Wednesday, 7 September 2022

The Irish National Rowing Championships 2022 - By James Arthur

It was a hot and sunny day on the 8 July. My crew and I had been training hard for Neptune Rowing Club and it was coming to the end of the season. I had my bags packed in the boot of our car and a sick feeling in my stomach. It was at around 1pm when me, my mam and one of my crew mates, Tommy left town for Cork. For the whole journey down there we talked about the race that we were going to be in the next day. We got to ‘The Oriel Hotel’ in Ballincollig in only 3 hours despite taking a quick break along the way. We arrived at the hotel earlier than the rest of our crew so we dumped our bags in our rooms and went to the swimming pool to relax our nerves. When everyone else arrived at the hotel we sat down for dinner but some of us didn’t have an appetite. That night we all went to bed at 11pm to get a nice long sleep before the big day but I struggled to settle and ended up falling asleep a lot later. The next morning we went to breakfast at 8am and our coach told us to eat lots so we ordered foods like porridge and fruit but I couldn’t eat. After that we all went down to ‘The National Rowing Centre’, which is located on the Taiscumar Reservoir at Farran Wood near Ovens. When we got down to the water, there were boats, trailers and people everywhere and everyone you looked at was busy doing something. We found our trailer and coach and got prepared for the race. Thirty minutes before the race started we launched our boat and rowed out onto the reservoir to warm up. At this point my head was filled with so many thoughts. We were in a quad, a boat with 4 rowers and a coxswain. I was in bow, which is at the back of the boat. Lochlann was seated in front of me in the two position, then came Hugh in the three position, and then Tommy in Stroke, with MacDara coxing.  It was a 1km race, a lot shorter than most of our races and there were 6 other boats racing against us. When we reached the start line the sun was beaming down on us and then everyone went quiet as we all got mentally prepared. When the umpire screamed “attention… go!” all of a sudden those nervous feelings disappeared. We started off behind the other boats which gave us a lot more work to do. After the first 250m we gained on the other boats and by 400m it turned into a race between us and one other crew, St Michael’s from Limerick. At the 600m mark one of two commentators lost hope and said “I think this will be a win for St Michael’s”, which only made us push harder and by the 900m mark we were neck and neck with the other boat. At this point I looked over at the boy rowing parallel to me and we locked eyes, then I shouted to my crew mates “One last big push!”. At this point our fore arms were aching from holding the oars too tight, our hands were bleeding from blisters and cuts and our legs were sore and cramped. Ten strokes later when both boats hit the finish line at the same time every rower felt relieved that it was over but neither crew knew who had won. As we gently rowed back into the slip we saw other club rowers and supporters run down towards us telling us we won and we were all in complete shock. After we took the boat and oars back to the trailer all the crew ran down to the reservoir and jumped in the water in our kit, and swam with the kids from other clubs. After that we went to the podium where we were presented with our medals and at around 7pm we left to go home for Dublin. We had gone into the season inexperienced and not expecting much but thanks to our coach Dermot, and the determination of the boys we had come out of it as a successful crew and really good friends.  

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

National Poetry Competition

Once again, PDST is inviting pupils s to Write a Poem under two categories: Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle.  We hope that this popular competition will encourage young writers to compose poetry and assist teachers in supporting the writing of poetry. Rules of the Competition.  All entries must be submitted electronically via email and typed (not scanned or handwritten).

Each entrant may submit one poem.
Each entry must include:  a. the Title of the Poem b. the Name of the Entrant c. the Name and Address of the School d. the Category e. Teacher Name, email address and mobile number.
Emailed entries must be sent by the teacher or school and not by the pupil. 

Where an entry is inspired by or written in response to a particular poem, the name of the poem and the poet must be clearly stated on the entry and, where possible, a copy of the original poem should be attached.

