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This year the school decided to put on a musical, the last one was Little Shop Of Horrors back in 2014 when we were in first year. I went to see it, as did many others and was amazed at how professional it all looked. With all the talent and great reviews we knew there would be a lot of pressure put upon us to perform with our own musical, We Will Rock You.
We Will Rock You was created by Ben Elton, it tells the story of a young Galileo Figaro in the year 3000 and something trying to make his way in the big bad world. He rebels against all the brainwashed sheep he is surrounded by, with his search for Rock and Roll. On his quest he meets his love interest, Scaramouche, his female version. Together they encounter the Bohemians, social-dropouts who live for the music of a previous era and who long to bring it back. If you haven’t already guessed by the subtle naming of the characters, the music used in the musical is by the legendary, Queen.
As soon and summer ended and school began so did the planning and preparing of the show. Every Friday after school Ms. Roche would open up the doors of the music room to anyone who wanted to be a part of the musical experience, mainly TYs but there were a few fifth-years and first-years too. We would all crowd round the piano and begin to sing the songs we’d all grown up hearing, but with a few minor tweaks to suit the plot of the show. Although we sung till we could sing no more everyone seemed to be having a great time. Ms. Rouse composed and taught the dances which accompanied the chorus songs, fortunately for me I was in her class meaning I and a few others got taken out of classes quite a bit to help with the dances. We helped come up with a few different moves and had to demonstrate the dances to others – going over the steps if someone was struggling.
While everything was going on, there was an announcement on the intercom one day regarding a competition for the artwork used for the tickets of the musical. Not having my heart set on winning, I decided to put a design foreword, mainly because I knew I’d only be kicking myself if I didn’t. A few weeks went by and I had nearly forgotten all about it when I found out my design had actually won. I was thrilled to hear this news and over those next few days I found it surreal to see the image I had created at about 3 a.m. in my pajamas, multiplied by hundreds floating around the school.
Soon, the stage went up, courtesy of Mr. Grace, and suddenly the idea of a live performance became more of a reality. These last weeks have flown by, we mostly spent all our time in the PE Hall; perfecting our performances. During the school week and often on weekends. It has been astounding to see the talent our school has to offer, the leads by no doubt are fantastic and every single person in the chorus helps bring the show together. On Monday night we had our first proper run through; with the band, the lighting, the sound, costumes and makeup. We were all a little wary of the makeup at first, although it did look brilliant in the end, thanks to the teachers and students who helped with it. With the bright lights on the stage the makeup had to be dark but before we went on it looked like we were all headed to and operating theatre rather than an actual theatre. We were orange. On Wednesday, we had our first performance, a mâtiné, in front of local primary schools. It was a good way of having another practice before we have to do the show in front of a paying audience and it was a good surge of confidence to see how much they seemed to enjoy the show. For the next two nights we’ll all be running on adrenaline and excitement with a hearty crash on the weekend, I don’t think anyone will wake up until school on the following Tuesday
Featuring a host of hit songs from rock legends Queen, We Will Rock You promises to be a musical extravaganza not to be missed!
On Monday the 13th of November 2017 Mr Bryne and Mr Timoney hosted their annual science show at lunchtime. This event is always great fun for everyone and this year was no exception.
It all started with the traditional Macarena dance. The music really got a crowd going and we were excited to see what madness would come. One lucky student was chosen from the audience for the first experiment. What at first seemed like simply hitting wood with a hammer ended in a explosion of sparks. This was very unexpected and made a few first years jump.
Then two more victims, sorry volunteers were chosen. Mr Byrne put hand sanitizer on their hands and lit it on fire. A gasp went up for the audience as everyone thought they were going to get burned but to everyones suprise it just warmed their hands and then the flame died out.
The show continued when a volunteer, followed a simple pancake recipe just to end with a frying pan full of purple flames. Next was the fire breathing dragon. A new volunteer went up and blew into a tube and a mind blowing flame flew up into the air.
Finally the show ended with a bang, literally! What everyone thought were 2 normal balloons turned out to be quite the opposite. The balloon was popped with a candle and instead of a small pop a massive explosion that could be heard all over the school ended the show.
Overall it was a very good show and kept the audiences eyes glued to the stage.
A First Hand account by Katie Sinnott and Donabelle Chiong
We met that morning outside the school at half six, unable to see due to the darkness and the fact that none of us were even nearly awake yet.
