difference is you are the main character and you get to choose where a story goes. – Tomas McTurk, 3rd Year
Over lockdown there were a number of things that kept me happy. Music is one of those things. Whether I’m listening to it, playing it or recording it, it makes me happy. Another thing thing that kept me cheerful was focusing on the places I could go outside, rather than on the places I could not. There were times where I would go on a walk around where I live, without a destination or goal. Other times I would just make myself a cup of tea and sit in my back garden, enjoying the fresh, cool air. – Henry Carmody, 2nd Year
Sleeping, eating, TV and books. Everything else irritated the hell out of me. – Isobel Smiley, 2nd Year
I know it sounds naff but …running through the garden sprinklers with my 5-year old grandson til we were soaked to the skin and laughing til it hurt as we rolled down the hill to dry off! Laughing equally hard at the shocked faces of my lovely but sober Dutch in-laws who could not understand why anyone would do such a thing… even if there was a 39 degree heatwave! I think they began to worry about the gene-pool of their daughter-in-law and our common grand-children! - Ms Gearoidin O’Dwyer
Sport kept me happy. Whether it was running around at training, swimming down at Seapoint, or getting schooled on the golf course by Ms McCarthy! Having it back, even just to watch, is a relief. It’s provided us with so much magic in the last few months. Sometimes we only see the value of something when it’s not there. – Ms Lesley Ring My playstation kept me from going insane. During a break from Minecraft, I tripped over my overweight cat, who was taking up an entire step on the stairs. I stood on her and I fell down the stairs. – Jack Farragher, 2nd Year During lockdown I managed to survive by learning lockpicking among other skills. I’d been interested in lockpicking for around a year prior to lockdown, but I'd never actually used
lockpicks. My interest in cubing also was a good time waster and made life slightly less boring. But the real lifesaver was my dog Molly, who was always there, just keeping me company. I also frequently chatted to my neighbour James, who had just gotten a puppy named Freddie. The funny thing is, our neighbours on the other side of our house also have a puppy named Freddie, who frequently squeezes under the hedge separating our houses. James’ Freddie is something of an escape artist too and has often tried to get into the other Freddie’s garden through ours. – Jesse McCarthy, 2nd Year 20.
Playing video games, watching movies, playing basketball and stuffing my face with sweets. Life couldn’t get any better. – Leon Maughan, 2nd Year
Twenty-minute walks with my mum. A welcome break from sitting at my desk, trying and failing to do the endless PowerPoints and word documents. We'd walk by the seafront eating cake, ice cream or drinking smoothies, depending on our mood. Watching Netflix with my brother. We watched the same show multiple times, each as good as the last, it’s amazing that we didn't get bored of it. – Silvia Cummins, 2nd Year
Things that make me feel happy in the belly of wintertime: the warm pink that brushes across the sky when I look out of the window; watching birds fly in perfect synchronicity; when friends I’ve known forever laugh like a child, their eyes welling up. - Abby Whelan, 5th Year
Christmas lights, the rush and excitement of that time of year. The sound of a Christmas song playing that you love – whether it reminds you of a good memory or simply brings you joy. The best is when you don’t even know why something makes you happy. It just does. - Lucie Balay Chawke, 5th Year
Frost covered leaves. The morning sunrise and evening sunsets. Squirrels popping out of nowhere and hopping along the grass. Warm cups of tea. - Tabitha Smith, 5th Year
I’m starting to see a lot of Christmas decorations in the streets – I always like that. It makes people happy and gives communities something to look forward to. And street performers playing Christmas songs in the street or hearing them in the shops. After everything related to Covid, Christmas decorations and traditions just feel nicer than ever. - Alex Ryan, 5th Year
TY Catering Competition
In TY we have a class called Arts, which has options such as Photography, Russian, Salsa dancing, Creative writing and more. It’s a great chance to try something new. I chose to do Photography. I already had an interest in photography so I was excited that I got the opportunity to learn about it in school. I learnt so much in photography class and I looked forward to it each week. We were given an assignment in each class and went outside or around the school taking photos. Our first assignment was to take a photo with a trace of someone incorporated into nature. It was really enjoyable and we were able to be really creative. One of my favourite assignments was to take photos from different angles. I tried different ways of taking each photo to get the best shot. My camera roll was full of flowers, leaves and other things around the school grounds! I loved being able to experiment with different angles and methods and I learnt a lot. For the end of module assignment we had to pick some of our favourite photos we had taken over the weeks that went well together, and to arrange them into PowerPoint, creating a loose narrative flow with the order of images. I enjoyed going back over all my photos and creating a PowerPoint that I can look back on. It was a great way to end a great class! By Danielle Bowles, TY
Our TY Halloween Cupcake Competition had all our students’ hair stand on end. Working to ‘Thriller’ and a few more Halloween classics, they turned fondant and buttercream icing into ghastly eyeballs, ugly gremlins, bloody skulls, creepy gravestones, to name but a few! The clock stopped after two hours, when each student had to submit their ghoulish delights! Our students certainly didn’t make it easy for our wonderful judges! It was an unenviable task indeed. However, decisions had to be made and winners had to be selected. Congratulations to all students involved, your culinary skills are second to none! In Ms Mahon’s class a special congratulations goes to Caoilin Murray and Theo Killen, who came joint 3rd, Laragh Tierney who came 2nd and Sophie Hamilton who came 1st. In Ms. Farlow’s class, well done to Erin Kirby who came 3rd, Sadie who came 2nd and Laura Fahy who came 1st. It was a great class, with lots of fun and loads of learning! We are very much looking forward to the Christmas Cake Competition!
