Thursday 10 November 2022

Thoughts on The Recent All Ireland Hockey Final

On Friday 28 October  a group of tired but excited senior pupils boarded a bus to Cork at 7:30 am to watch our Senior 1 hockey boys in the semi-final stages of the All Ireland Schools (Boys) Hockey Championship for the second consecutive year. 

Our  first stop was Ashton School to face fellow Dublin opposition Kings Hospital in the semi final.  The bus on the way down was filled with a surprising amount of energy and chatter for such an early hour, face paint was handed around and by the time we exited the bus at 10:30 am in Cork we were all covered in red and black. 

The first game was a very close affair, the only score separating the teams was a brilliant penalty stroke converted by captain Ben Pasley in the 2nd quarter.  The first quarter was mainly dominated by the oposition but High School pulled back taking over the second.  At half time the score was 1-0 thanks to a goal scored by Ben Pasley.  The High School dominated the 3rd quarter, unlucky not to score several more goals and creating numerous opportunities for themselves.  In the final quarter the oposition started strongly, throwing everything at their last chance to make the All Ireland semifinal.  However, despite their efforts, thanks to brilliant defending and goal keeping, The High School managed to keep them at bay until the final whistle.  Relief was felt all around and the anticipation began to grow for the All Ireland final.  After waving goodbye to our Senior 1 players, full of excitement, the group of supporters headed to the Marina market in Cork's harbour for some well-earned food and rest after all of our cheering.  Voices were beginning to get  hoarse but we didn’t let that stop us as we boarded the bus again at 2:30 pm, refuelled and ready to go to UCC for one last big game.  

The atmosphere on the bus was one we will never forget, every single person was both proud and excited to get to see yet another game of incredible hockey, we exited the bus with banners and music in tow.  We firmly positioned ourselves against the fence of the pitch and began to cheer on the boys as they warmed-up. Our opposition was the Senior 1 boys team from Banbridge Academy, a very strong team from Northern Ireland.  Banbridge started well and went 1-0 up after just 5 minutes. At the end of the 1st quarter the score was 1-0 to Banbridge.  In the second quarter Banbridge scored again but just a few minutes later The High School pulled one back through Ben Pasley making it 2-1 at half time.  Despite Banbridge dominating the first half, The High School team were not deflated, cheered on ecstatically from the sidelines, they came out fighting in the second half, every single player gave their all, although they were exhausted from their 2 intense games.  They put their bodies on the line and earned themselves a well deserved goal through a short corner from Charlie Beatty.  

The score on 2-2 tensions were high, but The High School were well on top and the supporters continued to cheer and the boys continued to throw everything at the game. Despite several efforts and brilliant defending especially by Sam Maxwell as first runner in the short corners, we were unable to score a 3rd.  A short corner for Banbridge in the last two minutes created a moment of fear for The High School supporters but goalkeeper Luke Stevens pulled off an incredible save to keep us in the game.  The full time whistle went with the score at 2-2.  The game went to 1v1s, despite some brilliance from Adam Hearne as goalkeeper and great goals from Alex Lynch and Tom Whelan, Banbridge emerged winners.  

I think if you asked anybody at that game they would tell you that The High School could not have given more of themselves to the tournament.  From the very first game every single player did everything they could for the team and brought so much joy to all of us who were lucky enough to watch the games.  Hockey has given all of us so many great memories in school and on behalf of Form 6 pupils I would like to thank all of the boys for all of the joy they gave us watching those games.  It was a special experience get to see the boys we have grown up with for the last 6 years, make us so proud on such a massive occasion. 

Moya Quigley (Head Girl)

Thursday 20 October 2022

Form 6 French Production

On Friday 14 October Ms Roullet and Ms Concannon's Form 6 French classes went to see a production of the classic novella Le Petit Prince by famed author and former World War II pilot Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry at St Andrew’s College. In preparation for our trip we learned the significance of the story and the effect it has had on French culture and society. Le Petit Prince is actually the second most translated book in the world, just behind only the Bible and has been adapted into a film, television series, and opera as well as theatre productions. After a quick bus ride to the venue, we sat down to watch the play. Without giving away too much of the story Le Little Prince is a story about loneliness, friendship, death, and love. The prince is a small boy from a tiny planet who travels the universe, planet-to-planet, seeking to understand how things work. On his journey he discovers the unpredictable nature of Earth's inhabitants. It’s easy to see why the story is so popular with universal and relatable themes and a simple to follow story that anyone from a young child to an adult can get something out of. It was a nice and different way to spend a Friday morning and certainly has helped prepare us for our upcoming mock Leaving Certificate examination in the New Year.
Luke Murphy

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)