The competition is aimed at individual writers.  Class sets of poems will not be considered as entries for the competition. Please note that entrants should keep a copy of their poems, as poems will not be returned. 
Prizes for the Writers The winning poets in each section will receive a commemorative plaque and their poem will be published on the PDST Post-Primary website and printed in the PDST National Poetry Award booklet.  Prizes will be presented at an online award ceremony organised by the PDST in association with Laois Education Centre in March 2022.   All entries should be emailed to
​Closing date for receipt of entries is Friday 21st January 2022

How to Deal With Stress

What is Stress/Anxiety?
Physical or mental stress and the emotional anxiety that often comes with it is a normal, usually temporary and a sometimes-healthy response to challenging moments or situations we all experience in life. All young people feel stressed and anxious at times, and it is very common among students in school and at examination time. However, stress and anxiety can become problematic when we become overwhelmed, and when it becomes debilitating in terms of our general sense of personal wellbeing or our ability to function effectively.

It's fair to say that the combination of the normal stressors on young people generally and in our schools specifically with the extraordinary lived-experience of COVID-19 is unprecedented in terms of its negative impact on this generation of young people. The ‘new-normal’ is actually abnormal. Many feel powerless and frustrated in the face terms of what has been lost in terms of experiences and important rites of passage and in terms of the practical disruption to what might reasonably have been expected to be their experience in the normal course of events. Worst of all is the uncertainty-not knowing how things will be-to have at least some chance to prepare for what is to come.

Coping: Managing Stress & Anxiety

How do we deal with stress and anxiety? As we begin the new school term, its timely to remind ourselves and young people to let go of the things we do not control and to focus on the things we can. Luckily, we have the power to manage our stress and anxiety. The experts generally summarise the coping strategies as: sleep well, eat well, exercise, talk about it and avoid things and situations (and sometime people!) that simply don’t help. Here’s some practical tips for managing stress and anxiety. 

Everybody is unique but the following is a summary of some practical actions we can all take:

· Identify your triggers for stress and anxiety and what helps with the feelings. When and where does it happen? What increases or reduces the feelings?

· Positive self-talk: We become what we think. Anxiety is often linked to what we are thinking and those thoughts or self-talk if negative impact on our feelings and behaviour. Say stop! Write down your thoughts. Ask ‘Is it really true?’, ‘Is it helpful to be thinking this?’ and consciously choose to replace those negative thoughts with positive self-talk-for example, ‘it’s tough but it’s going to be ok’, ‘it doesn’t have to be perfect but I can try my best’, ‘I’ve managed to prepare for exams before, I can do this again’.

· Relaxation Techniques: Make time to develop the habit of relaxation. Yoga, mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, visualisation, etc help us to do this. Here’s a nice resource to get you started

· Distraction: Take time out to focus on something else. This can be done as a ‘time-out’ activity like exercise, sport, walking, reading, puzzles, gaming etc. If you find yourself in the midst of a stressful moment and/or are experiencing feelings of anxiety choose to focus on your breathing, choose to count the number of red cars passing in the background, etc.

· Extraction: While it’s important not to run away from the challenges that we all have to face, for example examinations, there are micro-extractions we can choose everyday to help make that challenge more manageable. For example, if in the company of somebody who is always negative or the conversation is increasing your feelings of anxiety about something, choose to change the topic or politely leave the conversation.

· Notice it, Name it, Shame it (Let it go): Worrying is normal but actually changes nothing-save your energy for what you need it for. Every now and then, take time to write down everything you are worried about. This will make them less scary. Now that you have written them down tell yourself that you don’t have to worry about these things at least for a while and do something else. If you need to go back to them they are there. If a new worry comes up, add it to the list and move on. Ask yourself-can I do anything about it? Yes-do it. No-move on-let it go. Refuse to give power to your worries.

· Troubleshoot (Problem Solve): This helps reduce stress and anxiety. Write down the problem you have. Write down all the possible solutions and the pros and cons of each solution. Pick the best solution and try it. Ask ‘did it work?’ If no, try the next solution. The key is to get the problem out of your head and to do something about it.

· Ask for Help! Remember for some people these tips are not enough and you might need professional help. Talk to your parent or guardian, a friend, a teacher, the school counsellor, a therapist, your GP. Help is available.