By Ms Denise Mahon
Expectations vs Reality For most of us, Covid-19 has changed the year greatly. I was worried about going into TY as I didn’t know if we would be able to do anything fun and exciting that a normal TY year would do. As the eldest child in my family, I didn’t know as much about TY activities compared to some people in the year who have older siblings, so my expectations of the year wouldn’t have been as high. I thought that as we couldn’t go on any trips or do normal activities where social distancing can’t be practised, it would leave us with very little exciting things to do in school. But actually, the amount of things we can do surprised me a lot. Within the first couple of days back to school we got to pick our Leisure and Recreation activities, which is the equivalent of P.E. There were lots of different options like yoga, Zumba, Surfdock, the Wall and more. For module 1, I chose Surfdock which I was really excited to do. I thought that we might not be allowed do it, but I was glad that it could still go ahead since it was outside. In Surfdock we got to do kayaking, paddle boarding and wake boarding and it was a great experience. It was nice to get out of school and do something different. I expected that a lot of the Arts classes wouldn’t be able to go ahead but I was happily wrong! I was able to do Photography and I love taking photos so I was excited that we could still do that. There was some things that we couldn’t do but overall we got to learn a lot! I am now doing salsa dancing for module 2. I thought that we wouldn’t be able to do much as we can’t do partner work, but we can still learn some of the basics of salsa. I expected that most classes during the week would be core subjects but we actually get to do many different things each module, like life skills and social studies. In Lifeskills we get to learn very valuable things like First Aid, Communications and Careers. In Social Studies I got to do Politics which was interesting and it gives you the chance to see if you would like to study it for the leaving cert, which is a useful thing to know. One of my main concerns about TY was whether we would be able to do work experience. I was really looking forward to it, but I thought that I would be really hard to find any since most people are working from home. The school has done some things that will help us out a lot. Our first activity weeks have been
moved from November to February, which gives us more time to find work experience and hopefully there will be less restrictions then. Also, instead of having to find three work experiences, we only have to find two as the school had organised a World of Work week for us, where we will get to learn about different careers. I can’t wait to see what the rest of TY had in store for us! By Danielle Bowles, TY
Transition Year has been different this year due to the pandemic, but one module that has remained the same is guest speaker. Albeit with some technical difficulties which seem to arise every week. We’ve had a great variety of speakers, talking about everything from Mr Hollwey’s trip to Africa, to charity work, to how to create a great CV. Eoin Stynes spoke to us about his personal experiences with mental health. Some have spoken about their jobs and tried to inspire us to think about careers we might never have considered before, such as a John Lonergan who was a prison governor and Ella McSweeney, an investigative journalist. A lot of the speakers have been from charities, such as the Dublin Simon Community and GOAL. Miss Dempsey even spoke about the charity she set up, Ndiini School Food Programme, which provides lots of schoolchildren in Kenya with a nutritious meal every day. I have found all of these speakers very interesting and I’m very excited to see who will be talking to us over the rest of the year. By Isobel McSweeney, TY
As a part of the leisure and recreation class in the transition year program, Zumba is offered as an option that you can do for one of the three modules. Zumba is a dance-fitness class and in Newpark it is taught by Ms Delaney. I chose Zumba as my option for Leisure and Recreation in the first module of this year (which was the start of school to Halloween), and I was not disappointed. Now I am not extremely talented or gifted in dance but to make the most out of this class you have to let yourself go and try your hardest. Which I did and which was really fun. Every week there would be a new type of dance or dance routine brought into the mix as well as focusing on the fitness part. For example salsa dancing and the Charleston were featured. I think that everyone enjoyed
learning how to do new dances as well as the routines that we did in a class or in pairs. Zumba is a great type of exercise because you almost don’t realise you’re actually exercising as you’re focusing on where to step your feet and what to do with your hands, but at the end of every class there were a lot of rosy cheeks. Overall I found Zumba a very engaging and fun class. Ms Delaney kept the class lively and up beat. Considering the mix of abilities we had, her choreography worked surprisingly well. I would highly recommend for someone interested in dance and even for someone who isn’t interested in dance. There is something really great about moving your arms and feet around to the beat of a song (or slightly off the beat if you’re rhythmically challenged like me). By Edith Kelly, TY
World of Work
great educational experience as well as an opportunity for students to think, reflect and imagine possibilities.
One of the core parts of Transition Year is work experience. However, this year, opportunities to participate in this have been severely limited. To provide an equivalent opportunity for this year’s cohort, Guidance and TY have teamed up to bring a ‘World of Work’ experience to TY students.
We are very grateful to all the professionals and students who have agreed to give up their time to make this experience possible. At the end of the week students will do a presentation on a career that interests them. By Ms Sheila Ahern
National Maternity Hospital Zoom In November, TY students considering studying medicine after school got the opportunity to participate in the National Maternity Hospital’s TY Zoom Day. Since that is something I am interested in, I thought it would be a great experience and I would be able to learn so much. This will be an action-packed week of presentations from colleges, and interviews with people working in a variety of jobs some of whom are recent graduates. Among those we will showcase are a physiotherapist, an accountant, a journalist, a doctor, an engineer and a barrister. We have a bio-chemical engineer who will talk about how Engineering and Science are merging. Our Data Scientist come Microbiologist will talk about how disciplines which we normally think of as separate and distinct are blending across various career lines. We will find out how data is emerging as a key enabler of innovation across all sectors of society and is radically changing how we do things.
