Thursday 11 May 2017

Waiting For Godot - Drama

On Wednesday 3 May, Forms 4 and 5 pupils from the cast and crew of the 2017 HSD One Act Drama Festival Entry, 'Last Class on a Monday', had the pleasure of attending the Abbey Theatre to see the Druid Theatre Company’s production of Samuel Beckett’s 'Waiting for Godot'.  A number of Form 5 pupils had been introduced to Beckett in our Transition Year Drama module, but we didn’t quite know what to expect before watching the play.  The experience, as it turned out, was unexpected!  'Waiting for Godot' proved to be a philosophical journey through an existential crisis from a humorous perspective. The piece was a thought-provoking experience and a great example of how empty Samuel Beckett felt his time was when he served with the Red Cross in Normandy. The staging was magnificent and the performance was expertly acted with subtlety and class. Overall, the visit to the Abbey Theatre was an extremely enjoyable experience that enhanced our knowledge of drama.
Avery Angle

Wednesday 15 March 2017

A Fine End To The Season

The weather forecast for Saturday 11 March 2017 was showery with a brighter day to come.  In some ways this forecast reflected the fortunes of The High School U14 rugby team as they participated in the annual Central League tournament.  The team was already at a slight disadvantage as the tournament clashed with a Scout's trip so some players, who would have been in contention for a starting place were absent. Nonetheless, the 18 players who represented The High School put in a solid performance.
The matches lasted only 18 minutes and first up High School faced Wesley College on home ground. Wesley are a skillful side and despite a strong performance from The High School Wesley won the match 14-7.  Next came The King's Hospital.  Being battle-ready from their encounter with Wesley The High School put in a strong performance to secure a convincing victory.  Again, in their third match The High School were victorious which saw them progress to the semi-finals.  Here they faced St Andrew's College.  This was a tough contest worthy of a semi-final.  It finished at 5-5, but as the rules of the competition stated that in the event of a draw the first team to score progressed, The High School were through to the final.
We were pitted against Gonzaga College who had won the competition four times in the last eight years.  As the 'first to score' rule still applied The High School players knew an early score was vital.  They pressed Gonzaga hard and were rewarded with a try in the first two minutes.  The remainder of the match saw advantage swing from one team to the other but even the Gonzaga coach commented on the our team's stellar defence.  In the dying seconds of the match Gonzaga broke The High School's line and scored.  At 5-5, The High School were still in pole position, but crucially The High School had missed their conversion kick.  Gonzaga had the opportunity to steal victory with the final kick of the match.  The Gonzaga out-half pulled his kick wide and the day belonged to The High School.
Congratulations to all those players who took part in a well-deserved victory (including those who could not attend on the day) and to the coaches for their commitment throughout the year.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

HSD in League Quarter Final v Loreto Foxrock

(I begin this review with a disclaimer that my hockey knowledge is rather sub-standard.)
The High School Dublin faced off against pre-tournament favourites Loreto Foxrock away from home on Tuesday the 31 st of January. Despite their underdog tag for much of the game it was The High School that looked to be the far better outfit.
The team’s performance was cohesive and assured with head coach Ms Gray setting up two disciplined banks of four that a certain Mr Simeone would be proud of. A scrappy goal early in the first half was the reward for High School’s early pressure on the Foxrock goal.
Foxrock piled on the pressure in the second half with a remarkable accumulation of short corners however The High School rear guard seemed impenetrable and soaked this extraordinary pressure up until a goal ward shot was illegally blocked ten minutes from time. The resulting penalty flick was scored and the game was levelled. An electric break up the pitch from two of the team’s veteran performers came close to sealing what would be a deserved victory for the Rathgar side but as the move broke down in the Foxrock ‘d’, 1 v 1s beckoned. A final forage forward was made by Foxrock and as their attacker moved to the by-line a foul was drawn.
What followed was pure, unadulterated rage from the High School side-line, a penalty flick had been awarded. My aforementioned lack of knowledge about the sport prompted me to turn to Google in order to establish why the penalty was awarded. What I found on the matter was the following: “In field hockey, a penalty stroke, sometimes known as a penalty flick, is the most severe penalty given. It is predominantly awarded when a foul has prevented a certain goal from being scored.” This led me to Googling another definition: ‘Thievery – the act of stealing another person’s property’. In the case of The High School team a place in the semi-final had be well and truly stolen from them.
As the players dejectedly, trudged off the field I could not help but cast my mind back to the champions league semi-final of 2009 as I witnessed from a similar spectatorial position the Chelsea players crowd the referee as they left the pitch. The High School players were far more magnanimous but the injustice felt was no less deep. A fine performance from a young team was seen today with the potential for the next few seasons which is extremely exciting.  As for the Form 6 players, they can retire their black jerseys, which they have worn with great honour, skill and pride, and cast their minds back to the happier matches of January 2015.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Positive mental health provision in The High School

As part of the ongoing mental health provision within The High School, the Health Promotion Committee has initiated a 10-week programme on mindfulness for pupils that started on Friday 13 January and will continue for the next 9 weeks. This programme has been specifically designed for schools and offers help with attention, recognising worries and stressors, being more aware of our surroundings, and learning how to cope with worries and stress. It is an excellent programme for all pupils, but particularly suitable for those pupils who might be facing into stressful times, and/or have other reasons to seek to help their concentration or attention as well as understanding how to use their mind to recognise negative thoughts and appreciate the present.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is all about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, moment by moment, with open-minded curiosity and acceptance. Rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen, it trains us to respond skilfully to whatever is happening right now, be that good or bad.

What are the aims of the .B programme?
 To improve concentration and focus, in classes, in exams and tests, on the sports field, when playing games, when paying attention and listening to others.
 To fulfil potential and pursue goals (for example to be more creative and more
relaxed both academically and personally).
 To experience greater well-being (for example feeling happier, calmer, more
 To work with difficult mental states such as anxious thoughts and low moods.
 To cope with the everyday stresses and strains of adolescent life (for example
examinations, relationships, sleep problems, and family issues).
 The programme has started but pupils can still join the programme by signing up on
sheets located outside C11 and on the SPHE noticeboard outside the 6 th Form Common
 The duration is 30-40 minutes.
 It takes place after school on Fridays in the Dining Room.