There were three coach buses waiting for us, once we were assigned our seats we all continued on with our slumber. Somewhere along the border of Meath blue morning light began trickling through and our eyes began to open.
Soon enough the sea came into view and we arrived in the quaint town of Carlingford. It’s unapologetically bright colours struck us mixed with the old, crumbling remains of a castle. It was oddly very beautiful.
Once we arrived at Carlingford Adventure Centre we were welcomed nicely, and were given a run-of-the-mill lecture on the area. Everyone stayed in the sports hall where we we were told our activities for the day and the groups we were in. We all had different activities on at different times but our group’s first activity was the Sky Park, we walked a long time through the muddy pathway which was surrounded by thorn bushes. Even though our newly bought clothes were ruined in a matter of minutes we all had fun trying to get by.
Lots of people did not warm to extreme heights, fortunately there was a good mix of high and low zip-line courses to suit the majority. Before anyone was allowed to take part they had to wear a hairnet and sooner then later all you could see if you looked up were dozens of dinner-ladies hurling through the sky on cables, which looked really funny.
When we returned to the centre we had a lunch of sausages and chips, we had meals in between all activities. We would also have two hours of free time of the day. They would then announce different groups for the rooms. Each room had a number of bunk beds and an en suite.
After lunch we grabbed our day-bags and headed down to the water. We were each given a lukewarm wetsuit and guided into a changing room (which which was actually more like a cubbyhole especially when you put thirty-odd people in it). Eventually we all made it into the water, in twos to a canoe. We rowed around Carlingford Loch for half an hour, shivering as we sailed. Finally we made it to a floating platform. There was a floating trampoline attached to the platform which the instructor would pull inwards and allow three-to-four people to jump onto at a time before they would have to submerge themselves into the icy green sea and swim back to the safety of the platform. Some brave souls dived straight into the sea and straight into regression. Although it was cold it was really fun , we gathered together like penguins in the arctic.
Soon enough we returned home for a hearty dinner of spag-bol and garlic bread, there were two different evening festivities after dinner, our group had to divide itself into teams and take part in a series of challenges. The series of challenges included building a tower out of team member’s shoes, odd balancing acts, a relay race of blowing a ping-pong ball, jumping really far away and worst of all; their most inhumane torture known to man; eating a Weetabix dry.
When all the groups united later that night at around 10 p.m. we as a unit begged and pleaded to our supervisors to let us out to town, after a long time they surrendered and let us out. 150 teenagers lined up outside the smallest chippers in the country was either the lottery or the death penalty for the person behind the counter.
Our first task on our second and last day took place in the forest. Before we were let off up the mountain, we had to be fitted with the correct attire; oversized camouflage overalls and a gun. Like soldiers heading off to battle, we marched up the vertical slope and into the woods. There we were given a lesson on how to correctly use our laser guns, split in half and sent out to kill each other.
After lunch, we had our activity of the trip, our group had a mash-up of archery, trampolining and then an odd sort of thing in which everyone was shut into a shed with three shallow floors, in the dark and forced to find their way out.
Finally, we trekked the muddy trek back to the centre and to the awaiting buses, ready to take us home.
It was a really enjoyable trip, tiring, as so much was packed in but overall really fun. Sometimes the best things about these adventure holidays, that place you in a field of dirt, or a salty, cold ocean, that take you miles out of your comfort zone is the coming home part. Which sounds terrible but it’s truly not, when you’re somewhere doing something that scares you, it makes things seem easier back at home. Whether that be settling into a new class, developing confidence among those around you or just pushing yourself to try something you’ve never done before. That I think is the best thing you can get out of a trip like Carlingford.
A great time was had by all!!!
Courtesy of Kildare Library Service 1 Nore and Mrs Barrett have had two wonderful library outings.
This group were also lucky enough to do a question and answer session with award winning author Jane Mitchell in Naas Library on October 20th. She discussed her most recent novel A Dangerous Crossing. This is the story about a 13 year old Kurdish boy who has to flee his home in Syria.
The meet and greet experience opened up a whole new genre of books for the students. Many of the class said they would never have picked these types of book off the shelf if they saw them in a shop. Despite this, almost half of the class are going back to read Chalkline, also by Jane Mitchell. Chalkline is the story of a boy whose village is raided by Kashmiri Freedom Fighters who are looking for new recruits.
I can’t wait to read the Rudden inspired essays that arrive on my desk tomorrow….