Normally the Maternity Hospital would have a programme in person in the hospital but obviously this year they couldn’t, so it was held over Zoom. The advantage of this is that a lot more people got to be involved, but the disadvantage was that as we were not in the hospital we didn’t get the same atmosphere and understanding of the hospital. But still, I really enjoyed it and found it really beneficial. There were different people who work in the National Maternity Hospital talking to us throughout the day. There was an anaesthesiologist, a radiologist, an obstetrician, a paediatrician and a midwife. They all told us about their job, what they need to know in their job and other interesting facts.
These are exciting times to be in education and there are many ways to get to where we want to go. One of the new and emerging areas rapidly developing is the whole area of Apprenticeships. The head of Apprenticeships in TU Dublin will talk about the traditional craft Apprenticeships as well as Apprenticeships 21. These are the new Apprenticeships in areas such as Insurance, ICT, as well as in biopharma which is an ever-expanding area in Ireland. We will also have a conversation with an Accountancy Apprentice who choose to go the Apprenticeship route after getting 552 points in his leaving Cert.
There were also some students who are studying medicine at the moment who spoke to us. It was nice to get information off people who are not that much older than us.
We also have college talks from Trinity, UCD, IADT as well from Blackrock Further Education Institute (BFEI). Students from the IADT past and present will tell us what they are doing now. We are very much looking forward to this. We believe it will provide a
Overall, I found the whole Zoom call really interesting and I’m glad I got the opportunity to participate.
We were shown some videos and given the opportunity to ask questions to each person after their talk. The doctor talking to us about radiology told us some funny stories, as she deals with children when they need an xray. One time a child came in after swallowing a whole, big fork! I can’t imagine how they got it down their throat without causing any damage.
By Danielle Bowles, TY
Tie Dye Face Masks
Myself, Hugh, Lucas, Aoife, Zofie, Elliot, Abby and Fionn organised an Among Us themed treasure hunt for the First Years. It was based around all the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The idea was that there were four imposters, and the rest of the class were crewmates. The imposters had to run around the school and 'kill' the crewmates without anyone suspecting it was them. The crewmates were given riddles to solve that led them to an area of the school. Once they reached that area, there would be a sheet with one of the UN Goals Myself, Edith, Amelie, Hugh, Cerys, and Abby were all and a question. Once they had found the answer, they part of the team who made, dyed and sold face masks. moved on to a new task. This project was a fundraiser for Flossie and the Beach After weeks of planning and trial and error we were Cleaners who Transition Years do beach cleans with on able to pull it off with the first-year forms. Needless to Tuesdays. They are an incredible organisation who say, I think they enjoyed themselves. It was an amazing volunteer to clean up the beaches in our community. way to interact with the forms and for the forms to do a Since they cannot do as many fundraisers this year, we group activity, and it was also a good way to educate decided to raise some money in school by selling tie-dye the kids on the UN Goals. face masks. We had a leader-board for the best imposter, and Mel from 1KD got an honourable score of five kills! The game was also a fund-raiser for Flossie and the Beach Cleanersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an amazing organisation that aims to tackle plastic pollution. It was a good opportunity to raise money and give back to our community, so we had asked the first years to bring in two euros.
After a week of dyeing 250 masks and scrubbing our hands to get all shades of pink and blue dye off, we were ready to sell the masks. We started selling them at five euros, but we were finding it difficult to sell the masks. After some communication, we decided to lower the price to three euros or two masks for five euro and we had a much bigger audience interested in buying the masks.
It was really satisfying to see people buying the product and in doing so, giving back to the community. Thank As well as all the first years enjoying themselves, we you to everyone who bought a mask and thank you to loved organising and pulling off the activity! There was Ms Adams, Ms Achari and Ms Anderson for helping us never a dull moment. Thank you to Ms Adams for and being so patient with us whilst we sold the masks. supporting us and making this all possible and thank By Naomi Breen, TY you to Mr Lennon for letting us borrow his whistle! By Naomi Breen, TY
Lights, Camera, Action!
When we went home we were able to watch it on TV because it was on that day. It was so weird to see ourselves on TV! It was a great experience and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. By Síofra Norton, TY
Transition Years regularly work with Flossie and the Beach Cleaners, doing weekly beach cleans. Some of us have volunteered to do primary school workshops with the team, teaching them about sustainability and the environment. RTE joined us for one of these workshops and interviewed us about the work we are doing. It was nerve-wrecking but also exciting! We went down to the beach to meet up with Harriet who coordinates the workshops and our beach cleans. Before the film crew got there, we went through what we were going to do and we set up some things for the workshop like making a sand volcano. When the film crew arrived, we split up into groups and they went around filming the kids picking up rubbish. It was funny because they made some of the children drop the rubbish and pick it back up loads of times to get the shot right. After that they interviewed us and asked us about pollution in Ireland and what motivates us to help the environment. We were all so nervous even though it wasn’t live and we could do it again if we messed up. Leah had to do it so many times because the Darts kept going past at the wrong times.
For Green Schools and TY Community Action this year, students have taken part in many different activities since the start of school. We’ve started doing a travel survey for a new green flag and compared results to last years and there has been improvements since. We also counted the Newpark hydro and coffee flasks which might be sold later on in the year. We held a poster competition for travel posters to go onto the Green Schools notice board. Now we have started on rebuilding the wormery for compost. We are looking forward to setting up the wormery completely and to helping out more around the school. By Leah Grove, TY
Not Much Forsyth
think after about a week I felt much more settled in. I just threw myself into it and figured anything I need to know I can just ask someone and then everything else will just come with time and it has. So after about a week it definitely improved even more after two weeks of teaching my classes once I got to know them. I feel very comfortable now, but I’ll probably have to reintroduce myself when we all take off the masks since I don’t know what anyone actually looks like apart from their eyes. I’d say I could pass people outside and I wouldn’t have a clue who they are, so I think it will be funny when we finally get to take off the masks. What is your favourite thing about Newpark? My favourite thing so far is probably the atmosphere around the place, and I know that’s a diplomatic answer, but I do think the atmosphere is what allows teachers and students to have that nice relationship. All the students I’ve come across have been really nice and all the teachers have been very nice too. I think to boil that into one phrase I’d say the atmosphere around the place would be my favourite thing so far.