(Adapted from: National Educational Psychological Service)

Friday, 17 December 2021

Leinster Hockey Association Senior Cup

Congratulations to The High School Senior 1 hockey team which defeated Loreto High School Beaufort 2-0 to qualify for the semi-final of the Leinster Hockey Association Schoolgirls Senior Cup. The team along with the entire school were all enthusiastically awaiting the match. We couldn’t wait to get on the pitch and play our hearts out. 
 As the whistle blew to begin the match our supporters did not fail to supply us with encouraging chants throughout. The HSD panther even made a special appearance!
A short corner goal executed by Zoe Dunne in the first quarter gave us a lead heading into the rest of the match. We were constantly hungry for another goal which resulted in many short corners and great passages of play. With minutes left in the match Ella Pasley sent an incredible shot into the back corner of the goal securing us a 2-0 lead.
The final whistle blew and the crowd burst into cheers. The team huddled together celebrating their victory while singing their hearts out.
Emily Pryce (Captain)

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Senior Hockey Victory

The High School started out strongly with Ben Pasley acting as the glue in midfield linking with the wing backs Sam Walsh and Marcus Empey who found the forwards.  The game started well with an Eli Breen run through the middle defeating several players to create a dangerous circle penetration.  The deadlock was broken with a lovely Tom Whelan attack down the right and a forward shot to the keeper's right.  Ben continued with great pressure in midfield turning the ball over to score a solo goal on the run from his own half.  It was 2-0 at half time. 

The second half started well with HSD continuing to attack down the wings concluding with Sam Maxwell skillfully turning defenders inside out to find Alex Lynch free in the middle of the circle.  Alex dispatched the ball into the top corner.  A continuous dominance from centre backs Luke Fitzpatrick and Darragh Sullivan saw them pick out the dynamic forward line of Oscar Loftus, Oscar Maguire, Tom Whelan, Ryan Wynne, Chris de Lacy and Alex Lynch.  The attacking continued through the midfield to find Ryan Wynne at the top of the circle. He had an amazing strike that fell to Eli who scored a wonder strike from 1 yard.  Another good lead from Charlie Beatty saw a shot saved; Eli picked it up but the tap was saved and a well-taken rebound secured the goal for Sam Maxwell.  The Most Valuable Player was awarded to Sam Maxwell for his consistent attacks down the right hand side.  A clean sheet for Luke Stevens with the help of the midfield generals Charlie Beatty and Sean O’Brien contributed to a 5-0 victory and a great start to the All Ireland campaign for The High School.  We would like to thank all supporters and staff for their continuous encouragement.  

The All Ireland competition is in a new league format this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.  Each group contains 4 teams and plays against each team. The team with the highest points in each group progresses to the semi final. The High School were drawn against Methodist College at home, Midleton College away (8 December) and Wallace High School away (January).  The High School will host Midleton College who play Wallace High School (December 13) and Methodist College (January).
Ms Gray

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Irish Times Letter Writing Competition Winner

 "Dear World,

What can I say?  Our home is on fire.  We are facing mass extinction and an environmental disaster.  Climate change is real, and it is happening now.  It is popular to say that climate action is about the little things everyone can do in their lives.  And while I agree to a point, this threat is bigger than any of us individually.
We need a global response, with our world leaders taking responsibility.  From my perspective, it feels like you have a habit of pushing this problem on to us young people.  I am hurt by this.  But if we are to be successful in this, we cannot be pitted against each other.
So, I would like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to all of you to join the fight against climate change.  The fight of a lifetime.  Welcome.  I will have to live with consequences of how you choose to act for my whole life.  Our lives are in your hands.  However, climate change will not just affect young people and future generations, it is affecting every person who is alive right now.  The countries that contribute the least to global warming are affected the most by it, but even in wealthier countries we are feeling the effects of devastating heatwaves, fires, floods and harsher winters.  No one is immune from the effects of climate change. 
If, at the moment, you don’t consider environmental action to be the biggest priority, I beg you to rethink your values.  Economic growth will mean nothing if we are suffering and dying due to extreme weather.  You need to stop burning fossil fuels.  We need to make a complete and just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  Because if we don’t, we will have failed.  The clock is ticking."
Tirzah Hutchinson Edgar

This letter was first published in The Irish Times on Oct 23, 2021. You can see the original article here

This letter was one of the winning entrants in the Dear World Letter Writing competition in The Irish Times. As more than 190 world leaders prepared to meet in Glasgow in October for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), The Irish Times wanted the children of Ireland to write to them, outlining their hopes, fears and solutions to the climate crisis and the action they want to see our leaders take. High School pupil Tirzah Hutchinson Edgar was one of the winning authors.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Black History Month at The High School