At 3a.m on Thursday morning, the 70 students and 8 teachers attending the trip abroad to France, arrived at the school. We all got split onto two double decker buses and then set off on our journey. We soon reached Dublin Airport and got ready to go. Most of us went to get some breakfast once we got into the terminal, before boarding our flight. The plane departed for Paris at 6:25. Even though it was still early hours in the morning, nobody went asleep as we were all buzzing with excitement.
After spending an hour and forty minutes on the plane, we finally arrived at Beauvais Airport in Tillè. We then hopped on our coaches, which took us to the first stop of the journey, Cathedral of Saint Peter of Beauvais. We all got a chance to look inside at the beautiful stained glass windows which were made in the 13th century and the famous Beauvais Astronomical Clock. Afterwards, students were let off to get a bit of lunch and explore some more of the historical buildings in the city. Next, we visited Louvre Museum in Paris. Here we saw the famous ‘Mona Lisa’ painting by Leonardo di Vinci and ‘The Dying Slave’ sculpted by Michelangelo during the renaissance period. We then walked from the museum to a local restaurant for some dinner. There were a variety of choices, from curry to pizza to lasagne, and a nice apple or chocolate pie to finish it all off. It was now late evening as we made our way to the hotel on our coaches. Everybody was blown away when they saw our 4 star hotel, with a mini aqua park, gym, XD cinema, arcade room and lots more facilities. The rooms had a double and bunk bed, with an interconnecting room including a second bunk bed. We were all wrecked after our long day so everyone went straight to sleep.
Breakfast was early the next morning, before departing the hotel for Paris city centre at 8a.m. By getting to the ‘Eiffel Tower’ early in the day, it allowed us to get right in without having to deal with long queues and big crowds. The glass elevator brought us up to the three floors, allowing us to see the architecture of the monument and get a birds-eye view of the beautiful capital. After spending a half an hour or so to soak in the breath-taking views, we made our way down to the bottom again. It was now lunchtime and students were let off to get something to eat. Afterwards, we all met back up and got onto our coaches for a guided tour of the city. The tour guide showed us some famous landmarks and told us a bit about them all. One of the first we saw was the ‘Arc de Triomphe’, which was built to honour all those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution War. We also learned about ‘Hôtel de Ville’, which translates as ‘town hall’. This building was built in the 14th century and has been the scene of a number of historical events. Later on in the day, we got to go shopping for an hour or so on the Champs-Élysées before going for our dinner. After eating, we walked towards the River Seine to board our boat cruise. The city looked spectacular when viewed from the water, particularly because it was night-time, and all the monuments and buildings were lit up. The cruise was an hour long and was really enjoyable for all students and teachers. We then headed back to the hotel after our jam-packed day.
The next day was the day all students were looking forward to. We were going to Disneyland! The park was only 5 minutes away from the hotel so we got there bright and early before all the crowds. Once we got our tickets, we were free to go anywhere between the two parks for the day. Most of us headed to the ‘Tower of Terror’ first. By the end of the ride, everyone’s voices were hoarse from screaming. Another few popular rides were ‘Space Mountain’, ‘Rock’n’Roller Coaster’, ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘The Pirates of The Caribbean’. The day was well spent and everyone had a blast. We met up for dinner in the Planet Hollywood restaurant at 7p.m. The food came straight away and was very tasty. We then made our way back to the hotel after another long day. Students were given permission to go swimming in the mini aqua park, or just chill out in the rooms. It was soon getting late and everyone returned to their own rooms for the night.
We checked out of the hotel at 9 o’clock the next morning and headed back into the city centre. We visited ‘Notre Dame Cathedral’ first, and got to have a look inside. By chance, we arrived just in time for Sunday morning mass. We didn’t attend the mass but could watch from the side aisle. The service was very different to the ones we have back home, the priests voice echoing, with the choir harmonizing in the background. It was a very spiritual experience, and one not to be forgotten. We continued to walk around the cathedral, looking at the high arched stonework, hanging chandeliers and magnificent stain glassed windows. Next we visited ‘Sacre Coure’, but first had to make our way up ‘Montmartre’, the famous 300 step hill. The views from the top were outstanding, making the hike worth it. We were let off to explore the little back streets and take a look inside the church. Afterwards we hopped back on our coaches, which brought us to ‘Les Quatre Temps’ shopping centre, where we spent our last five hours. Although five hours sounds like a long time, it was just about enough for the four storey shopping centre. We got back on our coaches for the last time, and made our way to the airport. We soon arrived, and it was around 11 p.m before we boarded our flight. This time round, almost everybody fell asleep, after our hectic four days. We got onto our double decker buses again and headed back to the school. Here we were greeted by parents and family members. It was time to go home.