We interviewed Mr Forsyth who is a new teacher in Newpark about his experiences of the school so far and the challenges he faced while starting a new job during a pandemic. What are your first impressions of Newpark? So far, I really like Newpark. I think it’s a really cool school. I don’t know if you guys think that I’m just being a classic teacher saying good things about it but I have worked in a good few schools now and I think it really stands out with the kind of relationship that it affords teachers and students to have. If you haven’t been to a different school you might not see that but I do think there’s a really nice relationship between teachers and students which you don’t really see in every school, so I’m very happy to be here so far. What subjects do you teach? I teach English and CSPE. What was it like starting a new job during a pandemic? It’s been tough, it was definitely nerve wracking the first few days. Just starting a job is nerve wracking under normal circumstances but because there are masks and all these procedures that everyone else was trying to learn and I’m coming in trying to just learn how the school works. It was kind of tough like I didn’t know if I should be asking questions all the time and didn’t know when I should ask these questions, but I
How have you found having hour long classes? I am actually a fan of hour-long classes and I think it’s the way forward for most subjects, especially the new Junior Cert. I think it definitely suits my subject, English, because I can get through a lot of reading, watch a bit of a film and do some writing exercises all within the hour which is great. I think it relaxes the school day which is odd since you have to sit down for an hour, but I do feel like it just relaxes people a little bit. When you’re changing place every 40 minutes it’s harder to actually settle in sometimes, so I’d be a fan. I know it doesn’t benefit all subjects, but I think it really works for English. Do you prefer to teach younger or older students? I actually don’t have a preference because I think with older students you get the benefit of more intellectual conversations about what you’re teaching, and they pick concepts up faster. However, I think the juniors are very open and enthusiastic and really throw themselves at creative writing tasks. I like to look at the good sides in both classes so I’m really enjoying both. What are you most looking forward to this year in school? I don’t know because usually there would be trips that you’d have during the school year or plays that the students put on, so there’s not really any event or anything that I can tell you I’m looking forward to, but I’m probably most looking forward to getting to the end
of the year and hopefully coming back next year and moving on with the students. I really enjoy seeing them progress and develop so I suppose that’s would I’d be looking forward to the most. I love to find out what my 6th years end up studying and there are always some creative people who go down different paths that I would never have considered, so I always find that really interesting. I guess it’s just watching the progression of this year and hopefully we can get through it and then get back to some normality. Do you find it difficult to teach while wearing a mask? Actually, I haven’t noticed it too much, although I think my throat might be a little bit sore by the time I go home since I am probably projecting more, but I haven’t really found it too difficult. I think part of it is that students have been so mature about it and have just got on with things. I don’t think there has been any times where I felt that people couldn’t read my reactions. The students seem to be very good and responsive in class, so I really think it hasn’t been a problem and vice versa, I haven’t found it hard with students wearing a mask. There’s been the odd time maybe when someone said something, and I just have to ask who said that and they respond, so it’s been fine really, I don’t mind it too much.
hour or two on doing something that I enjoy. Was there a particular moment since you came here that really stood out for you? Some of the English staff members had a zoom call to learn and share ideas about how to teach Shakespeare online last week and it was actually really good fun. We acted parts out and you know when you’re doing drama you always end up doing really silly things, so it went really well, and it was very enjoyable. That was one of those moments where it reminded me that when the pandemic does end, or at least when school gets back to normal, there are a lot of things to do with staff and students. There are a lot of fun things that go on around the school, so I think that was the moment that reminded me of how much more I have to learn about the school and I really enjoyed that. By Isobel McSweeney, TY
The Height of Drama!
Are you interested in any extracurricular activities like drama or sport or anything? I coach a rugby team here already and I’d be interested
in setting up a water polo team or something like that. It’s good fun so I’d be interested in that, but since the swimming isn’t happening at the moment, it probably won’t be until next year. I played both rugby and water polo for a long time so that’s why I started coaching. I think it’s great to do extracurricular activities in school as it gives you the opportunity to get to know students better, and even to get to know some of the staff better. It’s nice because otherwise I’d be home by about half 3 or 4 o’ clock every day so I might as well add another
The English department became students again as they took part in some drama workshops led by Ms Devis. The workshops were aimed at finding new ways to teach drama in a postCovid world. One of the workshops took place over Microsoft Teams, while another was conducted in the theatre. A big thanks to Ms Devis who put the workshops together!