Hairstyling in Africa has been important for men and women for centuries  because it distinguishes one culture from another.  Hairstyles were used to indicate a person’s marital status, age, religion, ethnic identity, wealth, and rank in the community.  There are various styles from all over Africa and some have even crossed outside Africa to the western world and North America.  Unfortunately,  some may be almost extinct and can only be found deep in rural areas of Africa because of modernisation.   Cornrows became popular in the 1960s and 1970s because of the interest in embracing Black pride and natural hairstyles.  The name ‘cornrows’ came from how the braids were neatly lined up like the rows of crops in the fields.  In the Caribbean this style was sometimes called cane rows.  The enslaved wore cornrows as an effortless way to wear their hair during the week.  It was often styled on Sunday which was the only day off they had.  Enslaved Africans would also use cornrows as a communication code when they wanted to escape.  The number of cornrows on a person's head would let someone know certain meeting times or escape routes.  Obviously, there are many versions of cornrows in different parts of Africa and all over the world.  Cornrows date back to 3000 BC for women and the 19th Century for men.  Box braids also acted as a form of communication during the time of slavery.  It was a way for slaves to relay to one

another certain paths that could be taken to escape to freedom just like cornrows.  Braids have always been an intricate and expansive style.  They were also quite expensive when it came to time and materials.  They date back to about 3500 BC.  Janet Jackson made it very popular with her debut film ‘Poetic Justice.’  Many women were inspired by how effortlessly cool her braids and simple black cap were.  Ngala is a traditional hairstyle of the Igbo people of Nigeria.  Hair extensions  can be used and adornment of Igbo beads is added for elegance.  They are used for traditional weddings, coronations and festivals.  The style sybolises pride and elegance for women.  I usually see these in Nollywood movies on the wive(s) of the Igwe (king).  Ngala actually means to do ‘guy’ (to show off) in Igbo. Amasunzu originated in the Tusi and Hutu people of Rwanda.  It is dated around 500 years ago.  This style is used to signify social and marital status.  It symbolises strength and bravery for warriors.  It is a symbol of virginity for young girls.  It is a hairstyle of class and only the traditional elite wore it. 

Bantu Knots originated in the Zulu people of Southern Africa.  Worn by women, they symbolise femininty and status.  Bantu means ‘people’  in over 300  languages, and it has become popular to Africans and African Americans.  The hair is parted into sections and twisted then rapped in ‘spiral’ knots.  Fulani Braids originated thousands of years ago and is known to the Fulani  people of West Africa.  They symbolise identity in Fulani Women.  It’s becoming a very popular style around the world.  Hair is parted in the middle and the side and then braided.  Accessories can also be added African Threads is a traditional African hairstyle found all over Africa.  they are native to the Yoruba people of South-west Nigeria.  Used as a protective style to straighten the hair.  Hair is sectioned and then wrapped in threads. Zulu Topknots are found in the Zulu people of Southern Africa just like the name says. They symbolise status and only worn by members of the ruling class.  Hair is gathered into knots and stretched into sections with a tie - jewellery can be worn with this.  Ochre Dreadlocks are worn by the Hamar tribe of Ethiopia and symbolise the people of the Hamar tribe.  After

binding resin with water, they use the mixture on the sectioned hair to style it into locks.  Himba Dreadlocks are worn by the Himba Tribe of Northwest Nambia and symbolise age and life.  When a teenager enters puberty, they let the dreadlocks hang over their faces but when they are ready to get married, they reveal  their faces, just like a veil.  These locks are created by a mixture of butter, ochre and goat hair; extensions and accessories can be used.  Edamburu are worn by the Mangbetu People of Congo.  This style is used for skull elongation.  Thin braids are woven into a crown very carefully. Sahrawi Cornrows are worn by the people of Northern Africa.  One of their very few hair styles in Northern Africa because of their hair texture.  Hair is split into two sections and hair extensions are used to make the hair go down to the elbows.  Natural African Hair Types consist of 3a-4c depending on the skin tone or where you come from.  
By Divine Nwamara