Overall, the trip was really enjoyable and one that we will look back on in years to come and remember how lucky we were to get the chance to go abroad with all our friends. It was also very well put together, thanks to Mr.Grace and the other teachers involved.
Piper’s Hill College hosted our annual Awards Night on Wednesday, October 11th. One of the highlights of the school year, this is an evening which celebrates the many achievements of our students. As well as awards for attendance, academic excellence and sporting achievements, many students also received awards for their valuable contribution to the school, recognising their creativity and positivity through all aspects of school life.
We were also delighted to welcome back a number of last year’s sixth year cohort who achieved excellent results in their Leaving Certificate. We wish them all the best in their future studies!
Well done to all our worthy award winners and thank you to everyone who attended, making it an evening to remember!
Piper’s Hill College Student of the Year Award 2016/2017
1st Year: Ava Bowden – 1 Sherkin
2nd Year: Kaitlyn Miley – 2 Joyce
3rd Year: Conor Locke – 3 Hawthorn
3rd Year: Sean Gallagher – 3 Rowan
5th Year: Sebastian Chejniak – 5 Sperrin
5th Year Leaving Certificate Applied Programme: Kaylem Brady – 5 Brandon
Congratulations also to Fraser O’Byrne, the recipient of this year’s Ben Wallace Inspirational Award.
Friendship Week took place in Piper’s Hill College in October, focusing on building positive relationships amongst staff and students and providing lots of opportunities for students to be positive and caring towards each other. Every subject incorporated the theme of friendship in classes this week, from developing friendship charters in CSPE, to friendship poetry workshops in English, making friendship bracelets in Home Economics and team building exercises in P.E.
A Positivity Board featured in the foyer where staff and students could post positive and affirming comments about others in the school. A Bully4u workshop with first and fourth also facilitated discussion and exercises around bullying and strategies for prevention. First years partook in a prayer service as well as bonding activities to help develop and strengthen new friendships while senior students enjoyed a coffee morning on Friday in our school canteen. The week was a great success and no doubt new friendships have been formed!
Continuing our journey with the Edison Project, a Teaching and Learning Club has been established in Piper’s Hill College which hosted its inaugural meeting in September. Thirty members of staff attended, representing a wide range of subject areas and expertise, but one thing everyone had in common was an enthusiasm and openness to trying and experimenting with new teaching and learning strategies. As we trial new methodologies each month, both students and teachers will share their insights and adapt these entrepreneurial strategies for their own classrooms.
In conjunction with our Teaching and Learning Club, eight members of staff are also involved in the TL21 programme. This is a workshop- based Continuing Professional Development programme for teachers and schools leaders that promotes innovative practice and professional learning communities with a focus on Action Research. We are now at the beginning of our two year journey and look forward to sharing best practice and collaborating with other schools in the locality.
This year has also seen the development of a Teaching and Learning Blog on our school website where teachers and students can record and discuss their ideas and experiences throughout the year. You can follow our journey at http://phcolteachingandlearningclub.weebly.com/
Preparation is now well underway for our Piper’s Hill College musical We Will Rock You, based around the timeless music of Queen. With only seven weeks left until the show, excitement is building amongst students and staff. Between set-building, choreography, rehearsals and production there is a great buzz around the school. This was most evidenced by the enthusiasm and dedication to 80’s Rock on our Non-Uniform Day, Friday 29th September!
We Will Rock You will take to the stage on Thursday and Friday, 23rd and 24th November. Be sure to get your tickets soon as it’s sure to be a sell-out show!
Skills @ Work provides students with a unique insight into the world of work. A number of volunteer employees from a local branch of State Street, a worldwide financial services company, are partnering Piper’s Hill College students on the 5th year LCVP programme. Over five sessions, students are provided with the opportunity to learn about the company and its business and to consider careers and further study options available to them when they finish school.
Sessions in the Skills @ Work programme involve a site visit, CV writing skills, mock interviews, Day in the Life insights and at the conclusion the class present their learnings.
In many of the companies involved in this programme, it is the HR department who conduct the mock interviews and this can be an invaluable experience for young students who would never have experienced preparing for and performing in a professional business interview.