Newpark Drama and Newpark Theatre Company I hope this finds everyone safe and well. We are still hanging in there despite our current difficult times. Everything is very different this year but it is still our intention to make theatre in some form or other. A few months ago everything looked very bleak for theatre at Newpark but with creativity and positivity we are slowly making things happen. Health and Safety have been the main focus of everything this year so we have to be very careful with how much we do to keep everyone healthy and safe. In August we had a brilliant Zoom meeting with past pupils from all over the world and from different generations of Newpark. This brought up the challenges of this year for theatre globally but also the possibilities. It was a very inspiring conversation and I think everyone gained new insight and perspective on things. We are looking for any past/present pupils, teachers and parents who would be up to the challenge of devising an online production of some sort. We have slowly started ECA Drama for current students. There will be no big play this year and it is very unlikely that we will perform anything in the actual theatre. Everything will be outside and/or online. When surveying the students, we got a huge response from 1st years, with 48 expressing an interest in doing Drama after school. At the moment only two pods are allowed on one day a week so unfortunately only 26 1st years are taking part at present. These sessions take place every Friday and are expertly led by two Sixth years, Zara O’Sullivan and Isaac O’Neill. Second years are now enjoying Drama outside too, led brilliantly by the 5th years. An exciting event happened in October where we had a live theatre event in the school. This is the brainchild of Gemma Tipton, renowned journalist and past pupil. Festival in a Van gave the majority of third years a theatrical taste of Romeo and Juliet. Huge thank you to Creative Ireland and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council who generously funded this event. We are also hoping to run our annual drama festivals,
the Short Plays and Junior Plays, but obviously this will need to be in accordance with Government restrictions and HSE advice. On this note we are doing a big call out for the Short Plays. This festival of original plays written, produced and performed by students, staff and parents (past and present) is our annual fundraiser for our theatre and Drama department. It was first conceived in 20** by the wonderful Mark Ball, then a 6th Year student, now a professional drama practitioner. It’s a short and exciting drama experience to be involved in: after the scripts, directors and casts are established, each team has a brief period (traditionally one week) to rehearse, shape and design their production for the once-off night of performance. This year will need even more innovative and creative thinking than usual, not just for the dramatic concepts, but also new ways of working safely together. We are now starting to take submissions of scripts for the Short Plays 2021.
They can be no longer than ten minutes (5-10 pages long) and must have more than three or more characters.
All members of the Newpark Community (past and present) are welcome to make a submission. This includes all staff, parents and students(past or present).
We are also looking for directors. If you wish to direct your own play please indicate this in your submission.
Ideally your play must be written for performance online or in an outdoors venue (ideally in the school premises or surrounds). ·
If interested in writing or directing, please contact email@example.com ASAP.
We normally hold this event in January, but this year it will depend on the Covid situation. It will most likely be later.
Submissions are due by 22nd of December 2020. The earlier the better though! More about the Junior Plays in the next edition… Ms Cathy Devis
Festival in a Van
Drama Braving The Elements!
On the 22nd of October, ‘Festival in a van’ came to Newpark to perform various scenes from the famous Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet, such as the party scene and the balcony scene.
I’m going to tell you about Newpark Drama. There are approximately 12/13 in each of the two 1st Year groups. In my group there were two people who were boys but just today there has been a new male! And to be honest, I was quite happy! You see there are mostly females who joined the Drama when it started so I was a bit disappointed. Naturally because I was hoping there would be a wide range of people doing Drama. We meet up in our pods either at the front of the school or under the awnings at the back. Drama is really fun, in my opinion, because we play a lot of games, get to act and think of loads of different scenes too. I would really recommend doing Drama even to those that don’t have acting skills because it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, it’s just a bit of fun! Parting is such sweet sorrow and remember my friends, all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.
The performance was directed by acclaimed director Conor Hanratty and starred Kate Stanley Brennan as Juliet and Lloyd Cooney as Romeo. Due to restrictions/ social distancing etc. no one else appeared in the play.
By Sigrid Groarke, 1st Year
The van was parked and opened up at the basketball courts, distanced chairs laid in front of the stage. We watched the play in separate groups, it was performed three times, which I can imagine was very exhausting for the actors ! I was impressed with what the group could come up with having only begun rehearsing on the Monday of that week. Aspects such as sound were done very well, which was very important considering we were outdoors. The performance lasted 30-40 minutes. It helped me have a better understanding of the play itself as we are currently studying Romeo and Juliet in English. We were all very grateful to be able to see a play at all this year due to COVID-19. Thank you to everyone involved in producing and organising the performance! By Rachel Kendrick, 3rd Year
2nd years started after school drama a couple of weeks ago, and it had been a blast so far. The 5th years are really great and we've had loads of fun so far, doing improvs and playing games. We can't wait to do more with them! By Noinin Cooling, 2nd Year
Under the current circumstances, we're lucky enough to have after school drama for 2nd years led by the 5th years. Although we have to do it outside, the enthusiasm is amazing and is definitely bringing a sense of community for everyone. For me, drama is a huge part of my Newpark experience and I'm so glad that the 2nd years have an opportunity to partake in this! By Rosa Gildea, 5th Year
The Lir This year we have five past pupils studying at the Lir Academy. This is hugely significant as it is notoriously difficult to get a place there. The two courses that our past pupils are studying are a Bachelor of Stage Management and Technical Theatre, and a Bachelor of Acting. We currently have Oliver Flitcroft (2nd year Acting), Katie Killarney (1st year Acting), Alannah O’Leary Murray ( 2nd year Stage), Aoife Malin and Hanna Novak (1st year stage). Two of our current students have just completed the Junior Lir course and performed brilliantly in their final show which I was lucky enough to attend in October. Our other recent graduates include Kwaku Fortune, Olivia Drennan, John Brennan and Odhran Duignan (all pictured below).
We are extremely proud of all of them waving the flag of Newpark Drama proudly. By Ms Cathy Devis
ExpLIRiences I auditioned for a few drama schools in the UK, got to 2nd and 3rd rounds for some of them, but the Lir was always my number 1 choice, and in the end over the summer it was the last school I was yet to hear from... Then the Monday after my final round audition, having waited by the phone all day, at 2pm I got a phone call from Loughlin D e e g a n
(director of the Lir) to say I was being offered a place on the BA Acting Degree and it was an instantaneous 1000% yes.... Having done the Foundation Course I knew the building and some of the teachers, but the BA course just feels entirely different. We’ve been introduced to new classes, one on one tutorials, and there’s a broader age range of actors across the course. It’s already so intense, and of course everyone has their individual strong suits and preferred classes, but I’m really loving every second of it. I suppose the foundation course really confirmed to me that this is what I want to pursue for life! Also the fact that there are four familiar faces, four Newparkers actually in the Lir with me is fantastic. It’s so lovely to have a little family within the much bigger Lir family already. It’s a real testament to how valued the acting and technical sides to theatre are in Newpark. By Katie Killarney, Class of 2019
When starting my studies in The Lir Academy in November of this year I was excited to just dive right in to everything. There is no doubt that the exposure to theatre and the arts Newpark has given me was my pathway into studying theatre. As a first year, I was not involved in the first shows of the year, so have been taking part in various classes in all aspects of theatre. In only five weeks I have taken multiple classes in stage management, learned basic skills in both Q lab and autocad, produced a short film, made prop food and even took a pyrotechnic class where we were all able to set off stage sparklers etc. I have also taken a class in making fake blood, where Hanna and myself were able to share our own methods from working with fake blood in Newpark productions. After Christmas we will be working as crew on shows with different departments such as costume, tech, set, construction etc. Although during the pandemic both theatre and college have both been continuing primarily online, we are so lucky in the Lir to have been carrying on in person as normally as we can. And just today I was able to go to a live theatre performance for the first time in ten months. By Aoife Malin, Class of 2019
The Lir Academy has began to feel like home to me in no more than a month. Going into The Lir I had high expectations and I can say with ease they are being met despite Covid difficulties. There has been so many new things we have done but at the same time so many
familiar ones thanks to all the experience that I have been able to accumulate from my Newpark days. Whether our days of ‘studious college work’ consist of firing blanks and explosions, or making fake blood and food, or learning about everything behind the scenes of a theatre from lighting and sound to costume and set, I am so very grateful. The Lir has so many routes out of it straight into the industry that I feel so blessed to be studying here. Newpark Drama and the Hunter Theatre will always hold a portion of all our hearts. If you have the opportunity to spend your Newpark days doing something you love even if you think of it as merely a hobby, don’t give it up. You never know—you might find a college or career where you don’t have to attempt to love what you do, but actually do what you love. By Hana Novak, Class of 2020
The Lir has given me such a wonderful chance at pursuing something that has change my life entirely. I wasn’t academic and struggled with being organised and being there for others. With the Lir it has given me not only so much fun, but life lessons I really needed. By Oliver Flitcroft, Class of 2018
Curricular Drama in Newpark Stagecraft TY Theatre and stage has been a lot of fun so far. I never really thought about how interesting the roles other than acting are but, after doing theatre and stage, I think everyone in my group has started to appreciate the behind-the-scenes roles. For me, acting will always be the most fun but that doesn’t mean that the other jobs aren’t great. I really enjoyed directing a scene from a former student’s play. There’s a lot of depth to directing so it was much more fun than expected. Making a set and a costume was great as well because our scene is from Romeo and Juliet in the future so we were making robot costumes. Soon, we’re going to start working with makeup and special effects. I’m really excited to go back next week. By Dash Tomkin Clarke, TY
TY Drama Work Area As my work area option, I chose to do drama. Last year I took artistic performance and enjoyed it, so I decided to take drama this year. In module one we worked on some short trailers for tv shows which were really enjoyable to make and I hope we revisit them soon. We also had a workshop with a past student of Newpark, Mark Ball who spoke to us over a zoom call about injustice in our modern world and how we can incorporate these issues and ideas into our performances. In this module we have been doing character work about how they act in certain situations. With these characters we’ve created soap dramas with lots of twists and turns and big personalities! I've really enjoyed drama so far and I look forward to future classes. By Cosima Vero, TY
Artistic Performance- 3rd year Artistic Performance is an optional class in Newpark. We do it in the theatre and sometimes outside if the weather is nice! In this class we look at loads of different types of theatre, historical plays as well as learning a lot about what life was like in the past. We work as a team to perform plays for the class and have loads of fun preparing for them. For example, this term we split into small groups and created our own reality tv shows. Our ideas ranged from surviving on an island to the shenanigans of a dysfunctional social media-famous family. Artistic Performance is a very important subject. It helps us build confidence, learn to work with others, learn more about people and more! Personally, I would really recommend choosing Artistic Performance if you’re picking your options! By Jake Sweeney, 3rd Year
My experience with artistic performance this year has been really positive overall. When we came back to school after such a long break and being told we had to wear masks all the time, it really had me dreading how we were going to do drama. Because of the social distancing I thought weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be stuck in chairs for the entire class. But when I walked into the door of the Hunter Theatre, I knew Ms Devis would work something out. We came up with the idea of doing drama outside, which allowed us to take off our masks and do drama in a semi normal way. This year has been great in terms of what we have been learning as well. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been learning about loads of different eras of theatre, as well as different genres of theatre. Ms Devis also worked out a way for us to get a workshop done over a video call, which was really cool. Overall, this year, while it has had its ups and downs, and while artistic performance is much harder with masks, has been really enjoyable to say the least, and hopefully we can get back to normality soon. By Oliver Gordon, 3rd Year
First Year Fun
On the 19th of November, each first year prefect group and their prefect pair competed in bracing head-to-head challenges organised by the Head People. A wonderful break from the day-to-day school grind and a great inter-year bonding experience. This was an excellent morale booster and a great experience. Well done and thanks to everyone involved, especially the winning team, you know who you are. By Bruno Ciulli, 6th Year
It was a sunny afternoon on a Thursday when all the first years were surprised with fun games organized by the teachers and prefects. There were so many fun games to participate in some examples are obstacle courses, dodgeball, basketball, charades, building games and also an obstacle course where one of the prefects would be blindfolded and guided by the first years to the end. Everyone had such a great time and was so involved in the activities. The time flew by as we were I'm in third year and doing artistic performance as a all having a blast. After school finished, the first junior cert subject. I can speak for the whole class when I years all agreed that we should do games with the say this subject is amazing! Not only is it a fun, prefects more often. interactive class that creates a lovely break from our By Saibh Lawrence, 1st Year academic classes, but it also fills us with knowledge and lifeskills that will carry through into other subjects and our lives in the future. One of my favourite things was forming our own characters and creating reality TV programmes, I really enjoyed that. We also studied Greek theatre and learned about people like William Shakespeare and Brecht. The class was lucky enough to have a past pupil Mark come in and do a zoom call with us to teach us about Brecht. We all loved the tasks he gave us! Ms Devis and this class has helped us grow our stage presence and gain confidence in our work. This class is a very beneficial one and I would 100% recommend it! By Anna Murphy, 3rd Year
Student Voice And Leadership Due the rapid expansion of Student Voice and Leadership opportunities in the school, we’ve expanded the Teacher Team Council. This year we welcome Laura Morrissey, Daniel Ludgate and Janine Brennan. Together with Mark Twamley and Lynn Anderson, we are looking at the very necessary role of Student Voice in the Classroom. Students are experts in their own learning and so this is our main emphasis this year, made even more significant by the pandemic and the impact it has in the classroom. I’d like to thank the staff and the students for their amazing work thus far. The prefects are taking on their role with great enthusiasm and commitment and as well their duties, they have put great emphasis on boosting the morale of the school and the first years. They expertly led a fun afternoon for the first years which was immensely successful. The fifth years have also taken on extra duties during their break times. This was an unexpected new role to be given but they are doing brilliantly. Thank you to them, their form teachers and year head for taking this on. The Student and the Cultural Councils are working well as seen below and the Sports Council is in the process of being resurrected. By Ms Cathy Devis
problems that both junior and senior years are having and through that makes the school less divided. Our goal this year is to make Newpark a better place for students and faculty by addressing problems and trying to come up with creative solutions. By Isaac O’Neill (Chair of Council 1)
This year’s Student Council has a very important job and I am confident that we are up for the challenge. This year the student body’s voice is more important than ever as we try to navigate through these times. We are planning for events that will happen throughout the year to hopefully try and raise school spirits such as more dress up days. I’m excited to get to work with this fantastic group of people and share our ideas and solutions to problems with everyone. By Alice Nestor (Chair of Council 2)
Cultural Council Hello all! Despite the current restrictions on extracurricular activity in the school, we are determined to stay creative. The Cultural Council is calling upon you to create and enter pieces of art, writing, drama, music, film (anything creative) in any digital format (photo, video, word document etc.) into our December event using the December theme of:
This year we’ve had to change the Student Council because of the different timetables. Council 1: 1st, 3rd and 6th Years led by Isaac O’Neill (6th Year) and Neal Dowling (3rd Year) Council 2: 2nd, 4th and 5th years led by Alice Nestor (4th Year) and Rosa Gildea (5th Year) Each year group has their own unique challenges this year so it has been great for the students to have an opportunity to express their views and come up with solutions for them in this particularly difficult year. As always, the students are creative and coming up with lots of exciting ideas to make the school a better place. By Ms Cathy Devis
I feel that being a part of the student council is more important than ever now. The council has been split this year into two groups organised according to which years have classes at the same time. This is actually helpful as it gives us all a better understanding of the
We can't wait to see what you come up with and there will be prizes of celebration chocolates (in keeping with our theme) for winning entries. It is open to all years. Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. By Bruno Ciulli (Chair)
Christian Union Activities
and some of the CU members are reading and singing at the service too. We also hope to continue meeting every two weeks on a Thursday morning so keep an eye on the CU team for information. By Ms Suzanne Harris and Ms Charis Rowan
Christian Union Outing On Monday, 19th October, the CU members went on a walking pilgrimage to local religious sites. We visited the Obelisk in Carysfort which was erected by Lord Allen as a memorial to his wife and the Marian Shrine in Moreen which is a place of prayer and reflection. Christian Union has certainly changed this year, along with everything else! Instead of lunch, chats and games at lunchtime, we are having breakfast, hot flasks and chats outside before school. We still feel thankful that we still have each other, our friendship and a great God who never changes. Meetings are outside for a “Gathering” twice a month on a Thursday morning at 8.30am for fifteen minutes. Our first gathering in November had 30 pupils and staff meeting for hot chocolate, chocolate rolls and treats. Oscar kindly brought chocolate biscuits. It was great to see a whole group of 1st Year pupils joining CU. It was a beautiful clear morning thank God and our CU leader Victoria gave us a beautiful and very appropriate verse from Psalm 121: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come from? My help comes from God, the maker of heaven and earth.” The next gathering was a dry, crisp, clear morning— praise God—and we had more treats and delicious hot chocolate for which Anna scored 10 out of 10! We chatted about how people were getting on. Then Victoria gave us a short “Thought for the Day” about how God is always with us no matter what we are going through—good times or bad. He is our strength to help us when times get tough. Then she gave us a lovely verse from Psalm 46 which says: “God is my refuge and strength always ready to help in times of trouble.” Ms Rowan is planning a CU drama for the Carol Service
Then we had some treats and played a game to get to know one another’s names as we had a number of new members joining Christian Union. We played a game where each person had to state one thing they were thankful for. We had many great suggestions like family, friends, food, pets, school, sweets, CU and fun. Our CU Leaders from 6th Year were introduced— Victoria and Anvitha—and they kindly distributed a bible verse from Psalm 107 verse 1: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His love endures forever.” We plan to go Carolling as usual in Stillorgan Shopping Centre at Christmas for our next outing. We won’t be able to sing as that is not allowed but we will play Christmas songs on a CD player and have percussion instruments to make music alongside the words. We are waiting to hear from Christian Aid if the shopping centre will allow us to do that or not. If not, we will plan something else for our Christmas Outing. All information is on the CU Team.
This year the Team Hope “Shoebox Appeal” has moved online due to the corona virus pandemic and so Team Hope were asking people to collect money and make up shoeboxes online for poor children in countries around the world. Every year in Newpark, the Carol Service Collection goes towards buying small presents for pupils in our school community who have been experiencing a difficult time and helping families in our school community who might like a little extra help at Christmas.
no place to stay in the inn, Jesus was laid in a manger – a feeding trough for animals. His life was threatened by King Herod, he had to flee as a refugee to Egypt. Such turmoil, yet He is “Wonderful Counsellor” – someone to go to for guidance and comfort, “Mighty God” – the maker of heaven and earth, “Everlasting Father” – Father for all of life and eternity and “Prince of Peace” – offering peace within us and peace in our lives. Such messages of hope in a time of turmoil in our world: corona, illness, death, masks, lockdown, restrictions, social distance, loneliness, anxiety. Keep hold of the Christmas message of hope. Have a blessed and peaceful Christmas. By Ms Suzanne Harris
Newpark Carol Service
So it was decided that we would hold a Sponsored Silence for 1st Year pupils to raise funds for these two very worthy causes. The response has been AMAZING and over €2000 has been raised to support both the Shoebox Appeal and Christmas Hampers. THANK YOU SO MUCH to all the pupils for taking part, to all the teachers for facilitating the silence (They loved it!) and to all the people who kindly sponsored the pupils to raise the funds.
The Chaplain’s Christmas Message Isaiah chapter 9 is my favourite Christmas Reading as it offers such messages of Hope. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Jesus was born into a time of great turmoil. In a country occupied by a foreign force, the Romans. To a young, teenage girl and her anxious partner. After an exhausting three or four day journey to Bethlehem, with
Newpark are planning to hold a Candlelight Carol Service outside the front of the school on Monday 21st December at 7pm. There are 200 candles and holders ready to go and the service will be a Ticket Only Event so we can keep a record for contact tracing. All people attending will be asked to stand on yellow dots and wear face masks! As congregational singing is prohibited, there will be solos / duets and a socially distanced 1st Year choir of 10! Some pupils are playing instruments, reading prayers / bible readings and doing a drama. The theme is “Light in the Darkness” and as there is a lot of darkness around with illness and restrictions so we need to focus on the great messages of light such as the Love, Joy, Hope and Peace of Christmas. LOVE - God’s love for us in sending Jesus to be our Saviour and the love of our family and friends. JOY - Friendships in school and having Christmas holidays to relax. HOPE – God is in control and will bring healing to our world. PEACE – peace in our homes, school, communities and in the troubled parts of the world.
A Word from the PTA
Portrait of the Artist
Although the PTA have not been able to be at Newpark for this term due to COVID, we have nonetheless been busy remotely as much as possible! Before the start of term we held a very successful (socially distanced!) second hand uniform sale for incoming first years. Then on October 14th the AGM was held via Zoom with a very high level of attendance and the Chair, Treasurer and Secretary were elected for this year and lots of new members joined the committee. Welcome to all!
The below portraits were inspired by an artist called Antonio Colombini. 2nd Year students were asked to divide up a black and white photo of themselves into different sections and then fill them with block colour. They were encouraged to fill the whole page with paint and given the option to add pattern to add interest.
The PTA organize 1-2 talks for parents/guardians during each year and in November Bruce Slemann gave a really interesting talk on adolescent mental health/ anxiety which about 70 parents/guardians attended virtually. Plans are underway to organize another talk in the new year so keep an eye on your email for more details about this.
What I am impressed with is huge variety of styles and individual approaches that emerged. Some students chose to use a tonal colour palette, while others used pastel colours and others used very bright combinations. The students should proud of their work, they have worked very hard to complete them. By Ms Trudy Feighery
The highlight of the PTA year is the annual Christmas fair but unfortunately due to the current situation we will not be able to do this in 2020 - hopefully in 2021 we will be able to re-ignite this tradition. In the meantime we are working on other fundraising ideas for after Christmas. The PTA would like to thank all of the staff in Newpark for all of their hard work over the term and wish the whole school community a relaxing and restful break and all the best for 2021 (it has to be better than 2020!!) Stay safe and well, and festive greetings to each and all. Newpark PTA
Newsletter Team: Ms Ring, Mr Kirwan, Ms Johnston, Danielle Bowles, Isobel McSweeney, Emily Rowe, Flora Lyons, Edith Kelly, Sarah Glanville, Silvia Ciulli Cummins, Isobel Smiley, NĂłinĂn Cooling, Neal Dowling.
Cover image by Rachel Baum, Mannix Kerskens, Jake Brennan and Danny Shaw (5th Year)